Monday, January 31, 2022

Rehabilitation and restoration of Canada Malting Silos

Toronto's Bathurst Quay neighbourhood is getting a makeover and that includes work on the 2010 heritage designated Canada Malting Silos located south of Bathurst Street and Queens Quay. The hulking, concrete conglomeration of structures was closed in the late 1980s after approximately 60 years storing malt for the Canada Maltings Company - Canada's largest malting company.
Mayor John Tory said “This Bathurst Quay waterfront project has been an enormous undertaking dating back many years. I am thrilled about the progress that’s been made so far and applaud the efforts made by all of our partners who all share the same goal of improving our city’s waterfront. While we move forward in our next phase of construction, residents and visitors are able to continue to enjoy many parts of our beloved waterfront including new and improved facilities.”

First the eastern seawall was repaired in 2010 and work has continued in planning for the use of the site, to be incorporated with the upgrade of the adjacent waterfront area. In November of 2021 Mayor John Tory announced the beginning of phase 2 construction of the neighbourhood starting in the fall of 2022 and finishing in 2023 (parts of the media release included below) and transforming the area into a major tourist and cultural destination.

"Rehabilitating and restoring the heritage-designated Canada Malting silos. This work includes creating a pedestrian “portal” through the silos, containing an interpretive installation on the history and significance of these heritage-designated structures, as well as enabling investments (such as restored hydro connection, water-proofing, and other repairs) in the structures to support their future planned re-use and activation."

"The third and final construction phase – set to begin in summer 2022 – will deliver a significant new waterfront plaza on the malting property that will include seating areas by the water’s edge, purposefully-designed spaces for hosting occasional special events, and ambient lighting that can transform the malting silos into iconic waterfront beacons. The final public realm design will also include a new parkette and public art mural on nearby Eireann Quay, to connect each of the Bathurst Quay projects to each other, to the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood, and to the water’s edge."

The Toronto By-law 30-2011 designating the cultural heritage designation of the complex at 5 Eireann Quay (previously Bathurst Quay) describes the property's structures design value as "The Canada Malting Complex is significant in that it displays two rare surviving examples of grain elevators, a building type developed in North America. The 1929 and 1944 silos represent the evolution from the first wooden structures designed for the processing of grain in Buffalo, New York in the 1840s. As the result of improved materials and advanced technology, reinforced concrete silos were designed to resist the explosions and fires associated with the grain trade. The monumental scale, functional design and unadorned forms of the structures speak to the technological processes that took place inside them. The Canada Malting Company's south silos were indicative of the first generation of solid concrete grain elevators whose cylindrical configurations were expressed on the exterior of the structures. The 1944 grain elevator (or north silos), designed by T. Pringle and Son Limited of Montreal with architect E. C. Miller, represented the next generation of the building type, where the storage bins were concealed by straight exterior walls that offered additional capacity in the corners and crevices between the circular bins."
Work in 2022 will include fixing the roof, exterior wall repairs along with waterproofing and pumping water out of the silos. You can see the scaffolding installed on the west side of the south silos now to allow for work on the walls. Once this phase is done the work to repurpose the property will begin.

Updated photos April 2024 see more after the jump.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Nordic Lights at Harbourfront Centre

Six exciting installations comprise the free, outdoor Nordic Lights display at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre by artists from the Scandinavian and Nordic region on from January 27 to February 13, 2022 (5pm-10pm daily).

"This uniquely immersive collaboration, led by visual artists and lighting and video designers from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden is co-produced by Fjord Studio. Transforming Harbourfront Centre’s ten-acre campus on the waterfront into an open-air gallery creates a COVID-safe collective art experience for the city’s residents and visitors to enjoy. In addition to the light installations, award-winning Icelandic writer Kristin Gunnarsdóttir is commissioned to create a creative response to the exhibition. This audio tour will be available at as of January 28, 2022."
Control No Control
The works are; Control No Control, Equinox, Gorzi, Great Minds, Pressure and Sense Light Swing. My favourite was Control No Control which is a large LED cube that monitors movement and produces light patterns and sounds that react to the movement of the people near the cube. Second was Pressure which is a doodle like elevated display of a LED hose that wraps around the metal supporting structure providing flashes of light moving through the hose.
"Fjord Studio was founded by artist and curator Anastasia Isachsen and producer Frank Isachsen, the team behind the light art festival Fjord Oslo. Since 2020, their work has expanded to conceptualize and produce temporary and permanent projects at the intersection of art and technology in Norway and internationally. “NORDIC LIGHTS is a celebration of both Nordicness and broad exploration of light art. It is significant in these times of separation to unite artists from Nordic countries and Canada and present an expressive, poetic and inspiring exhibition, bringing light and art to everyone in Toronto,” says Anastasia Isachsen, Fjord Studio, curator of NORDIC LIGHTS."

See more photos after the jump.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Skating at Harbourfront Centre in 2022

Harbourfront Centre's outdoor Rink on the Natrel Pond is closed due to infrastructure issues and to save the skater's day, they built a new rink under and around the Harbourfront Centre Concert Stage just a stones throw from the pond.
From the Centre's website; "Nestled along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, Harbourfront Centre’s rink is one of Toronto’s most scenic spaces. Its stunning and unique location is for visitors and tourists alike to enjoy our upcoming skating programs. Provided by Synerglace Canada, our new skating rink will be at our Concert Stage with an ice loop at Harboufront’s South Orchard. We are proud to offer real ice skating again this winter season. Due to the unpredictable weather, our rink may experience periods where it is out of service. To confirm the status of the rink you may call (416) 954-9866. When possible we communicate rink closure messages on our @HarbourfrontTO twitter."
Unfortunately they sometimes have to close, like on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022. But better luck tomorrow.
The rink is also near the Power Plant museum

And if you can't skate at Harbourfront you could check out the rink at Nathan Phillips Square.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

NASCAR Pinty's Series 2022 Schedule

2022 is here and by gosh, we deserve a return to normal, and normal means it's time to race. Canada's national race series sponsored by those good people at Pinty's Delicious Food returns to the asphalt (and one dirt track) starting in May at Sunset Speedway. I am extremely glad that the stock cars will make it back to the Honda Indy Toronto in July, an exciting part of the 13-race schedule that goes to two street courses, two road courses and the dirt track at Ohsweken Speedway.

