Saturday, April 20, 2019

In High Park before peak bloom

A rainy spring Saturday prior to the famous blossoming of the Sakura cherry trees is a sure way to see the park in virtual solitude. A tour of High Park shows that the cherry buds have come out to play.
Few visitors and an empty patio as Toronto waits for cherry blossoms
April showers are bringing May flowers and the round, green buds have poked out of their case and they are waiting to change to florets (12-17 days from peak bloom). When the florets grow stems and extend away from the buds, it will mean that peak bloom is about one to two weeks away. And don't blink to long when they bloom because they only last a week or two.

Keep off the bloomin' trees

The trackless train which makes eight stops throughout the park runs on weekends in April, then from May to Labour Day the train runs everyday. Cost for adults is $4.50.

Parking and travel into High Park will be banned during peak blossom time, so today was a nice change from what will surely become one of the biggest attractions in Toronto when peak bloom 2019 finally occurs. You can find more updates on my Toronto Cherry Blossoms 2019 post.

Toronto 420 Festival 2019

Rain is slowing down but not stopping the annual festival dedicated to weed which is currently underway at Woodbine Park in the Beach. Vendors and visitors started to setup around noon and the party continues until 6pm on Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Entertainment is on at the large stage and people with lawn chairs and big ass umbrellas are gathering around the stage. This year's celebration is the first time under Canada's recent legalization laws so enjoy responsibly.

And don't let the drizzle stop you.

See more photos after the jump.

Spring growth wasn't the only buds around

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Toronto Forks & Barrels festival coming soon

The #ForksandBarrels village tour is stopping in Toronto and that village has alcohol, food and entertainment! Enjoy a festival with roads like Beer Lane, Wine Avenue and Spirit Street located in one of my favourite places - Ontario Place from June 7 to June 9, 2019.

Forks & Barrels is a series of four 19+ events taking place from May into August in Kitchener, Toronto, St. Catharines and Windsor with a "focus of our festivals is sampling food and beverages in an immersive, interactive, and aesthetically pleasing experience."

Take in Foodie Central, explore Tropica's Caribbean themed section, shop the vendors in the Marketplace and enjoy entertainment in the Square all on the West Island of Ontario Place from Friday 1pm to 11pm, Saturday 11am to 11pm and Sunday from 11am to 8pm.

Forks and Barrels likes to be socially innovative with an interactive experience to allow attendees to enjoy the finer things in life. Environmental priorities include waste sorting and no single use plastics allowed. And the fun also incudes a scavenger hunt and other fun activities as well as voting on beer, cider, wine, spirit and food awards.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling 2019

It's Bottcher versus Koe at the Players' Championship Mens Final as only the two teams are on the ice in old Maple Leaf Gardens. The Pinty's Grand Slam started Thursday, April 9 with a total of 19 draws deciding the winning teams over seven days. Semi-finals were held on Saturday.
At the semi-finals
The Mens Final started at noon on Sunday, April 14 in Ryerson University Mattamy Athletic Centre, the Ladies take to the rink at 4pm later in the day.
Team Bottcher wins this Grand Slam with a final score of 5 to 1 in eight ends against Koe. Bottcher was out performing Kevin Koe throughout the game and took it handily in the final end.

Team Hasselborg from Sweden will compete against Team Einarson from Manitoba for the Ladies Final. In the 8th end the teams are tied 4-4 and are playing an extra end with Einarson's team having the hammer. Canada's Einarson wins 5-4 with Hasselborg unable to take the point.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Toronto Neon Pop-up Gallery

Orphaned neon signs are on display at Junction House - free for the weekend. The Junction location is at 2720 Dundas Street West and the hours are Friday to Sunday, April 12 to 14, 2019 from 11am to 9pm.

The temporary home is awaiting a permanent museum to host the growing exhibition.

Items include the Hard Rock Cafe sign and guitar,  a Lucky sign and a big RUDE sign.
See more neon after the jump. Posted by Ann and James

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The View From Here at Harbourfront

A sparse visual art exhibition is in Toronto's Harbourfront Centre titled The View From Here curated by Melanie Egan and on from March 9 till June 2, 2019. The most striking part of the works is the caribou antlers (Re-Dress) hanging from one wall by artist Sage Paul.
Some of the pieces look like they belong in a slow jewelry store and some would be perfect if they were housed in giant snowglobes. It is an interesting collection of completely different items so it starts to make sense that the show is based on the idea of an anti-souvenir shop. From Harbourfront's website; "one in which artists are motivated to act upon, react to or declare what they deem significant and worthwhile through the media of ceramics, jewellery, painting, furniture, and sculpture. How their ideas are defined and represented largely depends on their view from here. “Here” is a relative term; it may be a physical or psychological space, a continuum or a moment in time. Views can be deeply personal, introspective, or borne out of discrete experiences and research; and some may symbolize larger collective meaning, shaped by notions of community."
Denise Smith ceramic series On the Trail

I don't know if I would make a special trip into see the work, but if you are in the area - hey, why not.

