Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking down Bay Street

Bay Street is the heart of Toronto's financial district, a mixture of old buildings or skyscrapers with a few suits and ties walking around. You can't go very far before tripping over some investment banker or a lawyer ready to sue you for tripping over them. I was surprised to find out that Bay Street used to be called Bear Street because, believe it or not, they used to see bears around the area many moons ago.
I think when they built the road they wanted to have it go right through old City Hall, just to show who was boss, but instead they built a jog in the road around the old Credit Valley Stone stucture at Queen Street. These pictures were taken from the steps of old City Hall looking south towards Lake Ontario, just past the row of condos, the railway structure over Bay Street and the Gardiner Expressway.
The section of Bay from Queen Street to Union Station is one of the most popular locations for the homeless. Several seem to live permanently at the busy intersection and in the winter the stacks of sleeping bags help to keep them warm. There are a number of Toronto resources, and organizations like the Salvation Army, who to try to help those who live on the streets.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1 week till 2011 Toronto Roller Derby Season Opener

The 2011 Toronto Roller Derby (or TORD) Season Opener is one tiny week away and then the ladies of the flat track will begin a year of battles that will leave quite a few bruises and a few more rips in the lingerie.
The Saturday, February 5th first bout in the Downsview Park's Hanger will see the 2010 Champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls versus the Death Track Dolls. Doors open at 6:30pm and the game starts at 7:30pm. I can't wait for the opening night when Gore-Gore players such as Bambi and Brim Stone get physical with the Dolls players like Land Shark and Downright Dirty Dawson.

The league has this to say about the match up "The Death Track Dolls are a veritable force to be reckoned with. Led by veteran captains Betty Bomber and Dolly Parts 'Em, the team is primed for a Dollmination in 2011 with a new lineup for this season and a renewed appetite for destruction! On the other hand, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, led by Brim Stone and Dust Bunny are not to be taken lightly. Still liking their chops from their victory at last season's championship finals, these girls have not lost their appetite for blood".
Tips for new players or, like the marines say, fresh meat can be found here. I guess a lot of people need a few good women (or sometimes a few bad women). I am intrigued by this tip: "There will be a time for semi-nudity and obnoxious self-promotion. And that time is after you've actually proven yourself on the track." Of course I disagree - there should always be time for semi-nudity.

Ducks in James Gardens

James Gardens Park is gorgeous in spring, summer and fall, in the winter it is cold but still full of life. As the ducks gather around the spring fed ponds and foot bridges waiting for food handouts and running from dogs. As dropping winter temperatures freeze standing water the warmer moving water from underground springs keeps part of the ponds ice free. It makes a furious free for all when all the ducks try to get into the small space when they are spooked. If you are in the middle of the birds when they take off in mass heading for the water you immediately become surrounded by hundreds of flapping wings and beaten by the wind they generate as they take flight - it is quite a feeling.

You can walk many trails including one that runs along the bank of the Humber River and it is popular for wedding photos (but you will need to get a permit). Near Dundas and Royal York the scenery is worth the visit.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fry Truck

Greasy fries and greasy burgers seem like a bad idea but sometimes after walking or biking around the streets of Toronto you can find the forbidden food irresistible. The only thing worse would be chowing down on french fries would be if you ate them wearing a thong. French fries, jumbo cut, cooked in oil, hot and ready for vinegar - my favourite is malt vinegar, adding so much that it leaks out the bottom before you have finished the large hot sticks of cooked potato. You can find hot dog stands scattered here and there, but for french fries you need to go to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre or around City Hall.
And if you don't like the fries, those french fries, so golden brown and delicious, maybe you would like a candy apple?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Barbie, I want you back! Ken

Don't you just love romance. Ken wants Barbie back, I guess that whole alternative lifestyle rumour was just a rumour. Should Barbie even take that Ken back? You can vote on it at Ken and Barbie's Love-O-Meter website.

Can they possibly get back together in time for Valentines Day on February 14? Get your Ken or Barbie something that represents your love or you could be fighting hard to win them back, just like poor Ken here.

Update: Ken gives Barbie some tongue action as they come together on Valentines Day 2011. See my post and pictures here.

When life gives you lemons....

Add some vodka. This is without a doubt the biggest lemon I have ever seen in person. My mouth is puckering just looking at the picture. You can find the lemon beside Toronto's Rogers Centre, hibernating over winter and waiting to provide refreshment in the scorching hot summer. Which reminds me - have you watched lemonade vendors make their drinks? Don't expect a lot of lemons.

