Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Stadium Super Trucks coming back to Honda Indy Toronto 2019

Robby Gordon's Stadium Super Trucks have been added to the on-track action at this years weekend of races in Exhibition Place. When these trucks jump, they really jump. It only takes a short time to set up the ramps along the track ahead of the races then the trucks barrel around the track, every now and then they go airborne and come crashing down to the pavement.
“Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks are a spectacular and popular feature that we are thrilled to add back on the schedule for the first time since 2016!” said Jeff Atkinson, Honda Indy Toronto President. “On and off track, this annual summer Toronto tradition has so much to experience for festival-goers of all ages. A variety of single-day and weekend ticket options and unique packages at varying price points help make the event accessible to all.”

You can also buy single day tickets for the 33rd annual Honda Indy Toronto starting May 30th. The race weekend is July 12-14, 2019. And Fan Friday is also back, courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association, where admission is free with a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada.
"Ticket prices remain unchanged for the second year in a row to the Honda Indy Toronto. 2-Day Grandstand and General Admission are available now offering the best weekend value with access to the best seats. Pricing starts at $85 for 2-Day Grandstand seating, and 2-Day Weekend General Admission is $55. Single Day General Admission is $40 and $70 for reserved Single Day Grandstand seating. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult providing an exceptional family value."

Monday, May 27, 2019

Osgoode Hall peak bloom

I thought the cold, wet spring had cancelled the crab-apple blossoms in their idyllic setting at Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West, but no, they were just a little delayed and last week they went into peak bloom. The beautiful pink flowers are in the front courtyard of the historic property along the cobblestone path and visitors are taking advantage of the little piece of heaven and enjoying the beauty of the site.

The heritage building's front facade dates from 1860 and provides a great backdrop for the trees that have returned to life now that winter has ended.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Spring cleanup on the Don Valley Parkway

One of Toronto's main traffic arteries is closed for a quick wash and other assorted maintenance activities, much like how we clean out our garages after the snow melts. The two day closure was turned into one day because of that dreadful rain that we had on Saturday. The full closure from the Gardiner Expressway to Highway 401 is now only 29 hours, ending at 5am on Monday, May 27th.

Necessary pavement resurfacing work will have to be pushed from this occasion to another day, probably when stuff like the Blue Jays games, Doors Open and other such events will push the traffic into the city, slowly, very slowly due to closed highways and work on other arterial roads within Toronto. The average daily travel count on the DVP is an amazing 135,000 vehicles and they are almost always stopped in front of me.

Approximately 135,000 (weekday average) vehicles travel daily on the Don Valley Parkway.

The City says; "A full closure of the Don Valley Parkway, even for just one day, is an important and safe way that City road crews, engineers and other stakeholders, such as Toronto Hydro and Metrolinx, make improvements and keep the roadway in good repair. Traffic signal timing changes will be in effect to enhance traffic flow on nearby routes and mitigate traffic congestion associated with the expressway's closure."

Statistics on work completed during the one-day closure (numbers approximate):
• 5.5 "lane kilometres" of road resurfaced using 2,551 tonnes of asphalt
• 234 square metres of permanent pothole repairs completed using 59.4 tonnes of asphalt
• 1,535 metres of cracks filled
• 379 metres of guiderail repaired
• 153,507 metres of lines painted
• 160 kilometres of roadway swept
• 153.6 tonnes of debris removed
• 21 tonnes of litter collected
• 541 catch basins cleaned and flushed
• 11 culverts flushed
• 244 overhead signs, inspected, maintained or repaired
• Eight crash-cushion systems repaired
• 15 bridges inspected
• 260 street lights re-lamped, 46 street lights repaired, and one tall mastpole repaired
• 94 trees pruned

Woofstock 2019

Puppys and pooches played fetch and sniffed some butt at the 16th annual Woofstock dog festival located in the Beach. The largest festival for dogs was in Woodbine Park May 25 and 26 and the cost for entrance to the event was $17.
I passed by the event and yelled fetch.
From the Woofstock festival; "Woofstock was the first festival to allow people to celebrate their dogs, indulge them, party with them and let them show off their special talents in fun and wacky contests and fashion shows. Woofstock is world famous, drawing Exhibitors and Attendees from all over North America. There isn’t a toy, fashion line, accessory, type of treat or exclusive service for Dogs that you can’t find at Woofstock." 

Cosplay at Anime North 2019

Today is the last day of Canada's biggest anime convention. The annual fan run event takes place at the Toronto Congress Centre on Dixon Road from May 24 - 26, 2019. Associated events are also on at the Delta Airport Hotel and the Sheraton Toronto

Tens of thousands of anime fans attend the convention to dress in cosplay, check out the vendors and comics and watch the masquerade and costumes. The attention to detail and variety of cosplay is truly amazing.

