Saturday, April 30, 2022

Toronto Motorama Custom Car & Motorsports Expo 2022

Cars, cars, cars! The 7th annual car show takes place April 29 to May 1, 2022 at the International Centre complete with Spring Fever modified cars and culture, Inside Track Racing Zone, Truck-O-Rama and Motorama Mayhem. Entrance is through Hall 1 of the centre and the hours are Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.
The 'Shermanator' by 'Filthy Rich' Bosch built with Sherman M4A2 tank parts

Info on Spring Fever from the Motorama Custom Car & Motorsports Expo website, “We’ve been putting on this part of the show since 2016, so we have a pretty good idea what works for the Motorama visitors,” noted Spring Fever Organizer Kristine Hill. “We have an amazing line-up of vehicles, everything from the classic to modern Tuners – cars from the 1980s to the current model year. Naturally, a lot of our cars are Imports, but we’ll have a modified Austin Mini in the display, as well as some trucks and motorcycles. And visitors should come by and check out the many really high-level builds.”

Chad Hiltz, the star of the TV Show ‘Bad Chad Customs,’ with his fiancĂ©e and TV co-star Jolene MacIntyre

For the ultimate power boost there will be Rick Kopp's Jet Drag Truck named Boneshaker. For the Motorama Saturday and Sunday's schedule of events see after the jump along with more photos from the show.

Miss Motorama pinup contest

At the Meet the Media panel guest speakers included James Neilson, Jim Kenzie, Tim Miller, Joel Robinson and Wally Nesbitt, moderated by Dave Bradley. Much missed this year is the king of Canadian motorsports media icon Norris McDonald who on April 22nd tweeted that "I have been sick, in Hospital. Might be awhile." Panelists gave good wishes to Norris and hoped for his speedy recovery.

Some of the issues discussed by the esteemed media panel included tire and rubber shortages which have impacted the Pinty's series stockcar races. Electric car racing is so quiet, you can only hear the tires screaming as they round the track. Hydrogen and hybrid fuel systems are the future and F1 is already hybrid (by using energy recovery systems). More races will be run on dirt track, including a Pinty's series race (long-awaited debut on dirt at Ohsweken Speedway Aug. 16th). And the panel was shocked by the changes to F1 cars that have seen Lewis Hamilton having a hard time of it, the multi-year F1 champion has also been lapped (from Skysports "Mercedes have had more issues than most with the 'porpoising' phenomenon seen this year when the car violently bounces on its suspension at high speed. Not shown in the simulator, this caught Mercedes completely off guard, and they believe it is the source of 99 per cent of their problems.")

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Toronto Raptors playoffs from the 600 Bell Fan Deck

Watching the NBA Raptors take on the Philadelphia 76ers in Scotiabank Arena from the eagles nest known as the Fan Deck was a lot of fun. Toronto is in a heated series round one match with Philadelphia and we watched them lose to the US team in two overtimes on April 20. Fast forward to Saturday and the Raptors fight back to win and remain in the playoffs. Make some NOISE and shout GO Raptors GO!

The pre-game show has plenty of giant flags, special lighting and blasts of flame from behind the net.

They say that no team has come back from three loses, no wins and takes the series so the 2019 NBA Champions Toronto Raptors are walking the edge as they continue the fight. The next game is Monday, April 25 in Philadelphia.

Taking the shot
Celebrity singer Drake sits on the sideline cheering the team all the way

We scored the tickets from @arcman15 (many thanks) and headed to the arena not knowing where the 600 section was located. We entered the building from Gate 5 in Jurassic Park and took the elevator up to the 4th floor, then walked up two floors to get to the section high above the court - a long suite with a great view of the whole arena, along with its own bar and bathroom. If you ever get a chance to go to the fan deck I can recommend the view and the exclusive feel of the area, it is a great experience.

Raptors VIP guest of the night was Jerome Williams - the Junkyard Dog himself, who spent time in the fan deck and posed for photos with the guests. We took one shot with the 6'9" former Raptor where he bent down to our level and another when he stood tall and towered over us. 

