Monday, June 27, 2016

Honda Indy Toronto and Metrolinx IndyCar

Ten year old William from Ajax won the Design an IndyCar contest held by @HondaIndy Toronto and Metrolinx and the car was unveiled today at Union Station. "The show car will visit special events throughout the city thanks to a tour brought to life by Chemical Guys Canada, a company that specializes in professional auto detailing supplies and car wash chemicals, which will include stops at GO stations in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area this month."
Greg, William and Jeff with the winning design at Union Station (photo provided)

The contest was open to children 12 and under and ran from May 8th to the 22nd and Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto, and Greg Percy, Chief Operating Officer of Metrolinx revealed the winning design on June 27, just weeks away from the Toronto street course race weekend July 15-17.

Metrolinx has partnered with Honda Indy Toronto and will have an educational Light Rail Vehicle Exhibit in the Speed Zone as well as the having GO Trains provide stops at Exhibition Place along the GO Transit Lakeshore lines with 30-minute service throughout race weekend. Event volunteers and children 12 and under accompanied by a ticketed adult with a valid GO fare can ride the trains for free.
"We are very excited to be working with Metrolinx, it’s a natural fit — we're both committed to convenience and accessibility for people looking to get to and from our event," said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. "This offer to allow free rides for kids under 12 on GO Transit services throughout the event weekend will complement our free admission for kids program very well.”

General admission tickets start at $40 and are available now while admission is free with a voluntary donation during Fan Friday, July 15, courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association.

Will Power won last weekends Kohler Grand Prix and the IndyCar season continues with the upcoming July 10th Iowa Corn 300 followed by the Honda Indy Toronto starting on the 15th. Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe of the number 5 Arrow car currently sits in 13th place in the Verizon IndyCar standings. The Mayor of Hinchtown has been in the top 10 four times so far this year and had to start the Kohler race at the back of the pack after picking up a blocking penalty. Still he managed to make his way into 14th place by the end of the race.

“Kind of a bittersweet day. The Arrow car was really good on the reds and we went off sequence a little there to try and get some clean track and pumped out a lot of quick laps and made some gains on some guys, “ The Mayor said. “I had a spin early on in the race, which really killed us not having a yellow early on to catch back up. We weren’t quite as strong on the blacks as we were on the reds and unfortunately that first stint I had a spin and if the last stint had stayed green I think we would have been ok. However we had just put sticker blacks on, but then on the restart you kind of get swallowed by the guys on reds. So just some bad timing on the yellow, but like I said the car was awesome on reds, we had the third quickest race lap and unfortunately we just weren’t able to quite as much progress as we were hoping for today."

Canada Day celebrations in Toronto

Birthday parties are planned all over the city for Friday, July 1, 2016. Community events for the 149th year of Confederation include parades and fireworks. Celebrations are at Mel Lastman Square, Broadlands Community Centre, Thomson Park, Ashbridges Bay and many other parks, centres and museums.

For the complete list of City Canada Day celebrations see the press release after the jump.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

You lookin' at me?

Beautiful graffiti bears looking at and sometimes the graffiti looks back at you. These were found around the Bathurst Street area north of College Street in Toronto.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

LOVE locks stolen

It appears that the hundreds of locks put up in the Distillery District's lock installation have gone missing - apparently they weren't locked up that well! While this is good news for the relationships that have broken up since the locks were put in place, it is disheartening for those that are still in love.
The installation remains and only a few locks are in place at this time as compared to when the locks were filling the sign, which you can see on my post here. For those still in love, get a lock and get back to Toronto's historic Distillery District.
Here is some more love for you from the Distillery District

Monday, June 20, 2016

Taste of Little Italy and CHIN Picnic 2016

Little Italy's street festival is joined by the 50th CHIN Picnic event during the June 17-19 weekend. College Street between Bathurst and Shaw becomes home to street patios, musicians and singers, vendors and children's amusement rides.

CHIN used to be held at Bandshell Park in Exhibition Place and also hosted the popular bikini contest which was cancelled in 2016. However, in honour of the former contest I will post some photos of a previous contest.

Yorkville Exotic Car Show

The Mink Mile needed an uber so over 120 classic and supercars showed up on the Bloor Street red carpet to pick up the rich and famous. I don't know what was more impressive, the giant red carpet or the beautiful cars, but of course the cars always win. The 6th annual show shuts down Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Bay Street as thousands wander the red carpet looking at all the expensive vehicles lined up in branded corrals.

