Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Greenpeace Toronto protest against plastic

There is a growing groundswell of support to get rid of the lowly plastic straw in Canada and around the world. The United Nations has started a global campaign called CleanSeas to end marine litter and they estimate that 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans - and the straw is a good place to start. The UN hopes to eliminate micro-plastics and wasteful single-use plastic by the year 2022. Vancouver, British Columbia will ban straws in 2019 and Canada might follow suit. I know some of my family have switched over to reusable straws as they spearhead our household environmental drive and probably single-handedly saving the world.
A lot of people have heard of the floating garbage island, known as the Great Pacific Garden Patch, but I was surprised that it is the largest of the world's ocean plastic accumulation zones. The GPCP alone has a surface area of approximately 1.6 million square kilometres.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said, "It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop."
Break Free From Plastic
The non-governmental organization Greenpeace Canada came to Yonge-Dundas Square on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 with a plastic trash installation which has an 8-foot mother albatross bird feeding her baby - and that food was branded single-use plastic! Instead of picking something like people using plastic straws, Greenpeace has identified 5 of the top corporate plastic polluters identified through brand audits: "These top polluters were found to be NestlĂ©, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo., The Coca-Cola Company and McDonald’s."

“The art installation serves as a visceral reminder of who is fueling plastic pollution and what that means for marine life,” said Wanjiro Ndungu, spokesperson for the Oceans and Plastics campaign. “The sculpture specifically reflects the reality that 9 out of 10 seabirds have ingested plastic. Since the branded trash used in this sculpture was collected during cleanups, we hope the top polluters we have identified through our brand audits will start focusing on cutting their plastic footprint and realize that we’re well beyond recycling as a solution.”
"Stop trashing our future with throwaway plastic"

Greenpeace hopes that plastic-producing corporations begin to reduce and phase out single-use plastics and governments to eventually ban single-use plastics.

Monday, October 29, 2018

#RoyalHorseShow this weekend

Horse jumping and farming are coming to Toronto with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair from November 2-11, 2018 in Exhibition Place. The Royal Fair includes the Royal Horse Show with a total purse of over $950,000. All the fun starts on Friday morning with opening ceremonies and free horse show throughout the day. Fair Hours are 9am - 9pm Monday to Saturday, 9am - 8pm on Sunday, November 4 and 9am - 6pm on Sunday, November 11.

Remember that this weekend the Gardiner Expressway is closed from Friday, November 2 at 11 p.m. to Monday, November 5 at 5 a.m., between Carlaw Avenue and Highway 427-QEW, so find alternate routes to get to the show.

This weekend the Royal Horse Show features a free horse show from 8am till noon (12:30pm on Sunday), then paid entrance matinee performances from 1pm till 5:45pm (1:30pm till 6pm) and a paid entrance evening performance on Saturday from 7pm till 10:30pm. Tickets to the Horse Show includes General Admission to the Agricultural Fair. Saturday's matinee has some exciting jumpers, Clydesdale teams, Wagons, Carts and Pony Championships along with six horse hitches using Belgians, Clydesdales and Percherons. The evening double header show also includes the Canadian Show Jumping Championship Finals.

Saturday's Agricultural Fair events have a Hereford Show, the Masterfeeds National Junior Beef Heifer Show, a Dairy Goat Show and Canadian Young and Senior speeches for Agriculture. The Fair also has plenty of vendors along with ventriloquist shows, sheepherding and SuperDogs, raptors and tons of other entertainment.

Charity the Cow returns after 31 years to welcome visitors to the Enercare Centre. The 25-foot sculpture. "For close to 100 years, The Royal has been the premier place for farmers to showcase the very best breeds," says Charlie Johnstone, CEO of The Royal, "We're happy to bring Charity back to the Fair and to rekindle so many memories in the company of members of today's agricultural community."

U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle will headline the new Dressage Derby on Tuesday evening, November 6, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 2 through 11 at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, ON.
Canadian Olympian Jacqueline Brooks will retire her long-time partner, D Niro, in a moving ceremony on Tuesday evening, November 6, at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
Brittany Fraser and All In will demonstrate their musical freestyle to close out a night of Derby fun
at the 2018 Royal Horse Show. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

For foodies the Burnbrae Farms Culinary Academy will have top chefs provide cooking demonstrations daily and Jamie Kennedy will appear on Saturday, November 3rd at 7pm.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Night of Dread 2018

UPDATE: Organizers are on standby due to weather and will make announcement at 4:30pm to a) proceed, b) shorten parade or c) cancel.  "RAIN UPDATE FOR DREAD 2018: Current alternate plan: shorter parade, definitely burn our fear of the year. The rest of the format will be adjusted. PLEASE COME ON TIME. Thanks for your patience everyone." It's a GO everyone, even with the rain - see you in the park!

