Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Win Tickets to the #Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show 2017

Update: Michael K won this draw. I am having another draw - see my blog post here.

Don't let this @OutdoorAdvShow #contest get away - here is your chance to win a family pack of 4 tickets for the upcoming February 24-26th show at the International Centre. There are a couple of ways to enter and the odds are good!

1. Send me an email asking to be entered: jmhcet@gmail.com
2. Retweet this twitter contest post (https://twitter.com/jmhcet/status/826603764312313856) or DM me.
3. Comment on this blog post

I will make the draw and pick one winner on Saturday, February 11, 2017. I will contact the winner after the draw. Good luck and may your adventure await.

Features for 2017 include White Water Demo, Travel Theatre, Junior Outdoor Adventurers, Climbing Wall, Special Guest Appearances, Seminars, Paddling and Underwater Adventures as well as a smorgasbord of top exhibitors like Swift Canoe and Kayak. I look forward to checking out the kayak equipment this year.

Show Hours are Friday, February 24, 2017, 11am – 8pm, Saturday, February 25, 2017, 10am – 6pm
and Sunday, February 26, 2017, 10am – 5pm in Hall 5 of the International Centre at 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario.

Admission: Adult: $14, Youths 12 – 17: $12, Seniors 60+: $12 and the Weekend Pass: $18.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Year of the Rooster in Toronto

Chinese New Year began Saturday, January 28, 2017 and the Spring Lunar Fest brings a time of celebration and so I say to you, Happy New Year.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Toronto Light Festival in the Distillery District

A beacon of light came to town with the first annual #TOlightFest in the historic Toronto neighbourhood with "a new visual journey and imaginative cerebral experience. During the dark, cold days of winter, our hope is that city residents will be drawn out of their traditional indoor habitats to experience Toronto in a way they never have before." Angels of Freedom by the OGE Group from Isreal made people seem so heavenly and peace filled the air as people posed under the halos framed by large wings.
 A pair of crouching Digital Origami Tigers sat on Tank House Lane created by LAVA, an Australian network of creative minds, began their display during 2010 Chinese New Year, were adopted by the WWF to bring attention to Tigers, and now make people happy in Toronto.

The lights will be on from January 27 to March 12, 2017 with twenty one installations spread throughout the district, both on the ground and in the air. Torontonians have flocked to the area to see the light - so take public transit if possible.
Figures in the Magic Dance Mirror are lit up at the same time

Playing high above the roads paved in bricks are a series of dancers that light up the night with their real-time animations.  Inspired by Burning Man and the artist's experiences at the famous desert festival, author Kyle Ruddick brings the movement of dance to Toronto.

Photos by Ann and James Hamilton. See more lights after the jump.

Fire and Ice Festival Bracebridge

With a snow squall settling into cottage country the downtown Bracebridge winter festival filled the streets with families enjoying the fun of the second annual Fire and Ice Festival. At the end of January the above seasonal temperatures put a halt to the outdoor skating at the Memorial Park winter village but also made it easier to enjoy the day's activities.
Finally getting to the top of the run with your tube

Held on the last Saturday of January, in this case January 28, 2017, the crowds lining Manitoba Street made the lineups for the Downtown Tube Run extend into one and a half hours. The snow was trucked in on Friday night and the downhill course was setup and ready to go for the next day. You lined up from the top of the slope and went downhill to the base of the run to pick up your tube, then headed back up the street to get on the run. The idea of hurtling down an actual main street in Bracebridge, tucked into a tube, and coming to a safe stop was what brought us to the festival.
The Fire Guy puts on a show somewhere in the crowd

It was so busy they ran out of the souvenir passport buttons and instead your $5 fee went to a purple wrist band. Like many things, the popularity of the event made it difficult to take part in the activities as crowds would easily overwhelm the performers like the Fire Guy and the Winter Magic Show. And as much as I wanted to go down the tube run I wasn't going to wait over an hour for the experience. The organizers really need to consider elevated stages so more people can watch the performances.
A comforting fire pit
Still there were many fire pits placed around the streets to warm your fingers and take a break from walking the main street. Children could roast marshmallows and enjoy hot chocolate and their was a beer garden to enjoy some adult beverages. Instead of skating around the park they brought out big tired bicycles that whipped around the snow covered path. If you wanted to skate the Memorial Arena was also open to family skating at night.
We left without seeing the Hillbilly Olympics hosted by Dad's of Muskoka and the Fireworks hosted by the Bracebridge Rotary Club. See more of the festival after the jump.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Indy Cycling Challenge at @HondaIndy Toronto

