Saturday, September 29, 2018

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2018

On this special night the city comes alive with thousands of people seeking out the art of Nuit Blanche. Rest early because starting at 7pm on Saturday, September 29 and continuing throughout the night until 7am on Sunday, September 30... so Less Sleep, More Art. In Sight at the Drake Commissary is at top.
Hendrick's Gin Hot Air Balloon
The sleepless night features works spread out over the city so you will have decide if you will try to see as many as possible, or concentrate your adventure to a specific location. Major event centres for Nuit are at Nathan Phillips Square, Yonge Dundas Square and at the Scarborough Town Centre. Also at City Hall will be the Hendrick's Gin hot air balloon.
On Flashing Lights
(G)Listening in Cloud Gardens

And the anti-nuit blanche events continue with the les rules des refuses:
Last minute but worth the wait. The rave is happening in the bowl at trinity bellwood and around midnight is flame breathing.

My lite-bike is ready to go (see photo at top), so keep an eye out for me on the streets of Toronto and say hi if you see me. Thanks to everyone that gave my bike a shout out - it was another hit at this year's nuit. I traveled quite a bit on the bike and saw quite a few installations, trying to keep out of the Queen and Bay area due to the ginormous crowds that filled the streets until the wee hours of the morning. A light rain started falling around 4:30am and the crowds quickly dwindled.
Continuum: Pushing Toward the Light

Planned road closures in Toronto during the weekend are as follows.
Borough Drive will be closed between Brian Harrison Way and Town Centre Court from Saturday, September 29 at 8 a.m. to Sunday, September 30 at 9 a.m.
Queen Street West between Yonge Street and University Avenue, and York Street between Queen Street West and Richmond Street West will be closed starting Saturday, September 29 at 4 p.m. until Sunday, September 30 at 9 a.m.
Bay Street will be closed between Dundas Street West and Adelaide Street West, with additional closures on Temperance, Elizabeth, Albert and James Streets from Saturday, September 29 at 8 a.m. to Sunday September 30 at 11 a.m.
Kizmet32 graffiti works at In Sight

A map of the above road closures is available at

TTC – Subway Lines 1, 2 and 3 will operate an all-night schedule (1:30 to 8 a.m.) on Sunday, September 30 between selected stations. Free parking will be available at TTC commuter parking lots.
Line 1 Yonge-University service will operate between Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and Finch Station.
Line 2 Bloor-Danforth service will operate between Kipling Station and Kennedy Station.
Line 3 Scarborough service will offer free, all-night service between Kennedy Station and McCowan Station from Saturday, September 29 at 7 p.m. to Sunday, September 30 at 7 a.m.
Some cones at Built for Art at 401 Richmond St W

See more nuit after the jump.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

8-Bit Wampum Belt at the Beltway

Bentway Park under Toronto's elevated Gardiner Expressway is hosting the Wampum Belt made of circuit boards painted in a variety of colours. The large installation is by Wally Dion of the Yellow Quill First Nation and will remain in place until November 30, 2018.

The Bentway's website says of  "Dion’s latest work monumentalizes the traditional wampum belt— stringed shell beads used for commercial, ornamental, ceremonial, and diplomatic purposes — to suit the massive scale of The Bentway site. Comprised of a patchwork of circuit boards, 8-Bit Wampum’s materiality also references the city’s prospective future as a tech hub, and the similarly inevitable shifts in land value, ownership, and environmental stewardship as times change and new “digital settlements” emerge. The belt’s patterning evokes an ascending pathway as it meanders, splitting into two divergent paths before rejoining in an optimistic symbol suggesting future compromise."

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

St. James Cathedral Stained Glass

The old church on King Street East is architecturally magnificent with its high spire holding a bunch of bells but inside with the sun shining, the scenes in the windows come to life. The windows tell stories in beautiful colours while bringing in light to the cathedral.