Only the living dread the night because the undead walk the night at Dufferin Grove Park. The Clay and Paper Theatre presents the 19th annual Night of Dread on Saturday, October 27, 2018. When the dead get restless in the park across from Dufferin Mall they head out into the streets for a big parade full of marching bands, fire spinners and giant puppets starting at 6pm and which lasts about an hour.

From Clay and Paper Theatre's website: "At this much loved, family-friendly, community event, 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." I can't wait to hear the Fear of the Year 2018.

Visitors and participants start to gather at 4pm and check out their puppet and face masks, assembling near the basketball court and very close to the Cemetery of Fears, just past the shrines in the Valley of Remembrance. They are calling for a secret presentation to be held from 5:30pm to 5:45pm and tapping toes are mentioned.
From 6pm to 7pm "We all parade around the neighbourhood with community, puppets, Night of Dread characters and outstanding musical guests, the Kensington Horns, and powerhouse Brazilian drummers Samba Elegua (Folks will know them from Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington and other live, outdoor events all around the city of Toronto.)
The Fear of the Year is put to the torch - Loss of Democracy

After the parade there is a pageant with New Model Circus Army who play with fire, which I always love, as well as some musical entertainment, Death Dancers and a bonfire. The musical guests are the Wild Man Jazz Band, Kensington Horns, Samba Elegua, Broulala and the secret presentation of course.

See more photos of the fearful evening after the jump.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Ambassador Bridge

Suspended high above the Detroit River is the Ambassador Bridge which joins Windsor, Ontario with Detroit Michigan. A big chunk of trade between Canada and the United States of America drives over this bridge which is North America's biggest border crossing.

Built in the 1920s, the steel bridge's four lanes need to be supplemented and so Canada plans to build a new bridge, to be called the Gordie Howe Bridge, and now, so do the owners of the Ambassador Bridge. There will be bridges everywhere (and don't forget about the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel). The Detroit International Bridge Company plans to twin their bridge with a six-lane structure right beside the current one, keeping the original for overflow traffic - they have bought a lot of houses on the Windsor side and boarded them up or demolished them for the bridge construction.
I thought that you couldn't get close to the bridge because of the customs aspect of the facilities, but there are streets alongside the bridge and a park at the base of the bridge on the Canadian side. Assumption Park has the Windsor Sculpture Garden. There is also a multi-use path, a jetty and a bathroom in the park.
Detroit Harbor Terminals / Boblo Island Detroit Dock Building at sunrise

The park is a great place to see the American skyline with the impressive General Motors Renaissance Centre with its complex of seven, rounded skyscrapers. You can also see some abandoned factories across the river, like the Detroit Harbour Terminals.

See more of the bridge and parkland after the jump.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Beamers Falls in Grimsby

Another Niagara Escarpment waterfall fed by Forty Mile Creek in Grimsby, Ontario lies along a side trail of the Bruce Trail with an upper and lower Beamer Falls. This cascading waterfall can be found on the web as both Beamer and Beamers Falls and is located beside Ridge Road West and there are nearby parking lots.
The top of the falls looking into the gorge

There is a path down to the base of the falls along the top of the gorge, however it is a difficult climb with steep slopes, loose rubble and muddy terrain, so be extremely careful. You can also climb up the falls but that is also very slippery.
Entering the escarpment trail off of Gibson Street
War of 1812 marker

Access to the falls can also be made from the Bruce Trail Beamer Falls side trail which can be reached from the Iroquoia Club section on Gibson Street. When you pass by the cool garage you come upon a War of 1812 memorial marker.
The climb up the escarpment is made easier by all the steps built into the path, but it is still a good workout. Think of the trip back down. 

See more of the visit after the jump.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Spencer Gorge in Fall

Tew's Falls and Webster Falls pour water over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton. Walking the Bruce Trail and various side trails is a delight in fall time, full of visitors checking out the gorge cut into the shale and limestone of the escarpment and standing on Dundas Peak (picture at top) looking over the city of Hamilton.
Tew's Falls
Tews Falls and Spencer Gorge
360 degree photo

Youtube video

The City of Hamilton's tallest waterfall is Tew's Falls at 41 metres high fed by Logie's Creek. There are two viewing platforms looking onto the ribbon waterfall located in Greensville, Ontario.

Webster Falls

Webster Falls is 22m high curtain waterfall with a large park attached to the falls. The steps to the base of the falls is closed off by fences.