Graffiti in the Annex

Went to a Randolph Theatre production of Mary Poppins, loved it by the way, and since we had some time to kill we walked the alleys around the Annex area of Toronto and checked out the graffiti murals. Some were a blast from the past as I remember seeing some of these during the old Zombie Walk days when the left from the pit in Trinity Bellwoods Park.

There are so many named neighbourhoods in Toronto that I have a hard time keeping them straight. Annex is north of the University of Toronto between Dupont and Bloor to the north and south, and between Bathurst and Avenue Roads to the west and east. Of course the area was also famous as the home to Honest Ed's discount store, home to tacky signs and Christmas turkey giveaways, at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst Streets. The store is gone and right now a big hole is being completed for the soon to be constructed Mirvish Village a mix of residential and retail units.
The Honest Ed's condo pit
Ed Mirvish graffiti mural

See more graffiti after the jump.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Abandoned Drive In Theatre

Pefferlaw's former cinematic entertainment hub sits empty now, no cars filling its rings of parking spots pointing towards the single, large screen. No superhero blockbuster movies play on the screen, no popcorn popping in the small concession stand.

It looks like it closed down around 2014 and the screen and building are slowly falling apart while the grass grows long in the concentric circles in the parking area. The site is located at 30944 Highway 48 in Ontario, just west of Durham Road 23.
A Google Map capture of the theatre grounds in better days

See more of the drive-in after the jump.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

FITC Technology & Creativity Conference 2019 in April

Future Innovation Technology Creativity (FITC) returns to Toronto to explore the best of design, web development, media and innovation in technologies from April 29 to May 1 at the downtown Hilton on Richmond Street West. This year's theme is Pure Imagination.
"Canada’s premiere conference attended by local and global innovators in creative technology A three-day professional celebration of the best the world has to offer in design, web development, media and innovation in creative technologies. It’s a conference that both unites and transforms the industry - assembling its major leaders and players from across North America and the world. FITC Toronto transforms the Hilton Toronto into an international mecca for the digitally creative, abuzz with creative directors from multinational ad agencies, studio heads from Canada’s most sought-after digital production companies, the world’s most surprising digital artists, and freelancers, cultural influencers and tech lovers from all walks."

It starts with the exhibitor hall which allows hands on exploration of the latest technologies and continues inside the many meeting rooms with presentations and talks from some heavy hitters in the creative and technology world and will include a few parties after the talks have finished. Additionally there are some workshops that take place on Sunday, April 28 which require separate tickets.

Hand picked experts bring their take on interesting and informative topics like 'Evil by Design' - a look at design ethics by Kit Oliynyk at Optimo, 'Mars or Bust: Learning from our Mistakes' by Bobak Ferdowsi from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and 'Simplicity is Not Simple' by David Hogue of Google who discusses how to identify and considerations to simplify products and experiences.

Spring Beerfest TO #SBFTO2019 in May

Bring on the #BeerLove suds because spring doesn't start until the taps start flowing. To help you pick out your favourite brews you can head to Fort York Garrison Common for the Victoria Day weekend May 18-19 for Spring Beerfest TO . I always say they don't call it the May Two Four weekend for nothing. Tickets going on sale April 9.
Beer, live music, games and fun with your friends. Here comes the sun. We will keep an eye out for the entertainment and brewery announcements and look forward to Spring Beerfest TO!

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Toronto Winter Garden Theatre

The historic Edwardian theatre sits atop the Elgin Theatre on Yonge Street, just across from the Eaton Centre, decorated to seem like you are sitting in a forest. The upper portion of the double-decker theatre was constructed in 1913 and shut down in 1928, closed down due to the passing of the vaudeville era until it was purchased by the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1981. In 1984 they began the restoration of the theatres which reopened in 1989.
The journey up to the theatre starts with the impressive grand staircase
Leaves and lanterns hang from the Winter Garden ceiling

From the Heritage Trust website; "The two theatres were of distinctly different personality: the Elgin was all gold leaf and rich fabrics, a formal theatre of plaster cherubs and ornate opera boxes. The Winter Garden was a botanical fantasy, its walls hand-painted to resemble a garden, its ceiling a mass of real beech boughs and twinkling lanterns. The theatres played host to such greats as George Burns and Gracie Allen, Sophie Tucker, Milton Berle and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy."
Looking back along the entrance hallway towards the doors

Even the mezzanine (balcony) has a forest

I had a chance to attend a corporate event and took the opportunity to snap some photos of the unique building. You can also tour the building on Monday and Saturdays (check their website for more info). See more photos of the theatre after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square