Now you see him....
Now you don't
Pointing the way to the Fan Deck presented by Bell and Ford
The view from Seat 9 in the 600 section
The bar is to the right. There are only two rows of seats in this area and you get a table with a coat hook

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Harbourfront is one of the best destinations in Toronto

Up close views of the skyline, bars and restaurants and plenty to do at the southern edge of the city - this is the place to be on a sunny, warm day in Toronto. Not the least is you can take a tour on a ship or grab a water taxi over to the islands.

Harbourfront Centre has a full slate of events throughout the year and the Power Plant Contemporary Gallery, with free entry courtesy of BMO Financial Group, has exhibitions, programs and events. There is so much going on, including the occasional busker and in the Fall you can look forward to the Redpath Waterfront Festival September 17-18.

Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs

Toronto loves its Leafs and their fans jam into the Scotiabank Arena paying godawful prices for everything while cheering up a storm. And yeah, it is fun, but yeah it is also very expensive. Anyhow, the prices are working because Toronto is doing well right now, did I mention that they are even second in the Atlantic Division? Its been awhile since I have been to a game and I was impressed with the flying squad of ice cleaners.

I took in the April 14 game between the Leafs and the Washington Capitals, who were crushed by the Leafs 7 to 3. The goals were fast and furious along with the average ticket price of $150.

The NHL 2021 -2022 regular season started on October 12, 2021 and then with over 1,000 games the season will end on Friday, April 29. Then on May 2nd the playoffs begin and will continue until late June. Toronto has made it into the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with their win over the Montreal Canadians which means the tickets only get more expensive.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Sunday Markets at Evergreen Brickworks 2022

Spring brings the Artisan and Vintage Market Sundays to the Brickworks from May to November. The Don Valley destination brings together local arts along with vendors, food and drink in the sprawling property hollowed out from the excavations that fed the old brickworks factory.

You can also explore the pond and trails around the site

You can find the market in the pavilions starting May 15 and continuing until November 6.

From Evergreen's website, " Sunday Artisan & Vintage Market connects people in Toronto to local artists, makers and vintage sellers. Shop vendors offering products from eco-friendly beeswax wraps and candles to locally-made clothing, unique hand-made jewelry, wood and leather goods."

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Honda Indy Toronto 2022 tickets on sale

You can now purchase tickets for the speed festival known as the Honda Indy Toronto which is back on the event calendar for 2022. This is the launch for 2-day tickets for the IndyCar race weekend around the streets of Toronto from July 15-17 starting at $75 for General Admission tickets and $95 for Bronze level Grandstand seats. Remember that Honda Fan Friday will have free admission courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers with donations going towards Make-A-Wish Canada.

Back after two years this will be the 34th edition of the 2.8km, 11-turn race through Exhibition Place and onto Lake Shore Boulevard. Saturday's headline race will be the NASCAR Pinty's Series stock car race followed by the Sunday headline race by the NTT IndyCar Series.

“It’s great to be able to say this. The Honda Indy Toronto returns!” said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. “This is one of the must see and do events on Toronto’s annual calendar. We thank our partners led by Honda Canada and our fans for sticking with us and their patience as we get back to racing at Exhibition Place.” Honda Indy Toronto is owned and operated by Green Savoree Toronto, ULC, who also promote three other IndyCar races: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio and the Grand Prix of Portland.

From the HIT release; "Thunder Alley will be filled with displays and activations again, plus food and fun for all ages. Access to the “locker room of motorsports” will be possible with the purchase of a Paddock Pass, and those looking for any even closer experience to the action can add a Pit Pass. Any health and safety protocols advised as necessary by local health officials at the time of the event will be implemented."

Monday, April 11, 2022

Toronto High Park Cherry Blossoms 2022

May 2: This is the week that peak blossoms will happen. On site May 4: south section near maple leaf garden is still mostly florets, the north section along Grenadier Pond are almost at peak and need a few more days. Crowds are building!

