Monday, April 30, 2012

Choose Your Mood

Have you ever had a day when you didn't feel yourself? That's the question that Not Myself Today asks as they raised awareness about mental health problems with a #Toronto campaign to pin your mood.
Large white boards were filled with coloured pins which described various moods - like lonely, sad, depressed and bummed. You could pick a pin that described what you were feeling and wear it. Let people know what you are feeling and see that there are others that feel the same way you do.

See more after the jump.

Syria rally in the square

A small group of protesters gathered in Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, April 29, 2012 to bring attention to the plight of people in Syria. The group had a band and after the songs the people spelled out SOS while a crew filmed for a YouTube video.
Posted by Joe Hamilton. See more pictures after the jump.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Khalsa Day Celebrations in #Toronto

Starting at Exhibition Place thousands of Sikhs and supporters marched through the streets on Sunday April 29, 2012 until they arrived at Toronto City Hall's Nathan Phillips Square and later at Queens Park.
Lots of food, drinks, sweets available and everyone was very friendly - I felt like a guest and not a stranger in the large crowd. A couple people stopped to say hi and tell me to feel free to have any of the food. Great to hear the talk about the history of the anniversary. People were going up to the stage to be blessed by the people up on stage singing and chanting.
The guy with the beautiful girl!

Posted by Joe Hamilton. See more Khalsa after the jump.

Flashmob: National Ballet at Distillery District

Members of the Canada's National Ballet School filled the square in the #Toronto Historic Distillery District for a dancing Bollywood style flashmob celebrating International Dance Day.

The group gathered together at noon on Sunday April 29, 2012 to join in a spring celebration of dance.

Posted by Joe Hamilton. See more dancing after the jump.

Battle of York Commemoration at Fort York

Sunday April 29, 2012 felt the crack of muskets as Historic Fort York commemorated the Battle of York with all day displays of naval gunnery, seamanship and military drills.

Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps (RCSCC) were on hand to parade the HMCS York flag and load cannon.
The battle was fought in York, Upper Canada (now Toronto) April 27, 1813 as part of the War of 1812. The Americans captured York burned and looted until they withdrew from the site.
The British surrender

"Tours will depart regularly explaining the Battle of York, science of fortification, and 1812-lifestyles. In the fort’s 1826 kitchen there will be demonstrations of Georgian-era cooking techniques. Children will be able to “fall-in” to learn the same drills practiced by the Canada militia in 1812, or to talk with period-animators in the Soldiers’ Barracks."

Posted by Joe Hamilton. See more photos after the jump.

Avengers and Batman keep the city safe

The superhero team of the Avengers roam the streets of #Toronto, while Batman tends to stick to Yonge and Dundas outside the Eaton Centre. I feel safer already as the team seem ready to spring into action - busting the bad guys and keeping us protected from evil.
The Avengers are promoting the Friday May 4, 2012 release of the movie which has Nick Fury assembling the SHIELD team of super humans featuring the Iron Man, The Incredible Hult, Thor, Captain American, Hawkeye and Black Widow, as they save Earth. A couple of the heroes are absent, probably getting something to eat.
Batman on the other hand is a Toronto staple appearing often as a busker, ready to pose and talk always ready to accept money from happy fans. The caped crusader is often holding back the pain and fury of losing his parents. Besides seeing him at popular tourist spots we have also seem him lately at the Wizard World Comic Con and the Toronto Pillow Fight. He also has a movie coming out - Batman: The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012.

Another movie I am looking forward to seeing is Men in Black III (MIB3) coming out May 25, 2012.

Marine Security Enforcement Teams in Toronto

A fast patrol catamaran was cruising in #Toronto Harbour, painted with both coast guard and police markings, and pulled into the Fire Departments dock beside the William Lyon MacKenzie fire and rescue boat. The Canadian Coast Guard members were running the Simmonds and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had a contingent assigned to the boat as well. The combination is known as a Marine Security Enforcement Team (MSET) and there are four of them operating on the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway.
The fast response and security force is a new marine program to aid national security and strengthen Canada's ability to respond to offshore threats. The four boats are temporary and will be replaced with four permanent patrol boats when they have been completed which is anticipated to be in 2013.
"These Marine Security Enforcement Teams (MSETs) are integrated dedicated units staffed with members from provincial and municipal departments along with the RCMP, working in uniform onboard mid-shore patrol vessels that are crewed by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG).

These teams are deployed to patrol the Great Lakes/St Lawrence Seaway (GL/SLS). Their primary role is to safeguard and address federal on water enforcement requirements and provide an armed fast-response capacity to address potential threats. These dedicated vessels also, as required, serve as platforms for Marine Security Emergency Response Teams (MSERT)."

I asked them where they were based out of but they said they didn't have a permanent station. Crews must rotate into and out of the boats along their enforcement region.
Near the William Lyon MacKenzie fire boat is the Toronto Fire Boat Sora sitting on dry land, getting a touch up paint job. This boat was surplussed from the Canadian Coast Guard and presented to the Toronto Fire Service. It will fill in for the W L MacKenzie when it is not available for service.

Vietnam: The Journey for Freedom event

Bright yellow Vietnam and the red and white flags of Canada flew at #Toronto City Hall as the Vietnamese Canadian community commemorates the Journey for Freedom event in Nathan Phillips Square. Banners called for Freedom, Human Rights and Democracy for Vietnam as speakers, dancers and singers entertained on stage.