Spinning around the race track at slightly less than race car speeds, bicyclists can take part in the charity event to support Prostate Cancer in Canada. Joining teams composed of four riders taking on the 2.89 km temporary road course through Exhibition Place and onto Lake Shore Boulevard. The Verizon IndyCar Series race in Toronto follows July 14-16, 2017.

Online registration for the Thursday July 13, 2017 challenge is open with an entry fee of $250 per cyclist (aged 19+) and teams need to raise a minimum of $5,000 in donations. Each participant gets a race jersey, chances at weekly fundraising prizes, gift bags and bronze tickets to the Honda Indy Toronto. Also included is valet parking, food, musical entertainment and other benefits - for every $100 raised by a cyclist they get a chance to win a bicycle. You can also volunteer at the event.

Celebrity guests will help support the first annual event - Olympian medalist Curt Harnett as ambassador and triathelete Steve Fleck as the emcee, as entrants compete in three divisions: Men's, Women's and Corporate Challenges. Teams complete 12 laps or 34.68 km as each cyclist rides three laps. Registration starts at 2 pm and the first race starts at 4 pm.

“The Honda Indy Toronto is an iconic global motorsports event, and this year it takes on an even greater significance. We’re joining with Prostate Cancer Canada in the fight against this disease,” said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. “Men and women participating in the Indy Cycling Challenge will fiercely compete on the same track before the INDYCAR and NASCAR drivers do.” “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men,” explained PCC President & CEO, Rocco Rossi. “By participating in this unique event, cyclists will not only have an incredible life experience, but will also help improve the lives of one in eight Canadian men and their families.”

Monday, January 23, 2017

CN Tower at night

The fog has been blotting out the city lately but sometimes you can still see the tower at night. A great view is along the Union Station railway corridor, west of the big, pointy concrete structure.

A GO Train passes along the row of condos

Saturday, January 21, 2017

@TorontoBoatShow 2017

I am enjoying the Winter Wake Fest wakeboard show in the home of the Toronto Marlies. They say the ice is still on the bottom of the temporary lake which combined with the fresh lake water makes the spills that much colder. Deals on boats must be great because in 2016 they sold almost 1,000 boats. A Mountie on snow skies flys over the water in the photo at top.
The Crazy Canucks will put on their water ski show next so between checking all the boats and wandering the aisles in cottage country, you can always rest your feet and catch the excitement on the lake throughout the run of the show.
The Toronto International Boat Show brought the yachts into Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place from January 20-29. Well, really all manner of watercraft from stand up paddleboards to kayaks, speedboats, sailboats and more - it's not North America's largest indoor boat show for nothing! The newest trend is pedal boarding which is a SUP, or stand up paddle boat, with handlebars and a human powered pedal that moves flaps underwater. The mechanism works much like a floating step machine and looks like a lot of fun, plus the whole exercise thing.
If we are lucky we will be able to watch the waterskiing squirrel Twiggy put on a life jacket and take a run behind a radio-controlled boat. Twiggy is also a major motion picture movie star - she appeared in Dodgeball: A Underdog Story and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy as well as a music video.
"Among the highlights will be the debut of a 100 per cent electric powered boat made by The Canadian Electric Boat Company, based in Quebec. The Bruce 22 uses zero fuel, produces zero emissions or greenhouse gas, and is noiseless. The electric boat can hit speeds up to 72km/h and has up to 8 hours of battery operating range." Shown above and below in a pretty blue colour.

See more boats after the jump.