May 4, 2022 photos

May 4, 2022 photo

Some of the Niagara area blossoms are already peeking out

The good news is that the City of Toronto will allow the in-person viewing of the 2022 Cherry Blossom Festival in High Park, now all we need is for the blossoms to pop. On April 9 the Sakura cherry buds were starting to show green and it will be a bit before the buds become round and green.
Bud development as of April 9, 2022

When the florets, or beginning of the flowers, start to show (florets visible) and I think that we should have peak bloom in late April, early May lasting 4 to 10 days. In late April the crowds will start descending on the park to get an up close look as the florets come out and early blossoms start to appear. This will be the first time that the fruit trees will not be fenced off since 2019 as part of Covid-19 precautions. If you don't like crowds you can find 15 other cherry blossom locations throughout the city, many of those will have few visitors. you can find these locations along with virtual tours on the City's website:

Mayor John Tory says "Thanks to the progress we have made confronting COVID-19, everyone will be able to come out and enjoy the cherry blossoms when they bloom this spring. When the peak bloom begins, I encourage you to rediscover the cherry blossoms in High Park and in cherry blossom locations across the city.”

High Park will restrict vehicles from entering the park during peak bloom and also throughout weekends and holidays. The City will have a Bloom Cam for 2022 which has become a popular way for people to keep on eye on the blossoms without having to go to site. The blossoms are concentrated along the paths near Grenadier Pond although their are separate groups of Sakura trees at various locations in the park.

The City's map of High Park

There is a lot of activities and services in the park - including bathrooms, port-a-potties, a restaurant and the High Park Zoo. There is also a trackless train that takes passengers on a 25 minute round trip tour of the park operating at various times - from May to Sept running 7 days a week, other times running only weekends from April to October. Check with the city to see when the train runs and the cost ($5 per adult).

The maple leaf flower bed
The metal staircase from Colborne Lodge Drive down to the path along Grenadier Pond
Beavers have been eating the trees along the edges of the pond

Grenadier Pond has plenty of ducks, geese and swans (pictured at top) to watch and many people fish the small body of water. Entry to the park is free and accessible all day, every day.

See my pictures of the 2019 blossoms, 2020 blossoms and Toronto blossoms in 2021.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Artist John Notten: Flipping the Canoe and Unpacking the Weekend

Amazing contemporary art installations by John Notten are on display at Todmorden Mills Toronto History Museum and gallery starting in early Spring 2022.  The City's heritage site in the Don Valley hosts many events and exhibitions in the former industrial settlement, including John's current fusion of sculpture and painting that bring some of Canada's cottage country icons to life. 
John Notten stands by one of his large scale installations

From John's website says that he "is a Toronto-based contemporary artist and educator. His work is shown primarily in the public realm, with large-scale ambitious projects presented throughout Toronto and across Ontario. His art practice focuses on the reconfiguration and decontextualization of common, mundane objects that are reimagined in unconventional ways. The immersive, interactive installations Notten creates offer a radical shift in the meanings of the materials used. Addressing issues of displacement, consumerism and power, he creates participatory installations that immerse the viewer in alternative environments through the re-crafting and repurposing of multiple, prefabricated objects."

John has two exhibitions that launched in early Spring​ 2022 - 'Flipping the Canoe', which will continue its successful run until October 31st, and 'Unpacking the Weekend' in the Papermill Gallery which will close on April 10.

'Flipping the Canoe' takes the simple personal watercraft, which was instrumental in the settling of early Canada, removes the canoes ability to float, replacing its simple function by adding non-waterproof joints and reshaping the form into imaginary figures like giant spiders or sea monsters.

This interactive installation creates an animated and walking Muskoka chair
Concept art

'Unpacking the Weekend' is a multi-disciplinary exhibition that features several interactive pieces along with a number of sculptures that change objects from typical holiday life into new and sometimes scary narratives - like the massively tall, spider looking Muskoka chair installation. See a few more of the works from Unpacking exhibition after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square