Monday, May 31, 2010

Toronto Bike Month 2010

The bikes poured into Nathan Phillips Square as part of Bike Month. Today was the Group Commute where commuters meet and ride together to City Hall. Participants got a free Bike Month t-shirt, a breakfast and some other promotional goodies like GO Transit lunch bags. Bike month runs from May 26th to June 21st.

Honda Indy Toronto 2010 coming in July

Update July 12, 2010: For information on the Honda Indy Toronto special events including the Driver's Party check out my blog post here. You can also see my coverage of the 2010 race on my blog post here.

Let's get the party started - In about a month and a half the CNE will come alive with the sound, smell and action of the Honda Indy Toronto on Friday, July 16 to Sunday, July 18. The three days will be jam packed with cars, girls, beer and other activities so drop by their site and keep an eye out for the proposed schedule of events. We do know that the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be joining the IZOD Indycar Series and Firestone Indy Lights racing during the weekend. The Indy Racing League (IRL) race starts at 12:30pm on Sunday, July 18, 2010.

In 2009 the schedule had the gates opening at 8am and the days ending at 6pm Friday and Saturday and 8am to 5pm on the final day - Sunday.

Attendance at Indy races, like the Honda Indy Toronto, are a concern and they need to ramp up the marketing and advertising. It really is a good deal of entertainment for the buck so I do recommend coming out to the races. (UPDATE June 2: My friends at the Toronto Star have announced that Friday's admission will be on the Ontario Honda Dealers Association.)

Some of the events coming up ahead of the race include the following.

Annual Drivers’ Party.
Pit Crew Girl Search (Budweiser).

Media Pit Stop Challenge (Honda) - this was at Yonge-Dundas Square last year.
Autograph signing sessions (numerous sponsors).
Public celebration at Yonge and Dundas Square during race week.
Shoot For A Cure teams up with the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation for the second annual Honda Indy Toronto Walk Run ‘N Wheel-a-thon, to be held in downtown Toronto on Thursday, July 15, 2010 in support of spinal cure research.

I also noticed that David Letterman is one of the owners of the Graham Rahal car so maybe we will be lucky and see David in Toronto this year.

There are also a lot of sponsors on board with promotion plans such as.

Green Savoree Toronto, owners of the Honda Indy Toronto, Honda, Ontario Honda Dealers Association, Budweiser, Schick, Telus, Motorola, Dr Pepper, Mattel Canada, Pizza Pizza, Delta Chelsea Hotel, the Toronto Sun, the Ontario Government, Tourism Toronto, PHD, Grip and Torchia Communications. Honda, Budweiser and Dr Pepper are planning themed promotions.

The League has 11 more races in the season and Toronto is only 4 races away. The latest race was the May 30th Indianapolis 500 which was won by Dario Franchitti, winer of the 2009 Honda Toronto Indy (picture at top) as well as the 2009 Indycar Series Champion. The remaining schedule is as follows.

Saturday, June 12 Texas Motor Speedway, oval
Sunday, June 20 Iowa Speedway, oval
Sunday, July 4 Watkins Glen International, road course
Sunday, July 18 Streets of Toronto, street course
Sunday, July 25 Edmonton City Centre Airport, airport course
Sunday, August 8 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, road course
Sunday, August 22 Infineon Raceway, road course
Saturday, August 28 Chicagoland Speedway, oval
Labor Day Weekend Kentucky Speedway, oval
Saturday, September 18Twin Ring Motegi, oval
Saturday, October 2 Homestead-Miami Speedway, oval

The current standings show Will Power (above) in the lead followed by the rest of top five: Dario Franchitti,

Scott Dixon,

Helio Castroneves

and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Ryan was involved in an accident with Mike Conway during the Indy 500 and the pictures of Mike's car flipping into the air and running along the fence are amazing. IRL says "Mike Conway will miss at least three months of the IZOD IndyCar Series season after having surgery the evening of May 30 to repair fractures to his lower left leg suffered in the white flag lap crash in the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day.