Bad Axe Throwing in Toronto

Don't worry though, with practice I am sure you will work up to mediocre axe throwing. Warmer winter temperatures and rain in the forecast means it is time for indoor sports and some excitement is in order so grab a shiny axe, close your eyes and let fly! Actually, probably not a good idea to close your eyes. You really need an axe range, a fancy target and some rudimentary training in the art of the throw to enjoy the experience. You can book your event or check the dates for walk in times.

Having enjoyed the fun of axe throwing I can definitely recommend the sport as a group or even a singles or couples activity. Speaking of couples, Valentines Day in Toronto can be a great time to check out Bad Axe Throwing near Runnymede Road and St Claire Avenue West in Toronto (346 Ryding Ave, Unit 201). The love of valentine's combined with the sport of axe throwing means a truly unique date, or go in alone and meet some new friends for a couple of hours of fun. You might like it enough to join one of their leagues.
"When we’re not planning a huge corporate event our hosts are busy celebrating Toronto’s most exciting birthday parties, bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, and family outings for people of all ages. Currently our largest venue, Toronto can accommodate up to twelve 3 hour events a day, and it’s certainly not uncommon to do so. If you’re thinking you’re ready for Bad Axe Throwing Toronto, we’re definitely ready to show you the best time in a long time. We know you’ll love the thrill and insanely fun feeling of throwing an axe with us." Photos provided.

You can bring in your own food and drinks - they provide fridges on site for players to use.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Interior Design Show 2017

#IDS17 Toronto - design unfolded begins with the Opening Night Party where we "celebrate the change makers, innovators and disruptors" for all the latest inspirations. The design event is on from Jan 19-22 at the North building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and features David Adjaye as the International Guest of Honour. I met some great interior designers including Lisa Coady, above left.
Shop, create, explore and learn is the mantra as we take in all the exhibits at the 19th annual show. The booze is flowing, the vibe is happening and the show awaits. Grab some friends and experience the Interior Design Show presented by National Bank! "IDS brings together the newest and most innovative in international and Canadian design. With three full days of inspirational exhibits, influential speakers and leading products, IDS is not just a fair - it's a total design experience.
Having fun at the Caesarstone installation

'Stone Age Folk brings' award winner Jaime Hayon, one of Time Magazine's most relevant creators, and his Caesarstone quartz installations in a "whimsical universe inspired by the natural and mythical worlds, fauna and folklore". You can find the area because of the crowds that gather around the impressive set.
The party started at 7pm and continued until 11pm with the first sneak peek of the exhibitors that have setup for the show which continues on Friday, January 20 with Trade Day and into the weekend when it opens to the public. A portion of the Opening Night Party ticket sales will go to Habitat for Humanity GTA. Besides the amazing furniture, fixtures and accessories you can experience immersive designer spaces in The Lab, at the Partisans Factory and with Jaime Hayon's Caesarstone kaleidoscopic stone age folk installations.
Friday's Professional Trade Day offered the AZURE Trade Day Talks with a line of speakers that will discuss current design trends and inspire new ideas beginning with leading architect and designers Nika Zupanc, Jaime Hayon and David Adjaye. Visitors can also take in Trade Day seminars for an additional fee.

The weekend brings Globe Style Saturday (Jan 21) - "Where do we find inspiration?" and House and Home Sunday (Jan 22) - "What's trending?". Globe Style will give visitors insider knowledge of design with experts, critics and editors including designer Amanda Nisbet in conversation with the much celebrated Jeanne Beker, columnist for Globe Style. House and Home is your chance to meet international design celebrities along with House & Home editors for shows The Hot List, Top Design Tips and Tricks and Decorating 101.

See more of the party and the IDS after the jump.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Interior Design Show this week in Toronto

@idstoronto showcases the creative design trends that will turn your interior spaces into dream spaces. The 19th annual IDS starts January 19, 2017 with an opening night party and continues thru the weekend (19th-22nd) with exhibitions, collaborations, products, seminars, panel discussions and the creative talent all within the north building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

IDS "curators have forecasted some of the top trends for 2017 inspiring the direction of design for the year to come. “This year, we’ll see designers and trends that will encompass the expansion of the outdoor living realm to the fusion of tech and design accumulating into an awe inspiring and ultimately exciting year for design,” Karen Kang, National Director, IDS Canada.