The Bloor-Yorkville BIA and the Yorkville Exotic Car show teamed up with Prostate Cancer Canada to fund raise for prostate cancer research. As a free Father's Day event on Sunday, June 19, 2016 this is good timing, you can always ask your dad which of the cars you should get him for Christmas.

Sometimes it is hard to pick between a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche or the IndyCar from the Honda Indy Toronto!

Beach BBQ & Brews Festival 2016

Boom 97.3 eatin' and drinkin' bash at Woodbine Park had everything you need for summertime fun and if it got too hot you could head down to the nearby beaches and cool off before eatin' and drinkin' some more. I came by early to the festival and there were still lineups so be prepared to wait. The first beer I tried was one from Flying Monkeys followed by an Old Tomorrow.
The annual event marries Canada's love for the barbecue and beer with a bit of music and other fun to provide a Father's Day weekend away from home. The event is free but the beer was $7 bucks and the ribs, chicken and other meat products don't come cheap. The weekend festival was open Friday to Sunday, June 17 to the 19, 2016.

You can always sample the barbecue sauce before you pick your rib place

Don River changes in the Port Lands

Toronto is about to undergo massive changes to the Don River and the Port Lands as the city looks at naturalizing and creating a new channel for the river. There will even be a new island called Villiers Island. Hundreds of tiny blue flags have been planted on the east side of the street to show a new channel along Cherry Street, near the T&T Supermaket.

"The Port Lands was once the largest natural wetland in Lake Ontario. Beginning in the 1900s, this area was gradually infilled to make more land available to serve the city’s growing industrial and shipping sectors. Today, the Port Lands still serves as a working port and houses a variety of light industrial and other services; but, for the most part, it’s a massive underutilized, contaminated brownfield site in the middle of a flood plain."
By adding wetlands, open spaces and parks the city hopes to reduce the impact of flooding and open up additional development in the area. The area which is known for its beaches and view of Toronto's skyline will also see a considerable amount of mixed use residential and commercial development.

Seaweed and fishing rods

Not going to swim along the marina's edge, too much green stuff growing in the water. Time to stick to fishing and when you just can't have enough poles you can always get the boat in the photo below.

Signpost says Big Brother is Watching You

Signs point to various cities around the globe, Melbourne, Vancouver and in between they also have some interesting quotes like 'There is no such thing like part freedom' by Nelson Mandela. The post is located on Queens Quay East.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Om T.O. Yoga in the Distillery District 2016

A Summer Solstice yogic celebration on Sunday, June 19 had hundreds of healthy people doing free yoga in the historic, brickey neighbourhood. Some of Toronto's best instructors took to the stage and called out the poses while surrounded by multitudes of mat dwelling athletes.
The summer solstice is coming tomorrow - Monday, June 20, 2016 but the weekend was full bore summer anyway, it was smoking.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thunder Alley and Speed Zone at @HondaIndy Toronto 2016

Speedfest increases its off-track, family-friendly entertainment during the upcoming July race weekend. Free fan friday returns, courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association, and there is free admission for children under 12 when accompanied by an adult who has purchased a ticket. Personally, I like to say Thunder Alley and think of the times when the track is full of cars screaming down the streets of Toronto. You can find the on-track schedule here. Check out the 2016 Honda Indy track build updates on my post here.

"The one-month countdown to Honda Indy Toronto is on and event organizers revealed today a robust line up of off-track activities for the upcoming festival, which runs July 15-17 at Exhibition Place. With 55 per cent more interactive exhibits, activities and vendors than last year, race fans can expect more things to see and do all day than ever before."

Honda World and the new Speed Zone will be an exciting area full of interactive games, activities and fast-paced fun.

"Honda World, located at the heart of the Honda Indy Toronto street course, will continue to be a sought-after area of the track. Fan favourite activities returning this year include face painting, racing simulators, a unique photo opportunity and the chance to sign James Hinchcliffe's race suit in support of Make-A-Wish® Canada. Honda World also presents kids aged 6 to 12 the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of dirt biking with the return of the Honda Junior Red Riders program."

“We’re trying to build up the community aspect of the event and want to make the overall experience as exciting as possible for race fans, so that the moment they arrive onsite, there is something to see and do,” said Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto. General admission tickets start at $40 and the Fan Friday requests a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada.

iHeartRadio MMVA 2016

Closing down the Richmond and Queen Street West area of Toronto for the annual music award bash which takes place on Sunday, June 19 at 9pm. Workers have been busy turning the Much Music studio parking lot into centre stage for stars like Bethany Mota of YouTube fame and Shemar Moore from Criminal Minds. I am not quite sure if MuchMusic still plays music videos though.