Indy Racing League Director of Medical Services Dr. Michael Olinger said Conway, of England, also has a soft tissue injury to his lower left leg and he is expected to have another surgical procedure later this week. Additionally, Conway has a compression fracture of one of his thoracic vertebrae and is being fitted for a back brace, which he will wear for three months." Here is a picture of Mike.

Canadians Alex Tagliani is 11th in the standings while Paul Tracy (below) has no points at this time. It was announced that Paul will race in both the Honda Indy Toronto and the Edmonton Indy, sponsored by Honda and supporting the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Danica Patrick sits at 12th place and has been taking a public beating after discussing her car and her dislike of street courses - I still can't wait to see her race. She started out in the 23rd position yesterday and ended up finishing the race in 6th place.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Doors Open Smorgasbord

The success of Doors Open is measured in the number of visitors and attractions that take part in the May weekend event across Toronto. This year marks the 11th Doors Open and I know that standing in line waiting to get into some of the 140 plus buildings means that Torontonians are really enjoying this chance to see places that they normally wouldn't be allowed into or otherwise have to pay to get into.

Besides Toronto City Hall I also went to the National Ballet School. Not only do the students take ballet training they also go to school and live on site. Besides the full time ballet students there are about a 1000 people a year that take ballet classes throughout the year. The school was difficult to take pictures of because the students have to practice on Saturdays and you couldn't take photos showing students - so pretty much a washout for a photographer like me.

So onwards to Historic Fort York with some colourful uniforms as soldiers march and practice with their muskets.

Later I make it to the CNE and the Horse Palace. I watched an expert cowboy show some amazing skills that were originally used to herd cattle in Portugal. I don't think the Toronto Police Mounted Unit put on a show but they did have one of their horses out for introductions to the public.

Reitmans Armand and Albert

My favourite characters from the Reitmans television commercials, where Haute Couture scores 0 and Reitmans scores 1, were in the Eaton Centre on Saturday, May 29 mixing with fans and taking funny pictures.

The commercials are funny because of the Haute Couture excess and the commentary and scoring by Armand and Albert. Here is a picture of me with the duo taken by Joe Fresh.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Toronto Roller Derby 2010 Season Opener

Update: The 2011 Season Opener saw the Gore-Gore Rollergirls beat the Death Track Dolls - see the pictures here.
Update: See my pictures from the 2010 Championship game held November 13, 2010.
Update: See my pictures of the action at the semi-final game #2 at my blog post here.

The Smoke City Betties battled it out with the Gore-Gore Roller Girls in the Hangar at Downsview Park during the 2010 season opener. Lady Gag-Ya and Memphis Kitty mix it up, above. The score was a little lopsided with Gore-Gore at 248 and the Betties at 58. The Betties were smoked. The bout was announced by Crankpants and I find that it is very hard to understand what the heck the guy is saying most of the time.

The Smoke City girls had black outfits and blue shorts while the Gore-Gore girls were in leopard print outfits. The girls continued to look hot like co-captain Dust Bunny, above. The many refs added their own flavour to the game - they are called the zebra mafia and I like Penny Whistler and Nicki Nine Lives. The Gore-Gore girls make their introductions and one of my favourite players Bambi #33 holds up a banner.

The Toronto Roller Derby (TORD) - real women, real hits, real heart, is doing gangbusters and the crowd was huge for the May 29th match. Games for 2010 are May 29, June 12, July 2 & 10, Aug 21 & 28, September 11 and October 2 & 23 with the Championship on November 13. The teams in TORD are the Smoke City Betties, Chicks Ahoy, The Gore-Gore Rollergirls, The Death Track Dolls and CN Power. Land Shark from CN Power was supporting the league while watching the action from a comfy seat on the sidelines.

One of the powerhouses of the game was Gore-Gore co-captain Brim Stone #21:8 who blocks and jams like a woman possessed. I especially appreciated her garter belt.

When the game ends the teams circle the arena slapping hands then they meet their fans for autographs and photos. Here is me with Bambi in a photo taken by Joe Fresh - otherwise known as "Your Average Joe" - check out his blog as he has plenty of photos from the night.