St James sits at the corner of Church Street and King Street in downtown Toronto. The current structure replaced previous churches, many destroyed by fire, with construction starting in 1850 and the final portion of the spire, some 305 feet tall, finished in the 1870s.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Unzipped in Toronto

The Serpentine Pavilion which resembles a pixelated ziploc bag, bulging from some sort of food product and placed on the lawn in anticipation of a barbecue feast, is a contemporary architectural exhibit by Bjarke Ingels. You can find the interesting display at 533 King Street West, tucked into the backyard and behind a barrier, just look for the lineup. Entrance is free daily from 10am to 6pm and if you go to their website you can order complimentary tickets on eventbrite and go to a smaller lineup. I booked my ticket while I was in lineup and within minutes I was inside the pavilion.

From the Unzipped Toronto website; It is the "centrepiece of a new exhibit titled “Unzipped”. The temporary Pavilion made of 1802 stacked fibreglass boxes welcomed a record number of visitors during its 2016 run in London’s Hyde Park and was acquired by Westbank shortly after. The Pavilion will now be the centre piece of the new exhibition at King and Brant, which will serve as an architectural showcase by day and a destination for unique programming, dialogue and events by night. It will remain in place until the end of November 2018."

Inside are displays, photos and models to explore

Hollow fibreglass blocks are stacked and bolted together to form a shape that is like a funky tent, the openings at the ends of the tent definitely resembles a giant open zipper. Overall the exhibit is 27m long, 12m wide and 14m high.

The temporary display is on tour and will eventually end up in a permanent home in Vancouver, along the waterfront. See more of the structure after the jump.

Canada's Hundred Days

It was a free Great War living history weekend at Toronto's historic Fort York during the September 22-23, 2018 reenactment and displays showcasing Canada's contribution to World War I. The military displays also included current Canadian Forces personnel from the 32 Signals Regiment with some period communications devices, which included a lot of small mirrors. Free admission to the fort and the displays were partly funded by Veterans Affairs Canada. My favorite display was of the field hospital where nurses also had a cat with two jobs - mouser and comfort kitty.
Victory in the trenches
An ambulance returns with the wounded

The friends of Fort York said "Discover the remarkable Canadian contribution made in the final days of the First World War. Take in the martial sights and sounds of 100 years ago through military displays and real-time demonstrations of drill and tactics by accurately uniformed First World War re-enactment units. Sample authentic foods from the front line and the home front. Watch ten short films from Toronto's Great War Attic and learn about the amazing contributions made by all Canadians to what they called The War to End All Wars."
Canada's Hundred Days was named for the period from August 8 - November 11 of 1918 where the Canadian Corps successfully attacked the German army, suffering heavy casualties during the assault against the Hindenberg Line. Veterans Affairs Canada says of the fighting; "Between August 26 and September 2, in hard continuous fighting, the Canadian Corps launched a succession of attacks that broke through the German defences, including breaching the infamous Drocourt-Queant Line, in front of the Canal du Nord, part of the main Hindenburg Line. The rapid movement from the Somme caught the Germans by surprise, but nevertheless the fighting was most intense and the Canadians suffered 11,400 casualties. Currie regarded the breaching of the line as "one of the finest feats in our history.""

Canada then breached the Hindenburg Line on September 27, following the war's largest one day bombardment, crossed the canal breaching three lines of enemy defences and captured Bourlon Wood and later Cambrai and Canal de la Sensee. The long war to end all wars finally came to an end with an armistice and the Canadians helped to occupy Europe before the troops returned home in 1919.

See more of the demonstrations after the jump.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Diesel Truck Pull

The excitement in a local town fair is often found outside the blinking lights and games of chance of the midway. The dirt track is home to pulling of all kinds, from tiny garden tractors, to draft horses and to the diesel highway and 4X4 pickup trucks.
Pulling large, special purpose sleds, full of concrete blocks that move up towards the sled's front wheels, becoming heavier as the sled moves down the track, making the pull ever harder as it slowly moves forward. After a certain point the sled moves no more and sometimes the difference in pulls has the winner taking the ribbon with a difference of only a foot or two.

