Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Toronto Motorcycle Show 2020 next weekend

Great news, it's almost time for the annual Toronto Motorcycle Show presented by NFP which is returning February 21-23 to the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place. This is the place to see the new 2020 models during Ontario's biggest motorcycle manufacturers' event.

"This is the province’s only stop on the six-city national show tour for new model motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides, and it features the top motorcycle brands: Aprilia, BMW Motorrad, Can-Am, Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Royal Enfield, Suzuki, Triumph, Vespa and Yamaha. Along with the 500+ new, vintage, racing and custom bikes on display, attendees will find the latest in riding gear, accessories and touring destinations.

Top custom bike builders will be at the all new Clutch Society feature produced by Dan Lim of The Moto Foto. Over 20 unique custom bikes will be on display along with events that will showcase the lifestyle.

Some other features of the show, produced by Power Sport Services, will be She Rides Night on Friday, February 21, with half price admission for ladies after 5pm and free parking for all after 5pm. Ladies can also enter the $2,000 "Shop the Show" prize draw. Then there is the Yamaha Riding Academy For Kids 6-12, Stunt Shows, Vintage Motorcycles, Kawasaki's "Own the Street" Motorcycle Giveaway, exhibitions by the Ontario Provincial Police Golden Helmets and also Yamaha's demonstrations.

Show hours: Friday, February 21 (noon - 9 pm); Saturday, February 22 (10 am - 8 pm); Sunday, February 23 (10 am - 5 pm). Show admission is: Adults (15+) $20; Seniors (65+) $15; Youths (6-14 years) $12; Family Pass (2 adults, 2 youths) $48; She Rides Night $10 (for women after 5:00 pm, Friday, Feb. 21). Children 5 & under are admitted free with adult paid admission.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Ontario Place Winter Light Exhibition 2020

Cold winter days are a good time to stay inside unless you are heading to the West Island of Ontario Place for the 3rd annual Winter Light Exhibition. The light installations are on from February 8 till March 29, 2020 from 4pm to 11pm everyday and admission is free.
Weekends, from Friday to Sunday, will have community bonfires, paint classes and there will be food and beverages available for purchase.

See more of the light show after the jump.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Wiarton Willie predicts early spring

The official call, after a slight mix-up on stage, is that Wiarton Willie forecasts an early spring for 2020! That's what I'm talking about. Wiarton Mayor Janice Jackson interpreted William's prediction, stated that the superstar albino groundhog couldn't see his shadow with all that snow falling all around the large crowd gathered around the stage. Then unfortunately she suggested that the result was six more weeks of winter. She was soon corrected when they pointed out that a shadow would scare the rodent back into his burrow and extend winter, if there was no shadow that meant spring would be early. So they set time back and replayed the announcement - this time, without a doubt an early spring is coming.
Getting a closer look at Willie in his special cage
Town Criers announce the results and ring their bells

Today's Groundhog Day is a rare palindrome that only occurs once this century. Read the same either forward or backwards this Sunday, February 2nd is written only with numerals is 02/02/2020.
A pipe and drum band preceded Wiarton Willie. Then Willie was carried to the stage along with the Town Criers and an OPP bodyguard
The main stage ceremony

From the visit Wiarton website; "The free festival has a winter carnival theme and will run on Saturday, February 1st from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will include family-friendly activities in Bluewater Park such as a Ferris Wheel, Midway Games and Giant Slide. Festival patrons will also be able to take a wagon ride to downtown Wiarton where they can visit local stores and restaurants. A horse-drawn wagon ride taking festival-goers from the park to downtown. On Sunday, February 2nd, people can gather in Bluewater Park and join us in Waking Up Willie at 7:00 a.m. with a spectacular fireworks display, followed by Willie’s official prediction at 8:07am."

That was the first early morning fireworks that I have ever attended and they did a great job lighting of the show along the shores of Georgian Bay in Bluewater Park. Immediately afterwards everyone assembled at the main stage outside the community centre and waited for Willie to show up. Premier Doug Ford attended his second Wiarton Willie festival and was joined by several other politicians which formed part of Willies Shadow Cabinet.
Premier Doug Ford does some meet and greets after the prediction ceremony was complete
Only a few protesters were in the crowd

See more photos of the event after the jump.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Empty Welland Canal

Somebody pulled out the plug and the water has emptied through several of the locks within the Welland Canal. Last year's season was extended until January 8, 2020 as part of a pilot program. Now that the shipping has stopped navigating the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System locks which bypass Niagara Falls it is time to do winter maintenance so that the canal is ready to go for the upcoming transit season.

