Thursday, April 29, 2021

Toronto Winter Stations becoming Spring Stations 2021

Covid lockdowns in Toronto certainly impacted the annual Beaches Winter Stations art installations set around the iconic red lifeguard stations. With summer approaching and beaches opening soon, the lifeguard stations will be used to keep people safe and therefore not available for the installations. You can see my post of the Spring Stations installation here.

From the Winter Stations website, "Winter Stations is a single-stage international design competition held annually in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Participants are tasked with designing temporary winter art installations which incorporate existing lifeguard towers spaced strategically across the city’s Kew and Woodbine beaches. The structures (not in use in the wintertime) must not be ignored in the design and can be used as either an armature for the installations, a central feature, or other- wise linked to the installation. As in previous years, Winter Stations intends to build approximately four winning proposals for a six-week exhibition along the waterfront, funding permitted." ARc de Blob is pictured at top (Winter Stations photo) from iheartblob Austria/UK design team Aleksandra Belitskaja, Ben James and Shaun McCallum.

The theme for Winter Stations 2021 is "refuge" which provides a place to explore and shelter.

With the actual beach life stations off limits and the end of lockdown approaching (hopefully) the organizers have decided to move the four installations elsewhere and call them Spring Stations. From May 21, 2021 to late June the public exhibition will be located within the historic Distillery District (3; ARc de Blob, From Small Beginnings, The Epitonium) and also at 33 Parliament Street (1; THROBBER). Note the start date maybe delayed if the lockdown is extended.

Later in July the ARc de Blob installation will be moved to the Beach Village BIA (with dates and location to be determined) for what will be known as Summer Stations. And they hope to extend the exhibitions to various locations so that more people can safely see the installations.

They hope to return to the beaches in 2022, beginning on Family Day in February. You can see my post of the last time the stations were at the beaches - 2019.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

World Naked Gardening Day and then May the 4th be with you

The first Saturday in May is the day to discard your clothes, grab a rake and start gardening - preferably in your own back yard!

WNGD website says, "Why garden naked? First of all, it's fun! Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude. Moreover, our culture needs to move toward a healthy sense of both body acceptance and our relation to the natural environment. Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us--even if only for those few sunkissed minutes--that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet."

Then a couple of days later - on Tuesday to be exact, Star Wars lovers will celebrate May the Fourth be with you on Star Wars Day.
And as summer approaches don't forget about the World Naked Bike Ride Toronto coming June 12, 2021!

Peak Cherry Blossoms in Flower City

The large strand of Sakura Cherry Trees in Brampton's Joyce Archdekin Park are in peak bloom right now! Situated in the park that runs along Main Street South (Highway 10 across from Nanwood Drive) in the middle city of the Peel Region, the pretty white blossoms remind everyone that Brampton is known as Flower City.

There is no parking to be found within the park but the area has a large commercial component across the street. Park for free in the malls and cross at the traffic lights and take in the splendor of the trees located along the middle of the park. There is a security guard monitoring the trees for social distancing but otherwise these trees aren't in covid jail like Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park and High Park.

The trees are spread over a large area and social distancing is easy to maintain!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Collision Tech Conference 2021

We're almost through @CollisionHQ 2021 with experts from around the world presenting online over multiple channels from April 20 to 21. The world of tech is brought to life with panels, talks, Q & As and masterclasses with help from some celebrity heavy hitters like Ryan Reynolds, Nicole Kidman and Mark Ruffalo. Mix in some founders of some of the world's top tech, communication, media and social media companies along with new startups and you have the reason the annual conference has attracted almost 40,000 people to attend Toronto's virtual event. It's a full slate on the final day and remember the conference returns in 2022.

Q&A with Toronto Mayor John Tory

Over 600 speakers are presenting in compact sessions from 9am to 5pm daily. On Thursday, April 22 the morning sessions include Google and Etsy's vision of the future of work while Cindy Crawford discusses the model entrepreneur. Experts will discuss the future of the travel industry, gaming, marketing and even what Walmart US will do next. My new media senses are tingling with "Is free news worth the cost" panel with Alyson Shontell of Business Insider, Katherine Bell of Quartz, Kyle Pope at Columbia and David Haskell of New York Magazine.

Networking, Learning and Development, Lead Generation, Premium Content, Team Building and Brand Awareness are the six selling points for joining the Collision experience. Knowledge and insights into the world of tech and so many other important areas are the real reasons to jump on board. Although some knowledge seems scary - like the session titled "You thought Covid was bad?" with this lead in; "Pandemics suck. But, over time, they do disappear. The real issue is broader than Covid-19: Are we going to learn anything from this Earth-changing event?"

