Monday, September 30, 2019

No Name Union Station

Toronto Transit Commission advertisements have made naming the various parts of the subway station easy peasy, everything is now No Name in Union Station. No Name doors to the outside, a No Name ticket booth and a No Name ramp for going up and down.

Shoreline Dilemma at the Toronto Biennial of Art

Man made changes to the waterfront have been happening for hundreds of years and many of the buildings near the harbour stand on land that used to be in the water. The Toronto Biennial of Art "embraces the unquantifiable fugitive, and unknowable, and like the shoreline, resists the systems that seek to discipline and control". I took in the art works at 259 Lake Shore Boulevard East at an old Volvo dealership with the old car lifts still in place, now it is a treasure trove of art installations, paintings, videos and photographs. The New Red Order by Adam and Zack Khalil is pictured at top.
The Biennial gives the history of the joint; first it was part of Lake Ontario before the land was filled between the Don River and Ashbridges Bay. Then the first tenant was a chemical company in 1945, then in 1954 it was divided in two - half to a showroom with several car dealerships, half to a warehouse that later housed oil and electrical supply companies. I imagine it will soon be the site of a glass-facade condo complex. For now it is a maze of art exhibitions with the entrance on the east side of the building. You can take in the Biennial from September 21 till December 1, 2019.
Visibility is a trap neon sign by Laurent Grasso
From the Biennial's website; "Those who study civic ecosystems argue that old buildings are needed to incubate new ideas, which is what artists are offering here, if only temporarily. Artworks gathered at 259 Lake Shore consider different forms of relations in light of the connections and disconnections that characterize the present. Videos prefigure the catastrophic effects of the Anthropocene; clusters of tin monarch butterflies are programmed to respond to seismic data; intricate drawings document Inuit life before forced assimilation. Directly inside the building’s doors, a massive wooden replica of Toronto’s harbour immediately makes apparent the human-made alterations of the land and waterscape, all in the service of industry."
One of Dana Claxton's LED fireboxes with Indigenous women wearing cultural belongings

See more art after the jump.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Fall Colours 2019

Peak fall colours are still coming to southern Ontario, usually peaking in mid October around the Toronto area. But you don't have to travel to far north to see some fall foliage changing now. Look for sunny days with some dramatic clouds and somewhere you can look over valleys or ravines for some beautiful views. Extra beauty when you can get some reflections in lakes and ponds.
These photos are from eastern Ontario
Some years the colours are muted and dull, with not a lot of vibrant yellows, oranges or reds. Hopefully this year will be magnificent. Some spots to check out in the GTA include the Cheltenham Badlands, Scarborough Bluffs, waterfalls along the Niagara Escarpment and the Collingwood area.

You check out the fall colour report here from 40011 or see the Ontario parks report.

Doors Open Ontario - Acton Town Hall

This is the weekend to visit some unusual places that you normally wouldn't find open to the public, or where entrance is free during Doors Open Ontario from September 28-29, 2019. In the little town of Acton (part of Halton Hills) you can visit the Acton Town Hall Centre, or take a walking history tour. Halton Hills Hydro is also having an open house at the same time. Take a look at the Doors Open Ontario website and find some place you want to visit.
Ann hung up 32 paintings around Willow Hall and the Stage

Acton artist Ann Hamilton (why is that name familiar?) has setup her exhibition of watercolour paintings in the second floor of the former 19th-century town hall, jail and fire department. This Doors Open will only be available to the public on Sunday, September 29 from 10am to 4pm. You can still see a couple of the jail cells in the main floor of the original building to the left.
"Explore the Italianate splendour in the heart of Acton – in this refurbished 19th-century town hall, complete with original bell tower and modern addition. This grand building hosted council meetings of the town fathers, rocked with Saturday night dance parties, and jailed delinquents in its cold, dark cell. An exhibition of work by local artist Ann Hamilton will be on display."

Halton Hills Hydro crews get me harnessed up and into the bucket. Brady is the journeyman lineman operator taking me up

The municipal utility, Halton Hills Hydro, also hosted a community open house on Saturday from 9am to 1pm. Located at 43 Alice Street in Acton the yard and the garage is open with information booths as well as trucks and equipment, you could even ride in an 85 foot double bucket truck high in the sky and take in a free barbecue lunch.
Great views of the town from the bucket truck
"This is a great opportunity for the whole family to tour behind the scenes at your local utility. There will be balloons and entertainment for kids as well as opportunities to see our trucks and equipment. Visitors will be able to meet our staff, see information booths and learn about our future planning process."
The Moorecraft (Beatty House) was also part of Doors Open Halton Hills

Friday, September 27, 2019

#AreYouIn Scene National No Excuses Day

I saw a bunch of people with signs at Yonge and Dundas in Toronto but they weren't protesters, they were part of the Scene crew promoting No Excuses Day on Friday, September 27, 2019. This is a celebration of hitting 10 million Scene loyalty program members with a chance to win some scene points that you can use at the movies or for other promotions.
A media release tells us that "SCENE launched the campaign to inspire Canadians to prioritize time for shared social experiences and shine a spotlight on just how often they are making excuses and opting to stay in. A recent survey conducted by SCENE found that more than 90 per cent of Canadians have made an excuse to get out of going out with friends and family, despite the fact that 75 per cent of those polled feel that social experiences are good for their well-being."