Of course if you do have a lot of lemons you put them in Maple Leaf sweaters, throw them on the ice and watch them lose a bunch of hockey games. Seriously, go buy some home game tickets and drop by the Air Canada Centre (ACC) and have a great adventure.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

McVeigh's Pub

McVeigh's Irish Pub on Richmond St E. and Church St - I wish I could find a beer that big. Is that a Golf Shop way up there?

They have an inexpensive comedy night on Thursdays, check out their facebook page: Stand-up Comedy Hosted by Laura Prosko. Plus....Local, National and International comedians, Celebrity Comedians, Television Hosts, Radio Personalities and more... Every Thursday Night! Doors open at 9pm, Laughs at 9:30pm.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Brad Keselowski at the Canadian Motorsports Expo

It's funny that when the drivers in Canada do well, they talk of racing in the United States as working in the south. Brad Keselowski works down south - he is the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion. The big leagues for stock car drivers. And he brought a lot of NASCAR fans into the International Centre during the 2011 Canadian Motorsports Expo (CME) for a Question and Answer session followed by an autograph session.
Voted the most popular driver in the Nationwide Series for 2008 and 2009, Brad will begin 2011 racing the Miller Lite Dodge number 2 car at Penske Racing. He definitely reminds me of our own NASCAR Canadian Tire Series driver JR Fitzpatrick who hopes be heading south for a few races this year in the same Nationwide Series.

PS there were still some models making the joint all gorgeous and everything.
See more CME car models after the jump.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dario Franchitti at the Canadian Motorsports Expo

Some of the top racers in the world joined fans at the 2011 Canadian Motorsports Expo (CME) including IndyCar and Indy 500 Champion Dario Franchitti. The IRL driver signed lots of pictures and other racing memorabilia before joining media for a round table discussion and later one on one interviews. Dario is a favourite of Toronto fans for his win at the 2009 Toronto Honda Indy as well as his second place finish at the 2010 race, his great Scottish accent and his lovely wife - actress Ashley Judd. I look forward to seeing Dario putting the pedal to the metal in this years edition on the streets of Toronto.
Joining the motorsports superstars was Canadian and race champion Ron Fellows (below). NASCAR Champion Brad Keselowski was at the show on Sunday - see my post here.
For the stock car enthusiast there were plenty of NASCAR Canadian Tire Series drivers taking part in a Q&A session along with an autograph signing. The drivers were Howie Scannell Jr, Don Thomson Jr, Jason White, DJ Kennington (2010 NCTS Champion, pictured below), Caitlin Johnston, Jason Hathaway, Mark Dilley, Shawn McGlynn and Robin Buck.
Sports media personalities did there best to pick out some of the highlights and predictions for motorsport racing. The Toronto Star's Norris McDonald always provides plenty of great stories gathered over a lifetime of watching and reporting on drivers and races. In the photo below, from left to right are Russ Bond, Erik Thomas (Race Line Radio), Tim Miller (Hamilton Spectator), Norris McDonald (Toronto Star), Todd Lewis and Gerald Donaldson.
The media discussion focused on marketing, especially relating to the Honda Indy Toronto, and the state of Main Stream Media (MSM) reporting. The consensus seemed to be that the Honda Indy Toronto needed the talents and money of a big brewery who would promote both the race and their beers and that racing information will be best found on the web. Much of MSM seems to care less about motorsports. These guys have the knowledge, experience and stories - plus they have a great sense of humour. Norris McDonald (below) talked about the move of his column into the weekend Wheels section of the Toronto Star.
Some of the various topics included best and worst interview subjects, pet peeves and the growth of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Norris, sports columnist and media statesman, also hoped that the Toronto Indy gets better promotion, said that no one new is writing about autosports and that drivers, instead of being nurtured, must now bring in the sponsorship money. 
Erik Thomas of Raceline Radio (above) thinks some races are too long, that the cost of racing has become too much for many and that the NASCAR sticker on former CASCAR vehicles was supposed to open the door to support, which in a large part did not happen. He also thinks that the Honda Indy Toronto is on track with the free friday promotion.

Todd Lewis of Todd Lewis Sports Entertainment thinks that the temporary loss of the Edmonton Indy was the screw up of local government (over paving) hopes that racing gets more sponsors and that new talented Canadian drivers fill the shoes of drivers like Paul Tracy, is concerned that all series are dollar driven and that money decides who gets to drive (sometimes over talent). Todd didn't feel that it was realistic that the NASCAR sticker would open the door to financial support that many hoped and that he sees that the NCTS is becoming a feeder series into the U.S. NASCAR series.

