Saturday, March 31, 2012

National Motorcycle and Tattoo Show

Saturday, March 31, 2012 is the beginning of the National Motorcycle and Tattoo Show at the #Toronto Better Living Centre in Exhibition Place. The show runs until tomorrow (April 1) so come down for a tattoo and a motorcycle. Joe and I will be shining our viking helmets (cleaning the pillage off) and heading to the 31st Annual Show, now with tattoos!
94.9 The ROCK radio station 

Plenty of parking was available in Exhibition Place even with the One of a Kind Show, the National Motorcycle and Tattoo Show and a Toronto FC soccer game going on at the same time. As the weather was cold on Saturday and rainy on Sunday it is a good day to spend indoors looking at all the variety of motorcycles at the show. The Better Living Centre makes a nice location to put the vast quantity of bikes, parts, accessories and tattoo artists in the 160,000 square foot facility. The amount of leather on the visitors and on racks ready for sale was pretty impressive. And I really liked watching the tattoo companies working on their living canvases - it was a great fit with two shows in one.

Flying Merkel antique motorcycle

"The National Motorcycle and Tattoo Show will once again present the Canadian National Bike Builders Showcase, where individual custom and vintage bike owners, alongside the custom bike shops are able to show their best creations to our vast audience. The history of motorcycles is on display, along with the future by some superb bike builders."

President of the 1st CAV Canadian Army Veteran and Supporter
Blue Collar custom chopper
See more tattoos and motorcycles after the jump

Friday, March 30, 2012

WWF Earth Hour 2012 - this Saturday

Are you ready for Earth Hour Toronto? Saturday, March 31, 2012 starting at 8:30pm marks Earth Hour around the world. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) event showcases ways that you can make a difference to the world, during Earth Hour and beyond. The WWF Panda will cry if you don’t do something to help; the Panda will also be at the celebrations noted below (

Saturday night the action will be at the Historic Distillery District for a Team Earth Hour Pep Rally from 7:30pm to 9:00pm, with the Earth Hour Anthem performed live, a sing a long choir and electric street art projected on the walls. The event will be hosted by CBC’s Garvia Bailey and the lights off countdown will start at 8:30pm. They ask people to bring their own lanterns, glow sticks, candles and flashlights to help celebrate. Here is my YouTube video of the 2010 celebration and the lights going out in Toronto below.

“In 2007, WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action in the first ever Earth Hour event. It showed that everyone, from children to CEOs and politicians, has the power to change the world they live in. In Sydney, Australia, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour to take a stand against climate change.

In 2008, the plan was to take Earth Hour to the rest of Australia. But then the City of Toronto, Canada, signed up and it wasn’t long before 35 countries and almost 400 cities and towns were part of the event. It said something compelling to the world: that the climate challenges facing our planet are so significant that change needs to be global.

With the invitation to ‘switch off’ extended to everyone, Earth Hour quickly became an annual global event. It’s scheduled on the last Saturday of every March – closely coinciding with the equinox to ensure most cities are in darkness as it rolled out around the Earth.

In 2011, Earth Hour saw hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries switch off for an hour. But it also marked the start of something new – going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action on climate change.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Toronto Pro SuperShow 2012 Registrations

Registrations have started for the June 1-3, 2012 edition of the #Toronto Pro SuperShow at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The model competitions include Oxygen Fitness Model Search, MuscleMag Bikini Model Search and also Reps! Men's Fitness Model Search. The OPA Provincial Championships categories include: Men's and Women's Bodybuilding, Men's and Women's Physique, Women's Figure, Women's Bikini and Women's and Girl's Fitness. Additional competitions at the sports and fitness extravaganza promoting and highlighting a variety of sports in the North Building, Exhibit Halls A&B and the John Bassett Theatre at the MTCC include the following.
IFBB Professional Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Bikini and Physique Competitions
Ironman Open Armwrestling Tournament
Amateur MMA
Sweat RX Crossfit Challenge
Provincial Strongman Competition
Trampoline and Tumbling Competition sanctioned by Gymnastics Ontario
OWA Weightlifting
Boxing Tournament sanctioned by Boxing Ontario
CASK Kickboxing Tournament
Powerlifting Invitational Competition
OPA Provincial Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Bikini and Physique Championships

Sweat RX is a Reebok Crossfit challenge with three divisions (affiliate, masters and individuals) fighting in the Toronto qualifier during the 2012 Toronto Pro Supershow.

