Monday, October 30, 2017

Salmon run in Lowville Park

Autumn's cold temperatures sends spawning salmon upstream from Lake Ontario into the rivers that flow throughout the GTA. In Lowville, which is part of north Burlington, the Bronte Creek flows through the area and crosses Guelph Line. Hard work by various parties like Trout Unlimited have helped to restock the river with fish and to remake the river bed to make it easier for the fish to battle their way upstream.
The fall run of Pacific Salmon (Chinook and Coho) typically happens between mid-August and November, peaking in mid-October, when the water flow increases and the temperatures start dropping to 14 degrees Celsius or less. The change in temperatures from the warm summer waters to cold waters foretelling the coming of winter. The fish swim against the current where they plan to lay their eggs in the gravel beds known as redd, resting in deeper pool areas during the hard run against the current and hiding from predators.
Salmon in the shallow rivers are no small creatures, Chinook can be more that three feet and get to be 25 lbs or more. The normal silver colouring of the salmon turns almost black during spawning season. Apparently most of the chinook salmon are 3 - 4 years old when they begin their journey to lay eggs at the same place they were born and only make the trip once, dying during the run or soon afterwards.
To make an adequate habitat for fish the river needs to have a combination of riffles, pools and runs. Riffles are areas of fast flow around rocks which cause a wavy and disturbed surface. Pools and deeper areas like those found at the outside of a bend while runs are smooth, slower moving parts of the creek. Salmon can make the difficult climb against the rushing water and even jump over large waterfalls, swimming thousands of kilometres as necessary to reach their spawning grounds.
Plus it was a good excuse to look for some more fall colours. See more foliage after the jump.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Clay and Paper Theatre and the Night of Dread

People dressed in black, white and dreadful for the 18th annual masquerade and parade which started in Dufferin Grove Park on Saturday, October 28, 2017. All manner of scary and delightful characters roamed the grounds of the park getting ready for the family-friendly community event which provides a warmup for kids to the upcoming Halloween candy fest. The event is free with requests for donations from the volunteers.

After gathering together in the park starting at 4pm, the parade heads out onto the streets of Toronto from 6 to 7 pm, then later there is more events until 9 pm. You can buy some masks on site, volunteer to wear masks and puppets or just watch the towering puppets, ghostly figures and wispy white umbrella people.

"Torontonians are invited to call on, mock and banish their private and collective fears through parade and pageantry, music and masquerade, dance and a devilishly good party." The event happens in the park just across from the Dufferin Mall. The parade starts from the Gladstone Avenue entrance to the park and circles clockwise along Bloor Street West, Concorde Avenue, College Street and Havelock Street back into the park.

See more photos after the jump.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Yay! The Toronto Santa Speedo Run will return

Santa likes to work off the pre-holiday calories with a little jog around his favourite neighbourhood - Yorkville, wearing a bright red swim suit. He was too busy last year, but this year is a go and organizer Matt Freeman has it scheduled for Saturday, December 9, 2017.
The details have yet to be finalized so check the Speedo Run facebook page for updates. Typically they start to show up at Hemingway's in Yorkville around noon, sign up, get into speedos and head out onto the streets for photo ops around 1pm. The running usually starts around 1:30pm.

Funds from the run are raised for the Toy & Games Fund at Sick Kids Hospital and they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the kids.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Toronto Cavalcade of Lights Nov 25

The long process to put up thousands of lights over Nathan Phillips Square has already started. A matched set of manlifts is in the reflecting pond and stars and nets full of lights are being placed on the arches. This year's free celebration will happen Saturday, November 25, 2017.
It is an annual holiday tradition that fills City Hall with tens of thousands of people taking in the lighting of the official Christmas Tree along with skating parties, live entertainment and some breathtaking fireworks.
"The focal point of the annual Cavalcade of Lights celebration is the lighting of Toronto's official Christmas tree. For 2016, the tree was a white spruce selected a year in advance from the Bancroft, Ontario area. Approximately 18-metres (60-feet) tall and featuring close to 700 individual ornaments and 3,810 metres of energy efficient lights (525,000 lights), the 2016 tree lit up Nathan Phillips Square through to New Year's Eve."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A blah Fall

