Thursday, November 29, 2018

CP Holiday Train in Toronto

Canadian Pacific Railways has two Christmas season holiday trains running through Canada and the United States bringing joy and musical entertainment to the stops throughout both countries. Each train car is covered in bright LEDs displaying Christmas scenes and the concert is held in one of the cars near the middle of the train.
Pulling into the station
"The U.S. Train departs Montreal on November 25 travelling south with stops in Quebec, New York and Southern Ontario before continuing it's journey through the U.S. and into southern Saskatchewan for its final stop in Weyburn, Saskatchewan on Dec. 16. The Canadian Train departs Montreal on November 27 travelling west through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia for it's final show of the 2018 CP Holiday Train tour in Port Coquitlam on December 18."
The concert car
Attendance at the train stops are free and local food banks are there to accept donations for the less fortunate during the holiday season. On Thursday, November 29 the train pulled into the Lambton Yard Office at 750 Runnymede Road at 8:15pm with the half hour concert starting at 8:30pm featuring Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott.
See more of the light show after the jump.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Holly jolly Christmas season in Toronto

Decorations are going up all around the city in anticipation of Santa's special night and the winter festivals have started. The Toronto Eaton Centre has the giant deer installations along with the humongous Christmas Tree and across the street Hudson's Bay/Saks off 5th Avenue Christmas windows are on display while the Snowflake installation is back at Brookfield Place. The Santa Claus Parade was on November 18 so Santa is free to boss around the elves during the peak of toy making season.
Nathan Phillips Square lights and Christmas Tree

In addition to the 2018 Distillery District Christmas Market November 15 to December 23, there is the new Aurora Winter Festival in Ontario Place November 29 to December 30. Also returning is the Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square December 1 to 23. Some other winter festivals are a Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle (Castle Loma) December 1 (start of daytime programming) and December 17 (start of evening programming) to December 23, Evergreen's Winter Village December 1 to 31.
Hudson's Bay Xmas windows
Brookfield Place decorations

The Winter Solstice celebration in Kensington Market features their amazing parade and burning ceremony on December 21. Here is the 2012 solstice celebration.

See more of the Christmas season after the jump.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Cavalcade of Lights 2018

Bring on the fireworks because winter is coming and that means cold, cold and more cold. Great Gulf presents the annual Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday, November 24th starting at 6pm and winding down at 10pm.

Skating is on at the rink
Tanaka is rocking the house 

This is the also the night for the first lighting of the humongous and official Toronto Christmas tree, DJ skating parties and entertainment from Illuminair.

The light rain is supposed to end around 8pm and the temperatures above freezing are welcome from previous years. Actually it never really stopped raining - darn you weather person. One difference for 2018 is that they have closed off the elevated walkway.

The detailed event schedule and road closures from the City of Toronto is as follows:
6 p.m. – A skating party with DJ Sean Sax, sponsored by Tim Hortons, spinning hip hop and funk classics. This veteran DJ has been a prominent figure in Toronto's Black music scene for over 25 years.
6:50 p.m. – Tanika Charles, Polaris Music Prize and 2017 Juno R&B/Soul Recording of the Year-nominee, a staple in the Canadian soul scene, will take the stage.
7:40 p.m. – Tami Neilson, known for her powerhouse vocals and soulful voice straight from the golden age of country and rockabilly music, will perform.
8:25 p.m. – Illuminair, Toronto's acclaimed circus company, with provide breathtaking entertainment using fire and light.
8:35 pm – Fireworks display.
8:40 p.m. – Kobo Town, Toronto favourites and 2018 Juno Award World Music Album of the Year-winner presents their distinct calypso-inspired sound mixed with dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass, sponsored by Great Gulf.
9:40 p.m. – A skating party with DJ Dre Ngozi, sponsored by Tim Hortons. Dre Ngozi's work is fueled by a mash-up of sounds, a true reflection of her nomadic spirit.

