Thursday, September 29, 2016

@HondaIndy Toronto 2017 ticket sales

The green flag drops today on ticket sales for grandstand renewal customers with the Champions Club while public sales to the roar by the Lakeshore start November 29, 2016. The Honda Indy Toronto returns to Exhibition Place July 14-16, 2017 with NASCAR Pinty's Series headlining Saturday's race and the Verizon IndyCar Series headlining on Sunday.
"Race fans who held two-day reserved grandstand seats for the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto can purchase their renewal tickets for the 2017 event starting today. By popular demand, organizers are bringing back the Champions Club program, which allows renewal customers to benefit from an even higher-octane experience. The Champions Club program was introduced in 2016 and offers exclusive benefits and event access, including a souvenir credential with lanyard, complimentary Verizon IndyCar Series paddock passes, access to the pre-race grid walk, discounts on official event merchandise, an opportunity to win a two-seater INDYCAR ride on the historic track, and many other experiences, discounts and benefits that will be revealed leading up to the 2017 event."
“We have an incredibly loyal fan base here in Toronto and we introduced the Champions Club program last year as a way to reward them for their commitment to our event,” said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. “We’re thrilled to bring back the Champions Club program in 2017 and we are working towards some new surprises that race fans will not want to miss out on.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pinball and the boxing ring

Athlete, celebrity and all around good guy Michael Pinball Clemons was down at Yonge-Dundas Square to promote Manulife Vitality. There was a non-regulation boxing ring setup in the square with a bunch of punching bags. People strapped on some gloves and punched the bags.

"At Manulife, we think life insurance should reward you for living. That’s why we’ve
taken a whole new approach to life insurance with Manulife Vitality, a personalized wellness program that offers rewards when you make choices to live a healthier life."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Less Sleep, More Art

Many of the Nuit Blanche art installations are being prepared for the Saturday, October 1, 2016 all night art event. Around Toronto City Hall is the Oblivion collection featuring three projects - Ocean, Death of the sun and Pneuma. "OBLIVION is about destruction and forgetting. It is about drowning in the pitch-blackness of pure and final absence. And it is about the possibilities of adaptation and unprecedented renewal."
Nuit is Near - inside the rotunda
Ocean setup is underway

Death of the Sun is the easiest to see now, there is a giant white ball in Nathan Philllips Square, it looks very much like the Mayor is about to take a trip around the world in 80 days.
Fallen Water - Niagara Escarpment at Brookfield Place

I have picked out my hope to see installations and also started my light-bike art installation which I will ride during the night. Still waiting to see what's up with Les Rues Des Refuses: "For those wondering why LRDR has been so silent, I have been WAY too busy to organize a proper renegade Nuit Blanche guide this year. But all is not lost! I'll still be putting together a quick online guide. If you or someone you know is creating a renegade event let me know and it will be included in the list!"

It looks like a jet engine is in the pond, I wonder if it is going to be part of the evening's excitement 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Let Fall Begin

September 22 marks the first day of Fall, 2016 and before nature kicks us with a ton of snow, it is the perfect time to go out and enjoy the beauty that can be found throughout Ontario. Isolated trees have already started to change colour in the GTA - you can check out the Fall Colours at this website.
Bee on a prickly flower
I am going to take a run up to Collingwood this weekend and check out the colours for myself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A most disheartening scene

The September 20, 2016 stabbing at the Toronto Eaton Centre was a shocking look into violence that strikes at the heart of a city. Two men attacked a man and stabbed him multiple times with a steak knife. The victim lived and was taken to hospital while the two men left the shopping mall. The police caught one of the attackers and have charged him with attempted murder. A mall security guard jumped into the fray and was instrumental in saving the man's life.

See more photos after the jump.

2016 IndyCar Champion

After 16 races in the Verizon Series driver Simon Pagenaud took the Championship title with 5 wins and 659 points. In Toronto he finished 9th but in the next race at Mid-Ohio he won with his #22 Team Penske car. Rounding out the top three points leaders were all members of Team Penske including Will Power of the #12 car and Helio Castroneves in the #3 car.

Simon also won the last race of the season at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. "The 32-year-old Frenchman started the day on pole and came in with a 44-point lead over Team Penske teammate Will Power, needing only to finish fifth or better to clinch the title. But from the drop of the green flag the driver of the No. 22 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chevrolet left little doubt what the game plan was – to win."

“How do you push that limit just to the right level? That’s what’s tricky,” Pagenaud said. “But certainly this year I’ve been on offensive mode. It’s been working for me. “Certainly some race I’ve been more aggressive than others and it paid off. But today, honestly, I was aggressive with the car to get lap time out of it to get away from the people, but it wasn’t about passing people and being aggressive that way. It made it a lot easier.”
#3 Helio Castroneves
The Verizon IndyCar will return to Toronto next summer for the 31st time. Billed as Ontario's largest annual sporting event the motorsports festival will take to the streets of Toronto from July 14-16, 2017. Here is part of the Toronto press release.

"Verizon IndyCar Series officials made the announcement today, revealing the details of its 2017 schedule. All venues where INDYCAR competed in 2016 return to the 2017 calendar, which features races on six ovals, six permanent road courses and five temporary street circuits across the United States and Canada. The Honda Indy Toronto is the only Canadian stop on the series schedule.

"The Honda Indy Toronto spells summer in Toronto for generations of Torontonians and festivalgoers from across Ontario and beyond," said Jeff Atkinson, president of Honda Indy Toronto. "We had an incredible 2016 event to mark our 30th year of racing on the streets of Toronto and look forward to building on that momentum by continuing to grow the festival programming to bring race fans an event that is fun and exciting for all ages."