Convention Hours

Friday: 5 PM – 1 AM
Saturday: 10 AM – 1 AM
Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

See more cosplay after the jump.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Up Schitt's Creek way

It was a rainy Saturday when we decided to do a #SchittsCreek tour. The Canadian half-hour, single camera comedy series on CBC is about broke billionaire Johnny Rose and his family relocated to the small town of Schitt's Creek, the only asset that they still own, hoping to rebuild their life. Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy are famous in Canada from the sketch comedy series SCTV which ran from 1976 to 1984, Dan Levy is Eugene's son and his daughter Sarah also appears in the show. Schitt's Creek was created by Eugene and Dan Levy whom also are part of the executive director team. CBC's promotional photo for season 5 at top. Sadly, we did not see any of the cast during our tourism adventure but still, it was a good day trip on the road.
The Rosebud Hotel, formerly known as the Schitt's Creek Hotel at 308385 Hockley Road in Mono. The site also appeared in another Canadian television series - Umbrella Academy
Starring Emmy winners Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Chris Elliott and joined by Dan Levy, Annie Murphy and Emily Hampshire, the series is now in its fifth season and Ann and I love the show. We found that most of the outside set is located in the Ontario town of Goodwood (Uxbridge), northwest of Toronto, while the hotel is in Mono, just outside of Orangeville, north of Toronto (just over an hour west of Goodwood). Interior shots are filmed in studios in Toronto while the location filming was used just for the exterior shots.
Schitt's Creek town hall is also Goodwood's town hall, built in 1875 in Uxbridge (4289 Front Street)
Moira Rose (Catherine O'Hara) is a town councillor in Schitt's Creek
"CBC and Not A Real Company Productions Inc. announced today a 13-episode order of Schitt’s Creek, a new original half-hour comedy series. Emmy winners® Eugene Levy (American Pie, Best In Show, SCTV), Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone, Best In Show, SCTV) and Chris Elliott (How I Met Your Mother, Late Night With David Letterman, There’s Something About Mary) star alongside Canadian television personality Dan Levy (Admission, MTV’s The After Show). When video store billionaire Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy), his soap star wife Moira (Catherine O’Hara) and their two kids, ├╝ber hipster son David (Dan Levy) and socialite daughter Alexis suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup and rebuild their empire from within the rural city limits of their only remaining asset - Schitt’s Creek, an arm pit of a town they once bought as a joke."
In Goodwood much of the show's buildings are at County Road 47 at Front Street (Concession 3).  Cafe Tropical is in the foreground, Bob's Garage is the blue building in the background. Twyla works in the cafe. It looks like someone's home, not a real cafe. There is a great bakery (Annina's Bakery) across the street which is also worth a visit.
The Rose Apothecary - David Rose and Patrick Brewer's (Noah Reid) Skincare store. In real life it is Romni, a yarn store
“I’m just so proud to be doing this show back here in Canada,” said Eugene Levy. “And I can’t say enough about the support and encouragement we’ve received from the CBC. I’m also really excited to be working once again with my dear friend Catherine O’Hara. Catherine and I go back a long way to SCTV and I don’t think I’ve worked with anyone more times in my career. She’s an incredible talent. As is Chris Elliott. I’ve been a fan of Chris’s since he was on the Letterman show. I don’t think Schitt’s Creek could have a more appropriate mayor. And I have to say it’s been a kick working with my son Dan. He’s been a great partner and an amazing show runner.”

See more of Schitt's Creek after the jump.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Toronto Collision tech conference 2019

Opening night at #CollisionConf reached capacity at 5pm and the large crowd waits for the first remarks and PM Justin Trudeau to take to the main stage. At 5pm Collision brought 15 rising businesses to the forefront of the night as they discussed their products in a series of rapid pitches in front of thousands at the Enercare Centre. The pitches are interesting and provide a window into people trying to solve current tech concerns or to fill a new niche. Over 25,000 people, 47.5% of them female, from 125 countries will be at the conference which features over 700 speakers and 15 content tracks.
Shahrzad Rafati's fireside chat with Justin Trudeau 
In just a little time the official opening will be provided by Paddy Cosgrave of Collision, followed at 6:30pm by the Prime Minister. It's standing room only as centre stage is surrounded by attendees to North America's fastest growing tech events. Justin came business casual with some great messages about the benefits of Canada. Our immigration policies and growing status as a tech hub is drawing professionals as well as businesses back to Canada.