The trail between the two falls are closed so you have to drive to each parking lots if you want to see both areas. The owners of the land in between the falls got tired of the people going off trail and decided to shut down the crossing. Apparently the Hamilton Conservation Area is attempting to expropriate the land so the trail can be re-established in the future. Parking is $10 per vehicle and is good for both Tew's and Webster Falls same day parking but please note that you can't park on summer weekends from May 12 to October 28. You will have to take the shuttle bus between Christie Lake Conservation Area and the park to visit the conservation area.

See more waterfalls and Spencer Gorge after the jump.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Late fall in Collingwood

Escarpment hills and the greenish-blue waters of Georgian Bay call to us in autumn and so we took our annual fall tour of the ski capital of western Ontario. It's been so long we also decided to go back to the caves of Collingwood on Sunday, October 14th.

People flying down the zip line

First of all, while you you can see splashes of bright colour scattered here and there, overall the peak fall colours are a muted, dull brown and yellow. The leaves will soon fall so get out there and enjoy nature.

The Scenic Caves Nature Adventures are open to November and have the trail of caves, caverns and crevasses, the suspension bridge, a Children's adventure playground and eco adventure tour. The mini golf, wagon rides and Thunderbird Twin Zipline (longest twin in Canada) closed October 14th, 2018. When we went last year the trails were closed due to rock fall, that seems to be fixed now. The caves are in the rocks of the Niagara Escarpment, limestone and shale hollowed out by weathering and erosion and the trail winds up the face of the mini-mountain. Admission is about $25 per person which only includes the nature trails, caves and suspension bridge. All else is extra.

Hanging 25m above the forest floor and swinging 126m long, the bridge wobbles as you walk and provides a great view of Georgian Bay and Collingwood.

Nature trails take you on a self-guided tour of 17 features including such holes in the ground as the Ice Cave, Fat Man's Misery, Fern Cave and Bear Cave plus a number of lookouts, cool caverns and a rock outcroping that resembles a Native Chief's head.
Then we drove the half kilometre journey to the top of the Blue Mountain ski lift and rode the last day of gondolas down the slope to the village. As we spent so much time in the crevasses we could only spend about a quarter hour at the bottom before we had to get back up. So after a quick dinner back up the hill, round trip for two only $37, we began our journey back to the Toronto area.

See more of fall after the jump.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

2018 Royal Horse Show and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair coming soon

The 96th annual Royal returns to Toronto with exciting horse jumping and a celebration of farming with the world's largest indoor agricultural and equestrian event. Exhibition Place hosts the family friendly winter fair from November 2 to 11 and includes entertainment like food & lifestyle programs, craft beer & cider awards, country music culinary festival, rodeo and animal theatre with Superdogs. When you buy tickets to the Royal Horse Show you also get general admission to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Superdogs thrill the audience
In the Fair's Animal Theatre ring

Fans of horses, and I mean who isn't, can take in top Canadian and international horse jumpers with world class, big money competitions such as the Canadian Show Jumping Championship, the Jolera International Welcome, the GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ International Challenge and the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Toronto. Almost a million dollars is available in prize money and over 1,000 horses from around the world will be competing at this year's Royal.

“The Royal Horse Show is a pivotal part of the overall Royal Agricultural Winter Fair experience and we are proud to have of the world’s most talented athletes, both human and horse, join us in Toronto,” said Charlie Johnstone, CEO of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “We work tirelessly year-round to improve the Royal Horse Show experience and have again raised the bar by offering increased prize money and a new schedule to truly showcase the best of the best for our loyal audience.”
Kent Farrington of the United States will return to the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, to defend his title in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto presented by GroupBy. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Australia’s Guy McLean will showcase his unique form of natural horsemanship throughout the 10-day Royal Horse Show running November 2 to 11 in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Monday, October 15, 2018

Fall visit to Centre Island

The fashion of the day appeared to be winter coats and mittens because it was cold and the sun wasn't always cooperating. Still there were quite a few visitors to the Toronto islands wandering the paths and checking out Centreville amusement park, now closed for the winter, and explore the other islands - Ward's Island, Olympic Island, Algonquin Island and Snake Island.
Timelapse video of ferry ride back to Toronto, video by Ann Hamilton

You can bring bikes over on the ferries, which run a fall schedule until October 23rd, 2018, so we biked around which is far superior to just plain walking. Besides the closed amusement park you could only find some tiny horses at Far Enough Farms, all the other animals have been moved.
We also saw the shipwreck on Hanlan's Point clothing optional beach.

See more of Centre Island after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square