There were some Drag Racers displaying their rockets on wheels - Cassie Simonton (pictured below) had her car at the show.
Hooters girls and other models provided some beautiful atmosphere which was just perfect for a car show - see the ladies and some pictures of the motorsport show after the jump.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Building demolished on Yonge Street

The historic building at 335 Yonge St (at Gould) fell apart, then burst into flames and as punishment the bad structure was spanked and now they are taking it down. You can still see the scorch marks in the bricks at the top of the picture. The police say they are looking for a person of interest in the ongoing fire investigation - you can see the fuzzy little video here. I loved the one comment "That's Justin Bieber. Now where's my reward money?" Police and Fire Marshal's entered the site on January 4th, 2011 under a criminal code search warrant to investigate the cause of the fire.

The April 16, 2010 brick facade failure may have been caused by renovations and a lintel "removal" but I think a pre-tremor from the June 23, 2010 magnitude 5.0 earthquake was the culprit. Then a delay from the aftershocks ruptured a gas line and, boom, the fire starts. The figure in the video, shuffling along in black looks suspiciously like a Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot). We can only hope that Mulder and Scully get to the bottom of this case.
 So much for that piece of the past, onwards and upwards, lets get on with the next demolition which coincidentally is next door at the old Sam the Record Man building.
Sam the Record Man has been demolished and construction is started on the new building.
The old Sam the Record Man.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter in Toronto

The temperatures are starting to hit a shocking -25 degrees Celsius (forecast for overnight on Sunday the 23rd) during the cold winter nights in Toronto (the average high temperature at this time of year is -2). Steam rises from the TD Canada Trust Tower in the early morning, above photo. Damn, that is pretty chilly - I am tempted to wear my Snuggie around the city. To check the Toronto weather forecast check the appropriately named website Weather Network.
Instead of walking in the cold, wet streets getting salt on your clothes, instead walk through the PATH underground system, take a Beck Taxi (416-751-5555 always there because we're everywhere - long line of taxis along snow covered street, above) or join the crowds on public transit with the TTC (streetcar on Queen Street East, below).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Procession for fallen Police Officer Sgt. Ryan Russell

A multitude of Police, Emergency Medical Services, TTC, Conservation Officers  and Dignitaries pay last respects to Toronto Officer Sergeant Ryan Russell – thousands in uniform parade down University Avenue heading towards the Service for the fallen officer.
Police forces from around North America - such as the Clevland Police Honour Guard, attended the tribute to one of their own with the funeral service to be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - the Centre is required to hold the immense number of visitors that will attend the sad event.

See more photos, including at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre during the Service, after the jump.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Toronto Police Sergeant Ryan Russell's funeral

Update: See my photos of the Jan 18 procession and at the Convention Centre on my post here.

Toronto Police have released details on the funeral service for fallen Police Sergeant Ryan Russell, the "funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, at 1 p.m., at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, 222 Bremner Boulevard."

From information provided by the police: Shortly after 6 a.m., on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, a 52 Division officer was involved in a theft−of−vehicle investigation in the Dupont Avenue/Davenport Road area.
The officer who was struck and killed during the investigation has been identified as Sergeant Ryan Russell, 35, an 11−year member of the Service. Sergeant Russell joined on October 26, 1999, graduated on March 24, 2000, and was assigned to 54 Division. On May 8, 2006, he was assigned to the Gun and Gang Task Force. On May 24, 2010, Ryan Russell was assigned to 31 Division. He was promoted, on August 30, 2010, to the rank of Sergeant and assigned to 52 Division. Sergeant Russell is survived by his wife and two−year−old son.

Officers will marshal at University Avenue between Dundas and College Street (just south of Queens Park) and will march southbound starting at 11 a.m.  They will continue west on Wellington Street, south onto Simcoe Street and then west on Bremner Blvd, arriving at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (south building). Emergency Services (in uniform or with ID) can ride GO Transit for free when they are attending the tribute and services for Officer Ryan.

 The public is invited to join the funeral and reception - arrive between 10 and 11:30 a.m. The funeral service will consist of the following.

Service led by: 
Reverend Walter Kelly - Chaplain Toronto Police Service
Assisted by: 
Reverend Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea 
Volunteer Chaplain 51 Division
Father James Hannah, Volunteer Chaplain 53 Division
Staff Superintendent Jeff McGuire, Toronto Police Service
O Canada -  Police Constable Melissa Elaschuk
‘Act of Remembrance’
Welcome and Greetings - Staff Superintendent Jeff McGuire
Opening Remarks & Pastoral Prayer - Reverend Walter Kelly
A  Policeman’s Prayer
Scripture Reading - Book of Wisdom 4:7-15  
Reverend Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea
The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Minister Julian Fantino
Ryan’s Song 
Composed & performed by Kimberley Plaseski Dunn