Public transportation is encouraged due to road closures and the large volume of visitors that attend Cavalcade of Lights. The following streets will be closed from 4 to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 24:
Elizabeth Street from Foster Place to Hagerman Street
Hagerman Street from Elizabeth Street to Bay Street
Bay Street from Dundas Street West to Richmond Street West
Queen Street from Yonge Street to University Avenue
York Street from Queen Street West to Richmond Street West
Albert Street from James Street to Bay Street

Sunday, November 18, 2018

It's the season of Santa

Ho Ho Ho it's time for the buildup to Christmas and what better way than watching a Santa Claus parade, man that guy is busy but he still takes time to visit with all the good little boys and girls. Toronto's Santa Claus Parade is on Sunday, November 18, 2018.
The 114th annual parade leaves Christie Pits at 12:30pm and takes 2.5 hours just to pass a single point - from the start of the parade to Santa's sleigh. The route follows along Bloor, University Avenue, Wellington, Yonge and Front Street before finally ending at the St. Lawrence Market. You can also follow the same route by joining the Holly Jolly Fun Run (The World's Most Festive 5K)

Here are the City of Toronto road closures for the festive events.

Santa Claus Parade
This event will involve full and rolling road closures on Sunday, November 18 from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
• Bloor Street West from Ossington Avenue to Queen's Park
• Queen's Park/Queen's Park Crescent/University Avenue to Wellington Street West
• Wellington Street West from University Avenue to Yonge Street
• Yonge Street from Wellington Street to Front Street
• Front Street from Yonge Street to Jarvis Street
• Lower Jarvis Street from Front Street East to Lake Shore Boulevard East

In addition, parade-related curb lane closures will occur on Sunday at the following locations and times:
• Front Street East from Jarvis Street to Sherbourne Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Queens Quay East from Lower Jarvis Street to Parliament Street from 2 to 6 p.m.
• Lower Jarvis Street northbound curb lane and laybys from 1 to 6 p.m.

The Holly Jolly Fun Run
This event will precede the Santa Claus parade and follow the same route, with the following additional closures on Sunday, November 18 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
• Bremner Boulevard will be closed from York Street to Lake Shore Boulevard West
• York Street southbound from University Avenue to Bremner Boulevard.
Acton Fire Department

The Red Harp Pub

In small town Acton, Ontario we had our Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, November 17. This post includes some pictures of Acton's parade.
Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette
Acton Sobeys organized a charity food drive and picked up food donations during the parade

See more of Acton's parade after the jump.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Mystery LEGO Mural at Union Station

I always new I was artistic so I was pleased that LEGO Canada has given us a chance to assist in creating the "largest mystery mural ever created in the Western Hemisphere!" Although that is a pretty random block on the planet earth - I mean are we going to just allow the Eastern Hemisphere to kick out ass?

Can you see what it is? First day of the mural build

And the Lego mural is done and on display in Nathan Phillips Square.
December 3, 2018 at City Hall

Update: November 28, 2018: The mural is almost complete. Besides some blocks here and there which haven't been placed, the centerpiece is the only main thing missing now.
Update: November 23, 2018: The scene continues to unfold as the lego blocks are placed on the mural. It could be a typical day at Union Station during the morning rush hour - some people are animals.
Update: November 19, 2018. GO Transit and Trains are the centrepiece of the mural, surrounded by animals

See more of the Lego story after the jump.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Life is Food at the Royal Winter Fair

And Food is Life at Burnbrae Farms Culinary Academy which brings top Chefs to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto's annual agricultural and equine fair. On Saturday, November 10, 2018 we learn from Chef Elia Herrera, Executive Chef at Los Colibris as we cook turkey stuffed roasted poblano pepper. The cooking is usually done in pairs, but you can go it alone if need be.