It is interesting to see the canal with only a small flow remaining along the centre channel, otherwise the banks are exposed and you have to imagine what it would be like during summer with giant boats moving both ways along the canal. In some areas the empty canal seems to small to allow the bulk carrier ships to pass even when full.

City of Toronto to proclaim February as Black History Month 2020

Mobile museums and theatre productions will help celebrate Black History Month in Toronto which will be proclaimed by Mayor John Tory.

Here are some events and attractions around Toronto for Black History Month as described in the City's media release.

"Mackenzie House presents Black History Month programming everyday, February 1 to March 1, from noon to 5 p.m., in which the public can learn about important figures such as the multi-talented abolitionist and journalist Mary Ann Shadd Cary — the first female African American publisher in North America. City staff will be on hand to print souvenir copies of her paper, The Provincial Freeman, in the recreated 1850s print shop.

Torontonians can celebrate Toronto’s local Black history listening to slam poetry and Jamaican Patois-style storytellers. The Story of Us: Sharing Black Torontonian Stories will be held at Scarborough Museum every Wednesday throughout the month, noon to 4 p.m. A spoken word performance will also take place at the museum on February 22, noon to 4 p.m., that blends narrative, visuals and beats to reach audiences of different ages, backgrounds and beliefs about the realities of Toronto’s first-generation Somali youths.

Spadina Museum will offer tours every weekend from February 1 to March 1 where residents can learn about Mrs. Pipkin, the laundress, who escaped slavery in 1850s Maryland and later worked for the Austin family in Toronto.

From February 6 to 8, Toronto will host the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) mobile museum initiative, which celebrates the NHL and Black History Month. This is the second year of the museum touring cities across North America and this year’s museum has been redesigned to offer fans a new experience as they learn about the history of the game. The museum celebrates today’s stars and looks back at the trail blazers who made history. The Black History Month celebration is part of Hockey Is For Everyone, a joint NHL and NHLPA initiative that has celebrated diversity and inclusion in hockey since 1996.

The mobile museum will be in the following locations, free of charge:

February 6, 3 to 8 p.m. Harry Gairey arena parking lot, 275 Bathurst St.
February 7, 3 to 8 p.m. Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd., east entrance parking lot
February 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunnydale Acres Rink, 50 Amoro Dr., south parking lot
More information on the museum can be found at

The theatre-in-education program at Montgomery’s Inn will feature Singing of the Birds on February 15 and 16 from 4 to 6 p.m. Through this production, the audience will learn about the joys and struggles of two young immigrants who fled the Irish famine and escaped American slavery with the help of Canada’s Underground Railroad. Finding Freedom: The Joshua Glover Story performances, which will take place February 22 and 23 from 6 to 8 p.m., portray Glover’s extraordinary story and his life at Montgomery’s Inn.

Colborne Lodge will feature a live performance called Girl Power’D on February 16 and 23 from 2 to 3 p.m. With a focus on cultural dance led by community elders, the program will include live drumming, African dancing, and Dunham style technique with the goal of teaching creativity, confidence and self-expression through an understanding of heritage to girls from five to 16 years old who identify as Black.

Gibson House is offering a spoken word and food experience on February 21 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. where participants will experience an unforgettable evening of rap, spoken word and classical music in the parlours. Visitors can enjoy a catered buffet and watch a live painting demonstration. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Residents are invited to explore African-Canadian cooking at Fort York National Historic Site on February 29 from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Food samples from the African Diaspora and historic cooking demonstrations will be part of the event.

Toronto Public Library celebrates Black History with a collection of programs and special events that honour Black heritage and consider the historical significance and contemporary contributions of Black activists and artists from around the world. More event details are available at

A listing of City-related exhibitions, educational displays, community-based programming and admission fee information is available at

The City strives to create and sustain equity in government to serve and reflect all people and is implementing positive change in its workforce and communities to achieve access and realize equitable outcomes for all residents.

The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, unanimously adopted by City Council, is being implemented by the City's Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) Unit to ensure that systemic changes are made to eliminate anti-Black racism in Toronto."

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Wiarton Willie and Groundhog Day

Update: February 2nd see my post on the 2020 festival

I have never met Willie before, not during any of my many visits to his home in Wiarton. For all I know he lives in Florida and only jets up north to Canada on one single day, solely to make his famous prediction about the end of Winter.
I can now say that I have seen Wiarton Willie!
That day is of course the annual Groundhog Day which happens February 2nd. In 2020 this is a Sunday and there is an entire free festival and carnival to help celebrate the event. The festival originally started in 1956 and has become more popular even while cycling through a few psychic rodents, each given the name Wiarton Willie. When the groundhog first goes outside, it looks for its shadow. If there is a shadow he goes back to sleep in his burrow because it is a sign of six more weeks of winter, if there is no shadow then spring is near and the groundhog goes to the bars because it's party time.

