Friday, April 30, 2010

Blossoms at Old City Hall

The four trees along the east side of Toronto's old City Hall are full of bright pink blossoms - it's like a mini High Park in the heart of the City.

I even had a chance to take a picture of a pretty girl in front of the blooms.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Urban Jungle

Toronto has so many neighbourhoods and flavours that it is hard to believe that so much is contained within such a relatively small footprint. In the highly concentrated downtown urban core we see a few of our antique buildings standing proud beside tall, glass towers. Land is too valuable for many plants but some grass, trees and gardens do add some nice colour - like at the Toronto Dominion Tower, pictured above.

Old City Hall sits right beside the Eaton Centre and one of those glass towers. There was a lot of work going on in the front yard of the Hall over the last couple of weeks and the construction fences have just come down. I think they were putting in the power feeds to the new batman spotlight on top of the roof, ready for when the Commissioner needs to get in contact with the caped crusader. They also straightened the sign while they were at it.

There was also a few boats along Bay Street in case someone had a few thousand dollars burning a hole in their pockets. All you would have to do is point the trailer downhill and you could roll right down to Lake Ontario.

PS the fountain in Nathan Phillips Square is back in action for the season.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ROM Dinosaurs - feel like prey

Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has a few dinosaurs roaming the vast halls, eating people.

You can find plenty of dinos at the ROM: "Imagine life when dinos roamed the earth in the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and explore one of the world’s best dinosaur collections. Hundreds of specimens await visitors in the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, ranging from insects and fossilized plants, to Canada’s largest dinosaur on permanent display, Gordo the Barosaurus, who clocks in at an impressive 27 metres (90 feet). Visitors may also recognize the Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Deinonychus, and the popular Hadrosaur specimens, Parasaurolophus and Maiasaura. Many of the species on display are real fossil skeletons!"

Do you see that little raptor above following his mommy, the large, sharp claw ready to shred their prey? These guys aren't at all like that big, purple dinosaur named Barney. I think some of those raptors did survive, now they wear suits and work in some of our office towers.

Streetcar Named Desire

You don't often see the TTC streetcar driver hanging out the window, chillaxin, waiting for the light to turn green, but spring makes people crazy.

Toronto Torture Garden

I find some street posters just grab my attention. Toronto Torture Garden? I have heard of the Toronto Music Garden but I have not come across the Toronto Torture Garden yet, I don't know why not. So I decide to do some educational surfing on the internets, yeah, educational.

Turns out that it is a fetish thing. They have a whole weekend planned in May, who knew? I would go but there is no photography allowed. Remember to whip it, whip it good.

Hamilton Fireworks

Just down the road from Toronto lies Hamilton, otherwise known as Steeltown, the Canadian Fireworks Association 2010 conference had a spectacular Friday night of Fireworks. The setting was Bayfront Park just beside Hamilton Harbour and the fireworks started at quarter to nine and went until 10:30pm. For upcoming fireworks in Hamilton check out the city's special events webpage. For Toronto fireworks see the information below.

We set up our cameras on the platform lookout and waited for the excitement to begin and we weren't disappointed. It was an East versus West battle and the night featured both consumer and professional fireworks.

In Toronto you can always catch fireworks during Victoria Day and Canada Day celebrations. On Victoria Day you can watch fireworks at Ashbridges Bay (The place to watch the fireworks, on a wide expanse of beach!
Monday, May 24, 2010 after 9:30 p.m. but come MUCH earlier!!
) or Ontario Place on May 16, 2010.

On Canada Day 2010 the party will be at Mel Lastman Square and also back at Ashbridges Bay. Ontario Place will also play host to the Toronto Festival of Fire from July 1 to the 3rd.

At the end of the year you can also see fireworks at Nathans Phillips Square during the New Years Eve celebrations.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bricks on Gould - Impact on Yonge Street

Wow, the falling bricks on Gould at Yonge Street continue to impact traffic on Yonge Street as the two northbound lanes are closed and all traffic is squeezed into the two southbound lanes. The pile of bricks remain piled on the ground, partially covered in a tarp. I think they will need a bigger trash bin.

The Ryerson University neighbourhood, which already has ongoing demolition as the old Sam the Record Man complex gets taken down, is joined by the building on the south side of Gould Street which rained bricks on Friday, April 16, 2010. This area is always full of students, residents and office workers so it is quite amazing that no one was seriously hurt in this accident.

It looks like the part of the building above the brick facade failure has been removed while the part with the failure and the fallen bricks in the street remain in place. I think the debris could have been left as part of an ongoing investigation into the incident.