St. Lawrence Market's Father's Day Weekend BBQ event on the patio Saturday

Pop up patios and summer barbecues make Toronto the place to be. On Saturday, June 18 the famous foodie hotspot will provide barbecue cooking demonstrations at the SE patio area of the St Lawrence South Market building. The event will run from 10:30am to 2:30pm, with samples, like mild sausages, smoked beef brisket and bacon-wrapped scallops available from the start until around noon.

"Fathers, families and the general public are invited to join St. Lawrence Market merchants on the patio for barbecue cooking demonstrations and samples. A selection from Toronto's finest butchers, fishmongers and food merchants will highlight why the St. Lawrence Market is the ultimate destination for fresh summer-grilling food options."

The Market complex was established in 1803 and is ranked the number one food market in the world by National Geographic. The North Market has been temporarily moved to a tent at 125 The Esplanade.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Honda Indy Toronto Track Build 2016

Now updated with June 19 photos. Also see the track on the night before the race weekend on my post here. See Friday, Saturday and Sunday 2016 race coverage.

Hi to Geoff Roberts! @HondaIndy began the month plus track and grandstand construction that turns Exhibition Place and Lake Shore Boulevard into Toronto's own high speed race course. HIT President Jeff Atkinson and Jim Tario, Director of Track Operations, officially started the build on June 8 and will utilize Fleetmatics mobile workforce solutions software to optimize the track construction so that it is ready in time for the July 15-17 event. Looking south towards BMO Field and Turn 9 in the photo at top.
Grandstands along Enercare Centre
Honda Indy Toronto winner Will Power passes by a Fleetmatics banner on Sunday, July 17, 2016

"We are always looking for ways to make the process of building our track more efficient," said Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto. "Having the support of Fleetmatics, and their cutting-edge mobile technology, is very valuable to our team working on the build and we are very pleased to welcome them on board as a valued sponsor."

Updated June 19: looking north, pit lane is to the east (right), the track is to the west across the double barrier. Pit 10 grandstand is the almost complete while the pit lane suites are still under construction

Pit lane makes a big change from the south side of Princes' Boulevard to the north side of the road, starting at Turn 9 instead of Turn 11. They flipped some Hospitality Suites and Grandstands as well. A wheelchair accessible track crossing has been added to Turn 9. Updated June 19: Pit lane is taking shape. Drivers will enter from the north side of the track starting at Turn 9. Pits are on the north and east sides, closest to Enercare Centre and the Turn 10 grandstands and pit lane suites. Leaving pit lane would require the drivers moving out of pit lane to the north merging with the track traffic on the south side.
Updated June 19: In front of Hotel X

The 1.75 mile course actually takes a crew of about 200 workers 38 days to build, with most of the work taking place at night to reduce the impact to Toronto traffic, and using over 14,000 feet of fencing placed on top of 10 million pounds of concrete blocks. Quite a few of the blocks and fence are in place and the grandstands are starting to take shape. The track has been adjusted to accommodate the construction of the new Hotel X and the expansion of BMO Field.
From the start/finish line towards Princes' Gates and Turn 1

"This year marks the 30th year of racing in Toronto," said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. "We are thrilled to be able to provide a double feature to help mark the occasion, with the NASCAR Pinty's Series headlining on Saturday and the Verizon IndyCar Series on Sunday. Fans are in for an exciting weekend of racing at the Honda Indy Toronto this summer."

While Paul Tracy is currently the only Canadian to have won the Toronto race, twice and with a win in the Indy Lights as well, we have a strong contender with James Hinchcliffe who won the pole position in the Indy 500 and in another race, cancelled due to a rain delay, will start in first place during the finish of the race at the Texas Motor Speedway on August 27.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2016

An epic journey to match the commitment of thousands of cyclists as they challenge themselves in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Since 2008, Canada's largest ride which is over 200 kilometres, has raised over $138 million dollars and along the way Princess Margaret has become one of the top five cancer centres in the world.
The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer allows for "Personalized Cancer Medicine is a multi-faceted, integrated approach to cancer care that focuses on the unique nature of each patient. Because every patient is unique, every patient’s cancer is different. Funds raised through The Ride are enabling the researchers, scientists and doctors at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to better understand the unique genes of each cancer and each patient, which are leading to more effective, targeted and less toxic treatments for cancer patients in Ontario and around the world."

crossing the start line

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square