Sunday, February 2, 2020 festival schedule:

6:30 am Pancake Breakfast-Wiarton Arena
7:00 am Prediction Morning Festivities-Wiarton Arena
7:00 am waking up Willie with fireworks in Bluewater Park
7:30 am Groundhog Jog-Peninsula Shores District School
8:00 am Mixed Curling Bonspiel-Wiarton Curling Club
8:07 am Willie's prediction
9:00 am Dan the Music Man-Wiarton Arena
9:00 am Willie Warming Station-Century 21
10:00 am Zoo to You-Wiarton Arena.
10:00 am Carnival opens in Bluewater Park
10:00 am Dockside Willie’s Warming Station-Bluewater Park
11:00 am Optimist Food Booth-Wiarton Arena
11:00 am Lions Club Hockey Tournament-Wiarton Arena
1:00 pm Willie Saloon-Wiarton Legion
2:00 pm Family Story Time-Ross Whicher Centre
3:00 pm Robbie Burns Dinner-Wiarton Meeting Place

Wiarton, Ontario is at the base of the South Bruce Peninsula, along the shores of Georgian Bay - about 3 hours northwest of Toronto. From the Town's website; The Town of South Bruce Peninsula is fortunate to have something that no one else has, an albino weather prognosticating groundhog! As the most famous groundhog in Canada and the only albino weather prognosticator in the world, Wiarton Willie's prediction of the timing of spring is a news event that captures the interests of people around the world. Each year media from around the world converge on Wiarton to hear Willie make his famous prediction. Wiarton loves their beloved groundhog so much that they have branded the town "Willie's Basecamp"! Willie loves to make new friends so add a visit to the home of Wiarton Willie to your bucket list today!"

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Coronavirus in Toronto

A second case of the virus has been confirmed in Toronto. The impact of the novel Coronavirus expands as cases around the world continue to grow. I have read that the cases are growing exponentially and are expected to peak in May or June which means a lot of people will be infected. New hand sanitizing stations are appearing in the Toronto Eaton Centre as the virus continues to gain steam around the world.

Spreading the virus between humans happens during the early phase when symptoms are not apparent 2 to 14 days after infection. While it appears to have a much lower mortality then SARS it puts a lot of people in the hospital, which can overload already atrained health resources. Research will hopefully contain the virus before mutations make the virus more deadly.

News Release January 29, 2920 - Statement from Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health.

"Yesterday, we received lab confirmation of the second of two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Toronto. We also learned that there is a presumptive positive case in British Columbia. This news is not unexpected as we have a very mobile population, with a lot of travel back and forth between Canada and China. I am reminding residents that at this time, the risk to our community remains low.

Inaccurate information continues to spread, and this is creating unnecessary stigma against members of our community. I am deeply concerned and find it disappointing that this is happening. Discrimination is not acceptable. It is not helpful and spreading misinformation does not offer anyone protection. I understand that when there are uncertainties people may worry. I want to remind people to check credible, evidence-based sources to get the facts when seeking information. We are updating our website as new facts are confirmed to keep you informed.

My team has set up a hotline to provide the public with a place to get information, ask questions about this virus and connect with a health professional. I encourage people who have questions to contact us at 416-338-7600.

One of our main roles in public health is to manage public health risks and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We do this each and every day. We all have a role in building a healthier community for our residents. One of the simplest ways we can do this is to not contribute to the spread of misinformation and to share evidence-based facts. Please go to trusted information sources to get the facts, as they are confirmed.

Our advice remains the same: if you are sick, stay home and get plenty of rest and fluids to let your body recover. Only seek medical attention if you are not getting better or your condition is not improving. If you have questions, please rely on credible sources for information, including Toronto Public Health."

The risk to our community remains low. I will let you know directly if this changes. For more information, please visit

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Toronto Light Festival 2020

Sparkling light installations return to the historic Distillery District during the January 17 to March 1 festival. What I really like about the free to attend Toronto LightFest is every year the installations change and you get to explore the fascinating neighbourhood, full of alleys with some very interesting stores and galleries, looking for each installation, careful not to miss any that are hidden away or perched high atop the roofs of buildings. My favourite installation this year is the giant sunflower pictured at top.