Gift of Life - Living Green Ribbon Event

There was a lot of green today in Yonge-Dundas Square, just one day after reported gunfire during the 4-20 pro-weed gathering, for a Living Green Ribbon Event. The Trillium Gift of Life Network handed out boxes of green, plastic rain ponchos for people to wear as they gathered together in the shape of a giant ribbon. Mayor David Miller, pictured above, joined the large crowd along with a large heart to draw attention as part of National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week.

The bright green ponchos covered many business suits as those bankers and business people lent their support.

Their website says "Trillium Gift of Life Network, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, and The Canadian Liver Foundation, working in partnership with local volunteers, are holding a Living Green Ribbon Event in Toronto's Yonge/Dundas Square on Wednesday, April 21st from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Torontonians are invited to the square to demonstrate their support for the need for organ and tissue donors, learn more about the donation consent registration process, enjoy some entertainment and join the volunteers, wearing green ponchos or carrying YES placards, as we come together to form a Living Green Ribbon in the middle of Yonge/Dundas Square!"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Icelandair - the ironic advertisement

So I was on the subway today, enjoying the close proximity of other city dwellers on the TTC, when I noticed that one of the overhead ads was for Icelandair - the airway of Iceland. It features a guy mostly submerged in a large, outdoor hot spring, his face caked in healing mud while in the backgroud the hot spring shoots hot steam into the air. It's like having an ad in the subway saying that the TTC Chairman is a loyal, one woman man. Even better, underneath the Iceland poster is a TTC sign saying save transit.

Unfortunately that totally unpronounceable volcano in Iceland (Eyjafjallajökull - like what is that name?) seems to have erupted and over the last couple of days has shut down most flights in Europe due to the volcanic ash. And if the Big E starts to shut down they worry about it's big brother - the volcano Katla, which tends to blow shortly after Big E. Icelandair currently has a sign on their webpage - Notice: Flight disruptions due to volcanic activity in Iceland, it might get a lot worse if Katla blows.

Much Music Video Awards commercial shoot

The film crews set up in Yonge-Dundas Square filming a television commercial for the 2010 Much Music Video Awards.

They built a raised platform and the model climbed onto the stage and swung a pickaxe at the ground. A jet of debris explodes from the ground where she strikes .... and cut. Here is my small Youtube video of some of the action.

I hope I see Lady Gaga back at the awards, I just love the Gaga.

Unicycle in bike stand

Now that's not something that you see everyday - seen on Bay Street in Toronto. Is it a unicycle in a Toronto bike stand or did the thieves get most of the bike and leave one wheel and a seat?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Star Wars: Young Jedi Force

With a cold and wet weekend forecast I decided to visit the St Catherines Toys R Us where there was to be a gathering of Star Wars Characters on Saturday, April 18, 2010. At least 15 members (and an android) of the Young Jedi Force got into costume to help support their community and raise money for charity.

It is very impressive to see so many of the characters in one place. They certainly put a lot of work into the costumes.

There was even an Ewok at the event.

There are many Star Wars fan groups in Ontario.

501st Canadian Garrison
London Rogues
Rebel Legion: Canadian Base

For fans of science fiction, costumes and cosplay don't forget these upcoming Toronto events.

July 16 - 18, 2010
Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel
Toronto, Ontario
Look for the The Polaris Masquerade which "is an amateur costume competition for costumes relating to categories of Anime/Manga, Media (e.g. Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, computer games, etc.), Fantasy, Science Fiction, and any other related topics. The Masquerade will take place on Saturday evening after the Constellation Awards."

Toronto Comicon
Fan Appreciation Event 2010
June 5-6, 2010
Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building Hall G
222 Bremner Blvd.

Fan Expo Canada
August 27-29, 2010
Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Building Hall
222 Bremner Blvd.

Cherry Blossoms

Don't forget to get out and about and check the pretty blossoms that are reminding us to stop and smell the flowers. You can find out about the famous High Park Cherry Blossoms on this blog.

There are also apple blossoms and the large magnolia blossoms sprinkled throughout the city so keep an eye out for the beautiful signs of spring.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Toronto Runs, Walks and Rides for Charity

Toronto is generous in it's support of charities and hosts quite a few run, walk or ride events to raise money to find the cure for so many things or to help others. Not only do the purse or wallets come out but so do the caring people that actually have to do all the running, walking or biking. The pictures here show the crowds at the 2006 CIBC Run for the Cure filling Nathan Phillips Square.

Some of the events are wickedly unusual and require a lot of courage just to take part in - like the Underwear Affair and the Walk and Mile In Her Shoes.

