Saturday, December 31, 2022

Toronto Bentway Polar Bear Skate

The goal is to skate around the trail under the Gardiner Expressway in your underwear. The time is December 31, 2022 at 1pm. The weather is balmy and the rain is unimportant because this rink is sheltered by the raised highway. The rain has kept away some of the crowds but the weather has since been drying up. What an adventure people!

Groups of people show up ready to undress and skate
Lots of people dropped by to cheer on the skaters
A Christmas themed skate
Stormtrooper skater - may the force be with you
Heading out to the rink to begin the Polar Bear Skate 2022

From the Polar skate's website, "Polar Bear Skate & Winter Clothing Drive: December 31 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm. The Bentway’s Polar Bear Skate returns! Both a clothing drive and a wild way to close out the year, brave Torontonians are invited to strip down to their skivvies and skate the trail for a good cause. Donations of warm winter clothing will be collected onsite by New Circles Community Services and distributed to newcomer and refugee families experiencing winter in Toronto for the first time. Items in need include new and gently-worn winter coats and boots. Thank you to Beanfield Metroconnect for providing free hot beverages during the Polar Bear Skate to help keep you warm.



See more of the skate after the jump.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Fun things to do in Toronto July & August 2023

Hot and sweet, that's what summer is like in Toronto, perfect for patios and outdoor events. This is the summer for the annual Honda Indy Toronto and the Caribbean Carnival. Make it hot, hot, hot! You can always check out the changing graffiti murals in Graffiti Alley.
The enormous Rendezviews Patio

Canada Day 2023 Sat, Jul 1.
Toronto Fringe Festival Wed to Sun, July 5-16.
Beaches Jazz Festival Thurs to Sun, July 6-30.
Taste of Lawrence Fri to Sun, July 7-9.
Salsa on St Clair in Toronto Sat to Sun, July 8-9.
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Fri to Sun, July 7-9.
Honda Indy Toronto Fri to Sun, July 14-16. Exhibition Place will sound like a jacked up hornet's nest as the IndyCar series and the NASCAR Pinty's series light up the streets of Toronto.
Small World Free Music Festival at Old Fort York Garrison Common Fri to Sun, Jul 14-16.
Big on Bloor Festival Sat to Sun, July TBD. Car free from Dufferin to Lansdowne.
Toronto International BrazilFest Sat to Sun, July 21-23. In Earlscourt Park.
Toronto Festival of Beer Fri to Sun, July 28-30. Hmmm, beer.
Importfest Saturday, July 29 - cars and girls at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Ossfest Sat, July TBD. Ossington Strip between Dundas St W and Queen St W.
Fun Philippines Festival Sat to Sun, July TBD.
Guild Park Arts Festival Sat to Sun, July TBD.
Toronto Craft Beer Festival Fri to Sun, July TBD.

Keep an eye out for Sunflowers in August
Toronto Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade Sat, Aug 5.
Simcoe Day events in Toronto Mon, Aug 7.
National Bank Open (fmr Rogers Cup Tennis) Sat to Sun, Aug 5-13.
Taste of the Danforth Fri to Sun, Aug TBD. Cancelled in 2022 due to lack of room on the streets.
Canfitpro Consumer Fitness and Wellness Show Wed to Sun, Aug 16-20.
Wheels on the Danforth Sat, Aug TBD.

Canadian National Exhibition CNE Fri, Aug 18 - Mon, Sept 4. Do you want to go faster? And don't forget the fantastic Canadian International Airshow.
Aloha Toronto Festival Sun, Aug TBD.
Toronto Chinatown Festival
Sat to Sun, Aug TBD.
Go Topless Day Protest Sun, Aug 27. The Sunday closest to Women's Equality Day which is August 26.
2 Day Best of the Beach Coed Volleyball Sat to Sun, Aug TBD.
Taiwan Fest Fri to Sun, Aug TBD.
Toronto Tamil Festival Fri to Sun, Aug TBD.
Fan Expo Canada Thurs to Sun, Aug 24-27. Some amazing cosplay on display.
Leslieville Beerfest Sat, Aug TBD.