"The Toronto Light Festival offers a visual journey and a playful adventure throughout the walking streets of The Distillery District. During the cold, dark days of winter, The Toronto Light Festival offers visitors a reason to bundle up, get outside and celebrate the season, creativity and life in the big city. The Festival, now in its fourth year, exhibits local and international light artists. Artworks are curated to educate, warm hearts, inspire or just put a smile on visitors faces."

Some of the installations have been shown at the famous Burning Man festival in one of the deserts of the United States. From Sunday to Wednesday you can see the lights from sundown to 9pm and from Thursday to Saturday they will be on from sundown to 10pm.

See my photos from previous LightFests on the following posts: 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Check out more pictures of the festival after the jump.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Toronto Fashion Week to Rethink Platform

Fashion and beauty are not meant to fade away but the week to celebrate it in Toronto is taking a break in 2020 as Toronto Fashion Week reassess the format of the event.

Here is their news release; "To best support the needs of the fashion community in Canada’s unique and diverse market and ensure the resources required to produce the innovative and successful programming are allocated in the most effective way, the organization is pausing production of their bi-annual event and its offerings. The announcement comes as the global fashion community continues to explore the thoughtful evolution of the industry – inclusive of changes in retail patterns and shifts in attitude.

Toronto Fashion Week® remains steadfast in its resolve to continue passionately championing the Toronto Fashion community – engaging the industry, supporting designers, and resonating with consumers as it has since its inception twenty years ago."

Saturday, January 18, 2020

LOOP interactive exhibition in Toronto

Six round loops sit in York Street Park down at Harbourfront, each is an interactive, illuminated moving picture show. Up to two people sit within the two metre diameter ring moving a hand lever back and forth, spinning the picture board which activates music and lights. As the individual frames pass by, you can see the images change and a simplistic movie is produced.

The images are based on 13 fairy tales and the speed of the movie is controlled by how fast you work the lever. As the cylinder spins it sets of strobe lights that light up the black and white pictures and as you keep looking in one spot the images blend together like the earliest movies.

From CREOS website "Loop is a cross between a music box, a zoetrope and a railway handcar – the pump-powered vehicles familiar from Bugs Bunny cartoons. The retro-futuristic machine plays animated fairy-tale loops set in motion when visitors work the lever together. The speed at which the images move, the frequency of the flickering and the tempo of the music are determined by how fast the participants move the lever."
York Park is located at York and Harbour Streets and the Winter Stations sponsored LOOP is opposite to the remaining Gardiner off ramps - left from the removal of the old York, Bay and Yonge Street elevated expressway exits. The free-to-try installation will remain from January 15 till February 9, 2020 with hours between 9am and 10pm. The best time to view the work would be after dark.

The creators were Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve and Ottoblix with production by Ekumen and Quartier des Spectacles Partnership of Montreal.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

#IDS2020 International Design Show Toronto 2020

Art and the profession of interior design merge at the 22nd annual IDS20 taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from January 16-19.

The MTCC's south building hosts a massive display of designers, artists and vendors centered around the Caeserstone Stage. Special exhibits include the Learning Lab, Studio North, Edible Futures and the Reset Home. There are over 250 design installations, collections and services with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.
The Interior Design Show showcases "hot-topic design trends and the most innovative of international and Canadian design. An incubator of ideas, the show hosts the most influential design minds of today and the future, curates feature exhibitions and collaborations, and is a platform to launch never-before-seen products. IDS is not just a fair - it’s a total design experience."

You can definitely design your future at the IDS20 and the Opening Night Party is the best way to kick off the show. With over 6,000 interior design fans attending the January 16th evening of fun, food  drinks and design components. Wandering the halls checking out the booths and imagining your space recreated with new possibilities. Plus you can enjoy the many DJs from BelloSound and performances by Brooklyn based Moon Boots. The party features over 30 cuisine and cocktail stations, many with complementary servings.

Caesarstone never fails to disappoint and this year's exhibition by Jonathon Adler was impressive. "The Caesarstone x Jonathan Adler “Dreamland” installation at IDS20 will transform Caesarstone surfaces into a surreal and ethereal free-floating fantasy. Visitors will walk through a heavenly cloudscape that showcases the versatility of quartz through a variety of colours and textures. Adler challenged himself to design a soft environment using Caesarstone, a material more often associated with straight lines and sharp angles. The exhibit will feature clouds, faces and ostrich feathers, in addition to neo-classical columns inspired by Caesarstone’s headquarters in the old Roman port city of Caesaria, and more."

IDS20 is also a learning opportunity with plenty of conferences and classes over the four day event along with a Business to Business exposition called IDS Contact which is "a highly curated B2B exposition dedicated to A&D markets, focused on all verticals of design including workplace, healthcare, hospitality, retail, education, public space and government." The two day conference will cover four themes dealing in the Business of Design, Future of Work, Future of Living, and Technology.

