Saturday, July 29, 2017

Guild Park Arts Festival

Located along the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs, the park is home to many orphan architectural pieces from Toronto's past and this weekend the park comes 'Alive with Culture'. The 10th annual festival takes place July 29-30 in the Guild Park and Gardens at 201 Guildwood Parkway in Scarborough.
The fest had an Artists' Market, live entertainment, Guild Heritage Exhibits, Taste of the Guild and a Beer Garden by the Olde Stone Cottage Pub and Children's Activities. While there is no parking on site they have shuttle buses running every 20 minutes between several parking lots that have free parking. Festival hours are 10am to 6pm on Saturday and till 5pm on Sunday.

Formerly known as Guildwood Park, the scenic setting has seen some amazing improvements since the last time I was there - the Inn has been redeveloped and looks amazing and the grounds are still getting fixed up with sod and seed. There are sculptures mixed in with the building remnants and there are several trails that you can take to explore the area - Livingston Trail, Guild Park Trail and the Guild East Trail. It is a beautiful place to hold a wedding, but I wouldn't do it during a major festival.
The Inn was originally built as a mansion for Colonel Harold Bickford in 1914, taken over by the Canadian Government as a training base during World War II and returned to use as a hotel in 1947 by owners Rosa and Spencer Clark. From the City's website: "For the next 35 years, the Clarks built a reputation as patrons of the arts and preservationists, amassing a huge art collection and preserving architectural fragments from dozens of demolished buildings. The property and the architectural fragments were sold to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in 1978 to be maintained as a public park. Spencer Clark continued to run the hotel until 1983, when a Board of Management was formed to oversee operations. At the time of the City's amalgamation, the Board was disbanded and the City’s Economic Development and Culture Division took over responsibility for the sculpture and architectural fragments, while the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division began to manage the surrounding parkland. The hotel continued to operate under contract management until it closed in 2002 when it was considered no longer viable without a major capital infusion."

Friday, July 28, 2017

Toronto Festival of Beer 2017

The weather is hot and the beers are cold!
Bring on the brews because the #TFOB is back in Exhibition Place along with some great bands and some tempting foodstuffs. Presented by the Beer Store and running from Friday to Sunday, July 28-30 at Bandshell Park, you can find the entrance at the front of the Better Living Centre. Headlining the live musical acts will be Wu-Tang & Def Squad originals Method Man & Redman on Friday, Saturday will be Sloan and Sunday will be Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea. The festival map is at top.
Chef Ted Reader

Walking through the gates you get some tokens and a commemorative TFOB festival mug, then it's time to try some of those 416 beers available in the park at the BeerFest. Tokens are $1 and most 4oz samples are 1 token. When you run out of tokens you can purchase more in the park.
Selling tokens in bundles of 20

"Our culinary programme keeps evolving and growing. Welcome to #TasteTFOB! The Grilling Tent and our curated list of food purveyors are second to none! Combine all that mouth-watering deliciousness with over 416 BREWS TO DISCOVER, and then add some incredible main stage talent and we are FREAKING OUT OVER HERE! Seriously, can’t wait for July 28-30. #TasteTFOB is presented by TO’S FINEST and in partnership with Labatt – Good things brewing, Broil King and Cheese Boutique. HERE IS THE VERY LATEST INFO ON TICKETS. As you know, we are sold out of TFOB Friday and TFOB Saturday tickets. You can use promo code EAT to save $5 off TFOB Sunday general admission tickets."
3:00p – Doors Open for Club TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized Ticket Holders
4:30p – General Admission Doors Open
9:30p – Method Man & Redman
10:30p – Last Call
10:45p – Taps Off
11:00p – Closed

12:00pm – Gates Open for CLUB TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized ticket holders
1:30pm – Gates Open for General Admission ticket holders
2:30pm – Frank Ryan
3:30pm – Secret Broadcast
4:30pm – Brothers of North
5:30pm – The Blue Stones
6:30pm – Sloan
7:30p – Last Call
7:45pm – Beer Taps Off
8:00pm – Gates Closed
Toronto Festival of Beer 2017
360 degree photo of David James band at the Bandshell
12:00pm – Gates Open for CLUB TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized ticket holders
1:30pm – Gates Open for General Admission ticket holders
3:00pm – Dani Strong
4:00pm – Eric Ethridge
5:15pm – David James
6:30pm – Alan Doyle & the Beautiful Gypsies
7:30p – Last Call
7:45pm – Beer Taps Off
8:00pm – Gates Closed

See more photos after the jump. By Kevin and James Hamilton.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Balloons at Brookfield Place

The Allen Lambert Galleria had a lot of balloons as the building celebrated its 25th anniversary recently. Balloons of all sizes and colours hung over an entrance out to the courtyard by Front Street. I didn't come by for the cake, I came for the balloons.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Toronto CNE and the CIAS coming soon

Here we are, mid-Spring and all, trying to forget that summer is proceeding without us, or without the hot temperatures that carry us through the cold, Canadian winters, and we are slowly approaching the return of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and the new school year. The annual big city fair comes back starting August 18 and continues to September 4, 2017.