Our prep areas at the Burnbrae Culinary Academy
Our culinary teacher and her helpful host
Chef Elia Herrera with Ann
Taking part in a cooking lesson from dedicated professionals is highly recommended and we really enjoyed it. It was also easy to follow along as they provided all the ingredients, ready to go. As part of the ticket price we also got to keep our apron and also took home a bag to hold our free spice and almanac. Plus we got to eat our creation! Chef Elia was born in Cordoba, Veracruz-Mexico and came to Canada in 2003 and on Saturday, November 10 she joined Eden Hagos, Craig Harding and Rob Gentile in providing the classes at the Royal.
You can tell it is a fair because there are candy apples and cotton candy

The annual Royal Fair and Royal Horse Show started November 2, 2018 and continues until November 11 in Exhibition Place at the Enercare Centre, Coca-Cola Arena and in the Horse Palace. The event is very family friendly and there is always so much going on that coming back to the show a couple times is a great option when looking for things to do in Toronto.
No go the first time
The team masters the jump on the second try

At the Horse Show Saturday's matinee included a dog and pony challenge and the U-25 Jumper Stake and Championship while Saturday night featured the Longines FEI World Cup Toronto. Sunday will have the Ontario Toyota Dealers Royal Rodeo starting at 1pm. When you see the horse jumping you see how much the jumping team and the crowd really become invested in the progress of the team. They take it hard when a horse hits a jump and knocks down a beam, or in some cases when the horse doesn't want to do the jump and almost sends the rider flying.

See more of the fair after the jump.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Bluenose II to lead the 2019 Tall Ships Challenge Ontario Tour

A fleet of large sailing ships will return to Toronto during the Ontario portion of the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lake Series. In 1937 Canada started using the original Bluenose on the Canadian dime, so if you want to see the new Bluenose, just look at a dime. The fleet is taking part in the Great Lake Series which stops in both America and Canada with five stops in Ontario (Toronto, Midland, Sarnia, Town of Kingsville and Brockville). Photo at top provided.
The tall ships will be part of the Redpath Waterfront Festival during the Canada Day Weekend - June 29 to July 1, 2019. "Toronto's waterfront will be transformed into a nautical wonderland with a fleet of tall ships docked from Harbour Square Park to HTO Park West. In Toronto, the Bluenose II will be joined by Picton Castle, a tall ship that has travelled the world and also calls Lunenburg, N.S, home. The 179-foot, three-masted vessel is currently on her way to Bali, Indonesia on her seventh voyage around the globe. Other tall ships in the tour include U.S. Brig Niagara, Pride of Baltimore II, Denis Sullivan, Fair Jeanne, Playfair and St. Lawrence II." We have seen the Tall Ships Challenge a few times in Toronto including in the years 20162013, 2010

Also appearing during the festival will be the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. All ships will be open to the public for paid deck tours and you can also check out on-shore festivities which include live entertainment, vendors and food. This is the festival that had the giant rubber ducky and the giant beach ball pendulum installation.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Carly Rae Jepsen unveils 2018 Holiday Windows

Toronto's annual Christmas tradition of coming downtown to see the Hudson's Bay holiday windows started over the past weekend with Carly Rae Jepsen and Johhny Orlando unveiling the Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue displays with Hudson's Bay President Alison Coville. This is the third display by both the Bay and Saks and featured a concert by MC'd by Lainey Lui and headlined by Carly Rae and Johnny. Photo at top: Carly Rae Jepsen on-stage outside Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue to kick off the holiday window unveiling. Photo credit: George Pimentel Photography.

"The talented songstress delighted the crowd with four songs, including the classic holiday tunes Last Christmas and Let It Snow, along with her pop anthem, Call Me Maybe and Cut to the Feeling to an excited crowd that spilled onto the streets on Queen between Yonge and Bay streets outside of the Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue flagship stores. Canada’s next big music export, Johnny Orlando, charmed the crowd with three songs, including his smash hits,What If and Last Summer and holiday favourite, Mistletoe."

The event is always attracts thousands of visitors and Queen Street West was closed from Bay to Yonge Street from 10am to 10pm to allow for the event. FAO Schwarz also brought their famous Dance-On Piano for the post concert attractions along with a milk and cookie bar within Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue. Santa Claus also found time to attend the celebration. Hudson's Bay is North America's oldest company and they continue to serve the community and their shopping needs, joined by Saks Fifth Avenue "one of the world’s pre-eminent specialty retailers, is renowned for its superlative American and international designer collections."
Johnny Orlando opened the Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue third annual holiday window unveiling event in front of the flagship stores. Photo credit: George Pimentel Photography
Carly Rae Jepsen in front of Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue's iconic holiday windows. Photo credit: George Pimentel Photography

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square