Saturday, June 26, 2021

Hamilton's Albion Falls - access closed

The stunning escarpment waterfall has been closed off as the City of Hamilton tries to prevent accidents from happening to curious tourists, especially ones that require hazardous rope rescues by emergency services. Additional fencing and signage have been added to Albion Falls and those that trespass could be subject to fines of $10,000.  

Located along Mountain Brow Boulevard, the cascade waterfall passes the water of Red Hill Creek down a stepped path 19 metres high. While the base is out of bounds there are two viewing platforms available to check out the waterfall - although you have to look through the foliage that partially blocks the falls. There is a parking lot just across from the falls and a wide asphalt path runs along the top of the gorge.
The exposed rocks of the escarpment are ready to fall without notice
The cascading water splashes on the steps of the falls

Erosion and safety concerns, combined with environmentally sensitive areas have led to the city actively enforcing the bylaw with a typical fine being up to $200, the higher fines were saved for repeat offenders or for those that caused rescues to be performed. In 2017 the south limits of the gorge at Albion Falls were fenced off, so the nearby Lover's Leap Vista lookout is your only option on that side.
The view from Lover's Leap Vista
The main access gate and stairway to the falls is locked

The beauty of Albion Falls will continue to draw visitors to the area and some will trespass into the gorge to view the falls up close. The city should make safe transit to the falls with an area where you could view the waterfall safely. Failing that they should make the platforms that extend over the escarpment and provide a view where you could see the falls without trees blocking the way.

I have had to go through my pics from years ago to remember what it looked like around the base of the falls and have included them within this post. You can see me at the base of the falls in my 2009 post here.
While in Hamilton you can visit the downtown core and enjoy a meal on one of the many patios that have been opened as certain covid restrictions are being lifted. The fountain in Gore Park is another must see tourist spot.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Deanna Bowen wins 2021 Scotiabank Photography Award

Eleven talented photographers were longlisted in the 11th annual Scotiabank Photography Award with interdisciplinary artist Deanna Bowen announced as the winner. In addition to photography she also works in sculpture, drawings, installations and performances addressing subjects such as race, migration and trauma. Ms. Bowen of Montreal, Quebec will receive prizes including $50,000, a solo exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre in next year's Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and a published book of her work. Deanna Bowen's “Frank”, 2019, Back-mounted inkjet prints on photo paper on plexiglass is pictured at top.
Deanna Bowen Headshot (CNW Group/Scotiabank)

“A well-deserved congratulations to Deanna, winner of the Scotiabank Photography Award, whose art tells an important story about our country and its history,” says Laura Curtis Ferrera, Chief Marketing Officer, Scotiabank. “At Scotiabank, we believe the arts enrich our communities and our society in significant ways. Through the Scotiabank Photography Award, we’re proud to help elevate the careers of some of Canada’s most accomplished and gifted artists, particularly during these challenging times.”

The prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award, started in 2010, is a peer-nominated and peer-reviewed award featuring the best of contemporary established Canadian photographers. The contest looks has six criteria such as excellence in both narrative and the art form along with a national profile and exhibition and publications , Nominations from industry experts that include curators, artists, gallery directors and others are reviewed by three expert Jurors (Sophie Hackett, Dr. Kenneth Montague and Brian Sholis), chaired by Edward Burtynsky, who select three finalists and the winner. The three finalists win $10,000 each (Annie MacDonell, Dawit L. Petros and Greg Staats).

“It is a great pleasure to recognize Deanna Bowen as the 2021 Scotiabank Photography Award winner. Deanna’s deeply personal connection to her art – in particular her photography – immerses the viewer in a brilliantly potent documentation of genealogy, race, and migration in Canada,” said Edward Burtynsky. “Her solo exhibition during the 2022 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival should not be missed.”

Deanna Bowen, Black Drones in the Hive, Chapter 2 – Abolition, Archival inkjet prints on photo paper with glazed black and natural frames, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid (CNW Group/Scotiabank)

Ms. Bowen has produced and has work published exploring the migrations of her family to "all-Black" towns in the U.S. as well as examining the Ku Klux Klan in both the U.S. and Canada, won many awards and a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Deanna is represented by the MKG127 Gallery.