Events moved to September

Buskerfest at the Beaches in Woodbine Park. Fri to Mon, Sept 1-4.
And the world famous Toronto International Film Festival, or tiff
Sept 9-18.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Magical ice buildup on Polson Pier

Sunset was encroaching on Toronto’s skyline as viewed from Polson Pier down Cherry Beach way. On the westerly facing pier water had blown over everything in the frigid cold and froze solid.



It is a weird fantasy world of ice, much like the houses coated along Lake Erie, with the added bonus of a beautiful view of Toronto.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Polar Bear Skate and Polar Bear Dip are coming

Update: Polar Bear Skate to start at 1pm.

Holiday season brings Christmas and then the run up to New Years and events in Toronto don't stop during this time, they just get colder. First up is the Polar Bear Skate on Saturday, December 31 from 12 noon till 2pm at Bentway Park where you can skate in your underwear and donate to a charity clothing drive. Yay for New Years Eve day! You can see my photos from a previous skate here.
From the skate's website, "The Bentway’s Polar Bear Skate returns! Both a clothing drive and a wild way to close out the year, brave Torontonians are invited to strip down to their skivvies and skate the trail for a good cause." The Bentway Skate Trail is located at 250 Fort York Boulevard under the Gardiner Expressway.
Some of the unofficial 2022 dip participants
Compared to the typical crowds of dippers at a previous polar bear event

The next day as the New Year rises bright and early you can continue your adventures in rigid temperatures, although the air temperature is expected to be above freezing (5 degrees Celsius with rain possible) the cold waters of Lake Ontario will surely be a tad uncomfortable. January 1st is the date for the annual Toronto Polar Bear Dip at Sunnyside Beach alongside Lake Shore Boulevard. The event opens at 10:30am and the dip starts at 12 noon. All monies raised go to Boost Child and Advocacy Centre.

From the dip's website, "The Toronto Polar Bear Club was started in 2005 by three guys who wanted to share our love of the Polar Bear Dip with Toronto and to raise funds for great charities that provide services to the people of Toronto. That first year we managed to convince 20 people to jump into Lake Ontario on January 1st. Now we get over 500."

The last few years the dip was cancelled due to Covid precautions but while the official event was cancelled you can't keep hardcore dippers down so groups of people showed up all morning and went running into the water to keep the tradition alive. Rocks in the water make it both difficult and painful to run so remember to bring some water shoes or sandals with straps, no flip flops as they just pop off the second you hit the H2O. You can see my photos of the unofficial 2022 dip here.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Niagara Icewine Festival January 2023

The GTA flocks to the Niagara area to experience wine country and enjoy the fruits of the vines and while winter traffic slows down, many still come for the annual Icewine Festival. We missed the last three years the 2023 festival promises new culinary and wine experiences occurring throughout the Niagara Peninsula. It's a good reason to get out in the cold!

From the news release "New this year, the Cool as Ice Gala kicks off festivities at the spectacular new Niagara Parks Power Station venue on Saturday, January 14. Guests will have the opportunity to explore an incredible array of VQA Icewine, table wine and cocktails, paired with culinary selections from some of Niagara’s most talented chefs. Attendees will also get to immerse themselves in the Power Station experience which includes stunning views of Niagara Falls from ‘The Tunnel’, 180-feet below ground. The Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival begins its two weekends of celebrations on Friday, January 20 with the Sparkle & Ice Gala at the Courthouse Grand Hall. The Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Village returns and takes place on historic Queen Street on January 21, 22, 28 and 29. The epic Niagara Icewine Cocktail Competition is back on the evening of Saturday, January 28 at the Courthouse Grand Hall."

You can pick up a festival weekend Discovery Pass for VQA Ontario Icewine and food pairings for up to six experiences during January 13-19 (programming Fridays to Sundays) with 28 wineries included in the festival. The participating wineries are listed on the Discovery Pass website.