Mr. Olympia Phil Health will join former Mr. Olympia winners Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler for fan meet and greets.
"This year the Toronto Pro SuperShow will be 3 days of non-stop excitement and a fitness enthusiasts dream floor! Thousands of attendee’s will meet, mingle and take part in Canada’s largest health and fitness exposition weekend and Canada’s only IFBB Pro Show. Every where you look, you’ll see athletes of all ages and disciplines from Fitness Models to Armwrestlers to MMA to Kickboxing to Olympic Weightlifters to Strongman to a vast variety of athletes from other sports. Last year we saw Dorian Yates, Cung Lee, Hugo Girard, Steven Wong, Ronnie Coleman, Ben Johnson, Shaun Ray, Bob Chicarello, Jan Tana, Jim Manion, Rich Gaspari, Robert Kennedy, Tosca Reno, Andy Haman and many, many, many others all meeting and photographing with fans and friends. Who will be on the floor this year?? We will be releasing celebrity names soon but expect to see some returning faces and many new faces this year. We have a star-studded line up once again, including seminars from world best selling author, Tosca Reno. This is THE event of the year….don’t miss your opportunity to visit our amazing exhibitor booths for the newest and latest products, apparel and accessories as well as support all the athletes competing in the many different events."

Hard Rock Guitar

Only the gods of rock can play the giant guitar at the Hard Rock CafĂ© on Yonge Street in #Toronto. I have never seen one of the gods play the large red guitar that hangs over the sidewalk on the corner of their building – maybe they are too busy releasing some Kraken. I guess the restaurant has to keep the guitar in tune just in case one of them wants to show up and start playing a couple riffs so they had a company fixing the sign using a cherry picker and a worker high in the bucket.
I think the guitar strings are supposed to light up neon yellow but there was a problem and they wouldn’t all light up.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

B-Boy Break Dance Buskers

They group of young hip hop or break dancers put out their mat at the popular #Toronto busker location at Yonge-Dundas. The mesh buckets go out to handle donations and the signs they carry say donations make them dance. It is quite amazing the athletics that they are capable of as they hold themselves up sideways with only one hand.

Library Strike Knit-In

A Knit-In was held to support striking #Toronto Library workers at City Hall. People were asked to bring knitting, spinning or crochet materials for solidarity knit-it and while many sat on the cold concrete and did a few knits and pearls, there was even some that walked the strike circle, knitting as they went round and round. The strike continues into the middle of it’s second week and the knit-in started at 11am on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. It is getting too warm for wool hats so they must be knitting their own wool strike signs, and if things get rough, woolen baseball bats.
I cannot remember any other strike which included a knit-in. Usually there are road blocks, lines of cars, strikers talking to the people they delay as they try to get their message out. Many times they huddle over a barrel filled with flaming wooden pallets. They don’t have to worry about people crossing the picket line, trying to read books and magazines, as the city has closed all locations and branches of the municipal library system.

There was even a spinning wheel loom with a sign close by that read “need a good YARN… go to your local LIBRARY.”

Ryerson U: Gould St closed, street party ensues

#Toronto City Council permanently closes Gould Street at Ryerson University in the area of Victoria Street and celebrations were held on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. The street party marked the closing ceremony at the downtown university and featured free food, activities, dancers and concerts. The street had been temporarily closed and the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) fought to make the temporary closure permanent.

On February 6, 2012 Toronto City Council voted on the matter and approved the request. Students still hope to close more of the street down to expand the pedestrian-friendly space which is extremely busy during the school year.

Ryerson mascot Eggy the ram was there to pose for pictures and gave the event two thumbs up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Make out and break up

A red background provides a perfect setting for the make out bench in Yonge-Dundas Square. Get it on in public. But wait, something goes wrong and the relationship hits some rocks. The cruise ship of love hits a shoal and tears fall. Time to move to the break up bench. I couldn't find a make up sex bench so I think it might just have to end.

Harper and his pension

Yes, apparently Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper will get his pension, or so the sticker says. Bazinga! take that Harper. I found this sticker on a Toronto Sun newspaper box.
I think this refers to the PM's upcoming "major transformations" to allow for things like demographic pressures (aging population) and moving the eligibility of Old Age Security (OAS) from 65 to 67 years old. While Canadians may have to wait longer for their pension the Members of Parliament can collect their pensions after only 6 years in the Federal Legislative branch of Canada.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Upcoming #Toronto Pillow Fight 2012

UPDATE: Pillow Fight 2012 is at Yonge-Dundas Square, starting at 8PM on Saturday, April 7. See the photos of the battle on my post here and below.

Bunnarchy in the T dot! The next edition of Pillow Fight Toronto 2012: Bunny Edition on Saturday, April 7 from 8pm to midnight - location still to be announced. The event is presented by Improv in Toronto (IT)  - who also did the recent Best Busker Song, and Newmindspace. This years theme is bunny: bunny costumes, ears and all sort of bunny related hijinks that people can come up with.

Some more pictures of the 2011 fight after the jump.