From Scotiabank's interview with Ms. Bowen; "The seeds of Bowen’s current work were sown when her research led her to documents about the arrival in Edmonton of the first group of Black freemen from Oklahoma, and the subsequent signing of a petition by the Edmonton Board of Trade and city businessmen urging Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier to discourage African Americans from homesteading. Laurier obliged, signing an Order-in-Council prohibiting Black homesteaders.

“The many letters that were generated to support the petition insisted white people were getting agitated, and if the Canadian government didn’t intervene, they would resort to lynch mobs,” Bowen said, pointing to a history of hostility Canadians know little about."

Sunday, June 13, 2021

ArtworxTO: Over Floe public art at Ontario Place

Icebergs and flooded homes, two sides of the same coin, are a new art installation floating in the inner harbour at Ontario Place, made of salvaged Styrofoam by artist John Notten. The work is a great illustration of the harm of climate change as large icefields collapse and the ocean levels rise, threatening those living and working around the shorelines of the world.

John Notten approached Ellis Don for waste construction materials for one of his art projects. Ellis Don got behind the idea and provided the materials from the demolition of the Grenadier Square project site in Toronto. That project was Over Floe which has been included within ArtworxTO: Year of Public Art 2021-22.

From the ArtworxTO website: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022 will celebrate Toronto’s exceptional public art collection and the artists behind it. This exciting new initiative will support artists and new artwork that reflects Toronto's diversity and creates more opportunities for the public to engage with art in their everyday lives, across the whole city. Explore FREE Public Art Across the City."

Ontario Place entrance off of Lake Shore Boulevard

From the Ellis Don website:  "As a result of human-caused global warming, ice sheets are melting and oceans are expanding. Cities around the world, Toronto included, have historically been located near large bodies of water, drawing from them a multitude of benefits. With carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions raising temperatures around the globe, polar ice is melting at an alarming rate causing dramatic changes in weather and increased risks of flooding. Our way of life, characterized in the institutional structures of the school, factory, home, bank and truck is threatened by our actions. It is our behavior now and in the future that will dictate whether or not these institutions float away."

Saturday, June 12, 2021

World Naked Bike Ride Toronto 2021

Ready, set, get naked and ride! #WNBR is back to its regularly scheduled second Saturday in June and today is that day - June 12, 2021. Torontonians of the two-wheeled persuasion, although very accepting of roller blades, scooters and skateboards, join together to protest against exposure to pollution from cars and in support of cycling and body-positivity. Gene Dare greets the riders early on in the day in the photo at top.
Getting ready for the ride
Christmas theme
Riding with a buddy

This is the second Toronto pandemic ride and one of three rides that typically take place in Canada which includes Montreal and Vancouver. Just show up and ride and remember participation is as bare as you dare. Returning on the traditional Saturday in June brought out a lot of newcomers and many returning riders.
Co-organizer Gene Dare wearing his big Canada flag hat arrives early in Coronation Park, located immediately south of Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place off of Strachan Avenue, and waits for people to arrive at the memorial near the water. People usually start gathering starting around 10am - for 2021 remember social distancing, your mask and the ever popular sunscreen. Then many of the riders start applying body paint in preparation for the ride, in previous, non-covid times there was a professional artist that you could pay to paint your body.
It's easy to see Gene's Canada Flag in amongst the riders

See more photos after the jump.

Monday, June 07, 2021

World Naked Bike Ride Toronto 2021 this Saturday June 12

Suns out, bums out. The annual bicycle protest against climate change is back in the big city of Toronto on Saturday, June 12 for the traditional second Saturday in June ride. See photos from the 2021 ride on my post here.

Bicyclists will gather in Coronation Park at the memorial near the edge of Lake Ontario, south of Exhibition Place, starting around 10amo. Riders will join co-organizer Gene Dare, apply some body paint and sunscreen, enjoy some social distance reunions in preparation for the 1pm start of WNBR. The weather forecast for the event is a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 25 degrees Celsius, which sounds just about perfect. The ride is as bare as you dare but masks would be a nice accessory.

The route of WNBR will take in some of Toronto's most famous landmarks, stopping for photo opportunities at Queen's Park and Toronto City Hall, before ending at the Toronto Ferry Docks or returning back to Coronation Park. Overall the time is about three hours. A wedding party at Queen's Park reacts to the riders passing by in the photo at top.