For coverage of the Quad City Championship event check out my blog post here. You can also see my photos from the June 12 game between Death Track Dolls and Chicks Ahoy on this blog post.

Skull Man's Box Wars stomped out during the half time intermission and their war had the cardboard flying until only one monster was left.

DOTO: Doors Open Toronto - City Hall

I went to a couple of places in City Hall that I have never been to before - up on the Podium Green Roof terrace, into the Mayor's office, the Council Chambers and to the top of the building on the observation deck, during the 2010 Toronto Doors Open event.

The green roof terrace opens space that was previously closed to the public right beside the council chambers. Green stuff came alive with two alien green things wandering the terrace - they might have been undercover security in advance of the G20.

Mayor David Miller joined others for the official opening of the green roof that looks down on Nathan Phillips Square. He has a nice office in City Hall with a decorating motif in his office suite.

There were also a few kids dressed on stilts and in costumes like a butterfly and a swan.

On top of City Hall the observation deck is on the 27th floor and provides a nice view of downtown Toronto. Also Below are two of the friendly Doors Open volunteers helping to keep things running smoothly during the event.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Crossing Yonge Street

Taking advantage of a break in traffic on Toronto's busy Yonge Street someone crosses the road towards Yonge-Dundas Square wearing Crocs.

It's Prom Season

It's time to get on your fancy clothes and hop in the big ass rental limo - it's Prom season.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rock of Ages at FCP

The cast of the musical 'Rock of Ages' put on an electric performance at the First Canadian Place Waterfall Stage during the lunch hour. The show is on stage now at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. They can really belt out those tunes.

The singers only did a couple of numbers then they cleared the stage and some went to HMV to sign some CDs. The crowd was sad that they left so soon and started rioting ahead of the G20 Summit as they needed the practice (just kidding).

The host of the event was Stu Jeffries of 97.3 BOOM FM.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dr Pepper on the Quay

Riding my bike around the City of Toronto on the weekend was very enjoyable and warm. To help quench my thirst Dr Pepper was out On Queens Quay giving out free samples of their cold and delightful beverage.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

One of the world's greatest celebrities partied it up in Yonge-Dundas Square over the May 24 weekend. His name: Super Mario. Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton might have been attending as well but no one noticed with Mario walking around with some eye candy on his arm.

I watched, and enjoyed, the new Iron Man 2 and it had a Super Mario Galaxy 2 trailer (sorry commercial) so I think he may have been in town for the release of the game on May 23rd.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sun on HTO's Urban Beach Umbrellas

When you can't get enough sand in those out of the way places you can always bring your thong over to HTO Park's Urban Beach and lie under some umbrellas.

Cherry Beach

A crazy fog came rolling in from Lake Ontario and quickly reduced visibility along the Cherry Beach. It was hard to see the dogs playing in the lake or across the bay towards Leslie Spit. The lifeguard building was occupied and the lifeguards were perched high in their lookout trying to keep everyone safe. They keep a bunch of rowboats upside down on the beach but I hope they use the motorboats that they have tied up at the dock if they have to make a rescue. The graffiti taggers had hit the building, sadly nothing is safe from those guys.

The water is still cold but there were still a few sun worshipers waiting for the sun to come out but most of the people were out walking and playing with their dogs.

As the day warmed up the fog went away and I ended up getting a nice sunburn - ahh, that's what summer is about (please tan responsibly and use sunscreen).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday at the Circus

I attended the Harbourfront Toronto International Circus Festival on Sunday, May 23 and watched a few of the acts. This circus was definitely geared for families with small children and the number of people exploded as the day went on and the sun burned away the clouds and fog.

My fave was the singing duo Splash 'N Boots - they got the crowd a rocking, in a preschool kind of way.

The regular Harbourfront attractions were also open like the pond with canoe rides, the glass blowing workshop in the York Quay Centre and the Natrel Kinder rink as well as the adjacent boat tours like the ships Kajama and Harbour Star.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square