Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stella .... Stella Artois Legere in TO

I heard from Fresh Joe that they gave away free samples of Stella Artois Legere - the yummy, triple filtered, smooth tasting, light beer, during the Celebrate Bloor Street Festival. How could this be, this is Ontario and I have only seen small samples within an LCBO store. But today, walking down Bay Street I saw a line, a line that formed for free bottles of Stella and yes, I joined that line. The beer was in individual boxes, a one pack as it were, and had it's own little carrying bag.
PS they had great looking girls in red checking IDs and giving out the beer and you can follow @StellaArtoisCAN on twitter. Here is the beer just before I enjoy it on the patio after work.

Lost Great Ape in Toronto

I think I found Lola the lost great ape on Bay Street. Yes, even apes of the jungle have to commute in Toronto.

Katy Perry at Toronto Eaton Centre

Yonge Street is shut down in preparation for Katy Perry’s Thursday, June 30, 2011 appearance at Sears in the Toronto Eaton Centre. She is scheduled for 3pm and there is a stage set up outside of Sears on Yonge Street, just south of Dundas Street. Katy has released a signature fragrance called Purr and her promotional visit features a Q&A period from 3 to 3:30pm. Even at lunchtime the fans started to gather round the stage, by 3 the crowd was jammed into the street waiting for her to show up. I had to leave as by quarter to four she still hadn't made an appearance.
The singer is in town for a set of concerts at the ACC with the last one happening tonight. Toronto Police 52 Division has said that Yonge Street will be closed from Edmund to Richmond Streets from 10am to 6pm for 
the event.

lunchtime on Yonge Street

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Multi-level Gardiner - soon with tunnel

Toronto Councilor Doug Ford has expressed his desire to see a tunnel built underneath the elevated Gardiner Expressway. The tunnel would be a toll road and would be built without public money.
While Toronto has a hard time maintaining the aging concrete beast, the addition of an incredibly expensive tunnel would provide a future place to hide the demolished highway when the time comes that it is no longer safe or economical to maintain. Just shove the debris in the tunnel. Problem solved.
I sense the toll road of the future will be the Gardiner. It is good that they are thinking of options for travel in and out of the city. The urban life only works if there is a steady stream of goods and people to supply the millions of people that live and work in Toronto. The Board of Trade has announced that the Toronto average 80 minute commute is even worse than found in congested Los Angeles. When the Gardiner works there is nothing better for getting into the City.

film festival poster

Posters and graffiti, time for a little art in your life - out in the streets. Above is some film festival poster residue.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BMO and Honda Indy Toronto

BMO Financial Group joins Honda Indy Toronto as a sponsor of the July 8-10, 2011 race through the streets of Toronto. BMO will showcase the BMO World Elite MasterCard which is their latest travel rewards card. I often think of myself as a World Elite kind of person so I am surprised that I haven't seen this card before.
BMO globe ladies at the Honda Indy Toronto 2011

“Just like IndyCar fans, our customers have the desire to enjoy life’s rewards in the here and now,” said Su McVey, VP Customer Communications and Marketing at BMO Bank of Montreal. “Our partnership with the Honda Indy Toronto will allow us to provide BMO World Elite customers with special benefits and exclusive experiences, while helping us generate strong awareness of the BMO World Elite advantages amongst a perfectly-suited audience of IndyCar fans.”

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

Lonely Cherry Beach

The past weekend fickle weather kept many away from the beaches of Toronto. At Cherry Beach the line of lifeguards looked out into the empty water, rowboats and flotation devices at the ready. Sadly only birds swam in the cool waters of Lake Ontario.
So, let's take a gander at the weather that is upcoming for the Canada Day long weekend fun. So far they tend to say the weekend will be beautiful, then at the last minute they forecast cool temps and cloudy skies, with more than a little chance of disgustingly large amounts of precipitation. As of right now the forecast calls for sunny and warm temperatures from Thursday to Sunday - except for some rain on Saturday (isolated showers, less than 1mm). 
The beaches should be crowded this weekend but if you want a guarantee of bikinis I suggest you go to the Ms Chin Bikini contest this Saturday, July 2, 2011 at noon in Exhibition Place.

Things to do in Toronto July 1-3, 2011

Happy 144th birthday Canada! It's time to party and there is a lot of great things to do in Toronto over this summer long weekend. In lieu of gifts please just pay a little more HST. You will go crazy trying to catch everything this weekend so try for something that you can walk to because parking can be a bitch on holidays.
Thursday June 30: Toronto Roller Derby LeagueClam Slam, part of the Pride celebrations.
Friday June 24 to Sunday July 3: The Pride Week and Pride Parades
           July 1 to 3: Street Fair
           July 1: Trans March, July 2: Dyke March, July 3: Annual Pride Parade     
Friday June 24 to Sunday July 3: Toronto Jazz Festival
Friday July 1: Multicultural Canada Day at Yonge-Dundas Square.
2010 contest
2011 Ms Chin Bikini winners

Friday July 1 to Sunday July 3: Chin Picnic at Exhibition Place, including the Miss Chin bikini contest  Saturday July 2 at noon and Mr Chin bikini contest Sunday July 3 at 6:30pm.
Friday July 1 to Sunday July 3: Blue Jays vs Phillies baseball.
Friday July 1: Ashbridges Bay Park fireworks.
Friday July 1: Mel Lastman Square Party and fireworks.
Friday July 1: Red, White and Vinyl Festival at Woodbine Park, music and fireworks.
Friday July 1 Canada Day: Festival of Fire, fireworks at Ontario Place.
See many more Canada Day celebrations at the City's event website.
Saturday July 2: Saudi Festival Day at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Saturday July 2: Flash Mob in Nathan Phillips Square.