A pickup moves into position at the front of the sled

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ontario Fall Fairs 2018

Bright lights and loud music seem like the opposite of small town living, but when the midway rolls into town and sets up in the local park, the only question on everyone's mind is - do I really want to go faster?
The answer my friend is to crank up the music and put the pedal to the metal. The CNE came to a close on the Labour Day long weekend which officially ends summer, however Fall doesn't start until the fair comes to town. And from Acton to Woodbridge the Fall fair season lasts till mid-October.
Getting the track ready for the tractor pulls
It takes about a week for the carnies to show up, set up the rides and concessions and put on the weekend festivities, usually starting on the Friday and finishing on Sunday. On the days before the fair opens a steady stream of locals show up with crafts, cooking and hobbies to enter into the various contests, hoping to take home a ribbon and a couple bucks in prizes. Young ladies enter Miss Small Town Fair and tiny babies gurgle during baby contests.
Berry Go Round
Fun House carictures
Visitors check out the fair setup

Many small fairs also feature agricultural competitions like the horse pulls, poultry, beef and dairy cattle competitions. Otherwise, if you want nail biting excitement it is time to watch some tractor and truck pulls. These photos are from the Acton Fall Fair 2018.

See more of the midway at night and into the day after the jump.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Meaford Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival

Hundreds of scarecrows line the streets of the small town of Meaford along the southern edge of Georgian Bay between Collingwood and the Bruce Peninsula. The stuffed mannequins hang from streetlights and are propped up along the main street (Sykes Street) and down into the harbour area as part of the invasion of scarecrows which takes place from mid September to mid October.

The Meaford scarecrows started in 1996 and includes a 6pm parade on Friday, September 28 and a family festival and farmers market.

The Meaford Town Jail (the big apple) is holding Paul Newman and Robert Redford scarecrows. The 'other' big apple tourism booth is an homage to the surrounding region which produces about a quarter of Ontario's apple harvest. The booth is 15 feet in diameter and is one of Ontario's large roadside attractions. Meaford is also home to the World's largest porch swing, however it is really not accessible and frankly, not worth the trip.
Near the big apple is a bronze statue of Schubird, a scarecrow made in honour of the Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival. Someone had stolen the bird that sits on his shoulder in August of 2017. In May of 2018 they recast the bronze bird and replaced the bird on the stature.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A trip to the peninsula

Temperatures dropped more than ten degrees on the September 7-9, 2018 weekend in the Bruce Peninsula. It went from temperatures in the 30s to highs of 16 degrees Celsius and the wind picked up on Georgian Bay at the entrance to Lake Huron. Waves picking up white caps caused all the fleets of tourist boats running in Tobermory to shut down. No run to Flowerpot Island, no shipwreck cruises and definitely no kayaking in the cool blue and green waters of Georgian Bay.
Even in the now off-season, the parking in downtown Tobermory was slim pickings as tourists filled the small town, boat-less as the ships weren't running, looking through tiny shops and eating in the area restaurants. One boat did run, the stately ferry MS Chi-Cheemaun still picked up passengers and vehicles for the run between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island.
MS Chi-Cheemaun coming into the Port of Tobermory
Welcome to Sauble Beach
the fire burns down to embers

Instead we stayed in Sauble Falls Provincial Park and ventured to to the Huron coast, which was much calmer compared to Tobermory, and enjoyed the sandy stretch of Sauble Beach. Parking after Labour Day in the beach town is free now, so enjoy the beach at a cheaper cost. We parked at the northern edge of Sauble Beach, within site of the mouth of Sauble River, and pulled our kayaks to the beach, put on our pirate hats and grabbed our foam swords. The shallow waters of Lake Huron were pleasantly warm along the waters edge and we began our kayaking voyage up the river.
Sauble River leading up from the Great Lake is 3.25 kilometers to the cascading waters of Sauble Falls, which is also right beside the Provincial Park of the same name. The waters are home to several fishing birds who seem to not mind humans near them, birds like the white egret, blue heron and comorant. The kayak trip takes about an hour each way and you can play in the falls and find a bathroom along the river's edge.
Posing with the statue of Willie

The great sword battle is joined

It was a weekend of fun and exploration, wearing extra layers of clothing and huddling by the evening's fire. On the way back home we were looking for attractions to stop and check out - like Wiarton Willie (still didn't see the furry little guy yet), most were a bust like the biggest porch swing (hiding out within partial view of the road, not accessible) and we missed the tiny church, although we passed the tiniest cemetery on the way up.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square