Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Play Soccer

Some colourful characters were hanging around Yonge-Dundas Square today as part of the Play Soccer which is an event which promotes participation in soccer. I saw Tony the Tiger and Ronald McDonald.

Ronald was a nice guy because he brought plenty of free coffee.

The Daily Commute

Over 1.2 million people are said to commute into and around Toronto and I happen to be one of them. For me the almost two hour ride, each way, on the GO Bus and GO Train is a huge commitment of time to get to work. Like many I enter downtown from Union Station and head up Bay Street towards the Eaton Centre.
The trains and buses disgorge people by the hundreds who grab other forms of public transportation or just walk where they want to go.

I always find it fascinating to see the people as we march in one direction, en masse. Occasionally someone fights through the crowd in the opposite direction - hoping not to get run over. Usually on our city streets there are people going both directions, it never seems a focused movement, that is until rush hour, then with a single minded purpose we are heading north from Union in the morning (pictured) or back south to Union in the afternoon.

Walking is the best part of the commute. During nice weather many people keep above ground, catching a few rays and getting some nice excercise before the start of the work day. If the weather is bad more people stay underground until the last possible minute using Toronto's fabulous PATH system.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kayaking - not quite there

I came upon a bunch of kayakers sitting on the dock of the bay, just sitting, waiting for the water to rise I guess. No, I am sure they were just getting used to how to sit and what to do before they got into the water. Watching kayaks roll during white water competitions suggests that practicing before you have to get wet is a great idea.

The location was on Queens Quay at the Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre. You can even learn to paddleboard at their school.

Drama & Desire at the AGO

The AGO, or Art Gallery of Ontario, has gathered quite a few art masterpieces of the 19th Century as part of Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theatre running until September 26, 2010. To advertise the show they have sent out actors to the streets of Toronto dressed in fashions of long, long ago posing behind a large picture frame.

The AGO says "An art experience unlike any other. Featuring artwork inspired by the theatre, presented “on stage” with live performers, full-scale sets and period lighting. See works by Degas, Delacroix and other masters, from the world’s greatest museums — including the Tate, MoMA, Musee d’Orsay, Louvre and the Met. Be there when the curtain rises."

Toronto has so many great Theatre options including the Toronto Centre for the Arts, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Princess of Wales Theatre, Canon Theatre and the Panasonic Theatre. For discount tickets you can always try the TOtix kiosk at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The War of 1812

The last time America was really mad at us we had the War of 1812. British, Canadian and American soldiers and native Indians made war on each other across a lot of southern Ontario, on land and on water. In Toronto we have the great old Fort York which is a historical military museum of the period - a period where York was captured by the Americans. Here is a shot of Fort York taken from high above on the Gardiner Expressway.

I also discovered that the war carried on up in Wasaga Beach where a supply ship called the Nancy was hiding from the Americans in the Nottawasaga River. The mast of the ship was seen by the Americans who attacked the vessel. The Empire sailors abandoned ship and set fire to it before the enemy could capture it's stores. That ship burned down to the waterline and over a period of many years the wreckage caused an island to form Nancy Island which is now home to the Nancy Island Historic Site. The re-enactors set up a large encampment for the three day's of fun and excitement.

Every year they re-enact the events leading to the sinking of the Nancy on the sandy beach during the Historic Military Establishment of Upper Canada's Wasaga Under Seige. There was even a small sloop trading cannon balls with a Tall Ship a little ways off the beach.

See more pictures after the jump.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sunset over geese

Summer time and the living is easy. It's time to stop and smell the roses and watch the sun rise or set.  On August 27th the Earth and Mars will be pretty close but but even then Mars will not be as big as the Moon - in fact it will only look like a bright star.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The big red canoe

There is a park right along side the Gardiner Expressway where a large red canoe sits at the top of a hill, ready for when global warming raises the height of the water. The park was named through a contest and is called Canoe Landing. Because it is an new urban park there are not a lot of trees - they decided to go with a bunch of tower cranes.

The park and the hill were created from excavations of tower foundations and parking garages. Douglas Coupland designed the park and situated the colourful vessel at the top, pointing towards the Gardiner and presumably Lake Ontario, via a number of condos. The condos have continued and now a wall of glass overlooks the red art installation. See more at my post here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shout out to blog reader

I am always happy when people recognize me from my Toronto blog while I am out and about. In the crowds of the the Honda Indy Toronto, just exiting the pits, I ran into one reader who said he checked out my blog everyday. Luckily I had my camera ready so I was able to take a picture - thanks for saying hi and thanks for reading my blog.

Honda Indy Toronto - Post Race Driver Interviews

We met with Canadians Alex Tagliani (pictured below) driving the #77 car who finished 17th (who crashed into a wall during the race) and Paul Tracy of the #15 car who finished 13th (who started from the 24th spot) after the race. Alex was not very happy with the person who crashed into him. He said the guy was happy that he took Alex out of the race as he was nursing a grudge from the previous year.