Additions to on-track and festival programming will be announced in the coming months, but race fans can expect the return of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series, which includes Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. By popular demand, stock car racing with the NASCAR Pinty's Series will run again in 2017, headlining track activity on the Saturday of the event weekend as the Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto."

See more photos of the drivers in Toronto after the jump.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

NASCAR Pinty's Series Final 2016

Kawartha Downs and Speedway in Fraserville, Ontario was a little moist with Saturday's rain and the race was rescheduled for Sunday, September 18 with the green flag dropping at 1pm. The last race in the 2016 season returns to Ontario after being at St-Eustache in Quebec with driver standings showing Cayden Lapcevich leading, Andrew Ranger second and Kevin Lacroix in third place. 16 year old Lapcevich can become the youngest NASCAR champion by just starting the last race.

Update: Jason Hathaway of the #3 car takes the checkered flag for the Kawartha 250 and ends in the top ten in overall points in the 2016 NASCAR Pinty's Series. Cayden Lapcevich finished second in the race and also took the Championship title with over 50 points between him and the next highest in the standings -Andrew Ranger.
Cayden #76 overtakes the 22 car during practice

"The Grimsby, Ontario native will break the record currently held by former Daytona 500 winner and 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contender Joey Logano. Logano won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship in 2007 at 17 years, 3 months, 28 days. Andrew Ranger, who sits in second place in the standings, will try to finish the season on a strong point after mechanical issues in two of the past three races cost him a chance at another title. While Lapcevich has all but clinched the driver’s title, he’s also secured the Josten’s Rookie of the Year Award and has a chance to have his mom and car owner Sherri Lapcevich to win that title as well."
Jason Hathaway gears up for practice

Champion driver Scott Steckly has moved away from driving into owning teams as he waits for sponsorship to get back behind the wheel - he still is in the pits looking after his #22 team car. A number of drivers have moved from the stock car series due to sponsorship issues including J.R. Fitzpatrick who moved to OSCAAR Super Late Model racing. Now Jason Hathaway will conclude his participation in NASCAR as his family and off track commitments take his attention elsewhere. He hopes to return to racing part time in the future when time allows.
Crew talks to Cayden
D.J. Kennington
Andrew Ranger gets in his #27 car
Alex Tagliani of the #18 car

The motrosports racetrack itself is pretty interesting. It sits within the horse racing track, set down below the gravel surface so that you can see the speedway from trackside of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Slot facility grandstand building, or on the bleachers setup around the track.

Saturday's race was also going to feature OSCAAR Modifieds and hot rods, however the looming weather system cancelled those plans. NASCAR did have time to get in a practice session - the individual sessions were combined into a one hour practice before the rain started around 1pm. NASCAR was hesitant to call the race and even in the rain they were hoping that they could proceed with the 5:30pm start. It wasn't until around 4pm that they decided to postpone the race. Derek (photographer from Racepulse) and I huddled under the Pinty's awning sampling their chicken products while we kept out of the drizzle.
(left to right) Derek Smith and Tony Spiteri, Sr. VP Pinty's Foods with the Pinty's sampling crew
#48 car of Dwayne Baker

The postponed Kawartha 250 Schedule and lineup for Sunday Sept 18 after the jump - along with more photos.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Haunted Fall Fair - scary, spooky

There are some (so far just me) that think that the annual Acton Fall Fair is visited by spirits from beyond the grave. Tonight I think they took over the midway, wandering up and down the aisles, past the rides, past the covered over booths and screaming out for coupons. Ghosts have to be over 36 inches to scare the living.
Goblins almost certainly ring the games of chance, waiting to scare humans - a fright every time. The fear of the departed has emptied the park, it sits bleak and lonely, waiting for those that don't fear the night. The fear was palpable as people kept away from the deserted exhibition as the sun began to set and the witching hour was about to start.
The Prospect Park site is set on top of the original pioneer fair from over a century ago when rides were powered by mules and the power of the water falling through the dam at the end of Fairy Lake. Who knows what horrors happened so long ago that led to so many forlorn souls that cannot find peace, even with so many cute animals in the petting zoo. If you bring your car into the park, don't knock over any of the historic headstones located in the north end of the fairgrounds. Maybe the markers were moved and the Fair was built over the bodies of the early settlers?

Hopefully the next couple of days will be peaceful, say your prayers and drop by "the best little fair in Ontario" as the 103rd Acton Fair comes to life once again from September 16 to 18, 2016. The midway seems to come alive at night with the twinkling lights and ghosts become indistinguishable from people.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kissing Bridge

The West Montrose covered bridge has stood over the Grand River since 1881 and its 198 foot span is apparently perfect for romance, so drop by and share a smooch. The historic site brings visitors to Woolwich Township as the last remaining wooden covered bridge that actually handles vehicular traffic as part of the road system.
"The roof over the bridge protects the large timbers and trusses from the elements; this is also the reason the bridge is still standing after more than 100 years. Uncovered wooden bridges typically have a life span of only 10 to 15 years - exposure to rain causes unprotected joints to rot in summer and freeze in the winter, and the hot sun causes the wooden planks to dry and curl."
The roadway narrows through the bridge and becomes one lane, you can fit a car and some pedestrians inside the bridge, more pedestrians probably if they are kissing because they take up less room. The bridge is even painted red, the colour of love.
Located west of the GTA, the area is a tourist destination with many making the trip to St Jacobs and the shops and stores of the Mennonites, you can often see their horse and carriages that travel along the side of the roads. The town of St Jacobs and the St Jacobs Farmer's Market are the big draws for visitors. The market was rebuilt after the fire of  '13 and don't go on Sundays, the market is closed (open Tuesday and Saturday year round and also on Tuesdays in the summer).

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square