The Ex is preceded by their grubby little casino which resembles one held for a cheap bachelor party thrown in someone's unfinished basement. The games of chance start July 29 so you can go in and try to win something other than stuffed toys of varying sizes before the CNE officially opens.

The Exhibition closes with the 68th Canadian International Air Show (CIAS) during the Labour Day long weekend (September 2-4) from noon to 3pm. So to get us in the mood for airplanes to fly past us on the waterfront, here are some plane pictures from Fresh Joe.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Toronto skyline at night

Colourful signs and the light show on the CN Tower reflect into the harbour beside the Portlands. I started down at Cherry Beach where you can follow a path in the dog park to the side of the Eastern Channel. Trees and the former high speed ferry property block a lot of the view.
From the west side of Cherry Beach
You can find great views from the park at the end of Polson Street
Looking west across the harbour you can see planes takeoff and land at Billy Bishop Island Airport

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday at Honda Indy Toronto 2017

Update: Josef Newgarden won the 2017 Verizon IndyCar race with Alexander Rossi second and hometown favourite James Hinchcliffe finishing third.
Josef and the launch of confetti
L-R; Alexander, Josef and James on the podium
Honda Indy Toronto 2017 Victory Circle
On the media platform in Victory Circle showing how hectic it is

IndyCar qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six was determined Saturday, today brings the headline race at the Honda Indy Toronto. It might get a little damp on Sunday, July 16 as rain is forecast to start in the afternoon but as long as you bring a rain poncho you can stay dry and it makes for some exciting racing. It only ended up raining a few drops!
Drivers will have a chance this morning to get in a quick warm up on the track and then the pre-race show starts at 3:00pm. Cars will be moved to the grid at 2:50pm then the starting ceremony will proceed at Victory Circle with speeches and driver introductions. Green flag is expected to drop at 3:47pm with the 85 laps (just over 151 miles) ending around 5:45pm.

Grand Marshal Tom Cochrane on the Indy stage

Singer, songwriter Tom Cochcrane will be the race Grand Marshal and the Grid Girls will be the Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders. As part of the preshow Sgt David Grenon will sing the National Anthems and Captain Hilary Anderson from the 433 Tactical Flying Squadron will do a fly over in a CF-18 Hornet.
Mazda Mx5
The day also includes a number of races by USF2000, Mx5, Indy Lights and GT3 series.

Toronto's 11-turn, 1.786 mile temporary course is one of ten IndyCar road/street tracks in the 2017 series. They race on 16 tracks which also include 3 short ovals and 3 superspeedways. The Toronto track opened in 1986. Last year the race was won by Will Power with Helio Castroneves second and James Hincliffe third.
Coming into Toronto the drivers with the most top finishes in 2017 are Simon Pagenaud (8), Scott Dixon (7), Helio Castroneves and Will Power (6) and Josef Newgarden (5). IndyCars are a Dallas IR-12 chassis (from 2012 to present) running on Firestone Firehawk tires and using a Honda V-6, twin-turbocharged (550-700 horsepower) engine. The fuel for these open wheel race cars is Sunoco E85R fuel which is a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. IndyCar is planning to change their chassis in 2018.

After the race was over it was announced that Honda Canada has renewed its sponsorship agreement with Green Savoree Racing Promotions and the Honda Indy Toronto through 2020.

"Honda Canada has been the title sponsor of the race since 2009 when Green Savoree Racing Promotions relaunched the event with the Verizon IndyCar series as the feature. The 2018 Honda Indy Toronto will be a special event with Honda's 10th year of partnership. "Honda's DNA is built on racing - a heritage started by our founder Mr. Honda - which we've celebrated and are very proud of for nearly 60 years. Honda and IndyCar have enjoyed a fantastic partnership over the last nine years bringing racing excitement to the streets of Toronto every July," said Dave Gardner, President & CEO of Honda Canada Inc."

