Tuesday, February 27, 2018

International Polar Bear Day Live with EarthCam

February 27 is a celebration of those giant northern bears that all the world loves, especially when they are little cubs. EarthCam has set up live webcams of the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in Ontario, Canada. The habitat is the only captive facility for only polar bears.

You can "visit to Henry, Ganuk and Inukshuk at The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in Ontario, Canada with EarthCam’s HD live streaming webcams. Virtually travel into their enclosures and watch live as “the boys” explore their habitat, play around in the snow and do anything and everything to make you say “aww”!" Courtesy of EarthCam.

Niagara Falls to beat the February Blahs

Winter doldrums means it is time for a break, so time for one of our favourite getaways to Niagara Falls. We grabbed a hotel package from Embassy Suites located just above the falls which came with two tickets to the Greg Frewin Magic Show, a $30 meal coupon, two breakfast buffets and two 48 hour WeGo transit passes. If the weather was warmer I would have looked for a bus tour of some of the famous Niagara Falls wineries, but we stopped at a couple on the way home anyways.
Reading the hotel reviews the lack of parking at the hotel was a major negative from a boatload of people. You show up and pay $60 a day for valet parking and if you don't want to pay that small fortune apparently there is a parking lot somewhere in the next area code that has a shuttle running to the hotel - for only half the price of the valet parking. Screw that, we parked close by for a heck of a lot less than that.

The hotel room was nice suite and had a side view of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, although you had to look through pretty dirty windows. The hotel is just beside the Niagara Incline Railway which is just $5.50 for a round trip ride and takes you right down to the falls.

We ended up going to the Keg Restaurant on the 9th floor of the hotel for an early dinner (great view of the falls) and headed over to Greg's Magic Show. This was our second trip to see his show and his show is very professional and includes a few tigers and exotic birds.

I definitely liked the WeGo public transit bus system that runs downtown and to many of the area.  tourist attractions. This is the first time that we have used the buses but I am down for using them on future trips as well. The three lines are red, blue and green and they are constantly looping through the routes every twenty or forty minutes for just $8 a day (unlimited rides).
We kept away from the wax museums on Clifton Hill but did find time to gamble at both the Niagara Falls casinos. We gambled and gambled and took home tens of dollars. To round out our visit we went to see the Bird Kingdom. See you next time Niagara Falls.

See more of the misty city after the jump.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Motorama Custom Car & Motorsports Expo 2018 coming in March

It's time for cars, cars, cars! The fourth annual celebration of cars and motorsports returns to the International Centre from March 9 to 11 with over 300,000 square feet of displays, vendors, celebrity autographs and much more. Special guest include Funny Car World Champion drag racer Ron Capps, the "Leading Lady of Automotive TV" Courtney Hansen, Drag Week Champion Jeff Lutz and Lou Santiago of Car Fix on Discovery Velocity. Motorama will also feature Modified Cars and Culture in Hall 4 which will also highlight tuners, imports, modified and luxury performance cars.
"The show features custom cars, hot rods, racing vehicles of all kinds, tuners, displays and exhibitors. Hall 1A is The Grand Hall and will feature 28 amazing mostly ‘first time shown’ custom cars, hot rods, classics and more, many of which were built with the intention of unveiling them at Motorama. Hall 1B is the Motorsports Expo room and represents the entire spectrum of Canadian racing with tracks, series, sanctioning bodies and stunning race-ready vehicles of all kinds, including stock cars and road racing, drag racing and karting vehicles. Hall 2 is a massive space that plays host to the busy Johnsonville Stage as well as the majority of the car club displays and corporate booths, including Mothers, NASCAR, MOPAR, Pinty’s, Lincoln Electric, Mobil 1, Eibach Canada, Meguiar’s and many others."
The Johnsonville Stage brings a stellar list of celebrity guests, racing stars, car builders and media for award presentations and discussion panels. Saturday is the Short Track and Drag Racing Night of Champions.

Friday, March 9: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 10: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday, March 11: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Webster Falls in winter

It felt more like spring as temperatures of plus 3C under partly cloudy skies brought many people out on the Family Day long weekend to Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. Two Niagara Escarpment waterfalls are within easy walking distance in Hamilton - Tew Falls and Webster Falls. Be careful on the paths
because they don't clear them in winter time. Temporarily suffering with bum knees I couldn't go down to the park at the top of the falls but I could check out the view from across the falls. There was a couple of brave souls that made their way down the frozen valley to the base of the falls.