Thursday and Friday are Professional Trade Days while the 18th is Globe and Mail Saturday and the 19th is House and Home Sunday.

Pictures and story by Ann and James Hamilton. See more IDS20 photos after the jump.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Toronto Film Critics Best Canadian Film Award

With 2019 wrapped up, the Toronto Film Critics Association reviewed the eligible contenders and determined the winner of the Best Canadian Film Award 2019 to be 'The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open'. The winning movie was a drama, directed by Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers which told the story of a friendship between indigenous women of different backgrounds. Author Margaret Atwood presented the award which also comes with a monetary prize of $100,000. In the picture at top: Phil Lind, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Peter Howell, Kathleen Hepburn with award presenter Margaret Atwood (far right) at the Awards. Photo by George Pimentel Photography.

The Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) Best Canadian Film category required films released in Canada in 2019, plus films that qualify for the upcoming Oscars and are released by the end of February 2020. The TFCA, established in 1997, is made up of Toronto based broadcasters and journalists who are film critics.

"The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is an adventurous work shot in real time on 16mm film. It co-stars Violet Nelson as a pregnant young woman fleeing an abusive relationship and was previously named one of the top 10 Canadian movies of the year by the Toronto International Film Festival. “The title is poetic, but the story is grounded in the bone-deep reality that animates the best of Canadian film," TFCA President Peter Howell said of The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open. "TFCA members responded to its empathy, honesty and social currency, as will anyone who views it."

“It’s incredibly satisfying to see the TFCA’s critics celebrate a vital Indigenous story directed by two women working on the cutting edge of Canadian cinema,” said Rogers Vice-Chair Phil Lind. “The originality, emotional power and sheer nerve of The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is exactly what this award is designed to encourage."

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Toronto No Pants Subway Ride 2020

Underground travel with the Toronto's subway system can be a tad frustrating, so this is the time to join with intrepid friends and lose the pants and put the wacky back into public transit. Have fun at the 19th anniversary of the Global No Pants Subway Ride taking place Sunday, January 12, 2020 which is happening today in over 50 cities spanning the globe. Photo at top from 2015 Ride by Joe Hamilton.
Pants is just a fancy word for leg jail - the 2020 ride
Participants will gather in the Toronto Eaton Centre at the Yonge and Dundas Street entrance at 3pm, drop their pants at 3:20pm and head downstairs into the Toronto Transit Commission Dundas St station on the Yonge-University subway line. At approximately 3:50pm they will have a pantless parade from Wellesley Station to the site of the the after party at The Drink on Church Street.
Meeting with security

The Eaton Centre entrance quickly filled up as hundreds waited for the Ride. Most were there just to witness the event. Then applause filled the space as a lady in shorts showed up with a sign and a megaphone. It wasn't long before security started to get concerned with the crowds and asked if they could get out of the Centre and into the public space of the subway.

Going through the ttc turnstiles

After a short talk the organizer did a short countdown and everyone filed down into Dundas subway station. Then more people stripped down, paid the ttc entrance fare and waited on the southbound train to come.

When the subway train did show up the people jammed into the cars and it got pretty tight in that relatively small space. Most of the travellers were fully dressed with groups of No Pants people mixed in the crowd.

Toronto's facebook site says; "The No Pants Subway Ride is a celebration of silliness to bring a smile to commuter's faces. Ain't no subway ride like a pantsless subway ride." The event is hosted by the No Pants Society.

Improv Everywhere started the No Pants Subway Ride in New York beginning in 2002 with only 7 people joining in the event. Now there are thousands in cities like London, Buenos Aires, Chicago, San Francisco and many more. They expect over 2,000 people in New York this year alone.

"Improv Everywhere is a New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. There is no agenda for the event apart from a desire to make others laugh and smile. Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd refers to the event as a “celebration of silliness.” The idea behind the No Pants Subway Ride is simple: Random passengers board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter without pants. The participants behave as if they do not know each other, and they all wear winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. The only unusual thing is their lack of pants."
Toronto Pillow Fight

See photos from a previous Toronto No Pants Subway Ride on my post here. The group that used to put on these silly events was Improv in Toronto with events like the Toronto Pillow Fight (pictured above), Best Busker Song, Gifts for Strangers, Flash Mob - Red Carpet Edition, Zombies Attack and the Flashmob Wedding Proposal. I miss these guys but am glad that some of the events, like the No Pants Subway Ride continue.

See more pictures of the 2020 NO Pants Subway Ride after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square