See more photos of the Honda Indy Toronto after the jump.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday at Honda Indy Toronto 2017

With two IndyCar practices completed Friday, Simon Pagenaud leads the field with a top speed of 106.702 mph coming into day two of the weekend speedfest in Exhibition Place. He won't be able to take it easy as Saturday's schedule will include one more practice in the morning and qualifying and the Firestone Fast 6 starting at 2:15pm. Ryan Hunter-Reay of the #28 car races by in the photo at top.
After the third IndyCar practice, speeds have crept up into the 107 mph range and now Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden have posted the top speeds in the combined results. It's interesting to note that the IndyCar drivers have already completed 1,287 total laps in the practice sessions alone. In the qualifying session Simon Pagenaud won the pole position and leads the Firestone Fast Six which includes Graham Rahal, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe. IndyCars head north with Ontario Place in the background, above.
Looking towards the Prince's Gates
The Toronto Argonauts cheerleaders will be the race Grid Girls

Today's races include the Mx5, USF2000, Indy Lights, GT3 and the Saturday feature race; NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto on the 2.89km (1.786-mile), 11 turn temporary street circuit through Toronto's CNE fairgrounds and onto Lake Shore Boulevard West.
NASCAR vehicles go through technical inspection in the paddock

NASCAR drivers qualified Friday with Andrew Ranger in the pole position followed by Alex Tagliani, Kevin Lacroix and American Adam Andretti. The #44 car of Adam Andretti was penalized for missing the drivers meeting and moved to the rear of the field for the race. Twenty stockcar drivers will get ready for their race in the midfield paddock and garage area at approximately 3:00pm then head out on the track for their race which is scheduled from 3:45 to 5:05pm. This is one of NASCAR Pinty's Series 13 races scheduled for 2017.

Andrew in the 27 car heads toward the tire barrier

There were 20 drivers qualifying for the Grand Prix of Toronto. Pole position went to Andrew Ranger (best time/speed 1:16.785 minutes, 82.282 mph) while Alex Tagliani and Kevin Lacroix rounded out the top three drivers for the starting lineup of the race. The race started with 10 rows of two cars, side by side, for the 35 lap race which started at 3:55 pm.
(left to right) L.P. Dumoulin, Kevin Lacroix and Adam Andretti
Champagne spray ceremony

The race was just under one hour and had three cautions. The first one was in the second lap when Car 2 contacted the wall, later Andrew Ranger and Alex Tagliani got into a bit of a dust up and Andrew's car crashed into the tire barrier in turn four. After it was all over Kevin Lacroix took the checkered flag, followed by L.P. Dumoulin and Adam Andretti. The race was 57 minutes long and the average speed was 64.604 mph.
You can also shop for a hot tub

See more photos after the jump.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday at Honda Indy Toronto 2017

It's Fan Fiday at Exhibition Place and fans are coming down to see some World class race teams as they get some practice time on the tracks and start some qualifying rounds. Entrance today is free with the sponsorshop of the Ontario Honda Dealers and you can give a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada. The Toronto race weekend is from July 14 -16.
Grandstand seating is available today without any tickets required so you can check out the sightlines. Thunder Alley, the Honda Speed Zone and Honda World are all open and you can wander all but the IndyCar Paddocks for free. Firestone Racing is in the IndyCar Paddock and they have brought over 1,200 tires to Toronto which include the primary tire with a black sidewall and the rain tire with the grey sidewall. Each car will get 6 sets of primary tires, 4 sets of alternate tires and 5 sets of rain tires. Firestone will provide a Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award for the Toronto race, in the Iowa Corn 300 Will Powers' team won with a total pit stop time of 2 minutes and 1 second.
Ryan Hunter-Reay climbs into his car
Verizon IndyCar and NASCAR Pinty's have had their first practices in the morning and later in the afternoon IndyCar will have one more series practice before concentrating on pit stops. NASCAR will have a qualifying round starting at 3:35pm. In the first Verizon practice Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud ranked top three.
Cars taking to the track today also include Indy Lights, Mx5, USF2000 and GT3 and the action on the track ends at 6:00pm today. Weather has been great so far with some showers in the afternoon forecast.

Tomorrow will have a number of races with the feature being the Grand Prix of Toronto run by the NASCAR Pinty’s Series from 3:45 to 5:05pm. If you are coming down remember to use public transportation and bring some earplugs if you get close to the track.

See more racing after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square