“Niagara celebrates Icewine like nowhere else in the world. The Niagara Icewine Festival is a magical time to visit Wine Country Ontario and offers wine lovers a taste of something that is authentically Canadian,” said Sylvia Augaitis, Executive Director of Marketing for the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario. “Ontario wine country street festivals and galas are an invitation to uncover the many ways to enjoy Ontario VQA Icewine - from VQA Icewine cocktails to spicy, sweet and savoury VQA Icewine food experiences.”
Also check out Niagara Falls for the Festival of Lights which continues until February 20, 2023.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Kensington Market Winter Solstice 2022

The shortest day and longest night is here as the winter solstice comes to the Northern Hemisphere on Wednesday, December 21 (at 4:47pm). In Toronto we celebrate hope and new beginnings with the 33rd annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice festival taking place today between 6 and 9:30pm and includes the Fire Finale! My Youtube video of the parade and Fire Finale can be found here.




The parade gathers at Augusta and Oxford. Dec 21, 2023

Kensington Market, self-described as Toronto's most vibrant and diverse neighbourhood, is bounded by the streets of College, Dundas, Bathurst and Spadina. The parade begins assembly early in the evening and is centered around Augusta Avenue and Oxford Street where the roped off intersection comes alive with an indigenous opening ceremony, paper mache characters, musical bands and exciting fire breathing performances. In the crowds people will be carrying lanterns to light the way, while others will be carrying large paper mache figures on poles waiting for the parade to start around 7pm.

The majestic bird waits for the flames for the fire finale 2023. It is a Phoenix 

Schedule from Red Pepper Spectacle Arts
"All are welcome to the 33rd Annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice, on Wednesday December 21st. We are returning to our live, in-person Parade and Fire Finale.
6:00pm Parade Assembly, at the intersection of Augusta Ave and Oxford St.
6:30pm First Light Opening
7:00pm Parade Kick Off
Dress warmly, with glowing adornment and bring a noisemaker to bring in the return to light.
Handmade Solstice Lanterns will be available for sale from 3:00pm - 6:00pm, on Augusta Ave north of Oxford St. Look for the Solstice Lantern Tent.
See you in the parade!"

The parade continues down Augusta Avenue, turns west on Dundas Street West and enters Alexandra Park and ends at the baseball diamond. The diamond is roped off and in the centre will be the large paper mache art installation that will be lit on fire and burned to ashes while fire performers twirl and dance as they put on a great show. The night is truly spectacular. The Phoenix is lit on fire at 8:15pm.
The Phoenix is engulfed in flames

You can see some photos of past Winter Solstice festivals on the following posts: 


See more of the 2022 Winter Solstice after the jump.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Motorcycle Shows in Toronto 2023

Motorcyclists lean down and extend their hand in greeting every time they pass another motorcyclist because they love to ride and share their pride every time, every darn time. Imagine if we did that when driving cars - it just wouldn't happen. There are a few motorcycle shows every year and they start early, no sleeping in after New Years Eve.

North American International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW will be at the Toronto International Centre Jan 6-8. "Check out all the Newest items in Motorcycling in massive displays with New Bikes, Huge Manufacturer and Dealer Displays, walk the Century of Motorcycles Exhibition, discover the hottest Shopping Bargains, check out the Enormous Used Bike Markets and find all of your Parts & Accessories for sale in hundreds of Exhibitor booths. Meet over 100 Clubs, Rides & Rallies, and Purchase your Bike right at the Show. LIVE Motocross Freestyle shows, LIVE music. Meet industry celebrities and watch some of the biggest names in bike builders compete to win $50,000 in Cash and Prizes at The Canada Cup Championship Custom Bike Competition on the AMSOIL stage in hall 5."

There are two Port Dover motorcycle Friday the 13th rallys in 2023 - the first is a chilly one on Friday, Jan 13 and a slightly warmer one on Friday, October 13.