From NASCAR; “It was important for us to return to a traditional-looking schedule for the 2022 season,” said Brandon Igdalsky, Managing Director, NASCAR Touring Series. “We want to bring the exciting, side-by-side racing of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series to our fans across Canada and have appreciated their patience as we navigated the past two seasons. We will continue working with local and provincial officials to put on safe events for our fans and competitors.”

Both 2020 and 2021 the NASCAR Pinty's Series had felt the impact of Covid-19 restrictions with cancellations here and there - heck, remember the six-race, three weekend Pinty’s Fan Cave Challenge? Then while things started to return to normal in the third quarter of 2021 the Omicron variant began to hit hard, spreading fast and furious. So fast that the Ontario government seemed to just give up with all this pandemic control stuff. Forget about reporting infections, forget about testing, just go to work, get back to school and hopefully it's just a cold now. Well if we are all going to get it and if it really is mild for the vaccinated, then normal life will return. As comedian Jimmy Carr says; the survivors of Covid-19 think we may have over reacted to the pandemic, those that died might have thought that we could have done more!

NASCAR continues; "Other highlights of the 2022 schedule include: A return of the fan-favorite Honda Indy Toronto street course race on Friday, July 15. Andrew Ranger and Alex Tagliani have combined to win five of the previous six races at Exhibition Place. Two Pinty’s Series races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), including the traditional Victoria Day weekend race on Sunday, May 22. The second visit will be the season’s penultimate race on Sunday, Sept 4. The 52nd annual Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (GP3R) will be run on Sunday, Aug. 7. Quebec-born drivers have won the last seven events. All races will air on TSN and RDS. Start times and complete broadcast schedules will be released at a later date."

2022 NASCAR Pinty’s Series Schedule (subject to change)

Saturday, May 14: Sunset Speedway (Innisfil, Ont.)
Sunday, May 22: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ont.)
Saturday, June 11: Autodrome Chaudière (Vallée-Jonction, Que.)
Saturday, June 25: TBD (TBD)
Friday, July 15: Exhibition Place (Toronto, Ont.)
Saturday, July 23: Edmonton International Raceway (Wetaskiwin, Alb.)
Wednesday, July 27: Wyant Group Raceway (Saskatoon, Sask.) 125-lap twin features
Wednesday, July 27: Wyant Group Raceway (Saskatoon, Sask.) 125-lap twin features
Sunday, Aug. 7: Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (Trois-Rivières, Que.)
Tuesday, Aug. 16: Ohsweken Speedway (Ohsweken, Ont.)
Saturday, Aug. 27: Circuit ICAR (Mirabel, Que.)
Sunday, Sept. 4: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ont.)

The 2021 champion is LP Dumoulin of the number 47 car (Domoulin Competition) who has won three NASCAR Pinty's Series titles. Other drivers include Jason Hathaway of the number 3 car (Ed Hakonson Racing) who retired, came back and won the 2020 Championship title as well as Alex Tagliani of the number 18 car (22 Racing), Andrew Ranger of the number 27 car (DJK Racing) as well as two ladies in the lineup - Julia Landauer of the number 28 car (DJK Racing) and Shantel Kalika of the number 43 car (Busch Racing).

Joel Robinson of Fuel MediaLab suggests that we could see more of J.R. Fitzpatrick (First Josten's Rookie of the year) in the NASCAR Pinty's Series riding a Party Casino car, hopefully that comes true.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Unofficial Toronto Polar Bear Dip 2022

The official Polar Bear Dip was cancelled as the new wave of Covid-19 precautions (hello Omicron) started shutting down events across the province, but you can't keep hardcore dippers away from the water on New Year's Day. So across the long beach near Sunnyside Pavilion, also known as Sunnyside Beach for some reason, small groups and couples showed up, took off their warm winter clothes and ran, or walked, into the cold waters of Lake Ontario.

From the Dip's website; "While this is disappointing, it’s out of our hands, and so in the spirit of the Dip, we hope you will continue to raise funds for Boost and do your own dip your own way on January 1st. Whether it be in a kiddie pool in the backyard, a bathtub full of ice or a dip in the lake up at your friends cottage; post your videos on facebook, twitter, instagram with the hashtag #daretodip and let’s celebrate our annual tradition online with the sincere hope that next year will be different. This is an especially challenging time for Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre who have been working on the frontline during the pandemic to provide kids the mental health and other supports they need during child abuse investigations. For those children, youth and families who rely on Boost CYAC they need our help more than ever. Your ongoing fundraising or a donation of any amount to Boost CYAC right now will make a big difference to children in our city."

People listened to the request to continue to support the Dip and Boost CYAC and wanted to return to the site of the annual New Year's Day swim in Toronto. Some of the people swam for longer periods, including one gentleman that made it out to the breakwater, climbed on top, slipped, then jumped back in and made it back to the beach. The Russian swimmers seem to spend the most time in the lake and some even return daily to enjoy the outrageously refreshing waters.

The Steakin' Speedsters hit the water

My favourite sports stars and supporters of quite a few charities, the Streakin' Speedsters (also pictured at top), returned once more to challenge winter and the pebbly stones in the water.

See more photos of the dip after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square