Paul Tracy (below) had led the race for awhile (laps 18 to 31) and said that the yellow flag after yellow flag did not fall into his strategy. He agreed that it would have been easier had he started earlier in the pack. Paul said that the settings on the car were off for both the practice and qualifying periods. They had found and changed the settings for the race but were unable to go back in time and improve their qualifying time. He also agreed that he would do better if he drove IRL full time but that sponsorship levels limited him to racing a few times a year. Paul hit a bump at the end of a straight away and ended up locking his brakes which he could not unlock at which time his ride stalled. He had to wait for a boost to get back going.

The three race finalists Ryan Hunter-Reay (3rd in the #37 car, pictured immediately below), Dario Franchitti (2nd in the #10 car, shown after Ryan) and winner Will Power also met the media and discussed the race with us. Both Ryan and Dario liked coming to Toronto and the only improvements to the track that they would like to see would be in the back stretch where the bumps in the road limit passing as everyone tries to avoid the bad areas which closes down the opportunities to pass. Both also talked about how slick the track was after only a few laps. Ryan said it was like a football game with a lot of pushing.

Race winner Will Power (pictured below) of the #12 car also had the fastest lap at 102.910 mph and led the race on laps 54 and 72 to 85 where he took the checkered flag and top of the podium. Will had contact with car 19 in turn one. Will is tops in the IndyCar Series standings with 377 total points. He felt the key to winning was his risky move to pass on the outside after the last restart. It was important to avoid accidents and sometimes he felt you just needed to chill. He heads into Edmonton on a back to back wins and as winner of last years Edmonton race.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The girls of Honda Indy Toronto - part two

Update: Enter here for a chance to win a Ferrari Fan Zone Experience at the 2012 Honda Indy Toronto! Contest closes June 28, 2012. Ten tickets are available to be won by Toronto Grand Prix Tourist Blog readers! Great odds for a great event.

Update: Click here for a chance to win Dr Pepper Grandstand tickets to the Honda Indy Toronto 2011 race. Contest over.

There were a lot of beautiful women around the Honda Indy Toronto - from the Bud Pit Crew girls to the Hooters girls. You can see the girls of Honda Indy Toronto part one here.

See more pictures after the jump.

IZOD Honda Indy Toronto 2010 race - Will Power Wins

With the Bud Pit girls chosen we are ready for the IZOD Honda Indy Toronto race. The pre-race began at 11:45am with a parade, driver introductions and the famous ladies and gentlemen "start your engines" by actor Greg Kinnear. The race started at 12:45pm and Will Power (centre - note, Will's grandmother is Canadian) took the checkered flag followed by Dario Franchitti (left) and with Ryan Hunter-Reay (right) trailing in third place. There were quite a few accidents and associated cautions as the track conditions were slick - some of the drivers said it was like racing on ice. Here they are on the podium in the Winners Circle immediately following the race - getting a face full of big red and white star confetti. You can see pictures of the post race press conference here. The Bud Pit Crew pageant winners stand by with the trophies.

You can see lots more pictures of the race after the jump.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bud Pit Girl Pageant

Update: See my photos of the 2011 Miss Bud Pit Crew Girl Search on my post here.

The Honda Indy was the site of the finals in the Bud Pit Girl pageant and the girls were smokin'. The field of beautiful girls was judged and then there were three gorgeous winners. The finalists receive some great prizes and will give out the trophies to tomorrows Honda Indy Toronto winners.

See more pictures after the jump.

Nascar Canadian Tire Series - Canadian Tire Jumpstart 100

The Nascar Canadian Tire Series drivers said that the track would be slippery after 5 laps and many figured that they would crash within those five laps, then they would continue crashing every five laps. I think that they did keep to that schedule and still managed to finish the race. Andrew Ranger (passing by the Princes' Gates above) in the #27 Dodge Dealers of Quebec car won the event, followed by Jason Bowles in the #11 Rusty Wallace Racing Experience car and in third place was DJ Kennington of the #17 Castrol Edge car. Andrew leaves the Nascar paddock with TSN's Tod Lewis, below.

The track is narrow and the concrete barriers keep the drivers guessing on how close they can get to the edges of the track. Add in the slick racing conditions and drivers inexperienced in the Toronto street course and the collisions add up.

More pictures after the jump.

Honda Indy Toronto - Top Six Qualifiers

The top six IZOD Honda Indy Toronto drivers were presented at a press conference held right after the final qualifying run. Justin Wilson (above) finished a new track record at just over one minute and one second to capture the coveted pole position. In the following photo the drivers are from left to right; Scott Dixon, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Justin Wilson, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dario Franchitti.
Will Power qualified second and the rest of the six are, in order, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dario Franchitti and in sixth position to start is Scott Dixon. Here is a photo Will followed by Dario.

Dario is of course last year's Honda Indy Toronto pole position winner and race winner who will have to fight from the 5th position during tomorrow's main race which starts at 12:45pm. Here are some photos from todays race and practice sessions.

More pictures after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square