The Toronto Motorcycle Show at the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place this February. "Toronto’s premier powersports event, The Toronto Motorcycle Show presented by NFP, is roaring back to the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, February 17 - 19, 2023, and is set to deliver plenty of fun, excitement, and new discoveries for riders of all styles, ages, and experience levels. Riders, future riders, and lovers of the motorcycle lifestyle will be able to check out some of the most anticipated models for 2023, from many of the world’s top manufacturers."

The Toronto Motorcycle Spring Show kicks off the riding season at the International Centre in April (Sat to Sun, April 1-2). Presented by Riders Plus Insurance the show delivers an incredible weekend of new and used bikes, motorcycle gear and accessories with attractions and exhibits that appeal to everyone from beginners to hardcore bikers.

Toronto International Snowmobile, ATV and Powersports Show October at the International Centre. "If you’re into snowmobiles, ATVS and an all around Powersports enthusiast, this is the show for you! As soon as you step foot on the show floor, you’ll be blown away with the incredible roster of exhibitors and the feature events taking place around the show. The enormous Outdoors Event Centre with Live test drives and Freestyle Shows featuring snowmobiles, ATVs, motocross and street bikes. You’ll find huge Manufacturer Displays showcasing all of the new snowmobile and ATV line-ups. This show has more corporate manufacturer displays than any other snowmobile and/or ATV show across North America. All of the new machines under one roof, over one weekend, you can’t miss it! We guarantee it will be worth the drive to get here."

Fun things to do in Toronto May & June 2023

I live for summer and it starts Wednesday, June 21st. Woot, woot. Luckily life and fun in Toronto begins before summer so there are plenty of things to do to in the big city including one of my favourite events - World Naked Bike Ride.

Toronto Marathon Sun, May 7. I definitely won't be running this, but if you do - wow, amazing.
Peak Blossoms in High Park could be in the first week of May! (Cherry Blossoms in Toronto - should happen late April, early May. Best views in High Park)
World Naked Gardening Day Sat, May 6 (usually first Saturday of May).
Colour Me Rad 5k Sat, May TBD in Downsview Park.

Anime North Fri to Sun, May 26-28.
Doors Open Toronto Sat to Sun, May 27-28. Chance to see things normally closed to public or attractions with no entrance fee.
Under the Big H Beer Festival and Carnival May TBD. In the Henderson Brewery parking lot.
DO West Fest (formerly Dundas West Fest) Fri to Sun, Jun 9-11. Dundas Street West from Ossington to Lansdowne presented by Little Portugal Toronto BIA
Woofstock Sat to Sun, June. TBD. Cute dogs in costumes at Woodbine Park in the Beach area. Don't forget about Winter Woofstock in November.
Luminato Wed to Sun, June 7-18. Cool art installations.
Toronto Pro SuperShow Sat to Sun, June 3-4. Muscles, enough said.

World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) Sat, Jun 10. Right through downtown Toronto, nude. Meet at Coronation Park by noon for some bodypainting, ride begins at 1pm. It's a GO
The Beaches Ribfest - Beach BBQ and Brews: Fri to Sun, June TBD.
Redpath Waterfront Festival Fri to Sun, June TBD. 
Nuit Rose in Church/Wellesley Village and Queen St W. A festival of queer art and performance. Sat, Jun TBD.
Northern Ink Xposure Tattoo Show Fri to Sun, June 9-11.
Taste of Little Italy Fri to Sun, June TBD.
Dragon Boat Race Festival Sat to Sun, Jun 17-18.
Yorkville Exotic Cars Sun, Jun 18 on Bloor Street from 12 noon till 5pm.
Collision Toronto Mon to Thurs, June 26-29. tech conference at the Enercare Centre.
Toronto Jazz Festival Fri to Sun, Jun TBD.
World Pride: Toronto Pride Week and Pride Parades Fri to Sun, Jun TBD. The parades are things of colour and beauty: Trans March on Friday, Dyke March on Saturday and the Pride Parade on Sunday. The Street Festival on Church St is on during Pride Weekend. Pride Month starts June 1st. It's a go.
Pride Parade, Sunday, June TBD: Formation area: Rosedale Valley Road closed from Bayview Avenue to Park Road to accommodate the formation of the parade. Parade route: Starts at Church Street and Bloor Street East, goes west on Bloor Street East to Yonge Street, south on Yonge Street to Dundas Street and back to the festival on Church Street. Roads will be closed for varying periods between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. The parade takes place from 2 to 6:30 p.m.
Hope Volleyball Toronto Sat, Jun TBD on Toronto Islands. Charity volleyball bash/tournament.
Toronto Roller Derby League: Clam Slam Fri, Jun TBD. Part of the Pride Celebrations - love the name.