On day 3 (April 22) there was an excellent cross section of talks through the four channels; 1. Centre, 2. Creators, 3. Society and 4. Builders. Some of the sessions I watched included "What does recovery look like for the events industry?", "Live from your living room", "Jameela Jamil: The I Weigh movement" and "Are cities finished?". The interviews and panels were all interesting and flowed smoothly, none of the typical zoom issues, except for a few muted moments as panelists started to talk before they realized that no one could hear them.

Alexander Vindman with Carol Lin

I finished the day with a startup masterclass: I'm a VC, ask me anything with David Tisch from Boxgroup and a later watched a Q&A with Lawfare's Alexander Vindman who discussed his current status (finishing a PhD among many other things) and responded to current event questions (was the recent computer hack an act of war?) along with touching on some of the Trump related issues.

Interesting and insightful, Collision Tech Conference is definitely a positive experience that I highly recommend.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Graffiti Crisis Phone on Queen St West

The old landline phone booth sits on the wall but its normal payphone has been replaced with a hot red phone that says CRISIS on it, while the booth itself says "Out of time".
It reminds me of the art phone in Graffiti Alley along Queen St West in Toronto, really close by to this phone, that has the colourful handsets and the phone book that you can leave messages in.

"Share anything as long as it is TRUE"

Then if you visit the alley take in some more of the colourful street works.

Some more of the graffiti has become main stream and used commercially.

Found at the Stackt Market

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Toronto Caribbean Carnival First Lap 2021

The virtual preview of Carnival happens tonite with First Lap, starting Sunday, April 11 at 7pm with an all access pass to the extravaganza hopefully coming back to the streets of Toronto once again in 2021. First Lap: Keeping the Carnival Alive will be hosted by Itah Sadu, Earle La Pierre, SKF and Kenny Phillip. The photos on this post are from previous launches held in Toronto.

From the Carnival's website, "The show promises to give viewers an all access pass to the many elements of Toronto Caribbean Carnival, featuring dynamite costume display, enchanting steelpan, music and the showcasing of calypso and reggae music. The event is intended to provide an early taste and wet the appetite of carnival goers, on the heels of the Trinidad Carnival virtual events, on the amazing festival that happens in the summer on the streets of Toronto and in various venues across the GTA. The event features performances by Macomere FIFI, David Rudder, Connector, Pan Artistes from Various pansides and Dance Caribe. We’ll also feature costumes by Louis Saldenah Mas K Club, Carnival Nationz, Tribal Carnival, Toronto Revellers, Venom Mas and Epic Carnival.

Taking the Caledon Rail Trail

It was a beautiful Spring Saturday and lockdown means getting some exercise in the great outdoors. We decided to get the ebikes ready and checked out the 40km Caledon Trailway from Terra Cotta to Tottenham. The first ride of the season was a painful journey, one my butt won't forget for a few days.

Cheltenham Brickworks

For many of the rail trails in Ontario, the biggest obstacle is finding parking so that you can begin the journey. Luckily we found a spot on Winston Churchill Boulevard in Caledon and began our journey to the north west on the limestone screening surfaced, multi-use trail. The former CN rail line is part of the Trans Canada Trail system.

The trail takes you through beautiful scenic settings, including tunnels through cedar trees lining the edges of the trail, along the Cheltenham Brickworks site, over the big, blue pedestrian bridge crossing Highway 10 and under the bridge at Highway 9 connecting into the New Tecumseth rail trail that continues to the South Simcoe Railway heritage site in Tottenham.

South Simcoe Railway

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Toronto Cherry Blossoms 2021

Queen's Park blossoms are in peak bloom right now (April 17)

Liberty Grande in Exhibition Place has blossoms which are starting to bloom (April 17)

Update April 23: The blossoms around Liberty Grand, the walkway along Bandshell Park and around the Princess Margaret Fountain are at peak bloom this week.
Liberty Grande (April 23)
Bandshell Park walkway (April 23)
Princess Margaret Fountain (April 23)

Niagara-on-the-Lake area blossoms May 8, 2021

We took a drive into the St Catherines / Niagara on the Lake area on Saturday, April 24 and the blossoms seem to be a week or two behind Toronto. Peak bloom is probably the first or second week of May, 2021. Update: May 8, 2021 the Niagara-on-the-Lake area is in peak bloom right now. You can check out the photos of the blossoms on my post here.

Update: April 27 the Sakura Cherry Trees are in Peak Bloom in Brampton's Joyce Archdekin Park.

 And back to the original post

Peak bloom is just weeks away in Toronto! I just walked by a tree that had no leaves but was already blossoming, I think it might have been a magnolia tree, they always seem to bloom early. With Spring comes rain and the return of beautiful cherry blossoms in and around Toronto. Until they bloom, here are some photos from previous flowering fruit trees.

UPDATE April 14, 2021: City confirms virtual High Park Cherry Blossom Festival. The Toronto News Release follows.

See more after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square