"From the escarpment brow, noted for its panoramas, to the forested depths of the gorge below, the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area exhibits the physical features which have made the Niagara Escarpment one of Ontario's most spectacular geological formations. This significant natural area contains two beautiful waterfalls: Webster and Tew Falls. Webster is a magnificent tiered waterfall and Tew, which towers at 41 metres, is only a few metres shorter than Niagara Falls. Both offer spectacular vistas of the gorge."
Parking in the winter is $10 per car and from May until October 31 the cost increases with an additional fee of $5 per person.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Motorcycle Show Toronto 2018

It is hard to walk a straight line in Enercare Centre as you eye is drawn from one shiny bike to another, trying on motorcycles for fit and feel and yeah, they feel good. The Motorcycle Show Toronto is the biggest manufacturers show in Ontario and it's time to check out the new models along with accessories and riding gear. Running from Friday to Sunday, February 16-18.

"Whether you’re a hardcore rider, a newbie to the sport, thinking of getting your license or just a fan of the motorcycle lifestyle, we’ve got you covered! And with activities and entertainment for the whole family, we guarantee riders and future riders, of all ages, will have a blast! So grab your best pals and come get your fix of 2, 3 and 4-wheel action and interaction at The Motorcycle Show!"
The Yamaha Riding Academy and the Latimer/Constantini Stunt-riding and the OPP Golden Helmets demonstrations are setup in the back while out in the big hall are the motorcycles, riding clubs and vendors. The largest display areas were for Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda along with Suzuki, BMW, Indian Motorcycle, Piaggio and Ducati. Friday was She Rides Night celebrating women riders.
Air Canada had an interesting booth where they were promoting sending your bike away on a jet plane, presumably to the same place you intend to vacation.

There is plenty of parking outside ($15) or you could park underneath the Enercare Centre for a few dollars more ($18).

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Celebrate Toronto 2018

This March will see the big smoke turn 184 years old and to celebrate they will hold a birthday party down at City Hall March 3-6, 2018. The weekend festivities will run from noon to 8pm and on Monday March 5 and Tuesday March 6 from 5pm to 10:30pm. The Celebrate Toronto party will include a market, local vendors, food trucks and much more.

"Join our night skate party featuring DJ Caff, spinning a mash of funk, Motown, and Toronto based hits. Food trucks and shopping vendors will be open until 10:30pm! Skates can be rented on site. Feet too tired from dancing/skating? Join us in TD Bank's Warming Lounge to sip on some complimentary hot chocolate!"

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Dwayne Gretzky and the 2018 Toronto's Festival of #BeerLove

Winter is made for chilling the kegs of draught beer that will be served during summer's glorious celebration of the golden brew. The musical group Dwayne Gretzky will be headlining the Saturday night concert series during the upcoming July 26-29, 2018 brewhaha held at Bandshell Park in Exhibition Place.

"The legendary Saturday of Toronto's Festival of Beer is a day that everyone needs to experience," said Les Murray, President of Toronto's Festival of Beer, "Dwayne Gretzky will bring the hit songs and the energy and we'll bring a massive selection of brews and tasty culinary treats for fans to enjoy." Dwayne Gretzky is a collection of Toronto musicians that delve into nostalgia, uniting fans of all ages to sing along to the greatest hits of the last 50 years and by performing with energy and fidelity."

2018 is special because they added another day to the annual 19+ sampling event presented by the Beer Store. TFOB2018 now starts on Thursday which is good because they sell out tickets in advance of the event. 2018 Early-Bird tickets are already gone.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Formula 1 drops Grid Girls

FIA Formula One World Championship series has decided to remove the ladies who hold the signs for driver teams during the pre-race ceremonies and change to Grid Kids for 2018. This will also apply to other races during the Grands Prix weekends. Formula 1 is an open wheel, single-seat racing series that takes place mostly outside of North America and will start its current season on March 25, 2018 in Australia.
The Tilted Kilt ladies weren't Grid Girls but you could find them on Thunder Alley

Pre-race celebrations and also trophy presentations often featured ladies that added to the 'glamour and spectacle' of the race events and for many people were highlights of the off track entertainment. In Toronto we often had the Toronto Sun Grid Girls and the Budweiser Pit Crew contestants.

“Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport," said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1. While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

Certainly the use of Grid Girls is something that people may have strong opinions both for and against, I know that I would miss them if they were dropped from participating in the racing scene. They really are promotional models helping to advertise the race and its associated events.
Budweiser Pit Crew photos by Joe Hamilton

Monday, February 05, 2018

Toronto Charity Runs 2018

Walk or Run for charity in the Six. You can check some of my favourite events to photograph with Walk a Mile In Her Shoes and Colour Me Rad events.