The Toronto region is the largest technology hub in Canada and ranks fourth in North America. Providing more the 300,000 jobs in 24,000 companies. From the City of Toronto In 2016, the growth of the Toronto region technology sector outpaced that of New York City and San Francisco combined. Based on that growth rate, Toronto is expected to have more technology jobs than Silicon Valley in the near future."
Houseplant founders Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen on stage with Karan Wadhera
Seth Rogen, actor and is here to talk about his recreational cannabis company Houseplant and his cinematic experiences with movies like Pineapple Express, 40 Year Old Virgin and more. Seth gave a big shout out to Prime Minister Trudeau for his legalization of marijuana. He talks about the need for trust and education and hopes to have their product available in Ontario soon. Seth is not confident of the American market yet but is trying to change the climate in the US to support legalization.
City of Toronto Mayor John Tory welcomed attendees, was happy to note the high representation of women in tech and helped Collision CEO Paddy Cosgrave countdown to the opening which released fireworks and a waterfall of sparklers falling from the ceiling. Toronto will be the home of Collision for three years, including 2019, as the conference leaves the United States for the first time. "Toronto’s technology and innovation sector is growing at a phenomenal rate. Collision will have a huge economic impact on our city and will help us build on that success." - Toronto Mayor John Tory

More from the City of Toronto; "Collision brings together the people and companies that are redefining the global technology industry. More than 25,000 attendees, including 3,750 CEOs and 750 journalists, from 120 countries are anticipated to attend. The conference is part of a series of technology conferences that include Web Summit in Europe and RISE in Hong Kong. The event includes 14 standalone conferences that focus on industry tracks including marketing, design, coding, robotics, SaaS, big data and more, curated roundtables and workshops, and networking events."

Some highlights of the opening night speakers

The conference is on from Monday, May 20 to Thursday, May 23. Dynamic speakers, startups, leading tech companies, summits and a large expo floor open early on Tuesday as the main conference continues at Exhibition Place. And don't forget about the nightly summits: "Every night during Collision, our attendees will take over a new neighbourhood in Toronto. From street parties to more intimate networking events, Night Summit has something for everyone. We'll see you there."

Conference Hours:
Monday, May 20 Pre-registration & opening night 10am – 8.30pm
Tuesday, May 21 Day 1 9am – 5.30pm
Wednesday, May 22 Day 2 9am – 5.30pm
Thursday, May 23 Day 3 9am – 5.30pm

May 21 will include talks about one of my favourite tech subjects - self driving cars from Dmitri Dolgov, CTO of Waymo; "In the two years since Waymo introduced a fleet of fully autonomous cars to Phoenix, it has run ten million miles of testing and launched its commercial service, Waymo One. But what will it take to bring self-driving cars to millions of people around the world?
Speakers". Also up at centre stage will be David Eun with What's NEXT: Bringing AI to life.

Some other hot button topics that you can learn about are Blockchain ("Blockchain is the new cyber dark art. Complex and mystifying to most, does it really solve any of our technology problems? Is it secure? Scalable? Or is it all just hype?") and Hyperloop ("With zero emissions and the ability to travel at more than 1000 km/h, will the hyperloop be a feasible alternative to the relatively expensive, slow, and environmentally harmful means of travel we have today?").

Pitches start tomorrow with Colli'sion's statup competition showcasing early stage companies joining together for a live, onstage pitching battle. On Thursday, celebrity Damon Wayans Jr. from TV shows like New Girl and Happy Endings, and now co-founder of Special Guest App will appear in a Q&A at 3:30pm.

There is a lot to learn and a lot to take in so prioritize your trip and use the Collision App to help your scheduling.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

CONTACT and Artfest in the Distillery District 2019

Victoria Day weekend brings the Spring Artfest and an exhibition the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival into the historic Distillery District. Artfest happens during the two long weekends during the glorious Toronto summer and the first annual 2019 event is on May 18-20. From Artfest "The show focuses on fine art and craft with a splash of gourmet food. A curated selection of 80 artists from across Ontario, Quebec and beyond will be exhibiting their art and craft throughout the Historic Distillery District. You will discover paintings, photography, sculpture, pottery, glass art, jewellery, designer clothing and more." Open from 11am to 6pm daily over the holiday weekend with free admission.
A wedding proposal in the Distillery District
Good Stuff Bad Stuff photo

The CONTACT photo exhibition by Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart "Good Stuff Bad Stuff" continues until May 31st. From CONTACT's website "What makes a home a home? Good Stuff Bad Stuff is a series of bizarre self-portraits that connect concepts of home and identity. The artist’s own grungy apartment and various public spaces serve as the backdrop to the photo series. Using physical experiences and found objects, the photographs in this exhibition explore the relationship between ourselves and the personal objects we buy, inherit, and throw away."

The spider is all wrapped up

You can walk the brick lanes, listen to live music, wander the stalls and check out the art and sculptures that are on display throughout the historic, Victorian-era industrial neighbourhood.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square