It all starts with the "biggest design party of the year brings together over 5,700 of the industry’s greatest influencers for one amazing night to kick off IDS17. The Party is where Canadian and international design talent gather to check out what’s in store from the brightest in the industry, while sampling the best food and drink that Toronto has to offer. The Party has been called “one of the hottest tickets in the city” by Toronto Life and is a night that you won’t want to miss."

Creators Jaime Hayon, Nika Zupanc and PARTISANS will unveil projects like the Caesarstone 'Stone Age Folk' fantasy universe inspired by fauna – the natural world – and folklore – the mythical world. Blending fantasy with functionality, playfulness with craft, and interactivity with cultural references, Hayon will create a kaleidoscopic and harmonic installation.

With million dollar plus homes in Toronto many people are buying fixer-uppers or renovating the homes they already have to reduce costs. Experts at the show will tell us how to avoid the biggest design problems in kitchen and bath so you can learn how to deal with cabinetry, plumbing and appliances.

The makeover of Berczy Park

The quiet oasis located in the St Lawrence Market area of Toronto has been fenced off for some time as the park has been re-imagined and reconstructed by the City's contractor. Best known for peaceful contemplation centered around the large fountain with an amazing view of the giant mural on the triangular Flatiron building. At one time lovely metal chairs and tables provided by the Friends of Berczy Park ranged around the fountain, perfect for reading a book and enjoying a coffee or tea from the nearby Tim Hortons while the city buzzes on without you.
Now the only fencing that remains is the temporary orange construction fence that protects the new grass and trees on the small rolling hills along with the fence around the still in progress fountain. The dull grey concrete sidewalks and walls have been removed and replaced with coloured tiles that line the central area and on the walkways that run into the site.
The old fountain is gone and in its place rises a much larger multi-storied circular fountain that, at its peak, holds a giant golden bone. A bone so appetizing that dog statues on each level surround the bone, drawn to the golden treasure so tantalizing that they will never leave its sight - not even for a tinkle at the closest fire hydrant. More dogs remain to be installed and I understand that a single cat will be added to the gang of doggies. A play area for children is also coming.
Panorama of the park with the Flatiron building and mural on the left
The front of the Gooderham Flatiron Building at Church and Front Streets
Toronto Historical Board plaque showing the architect and the date of construction 1892

A quiet winter's day in the Distillery District

The marketing people at the historic brick neighbourhood in downtown Toronto were geniuses when they came up with the Christmas Market. Over the course of the annual event tens of thousands (perhaps trillions) made the trek into the unique section of Toronto, met Santa Claus and had some hot chocolate. On weekends there were lineups to pay to get into the area and parking was hard to find. Now Christmas has come and gone and the busy weekends have given way to almost empty streets full of photographers and tourist groups.

That is about to change as they have come up with another event to bring people back to the Distillery District during the dog days of winter - the Toronto Light Fest. Running from January 27 to March 12, 2017 the "brand-new event which will transform the Distillery District into a huge open-air gallery, lighting up the long Winter nights with works from Canadian and International light artists. This Winter, come out of the dark and into the light!"
And why? Because "winter sucks, and we simply just want to make winter not suck so much. We want to create something special and something that will lift the collective spirit of the City. We aspire to make ourselves proud and organize an event that is inspirational. In a world with so many dark and ominous messages, we want to create a positive, magical urban world that people of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy and look forward to."
I certainly like festivals and lights are at the top of my list of things I also like, so hopefully we will see some brilliant art pieces, canopies of lights, laser shows and more. You will know when it successful when you can't find parking, crowds make it hard to walk around and you might have to pay to get in on the weekend.
Locks of all shapes and sizes continue to fill the Love Lock installation on Tank House Lane near Trinity Street. Some of the locks are pretty unique and a good way to show your love, at least until they remove them to make way for more locks. Maybe they are just using this as a way to raise money through scrap metal recycling. If you wait you can bring your next girlfriend and a new lock and she will never suspect that you had other locks.
From the Big Apple - New York
Squire Old English lock

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square