Hair of the Dog Fun Run - promoting canoe and kayak sports (January - New Years Day)
MEC Toronto First Run 5/10K The Winter Run - (January)

St Patricks Day 5K Run - (March)

Beaches Spring Sprint - (April)
MEC Toronto Race Two 5/10/15k Waterfront Flyer - (April)
Bum Run - (April)
CF Run Walk - SickKids and POGO (April)

Goodlife Toronto Marathon - Princess Margaret Hospital (May)
Sporting Life 10k - Run for kids with cancer (May)
Toronto Women's Half Marathon - (May)
Walk of Life Walk/Run/Cycle - Cardiac Health (May)
Colour Me Rad - (May)

Becel Heart and Stroke Ride for Heart - (June), get your bicycles ready
Ride to Conquer Cancer - (June)
Gutsy Walk formerly Heel 'n' Wheel-a-thon - Crohn's and Colitis (June)
Scotiabank Rat Race - for United Way (June)
Walk Now for Autism - (June)
Mud Run - Canada's dirtiest trail run (June)
City Chase - (#1 June)
Toronto Yonge Street Waterfront 10k - (June)
Pride and Remembrance Run - LGBTQ charities (June)

Spartan Race Toronto - Obstacle course racing (July), actually in Clarington
Toronto Triathlon - With a Festival (July)
The Beaches Jazz Tune-Up Run/Walk - (July)

City Chase - (#2 August)
Mud Hero - get down, get dirty 6km adventure featuring outrageous obstacles - (August)
Toronto Women's 10k  and 5k - (August)
Tough Mudder - (August)

Tweed Ride - (fall) Hopefully they return to the streets of Toronto as well!

Terry Fox Run - Cancer (September)
Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes - Juvenile Diabetes (September)
Rexall One Walk to Conquer Cancer (September)
Longboat Toronto Island Run - Toronto's oldest (September)
Famous Canadian Beer Run and Festival - (September)
Yorkville Run - Various Charities (September)
Toronto 5k - SickKids (September)
Oasis Zoo Run - Come run with the animals (September)

CIBC Run for the Cure - Breast Cancer (October)
Toronto Women's 8k and 5k - Women set the pace (October)
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon - various charities (October)
Toronto Santa Speedo Run (December) Santa better come back in 2017 and 2018 should be good to go
The Santa Shuffle - Salvation Army (December)
And one of my favorites the Burlington Santa 5K Run (December)

There is also Polo for Heart - Heart and Stroke (June) and many golf tournaments around the city for charity so there are plenty of ways to get active or help others financially.  Run Guides provides an excellent listing of Toronto area runs.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Toronto Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 Schedule

Yorkville once again becomes fashion central during the semi-annual Toronto Fashion Week event. The 2018's fall/winter season will be shown at Yorkville Village Monday to Wednesday, February 5-7 showcase of fashion, art, music and culture. The full schedule has over 20 shows and events highlighting the best fashion and design in Canada shown on the runway or in the studio, tickets are available for purchase on their website. There is also a consumer market place open to the public in Yorkville Village where you can meet designers and shop the collections from the presenting Canadian brands.

"Each day kicks off with a live taping of the Fashion Talks™ podcast, produced in partnership with CAFA™. Join host Donna Bishop in the studio on the upper level of Yorkville Village as she chats with special guests Gersha Phillips, (Costume Designer,Star Trek: Discovery) about fashion and designing for the future, Shinan Govani(Columnist and Author) and Bojana Sentaler (Designer and Creative Director for SENTALER) about fashion and the Royals, and Luis Sequeira (Academy Award Nominated Costume Designer) and Ann Steel (Assistant Costume Designer) about fashion, costume and Guillermo del Toro’s multi-Oscar-nominated film, The Shape of Water."

Healsevent closes out Toronto Fashion Week with a fashion show featuring patients, doctors and television personalities as models. You can see Pooja Handa from CP24 Breakfast and Cynthia Mulligan of CityNews on the runway. The fourth annual Healsevent is in support of SickKids Hospital.

Here is the schedule for February's TFW and in between shows you can grab some Grey Goose Designer Cocktails and other adult beverages at the SIPBAR.

Monday, February 5

"Day one featured innovative fashion presentations by top designers including Mayer Man, Eleventy, Triarchy, UNTTLD, NARCES and Christopher Bates."
2:00 PM | Fashion Talks | Studio
Fashion and Designing for the Future with Gersha Phillips, Costume Designer Star Trek: Discovery
Instagram: @fashiontalkspodcast

4:00 PM | Mayer Man | Studio
Twitter: @therossmayer Instagram: @therossmayer

5:00 PM | Eleventy | Runway
Instagram: @eleventy_milano

5:30 PM | Eleventy Post-Show Cocktail Event (Invite Only) | Eleventy
Instagram: @eleventy_milano

6:00 PM | Triarchy | Runway
Twitter: @TriarchyDenim Instagram: @triarchy

7:00 PM | UNTTLD | Runway
Instagram: @unttld_official

7:30 PM | UNTTLD x TNT Spring/Summer ‘18 Collection Shopping Event | TNT
Twitter: @tntfashion, @reiastudio Instagram: @unttld_official, @reiastudio, @tntfashion

Narces at Toronto Fashion Week.
Photo credit: George Pimentel

"NARCES put on a show-stopper with elegant pieces that drew inspiration from the 70s and early 80s era."