A Policeman’s Prayer
Another day, Lord to do my work, 
unsure of what lies ahead. 
It may hold the chance to help those in need, 
and that would be my desire. 
I pray that you will empower me to be a 
peacemaker to all I come in contact with. 
To the helpless, may I be a helper, 
to the distressed, may I be a comfort. 
To those who plan evil, may I be a deterrent, 
and to those who have carried out their plans 
may I be a sword of justice so they will no longer 
prey on the weak and hurting. 
I humbly ask that you surround me with your angels, 
and a wall of fire for protection. 
And if, in the course of your plan, 
I find this day to be my last, 
the concern of my life is that you would be 
the Father to my children and, 
the provider to my wife. 
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blizzardzilla 2011 - Snow crushes Toronto

OMG - the snow falls, nay rages, as I write this post. We will surely see the end of days as the white fluffy snow accumulates an outstanding 5 to 10 cm today. 5 to 10! We may as well get rid of our cars and all buy snowmobiles because they could never get rid of this amount of snow. Ever.
Nothing left but to count the weekends until you head out on a vacation - maybe a flight to an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean or maybe a cruise around the Mediterrean, or wait until the warmth and the sun return back to Toronto in Springzilla 2011. Now that's a lot of zillas. Contact your favourite travel agent and start booking now.
You can also count the events that are coming up in the next few weekends - the Toronto Boat Show (now), the Canadian Motorsports Expo CME (next weekend Jan 21-23), the Toronto Travel Show on the last weekend of Jan 29-30) and in the first weekend of February, that dreary cold month, is an event that will warm you up for the rest of winter. REAL WOMEN, REAL HITS, REAL HEART and lingerie - the Toronto Roller Derby Season Opener on Feb 5, 2011. (Don't forget to help save the 101 Downsview Park TTC Bus).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Beautiful Women of the Toronto Motorcycle Show

There were many beautiful women, including a lot of motorcycle MILFs, at the Toronto Motorcycle Show and so here is part two (click here for part one). The show was a great way to spend a winter weekend out of the cold and dreaming of riding and racing. Speaking of racing and shows don't forget the Canadian Motorsports Expo (CME) is next weekend (Jan 21-23) at the Toronto International Centre.

See more of the lovely ladies after the jump.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Massey Hall

It's not often I look at Massey Hall during the day and I was surprised to see that they cut doors into the existing wall and right through the name inscribed in the blocks. I think it used to say "Massey Music Hall" and now it says "Assey sic Ha".  It also looks like fire trucks should be coming out of the Hall, not music. I have seen a number of events at the Hall including the Bare Naked Ladies and also some of the Just for Laughs Festival.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Toronto's Molson Beer Vats

I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I saw the six humongous Molson Coors beer vats parked on the side of the road. With the weather being cold (it is winter and all) I thought I might see a blue mountain on the side of the large cans saying that the beer was the right temperature. When I didn't find the blue mountain I looked for the mug handles, figuring these babies were made for Octoberfest and some buxom beer maid carrying all six mugs in her hands - no go with the handles either. For some reason they have no beer in the containers. Noooooooooooooooooooooooo.
Made in Germany each large fermenting unit holds almost 1 million bottles of beer (now that's a keg). The trip to the Toronto Brewery is a logistical nightmare and to reduce transportation and traffic issues the convoy travels at night, parking during the day along the side of the road. They have a twitter account documenting the movement and his latest tweet ends with "Cheers"! Mmm, beer.
I wasted a bunch of time waiting for this vat to move but after a few hours I found out that it is staying where it  is beside the Steam Whistle Brewery.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Dog Boots

As much as I think dogs probably hate wearing boots they do make a warm addition to life in winter. The little greyhound mix above has bright yellow boots that highlight the colour of his eyes when he walks in the sun. His shadow also keeps warm in their boots. Zelda Nista, below, is an activist calling for a G20 Public Inquiry at a recent Queens Park protest march and works the pink booties.
If you need some doggie booties or other type of animal clothes you can always buy stuff online at Pooch Canada Pet Supplies or go to Neo-Paws and try out a few models.

Toronto Runs, Walks and Rides for Charity 2011

citychase 2011

Some of the events are wickedly unusual and require a lot of courage just to take part in - like the Underwear Affair (rumours for 2011?) and the Walk and Mile In Her Shoes.

Toronto, get ready for:

Run for the Ride - Cancer (April)
Toronto Marathon - Princess Margaret Hospital (May)
Goodlife Fitness Father's Day Walk/Run - Prostate 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)
Underwear Affair - Cancer below the waist (August)
Terry Fox Run - Cancer (September)
CIBC Run for the Cure - Breast Cancer (October)
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon - various charities (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.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square