See more of the rally after the jump

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Galen Weston President's Choice BBQ at Distillery District

Galen Weston, pictured above, was filming the next President's Choice commercial in the historic #Toronto Distillery District on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Summer was served with a free barbeque lunch on Trinity Lane as Galen and his film crew mingled with the hundreds who dropped by for the free food and to enjoy the red-bricked neighbourhood.

You could pick up President's Choice burgers (including meat free), chicken sliders, corn and vegetable skewers and slap them on a long double row of barbecues, cook your own lunch, then drop by the tables for the fixings, salads, sides and drinks. Afterwards you could grab a free ice cream, smoothie bars or ice cream sandwiches.

See more of Galen and the President's Choice BBQ after the jump.

Flashmob Proposal in #Toronto

#Yorkville was the place to be for the Saturday, April 28, 2012 #mprovToronto (I.t) performance of Flashmob Proposal. The last we had seen I.t they had gathered at Old City Hall with another musical flashmob: Best Busker Song. They brought back the music to serenade a young couple in love, where a marriage proposal would follow the song - and she said yes!
Oliver brings his guitar to the table and asks if he can sing a song - she seems a little surprised
"They will both be going out for lunch. While eating they are approached by a man with a guitar, asking if they would like a song. He gets both their names then he begins singing. Talking about when they first met, and the memorable moments in their life so far. At this point she’s very confused at how he knows these things. As the song builds, more and more people join in. Everyone from the surrounding tables, people from the streets, etc. A the song gets to the end, he gets down on one knee."
Practicing before the big event
In the afternoon of the big day the members of I.t gathered in the park on Cumberland Street, practicing for the big song, waiting for the right time to head to the site of the proposal: Trattoria Nervosa at the corner of Bellair St and Yorkville Ave. Finally the crowd streams out of the park heading to the restaurant when a guitarist appears at the table of the intended and asks if he could sing a song for her. Soon he is joined by a giant group of musicians and singers belting out the Proposal Song, written by Oliver Bailey.

Verse 1 
F# D#m 
Stumbling and falling way back in middle school 
I never knew it would be you 
Who’d steal my heart at waterloo.
The group in action

As he moves in to propose

The best part of flashmobs, besides the happy faces of the participants anticipating the flashmob, is the looks of the people who see the large crowds waiting to perform curious as to what is happening (or about to happen) and then the amazement as they watch the flashmob perform. Another great job that brought smiles to many Torontonians today. The members of I.t gather together on the Yorkville Rock after the event for a group picture at top.

See more photos after the jump.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Motorcycles at Retrofest May 26

News Release: "Chatham, Ontario will be the place to be May 26th celebrating it's 10th annual Retrofest. This event is a celebration of wheels originally created to highlight Chatham-Kent region as the "Classic Car Capitol of Canada" and it has been extremely successful with crowds estimated at 10,000 - 15,000. Retrofest takes place in the downtown core of Chatham where the streets are lined with antique and classic cars and the town goes all out to embrace the event.

2012 Retrofest has taken it up a notch and will include 'all things Motorcycle'. This single day event runs Saturday May 26 and will feature Antique and Classic Motorcycles, Showbikes and the Show'n Shine....check out thetwo wheel market place for vendors.....Or maybe you want to have your bike tested on the Dynotunes dyno...Just be sure your ready to ride in the'Thunder Run' tour around the city (pending approvals)....Wait there's more...Stay for the live bands, beer gardens and great food vendors at the famous Tecumseh Park.... So Polish up the bike, bring your friends and experience this celebration of wheels.

Pre-register your bike in the show and shine and you could win a one room night Friday May 25th in the award winning, Diamond rated Retro Suites Hotel. This exclusive hotel features a wheels oriented theme that just can't be missed. Three lucky Show'n shine winners will be staying in style! Contact us for more details and entry forms

Retrofest runs Saturday May 26th from 10 am to 10 pm. The event is held in the downtown core of Chatham, Ontario. Admission is FREE. for more information"

Blossoms at Ryerson University

There are quite a few cherry trees around Ryerson University that are showing bright pink blossoms.
The statue of Egerton Ryerson, founder of the school system of Ontario
Bright pink and cherry red blossoms along Gould St
Cherry trees and umbrellas along the pedestrian area only section of Gould Street

Thursday, April 26, 2012

MAYDAY! Rally in #Toronto

MAYDAY on Tuesday May 1 will bring a full day of protests organized by Occupy #Toronto, the May 1st Movement (M1M) and No One Is Illegal. Posters have been going up on light poles throughout the downtown core with the main rally at 4pm in Nathan Phillips Square.

There is supposed to be an Occupy Toronto chess game at noon, Occupy Gardens: Garden Party Potluck at 2pm at Queens Park, the Rally starting at 4pm and the March at 5pm at City Hall, a cultural celebration starting at 7pm at Alexandra Park (Dundas and Spadina) and a twenty four hour re-occupation (called "Occupy the Heart of the Beast") of a secret location.
Barriers are set up between City Hall and University Avenue and posted with notice under the trespass act. Apparently the Queen herself will remove any yurt that tries to set up shop in this area.

On University Avenue across from the American consulate and under the blossom trees, sits a police trailer loaded with fence.
Mounted riot police at the Rally to support striking Quebec students

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square