And They're Off - Rally to Save Horse Racing in Ontario

The horse trailers circled University Avenue (in the area where the road is in the form of a race track) as protesters gathered near the steps of Queen’s Park for a rally against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) cuts at race tracks around Ontario. The protest at the Ontario Legislative grounds drew hundreds of people who will lose over $300 million in funding that supports the horse industry when slots are removed from the tracks. The three racetracks which have already been ordered to close are Windsor, Fort Erie and Sarnia, leaving 14 tracks still potentially on the chopping block as Ontario drives to increase revenues in a fight against the deficit. The building entrance was fenced off and several bike police were on hand to bolster the Queen’s Park forces. 
Horse trailers come around the south leg of the Queen's Park oval - I can't see who is in the lead

The profitable arrangement between the slots and horse racing, created to find places to put slot machines, started with an 80-20% (OLG-horses) revenue sharing agreement. The Ontario government has now made it seem like the deal is a massive economic drain on the public purse and has started the slicing and dicing that will impact track workers, horse farms and their families and all the associated agricultural and commercial ties, leaving areas of Ontario which have already suffered dire economic losses with even more pain. 
When Ontario puts the permanent casino into Toronto, ironically rumoured to be at the Woodbine Race Track in NW Toronto (Rexdale), the existing casinos, especially Rama, will soon feel the loss of revenues as people stay and play closer to home. This is fine if the casinos hadn’t made massive investments which are now in jeopardy. And as gambling becomes more accessible to Toronto the gambling levels and addictions can only increase as the majority of gambling revenue is provided by a small percentage of gamblers. It doesn’t seem like good odds will favour this issue working out to a win-win situation. 
Two horses poke out of the trailer

See more protest photos after the jump.

Fruit Trees Blossom at #Toronto Queens Park

I was very surprised to see blossoms on the fruit trees at Queens Park far ahead of when I thought they may be out, hot air joke anyone? The small group of three trees in the southeast corner of the stately Provincial Legislature building has about 30% of the white flowers peeking out of the buds. These photos were taken on Monday, March 26, 2012. 

University Avenue trees and Old City Hall trees only have leaf development at this time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cherry Blossom Watch 2012

Update: April 26, 2012: Many of University Avenue trees have lovely pink blossoms (see photos at bottom of post). Update: April 14, 2012: The cherry trees in High Park are in full blossom and the crowds are gigantic. There are also a lot of cherry trees in Exhibition Place and they are also in full blossom. The trees on University Avenue are now showing buds and should probably blossom within a week. Update: April 7, 2012: University of Toronto and Queens Park cherry trees in full blossom. High Park still needs some time as only some of the buds have blossomed. University Avenue and Old City Hall trees still need some time.
Update: April 6, 2012: some buds have started to open, otherwise not much change from my March 31 pictures - another couple of days should do it!

For the first time this year I see a lovely shade of green on some of trees as the early spring brings out the blooms. #Toronto waits for the cherry and apple blossoms to come out in places like High Park, University Avenue and beside Old City Hall.  You can see the many hundreds of people that fill the park and the red trains on wheels that run along the paths bringing visitors to the trees. See 2012 photo updates after the jump.
Here are some blossoms from past seasons as we wait for peak Cherry Blossom season - usually in late April and early May. Last year was a trifle late and the blooms waited for late May to come out to play. See my blossom coverage here.
I imagine the blossoms will be early this year - maybe mid April. I will keep watch for the bloom and sweet smell of the pink and white flowers. Once the bloom happens High Park becomes a zoo and parking and walking can be hard with the crowds.
You can also keep an eye on the status of the Cherry blossoms by following this forum and with the updates following the jump.

National Home Show & Canada Blooms

250,000 visitors will pass through the #Toronto Direct Energy Centre in Exhibition Place from March 16-25, 2012 for the largest home and garden show in North America - the 60th annual National Home Show and Canada Blooms. Cripes, that's a lot of people looking for bathtubs and flowers.
Former Miss Universe Canada, Elena Semikina at the celebrity flower arranging 

The two shows in one featured Canada Blooms "For many in the garden and landscape world, Canada Blooms signals the start of Spring. Everything you love about Canada Blooms Festival is back — the stunning fully landscaped gardens, the magnificent floral displays of Ontario's top Florists, the creative entries of the Garden Hall Floral and Horticultural Competition, over 100 seminars, workshops and demonstrations by Canada's top educators and, of course, lots of green-thumb shopping in the Blooms Marketplace. There are even some great new features – for the first time Canada Blooms will have an international garden presented by the City of Taipei in Taiwan." and the National Home Show which showcased dream homes, home improvements, new products, advice and solutions for around the home.

Copper bathtub
Colourful insect decorations
Tulips in bloom
Fan garden

Posted by Joe Hamilton

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