Some events in July

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Sun to Sun, July 2-9.
And Toronto's MotorFest the Honda Indy Toronto is coming Fri to Sun, July 14-16.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Fun things to do in Toronto March & April 2023

One of the best things coming to Toronto in March is the much awaited official start of Spring on Monday, March 20, 2023! I am hoping the Spring Equinox is overshadowed by a balmy unofficial start to the season much earlier. Instead of just impatiently waiting for the sun I will be checking out some of the events and attractions that make the city so much fun to visit and explore.

Winter Stations in the Beach From continues from Feb 20 in March.
International Bicycle Show Dates to be confirmed.
Toronto Rock Lacrosse till April 22.
Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show Thurs to Sun, Mar 2-5.
Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival. Was cancelled and is back on for Sat, Mar 4 at 11:00 AM-5:00 PM Brought to you by Steam Whistle and the Toronto Railway Museum
Toronto FC Start date to be confirmed.
Celebrate Toronto Mon, Mar 6. Toronto's 189th anniversary festival
Lumiere The Art of Light in Ontario Place. Fri, Mar 10 to Sun, May 7. 2023
Toronto Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Sat, Mar to Sun, April. Dates to be confirmed.
Green Living Show Fri to Sun, Mar. To be confirmed.
National Home Show  Fri to Sun, Mar 10-19. Canada Blooms will return in 2024.
Sugar Shack Sat to Sun, Mar 11-12 down at the waterfront.
Toronto Sportsmen's Show Thurs to Sun, Mar 16-19.
Toronto ComicCON Fri to Sun, Mar 17-19. Come for the costumes, read a few comics and meet some stars.
Earth Hour Sat, Mar 25 at 8:30 pm.

Toronto Pillow Fight Sat, Apr 1 at 3pm at Nathan Phillips Square, to be confirmed. During World Pillow Fight Day.
Toronto Blue Jays Home Opener Tue, April 11.
International Spring Motorcycle Show Sat to Sun, Apr 1-2.
Toronto Roller Derby League Who knows?
Toronto Beaches Lions Easter Parade Sun, Apr. Date to be confirmed.
Fashion Art Toronto Thurs to Mon, Apr. To be confirmed - sometime in Spring/Summer
Future of Innovation, Technology and Creativity FITC Mon to Wed, Apr dates to be confirmed.
Toronto Comic Arts Festival TCAF Fri to Sun, Apr 29-30.
Hopefully the fruit blossoms will come out to play, along with the warm weather. Check out the famous High Park Cherry Blossoms Festival.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Fun things to do in #Toronto in Jan and Feb 2023

HO HO HO, Santa delivered a great present of a spanking new year full of optimism and fun. Forget that January and February are cold as heck and enjoy the snow and if you can't enjoy the outdoors try to go to all the amazing events that take place indoors.