The riders make it to Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall. Many of the riders will cool off in the cement pond and pose for group photos before heading down Bay Street towards the lake.

People come from all over but the participants from the United States of America will probably be unable to attend this year due to covid travel and border restrictions. Still the screams of "less gas, more ass" will be heard throughout the city as the ride meanders through the city streets and parks.

There is limited parking within Coronation Park but plenty available in the area - including within and around Exhibition Place. ActiveTO will probably be ongoing over the whole weekend which shuts down the east bound Lake Shore in several areas - so be aware of traffic slowdowns and closed roads and show up a bit earlier - on your bike! See you there.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

It's Pride Month and the flag is up in Toronto

The Rainbow and Transgender flags were raised at Toronto City Hall for the month of June for Pride Month. Mayor John Tory proclaimed Pride Month during a virtual flag raising ceremony with messages from the Mayor, Councillor Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre) along with Sherwin Modeste, Executive Director of Pride Toronto, and Grant Gonzales and Yuri Hernandez, Pride Toronto Board of Directors Co-Chairs. It was extra special because of the 40th anniversary of Pride Toronto.

Pride celebrates Toronto's 2SLGBTQ+ communities and will last from June 1 to June 27 and will end with a virtual Pride Parade. Mayor Tory says "Although, COVID-19 has changed how we celebrate Pride in the month of June, it is important to continue recognizing and acknowledging the many contributions this community has made to our city and the continued work ahead in building an inclusive city for our 2SLGBTQ+ community. Pride events are some of our city’s most beloved moments and are a true signal of a Toronto summer. I encourage all Torontonians to show their support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, its businesses and artists by attending one of the many virtual Pride events taking place this month."

Sherwin Modeste, Executive Director of Pride Toronto says "We are excited to be commemorating our 40th anniversary by sharing our story through digital content and by showcasing our heroes, our Elders, of the Toronto Queer and Trans communities. Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, communities across Toronto, especially racialized and marginalized communities, are frustrated, exhausted, and anxious about their future. However, this year has also highlighted their sacrifices and resiliency in the face of great challenges. We hope you enjoy while we continue to celebrate, rejoice, be resilient, honour, and be proud of everything we have done and the work that is to continue. Happy Pride!"

Then the flag was lowered to half mast in memory of the 215 buried at a Residential School in Kamloops.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Goderich and Ontario's West Coast

I haven't spent a lot of time along the towns that follow the edge of Lake Huron but I have heard great things of Ontario's West Coast - sounds like California to me. There is a 127km long rail trail that runs between Guelph and Goderich (called G2G) which is a little to long for me, so we parked a little closer to Goderich and made the journey into the lakeside town.
Menesetung Bridge crossing the Maitland River
The view from the bridge looking towards the Sifto salt mine

The beautiful turquois waters of the Great Lake leads into the bays of Goderich, while the wide waters of the Maitland River spill into Huron just north of the massive Sifto salt mine owned by Compass Minerals' - the world's largest underground salt mine! It's funny because you think of mines as only being in northern Ontario or other places away from urban development. This mine sits right in the harbour, just across from the main beach, bringing up over 7 million tons of the white mineral every year with enough resources to last another 100 years. The mine is pictured at top.

In 1986 they erected a salt monument to commemorate 100 years of salt mining in the area

Reaching down almost 533 metres under the surface of the lake, the mine is spread out over 5 square miles where giant caverns are supported by pillars of salt. Most of the salt is used for roads in the winter to provide de-icing to keep us safe. They found the ancient Michigan Salt Basin while drilling for oil in 1866. Sifto started their mine in the harbour in 1959 and so far they haven't breached the water and emptied the lake.

Tiger Dunlops Tomb along the trail

The rail trail that leads into Goderich crosses the Maitland River on the Menesetung Bridge which provides a great view of the mine. Later as you drop down from the valley's edge you venture along the boardwalk in front of beaches that remain closed for now. The city is rebuilding the beach park and it will be nice when done.
The beach looks a little rocky

Goderich has a cool downtown with the main core laid out way before development occurred. Based on an octagon with the courthouse and park settings in the middle, or 'Square'. Wide streets feed into the even wider main octagon allowing for plenty of parking and easily walkable downtown collection of stores and restaurants.

Looking into the Square
There is even a small theatre in the octagon

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square