Harbourfront: Franco-Fete 2011

The sounds of la Belle Province rang out in Harbourfront Centre over the June 24-26, weekend for the Franco-Fete 2011 Festival. Singing, dancing, cooking, magic shows and art, this festival had it all down by the lake.
"One of the most important French language events in Ontario, Franco-FĂȘte celebrates francophone culture with food, art, and "la musique francophone." This year also includes a spotlight on France. For further information visit"
I think that this was a big pink pig pinata with gold coins spilling on the floor. I ate one of those gold coins - there was delicious chocolate inside.

One of the best parts for me was the face painting which was being done by, and I should have recognized their work from Buskerfest, was Kromatik from Quebec City. See more of the face painting photos after the jump.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Free Syria Rally

Everything was happening on Saturday in Toronto. I saw plenty of flags fluttering in the breeze at the corner of Yonge and Dundas, just outside the Eaton Centre. People were rallying for Syrian Freedom.

Muzik Celebrity Classic

On Saturday, June 25th basketball filled the courts in Centennial Square, Exhibition Place for the Muzik Celebrity Classic Children's Festival. Free food, fun and special guests.

See more pictures after the jump.

citychase 2011

I saw a pair of runners on Yonge Street and as I watched them I realized they were taking part in the weekends citychase event which ended at Yonge-Dundas Square.
The website says "The Mitsubishi City Chase Powered by GoodLife Fitness is a unique urban adventure that requires participants to exhibit teamwork, resourcefulness, determination and the ability to make decisions on the fly as they search for ChasePoints scattered in unknown locations throughout the city. ChasePoints are designed to test teams with a variety of physical, intellectual, adventurous and humorous challenges. 

To conquer this 4-6 hour urban event, 2-person teams will run, walk and use public transit to navigate their way throughout the city, while calling family and friends for help, accessing the Internet, and even employing assistance of total strangers. The first team to complete the required ChasePoints and cross the finish line WINS "
Feet don't even touch the ground

Easy dozen on the ttc

Giant VitaminWater 12 pack. I am now thirsty and have to go to the bathroom at the same time - just give me a transfer. Those advertising skins cover a lot of stuff but those bottles are so big they needed a second streetcar.

Silver Elvis on black velvet

Silver Elvis was on station outside the Eaton Centre, shaking the pelvis and being all reflecty. At the same time - the same time I say, there was an artist painting Silver Elvis on a what could only resemble black velvet (I don't know if this is the artist of the famous dogs playing poker painting) using Silver Elvis' silver guitar - the paintbrush was attached to the end of the guitar.

Rainbow Flag raised at Toronto City Hall 2011

The LGBTQ community and their many supporters gathered today in Nathan Phillips Square for the official reading of the City of Toronto’s Pride Week Proclamation and the raising of the rainbow flag at City Hall today. Absent was the current Mayor of Toronto and many in the square were booing whenever Rob Ford’s name came up in the speeches. Master of Ceremonies Kristyn Wong-Tam asked for and received calm to allow the ceremony to continue and for Councillor Frances Nunziata to read the proclamation on the Mayor’s behalf.
On hand was one ex-Mayor of Toronto (and current Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission) – Barbara Hall, who was loudly cheered by those in attendance. Pride week began June 24th and continues until July 3rd, 2011 with some pretty amazing parties and parades and hopefully they can continue to build on the acceptance and support of the LGBTQ communities within Toronto.
My picture of the City’s Pride proclamation shows that it was indeed signed by Mayor Rob Ford. The flag can be found flying on the outdoor garden level, close to Bay Street

See more pictures after the jump.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

DJ Kennington takes Mosport NCTS Vortex 200

The course was hard on both drivers and their stock cars as there was quite a few yellows. DJ Kennington, pictured above with the cup and checkered flag, only led JR Fitzpatrick by just over half a second coming into the checkered flag (crossing the finish line, below). In third place in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Vortex 200 race held Saturday, June 26, 2011 was Robin Buck.
Twenty six drivers took part in the Vortex brake pads sponsored race at Mosport International Raceway. Yesterdays scheduled qualifying session was cancelled due to weather and the race position was determined by series point scores. Scott Steckly (finished fifth) started in the pole position. The race was preceded by a driver autograph session where you could get up close with all the drivers - including Isabelle Tremblay from Quebec, below.
I wandered the street track at Mosport and have to admit it provides some outstanding views. The street course lap is 2.5 miles and the race had 51 laps and had 10 corners and I usually hang at number 5 known as Moss Corner. Today we wandered the track taking advantage of many of the great photography spots. You could even camp at this racetrack.
DJ Kennington takes a victory lap with the checkered flag.
Keystone Light Girls

See more race action after the jump.

Honda Indy Toronto grandstand locations

The fence and the grandstands are starting to really take shape now at the 2011 Honda Indy Toronto. New fences and concrete barriers form the outline of the track. Pictured above are the pit lane suites looking east towards Princes' Gates and below just before race weekend.
The pit lane concrete barriers are in place running parallel to the stands - the left side towards the stands is the crew area, across the barrier is the hot part of the track. Here is the Honda Indy Toronto map of the site.

The sponsor posters are going up - but still no start/finish line painted yet.
panorama of pit lane

Starting on pit lane.... Pit Lane Suites
pit lane suites looking towards the entrance to the pits and BMO Field

Gold Stands
gold stands under construction in pit lane

See more stands after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square