It was the best of fall, it was the worst of fall. The warm temperatures are a great present to Ontario but they have held back the brilliant colours usually found in Autumn. The muted forest colours, mostly yellow, blend in with the dying, brown leaves as they float to the ground.
We had a cool, wet summer, then in September the warmth returned to the lands and rain held off for a period that is now impacting the trees. The hot dry spell means that the chlorophyll production hasn't slowed down as much as usual and the bright red colours found in trees like the sugar maple aren't required to protect the leaves against the bright light. You can still see trees full of green leaves.
A normal fall with a decent amount of precipitation will have sunny days and cold nights. So you have to ask yourself - do you want an unusually warm Autumn or bright, colourful vistas.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trashion in Toronto

Reduce, reuse and recycle with new fashion trends which were displayed in the main lobby of First Canadian Place. The clothes were designed as part of installation for Waste Reduction Week and made from unwanted materials re-purposed into fashion statements to show the potential uses for waste. Combining Trash and Fashion into an artistic statement to promote waste reduction.

Mannequins in the lobby were placed on a pallet runway with posters providing additional information on the clothes. My favourite piece was the cardboard dress but several items were made from newspapers and plastics by designer/artist Michelle Sin who is a student at the University of Waterloo. "In nature, there is no such thing as waste. Everything that is "waste" is an input for another part of a cycle. So let's REDEFINE WASTE AS A RESOURCE and change our DISPOSABLE CULTURE into an INNOVATION CULTURE. Think twice before throwing something away because in reality, there is no "away"."

The exhibit is part of the October 16-20, 2017 Waste Reduction Week and will only be on display from October 17-19.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Coldwater Witches Walk

Something stirs in the night as the small town of Coldwater welcomes women with special powers and broomsticks during the annual Witches Walk. The "spooktacular event" sees the main street closed down to vehicular traffic so that the witches can gather together and visit the stores and businesses that stay open late on Wednesday, October 18.
During the walk most of the stores offer special bargains, tricks or treats for the ladies that take part in the social event which also includes wine tasting and a costume competition. The night starts at 6pm and the fun continues until 9pm and the organizers ask that children not take part - apparently it started as a way to get a small break from the children, plus the scary costumes could scare young kids.
There is a cauldron and a bonfire to keep the ladies warm against the chill of October's fall weather while they listen to live musical entertainment. Donations to the local food bank are a way for the witches to pay back the generosity of the town.

Posted by Ann Hamilton. See more after the jump.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Port Dover Friday the 13th October 2017

It's a little warmer since the last Friday the 13th motorcycle rally held in January so the crowds are expected to be bigly, or hugely, or whatever the new term this time around. Parties have already started ahead of the famous Friday (#63 since 1981) and the Molson Main Stage tent is heated and ready for more entertainment. Flash Johnson will open on Friday at 11am and the free, live entertainment will continue until Back in Black the AC/DC Tribute band goes on stage at 10:20pm and finishes off the night. Find a beer tent, walk the streets looking at the bikes and have fun in the Lake Erie Port town. Don't forget to buy your Friday the 13th patch.
A beautiful biker sits on the Steampunk Ratbike
Roads into town are closed for non-residents in cars so go to the parking lots and take a shuttle into Port Dover for only $10 per person. The lots are on St John's Road when coming from Hamilton and on Highway 6 when coming from the west and their will be plenty of signage so you won't get lost. Just remember where they drop you off, you will need to get on the same shuttle route to get back to your car. Shuttles will run from 8am Friday to 4am Saturday. Police had anticipated that 80,000 people would converge in Port Dover for the famous rally known as biker day.
Bikes along the street early in the morning
By noon the streets are almost full

Port Dover Friday the 13th
A 360 degree photo at Walker and Main Streets (Highway 6)

I am in town early and at 9:30am the weather is cloudy, windy and cool. Bikes are starting to fill the roads and you can walk on the sidewalks still. Right now the leathers are being put to good use as people check out the motorcycles and wait for the many beer tents to open.
Next year will have two motorcycle rallies: number 64 on Friday, April 13 and number 65 on Friday, July 13, 2018. See more photos after the jump.