Polar Bear Dip at Sunnyside Beach. Sunday, Jan 1. Noon at Sunnyside Beach. 'Do the Dip'. Last year was cancelled but die-hard dippers came out anyways. You can join a big crowd in 2023.
Myth and Evidence at Harbourfront Centre. Nov 2022 to Mon, Jan 16.
Toronto Rock Lacrosse All home games are played in Hamilton's FirstOntario Centre.
North American International Motorcycle Supershow Fri to Sun, Jan 6-8 at the International Centre. Check my post here to enter a contest to win tickets to the Motorcycle Supershow.
Toronto No Pants Subway Ride Sun, Jan 8. Meet at 3pm at Eaton Centre Dundas Street entrance, 3:20pm head out on the rails. 
Canada's Bridal Show Fri to Sun, Jan 13-15.
The Franchise Expo Sat to Sun, Jan 14-15.
Interior Design Show IDS2022 Thurs to Sun, Jan 19-22.
Toronto International Boat Show Fri to Sun, Jan 20-29. 

Toronto Light Festival Fri, - Sun, Jan to March in the Distillery District. 2023 dates to be announced.
Blue Jays Winter Fest Sat to Sun, Jan. To be confirmed.
Ice Breakers at Queens Quay. To be confirmed.
Toronto Roller Derby League Did Covid kill TORD?
Toronto Chinatown Lunar New Year Celebrations Sat to Sun, Jan. To be confirmed.
Winterlicious Fri, Jan 27 to Thurs, Feb 9.

Harbourfront Centre Kuumba Feb. To be confirmed.
Hey, it's Groundhog Day on Thurs, Feb 2. Groundhogs can't be stopped! Don't forget about Wiarton Willie!
Toronto Coldest Day of the Year Ride Sat, Feb. To be confirmed.
Bloor-Yorkville Icefest Festival Sat to Sun, Feb 18-19.
Black Film Festival Wed to Mon, Feb 15-20.
Happy Valentine's Day Tue, Feb 14. Hugs and kisses everyone.
Motorcycle Show Toronto Fri to Sun, Feb 17-19. Down in Exhibition Place.
Spring Fish and Boat Show Fri to Mon, Feb 17-19.
Canadian International AutoShow Fri to Sun, Feb 17-26.
Beaches Winter Stations Design Competition Displays start Mon, Feb 20.
Winterfolk Festival Fri to Sun, Feb 24-26.
Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show Fri to Sun, Feb 24-26.

Moved into March....

Toronto International Bicycle Show Fri to Sun, Mar. To be confirmed.
Toronto Sportsmen's Show Thurs to Sun, March 16-19. 
Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival Sat, March. To be confirmed. Brought to you by Steam Whistle and the Toronto Railway Museum

Win Tickets to the Toronto #MotorcycleSupershow 2023

The new year brings a fresh slate of events and one of the first is the 47th annual North American International Motorcycle Supershow scheduled for January 6 to 8, 2023 at the International Centre. There are several ways you can enter the contest; You can have a chance to win a pair of tickets (I have two sets available) to the Supershow by sending me an email at jmhcet@gmail.com or commenting on my blog post, or liking and leaving a comment my twitter post, or by liking and leaving a comment on my Instagram post (all shown below). The contest will close Dec 31, 2022 and winners will be contacted directly.

Everything motorcycle will be spread through 5 halls of the International Centre - which also comes with free parking, starting with Touring & Cruising Halls 1W & 1E, Industry Showcase Halls 2E & 2W, The Vintage and Classic Hall 3, Racing & Performance Hall 4, Choppers & Custom Bikes Hall 4, Choppers & Custom Bikes Hall 5 along with Canada Cup Championships and a Used Bike Market. There will also be live entertainment and special guest stars.

The hours are FRIDAY 11AM-9PM • SATURDAY 10AM-8PM • SUNDAY 10AM-5PM.

Monday, December 12, 2022

The Kringles are back in Kringlewood

Toronto's favourite Christmas neighbourhood is on Inglewood Drive, west of Mt. Pleasant Road, where giant Kris Kringle blowups (otherwise known as Santa Claus) line the street, welcoming visitors to the famous seasonal attraction.



 
Now if they could add some Yukon Cornelius and Abominable Snowmonster (Bumble) characters from the Chistmas special Rudulph the Red-Nosed Reindeer into the mix then this street would be the best in the world. Plus the houses are quite amazing!

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs

Pride

Redball

Beaches

Graffiti

Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square

Transportation