Toronto, get ready for:

Run for the Ride - Cancer (April)
Father's Day Walk/Run - Prostate Cancer(June)
Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart (June)
Ride to Conquer Cancer - (June)
Heel 'n' Wheel-a-thon - Crohn's and Colitis (June)
Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes - Juvenile Diabetes (June)
Rick Hanson: Wheels in Motion - Spinal Cord Injury (June)
Walk Now for Autism (June)
Underwear Affair - Cancer below the waist (August)
Terry Fox Run - Cancer (September)
Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancer (September)
CIBC Run for the Cure - Breast Cancer (October)

There is also Polo for Heart - Heart and Stroke (June) and many golf tournaments around the city for charity so there are plenty of ways to get active or help others financially.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Photo Vault - Don Valley Brickworks

I visited the wastelands that were the Don Valley Brickworks a few times over the years. The longtime maker of bricks shut down and the site gradually fell into ruin which made for exciting visits. I can see why quite a few people make it a hobby to explore abandoned places - just remember to be safe.

Climbing in through the fences and openings in the buildings you walked through a massive complex of buildings full of steel stairs, colourful graffiti and old kilns. The large cavernous buildings were full of remnants of the past where sunbeams cut through holes in the ceilings and highlighted small sections of the interior. You could even find rooms full of bricks scattered on the floors.

The Brickworks lasted a long time starting in 1889 and finally closing in 1984. Then in 2002 they decided to try to make something of the historic site and have been fixing it up. It is now called the Evergreen Brick Works and they will celebrate their grand opening in September 2010.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Massey Hall - red light

The big neon sign at Massey Hall fills the surrounding Victoria street with a bright red glow. The big old box which opened in 1894 is a perfect venue for watching concerts and I remember watching the crowd throw boxes of Craft Dinner at a Barenaked Ladies concert.

Both Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall are run by a not for profit charitable corporation and "Massey Hall was a gift from the Massey family to the city of Toronto in 1894. For over 115 years, its famous red doors have welcomed audiences to a stunning array of events, personalities and artists. It has earned a unique place in Canadian music history."

TV with TV's Jonathan Torrens

TVtropolis’ host of TV with TV’s Jonathan Torrens was out in Toronto doing some interviews with his crew when I broke in between filming and asked for a photo – he was happy to oblige.  He even asked me to do an interview but I had to decline.


I remember watching him when he was the young co-host of Street Cents – which was a great show. It was funny and a little off beat which made for good entertainment. Born in PEI, Jonathon has moved on from Street Cents and did quite a few acting jobs including his own show Jonovision, appearances as J-Roc on the series Trailer Park Boys and now with his own series again. Even his commercials are funny so I was happy to run into him today. He said we don’t have too many celebrities in Canada but I think he is one.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Toronto Islands Ferry

Now that the Toronto Islands are no longer big chunks of ice it's almost time to visit the chain of former Scarborough Bluffs erosion debris and which is now a great destination for sports and entertainment. Here are the Bluffs just waiting for their turn to swim west and join the fun of the islands.

Although you have to take a ferry boat to get to the islands (routes to Hanlan's, Centre and Ward's Islands) you can also bring your bikes or roller blades to get around on the extensive bike paths.

Enjoy the many beaches (swim buck naked at Hanlan's Point clothing optional beach), picnic areas or spend some time in the island world Centreville Amusement Park on Centre Island or the small and free Far Enough Farm petting zoo.

Don't forget to turn around and look back at the City and it's fabulous skyline.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Avatar at Union Station

Workers were busy installing Avatar's Hometree deep in the heart of Union Station. I was looking around for some unobtanium so I started to cut down the big fake tree and for some reason the guys got mad. Oh, the ironimium!

April 22 is the date of the Blu-ray and DVD release.

Another sign of Spring at the Square

I was glad to see the fountains in the Yonge-Dundas Square spraying out water, welcoming Spring and kids that like to play in the water.

Also in the square was the small, older guy who loves to sing karaoke. He is a very energetic singer and it is too bad that his voice is so bad. I have heard him many times with his boom box and microphone. You can see people walk near him and realize that someone is singing quite badly and they look around for the source of the music, thinking it might be a joke. But no, he is quite serious. He doesn't do it for money - just for the enjoyment.

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

Built in 1922 the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, just steps away from a big body of water called Lake Ontario, is undergoing a major rebuild of the large, outdoor swimming pool. The pool or "Tank" was heated and originally built in 1925. There is a lot of history including an amusement park, buildings out on piers and a stadium in this area and only the Pavilion has survived the years of change.

Joe Fresh took a picture of me at the gates at the entrance to the Pavilion.

In the summer you can find plenty of sunbathers and swimmers on the beach, in the lake and in the pool. Right now all you can find are birds like swans and seagulls looking for food.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square