Pirate Life in Toronto

A galleon armed to the teeth and flying the skull and crossbones flag cruised the inner harbour blasting streams of water from canons mounted along the edge of the ship. The brigantine was decked out with swivel guns that could be brought to bear on multiple targets and the crew manning the galley put the weapons to good use. I saw them as the slipped into the pier along Sugar Beach.
The crew were apparently searching for sunken treasure on the adventure cruise with a short timeline in September and October. Like dinner theatre without the dinner the pirates dressed in costume, had tattoos and pirate names and fired away while shouting arrrgh.
It was the first time I saw the ship and its scurvy crew in Lake Ontario and I was happy that they didn't try to attack me. Our waterfront has some other great attractions and ships to sail in so I always like to bike along Queen's Quay.

See more of lakefront after the jump.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Edgy Veg cookbook launch

Author Candice Hutchings brings here talent in the kitchen to the public with the release of 'The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes'. Candice and her husband James Aita, photo at top, host the Youtube edgyveg channel where they suggest that you make it vegan and with over 11 million views and 250,000 subscribers many people heartily agree with their recipes choices.
"The Edgy Veg is a delicious vegan and vegetarian movement catering to the forward-thinking meal-creators of the often-boring veg community. It is a channel on a journey to revolutionize the food we define as “vegan”. Instead of salads and smoothies, Candice & James choose to re-purpose familiar favorites, by recreating childhood cravings for an audience with sophisticated palettes and food-nerd obsessions. Decadent desserts, trendy dishes, and fast food favourites-- nothing is off-limits and everything is vegan. Every recipe can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike–they’re Carnivore Approved!" You can find a link to buy the cookbook on their YouTube channel.
Vegan desert samples
Having fun in the YouTube Space Toronto

On October 11, 2017 in the YouTube Space Toronto, Candice and James launched her cookbook with incredible samples from her book like Veggs Benny, Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and the Thank You Very Matcha Ice Cream. They were delicious!
Guests pose in front of the YouTube Space background

See more photos after the jump.

Kim's Convenience

Biking around Toronto during Nuit Blanche I came across the storefront for Kim's Convenience which is a CBC comedy show currently in its second season. Starring Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Appa, Jean Yoon as Umma, Simu Liu as Jung, Andrea Bang as Janet and Andrew Phung as Kimchee, the show has Appa and Umma running a convenience store in the Moss Park Area.
"KIM'S CONVENIENCE is the funny, heartfelt story of the Kims, a Korean-Canadian family, running a convenience store in downtown Toronto. Mr. and Mrs. Kim ('Appa' and 'Umma') immigrated to Toronto in the 80's to set up shop near Regent Park and had two kids, Jung and Janet who are now young adults. However, when Jung was 16, he and Appa had a major falling out involving a physical fight, stolen money and Jung leaving home. Father and son have been estranged since. Now, Appa and Umma run the store along with Janet who is studying photography at art school. Meanwhile Jung, who secretly stays in contact with Umma and Janet, is trying to turn his life around and recently landed a job at a car rental agency. The world of KIM'S CONVENIENCE is real, colourful and urban - a diverse landscape of people and places and at the heart is the Kim family and their store. While the family continues to work and live, finding humour in the everyday tasks of running the store, they long for the day when the rift between Appa and Jung is mended and the family is whole once again."

The Kim's signs are up at 252 Queen Street East, home of Mimi Variety which is an actual convenience store. The show changed the signage for the TV show and the owners have not put back the original signs, probably because a lot of fans stop by for photos and shopping. I looked inside and the interior doesn't look like the store in the show.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square