8:00 PM | NARCES | Runway
Twitter: @_narces Instagram: @_narces

9:00 PM | Christopher Bates | Runway
Twitter: @CBatesMenswear Instagram: @christopher.bates.official

Tuesday, February 6

"Day two featured innovative fashion presentations by top Canadian designers Nonie, Tara Rivas, Hilary MacMillan, WRKDEPT, WIL Studios and HENDRIXROE."

2:00 PM | Fashion Talks | Studio
Fashion and the Royals with Columnist and Author, Shinan Govani and Bojana Sentaler, Designer and Creative Director
Instagram: @fashiontalkspodcast

4:00 PM | Nonie | Studio
Twitter: @houseofnonie Instagram: @houseofnonie

Designer Tara Rivas (centre) with her ‘Red Hot’ collection.
Photo credit: George Pimentel

"Inspired by true love, Tara Rivas incorporated bold red and black colours to illustrate the power and passion of love. Departing from the traditional women’s workwear, her collection combined feminine cocktail attire punctuated with striking red power suits."
5:00 PM | Tara Rivas | Studio
Twitter: @tmrcollection Instagram: @tararivas

6:00 PM | Hilary MacMillan | Runway
Twitter: @hilarymacmillan Instagram: @hilarymacmillan

7:00 PM | WRKDEPT | Studio
Twitter: @wrkdept Instagram: @wrkdept

9:00 PM | WIL Studios | Studio
Instagram: wil.studios

9:30 PM | HENDRIXROE | Runway
Twitter: @hendrixroestyle Instagram: @hendrixroe

Wednesday, February 7

"Day three featured innovative fashion presentations by top Canadian designers Mani Jassal, Pedram Karimi, Andrew Coimbra x UNCUFFED, HAYLEY ELSAESSER, S.P. Badu and fundraiser Fashion Heals."

1:00 PM | Fashion Talks | Studio
Fashion, Costume and The Shape of Water with Academy Award Nominated Costume Designer Luis Sequeira and Assistant Costume Designer Ann Steel
Instagram: @fashiontalkspodcast

Mani Jassal (centre) and her Fall/Winter 2018 collection.
Photo credit: George Pimentel

"In the RE\SET™ studio, Canadian evening and bridal wear designer, Mani Jassal unveiled a flower-filled ‘Garden of Desire’ collection. Eclectic, audacious and ethereal, her collection used traditional Indian fabrics with intricate beading and metal details in disruptively sexy silhouettes."
3:00 PM | Mani Jassal | Studio
Instagram: @manikjassal

4:00 PM | Pedram Karimi | Runway
Twitter: @pedramkarimi Instagram: @pedramkarimi_

5:00 PM | Andrew Coimbra x UNCUFFED | Studio
Twitter: @andrewcoimbra / @uncuffedleather
Instagram: @andrewcoimbra / @uncuffedleather

Twitter: @HayleyElsaesser Instagram: @HayleyElsaesser‎

S.P. Badu at Toronto Fashion Week.
Photo credit: George Pimentel

"S.P. Badu incorporated athleisure separates with urban flair for a cohesive unisex collection with an aggressive approach to minimalism that challenges gender and garment construction."
6:30 PM | S.P. Badu | Studio
Twitter: @___SPB Instagram: @spbadu

7:00 PM | Fashion Heals (Fundraiser By Invitation Only) | Runway
An inspiring runway event in support of SickKids Hospital that puts patients, medical staff, caregivers and notable personalities on the runway.
Instagram: @fashionheals4sickkids

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Toronto Motorcycle Show 2018 is coming

The long, cold winter is not half over yet so it is a good time to think about motorcycles so get ready for the new edition of the Toronto Motorcycle Show. See the new models, stunt shows and much more during the February 16-18 show at the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place.
"This celebration of the motorcycle lifestyle will be the first opportunity for Ontario’s riding enthusiasts to see the new 2018 motorcycle, ATV, side-by-side and scooter models that will be on sale at dealerships when the spring riding season rolls around. Aprilia, BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Polaris, Suzuki, Triumph, Vespa and Yamaha will all be participating at the province’s only stop on the six-city national show tour."

Over 500 bikes will be on display along with apparel, accessories and the show opens with She Rides Night of Friday, February 16. Ladies can enter to win a 2018 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS with a draw made that night. Stunt shows and the Yamaha Riding Academy for Kids along with Vintage Motorcycles and the Bike Life Lounge are just some of the features that will get you out in the cold.

The Toronto Motorcycle Show hours are Friday noon to 9pm (parking free after 5pm), Saturday 10am to 8pm and Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square