"With so many commitments and responsibilities, people often get caught up in their daily routines and forget to pause to have some fun," said Matthew Seagrim, Managing Director, SCENE. "We are thrilled to be launching National No Excuses Day on September 27 to encourage Canadians everywhere to say 'yes' to making memories together. Whether it's food, flicks or other fun, SCENE is making it easier to make time for the ones who matter most, while at the same time celebrating a huge milestone for our team."

Global Climate Strike in Toronto

Toronto's youth marched for the climate, joining over 150 countries in the second global climate strike on Friday, September 27, 2019. Taking time from school, students and supporters gathered at 85 Canadian cities with Toronto's strike beginning and ending at Queen's Park. Later the strike became a protest march heading down through the streets of Toronto demanding more action to combat climate change.

On Queen Street West

The Global Climate Strike website says that "Young people have woken up much of the world with their powerful Fridays For Future school strikes for the climate. Now, millions of adults are joining in a huge wave of that will kick start renewed action all over the world. The urgency of the climate crisis requires a new approach and a just response centered on human rights, equity, and justice. Follow the actions and join the movement."
The CN Tower, Toronto City Hall and the protest on Bay Street
Friends in high places show support

I was shocked how many people were participating in the Toronto protest as untold thousands streamed past my window on Bay Street alongside City Hall. They turned west on Queen Street and returned to Queen's Park via University Avenue.

See some of the signs put up for the strike after the jump.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Toronto Windfest 2019

The sky over sandy Woodbine Beach is full of large, colorful kites as part of Windfest 2019. Coming onto the beach it was hard to believe how many kites and how big some of them are, like the huge blue, striped fish, frogman, whale and an almost hello kitty kite.
Check out the fleet of kites on both Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22 right beside Ashbridges Bay Park and the Woodbine Bathing Station until 4pm. Luckily the weather is almost full on summer like and games of beach volleyball, paddleboards in Lake Ontario and sunbathers are all on the gigantic beach enjoying the weekend.

See more kites after the jump.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Return of the Fall Fair

Autumn returns on Monday, September 23rd and so does the season of fall fairs in Ontario. The fun will continue into October before the chill slows down those fierce garden tractors, making it hard to pull anything.

Leading up to Fall are several fairs this weekend - including Acton, Ancaster and Wiarton so get ready to buy your fair tickets and have fun. Here are some photos from the 2019 Acton Fall Fair.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Toronto Biennial of Art

I had to look it up, but Biennial meanings includes something that occurs every two years, you're welcome. This is a new art festival taking place at various locations around the city from September 21 to December 1, 2019. There are several vertical banners hanging at Union Station advertising the coming '72 days of art'.

There will be free exhibitions, performances and talks with more than 100 contemporary, visual art pieces by Canadian and international artists at the Toronto Biennial of Art.
I did manage to track down Curtis Talwst Santiago's installation called J'ouvert Temple at 55 Unwin Avenue in the Portlands just before Cherry Beach. It is behind a construction fence adjacent to the Giant Containers building, draped in green mesh and hard to identify as a work of art, yet when you glimpse the broken tableau and man of metal, you still wonder if it is art. From Biennial's website "Built of rubble salvaged from construction sites across the city, Santiago’s new commission J’ouvert Temple is a modern-day capriccio—an architectural fantasy informed by the artist’s experience of ancient and modern-day ruins. Viewed through holes in a fence, vignettes emerge from the debris, evoking a similar sense of intimacy."
I did like the crystal disco ball

Unusual Ontario Attractions

Travel is more than just the fastest journey between two points, sometimes you have to go off the beaten path to find something interesting, or just plain weird, to make travel fun and adventurous. In Ontario you can look for blue signs along the roads and highways or check online for potentially fascinating attractions.
Front yard miniature village in Chatsworth (315306 Ontario Highway 6)
The toy sized buildings are rotting and neglected, renters seem to be few and far between and the financial situation seems to be dark. But I did like the castle.

One of my favourite websites looking for things to see is Roadside America that has maps with attractions pinned to the map that you can lookup information and addresses. You can look up your route, see if there are any pins, review the attractions and decide if you want to take the time to visit, or instead give a hard no and skip the attraction. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes the thing sucks.
Tiny church in Shallow Lake (718708 Highway 6)
You can go in this church and sign a visitors log. It is similar to one found in Niagara-on-the-Lake

See more unusual Ontario attractions after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square