Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Toronto's art public pay phones

While most pay phones have been slowly removed over the years there seem to be more art phones going up around Toronto. I have found one on Queen Street West and two in Graffiti Alley. One of the new phones I found has a Terminator type metal hand holding a handset. I think someone will be back to pick up that hand later.

Another phone in the alley has multiple coloured handsets which I saw some time ago (see my post here).

Then there is the crisis phone along Queen Street West which has been undergoing graffiti and sticker modifications since it has been installed.
The Crisis has been removed and a sticker of a beaver has been placed on the dial.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Imma sucker for Toronto

This suggestive sticker of someone handling the CN Tower is pasted onto a traffic signal walkway crossing button. Alleys along Queen Street West are so full of graffiti that they named the small road Graffiti Alley. And here are some of the newer murals that I found during a recent exploration of the alley.

Lion King

See more graffiti after the jump.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Cosplay in the streets of Toronto

Down the rabbit hole go cosplayers dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland, wandering along Dundas Street. This is the closest I have been to cosplay as the big August show down at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is a little too expensive!

Friday, August 26, 2022

Little Portugal Toronto Barcelos Rooster

A nine foot rooster sits in Lakeview Avenue Parkette, unveiled in 2021, by a contingent of VIPs including Mayor John Tory and the Consul General of Portugal José Manuel Carneiro Mendes to present the Barcelos Rooster.

From the webpage of the Little Portugal BIA, "Local artist, Julia Prajza explained that her winning design for the permanent 9’ statue was based on the themes of new beginnings, hope and optimism. The Rooster truly does honour the rich culture of the Portuguese people, and in Julia’s words, she skillfully “….created this modern-meets-traditional design.“ We invite everyone to stop by, take a selfie and post, and spread the word about our very own Rooster of Barcelos."

It turns out that the rooster is based on an old Portuguese folk tale where a dead rooster saves an innocent man's life. So it is a feel good story for Toronto.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Canadian National Exhibition 2022

Torontonians are back by the thousands to Exhibition Place for the latest installment of the CNE and if you are wondering, yes it is expensive as even water is being sold for $4.50 a bottle. Although you don't go to the annual exhibition unless you are willing to spend some money to enjoy food, drink and the midway rides. Remember to take the ttc or GO trains to the Ex which is on from August 19 till September 5, 2022.
Midway games
The fair rides look great at night

The waterfront show has been cancelled for this year and there is no ribfest but the Canadian International Air Show will return to the skies of Toronto during the Labour Day weekend (September 3-5 from noon till 3pm).

Watching the performances at near the beach bar at Buskers Corner
Innova Irish dance troupe on the International Stage

See more photos after the jump.

University Avenue Fountain

I am always surprised when I pass by the fountains on University Avenue, just north of Queen Street West, and the fountains are actually working. When they are full of water and shooting out jets of water they look pretty nice.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

RV adventure along Lake Erie

We were looking at an extensive cross Canada tour in a rented recreational vehicle (RV) venturing east one year, then west in the subsequent year. Rather than just jump into the major tour we decided to rent an RV for a week, explore the parks along Lake Erie, get some tips from our camping friends and enjoy a small summer vacation. I like the Lake Erie area because a lot of it is pretty close to Toronto with light traffic, no four to five hour trip in stop and go traffic heading to a Muskoka cottage so more time to enjoy your vacation.

We learned several important points about renting an RV. For starters it is very expensive, you can probably go to a nice all inclusive Caribbean resort for less money! Second, pickup and drop off times suck, they almost wipe two days from your rental period and the cost to extend the times amounts to hundreds of dollars for only a couple of hours. Trying to get Provincial Park camping sites booked in advance is very much a lottery system.

We were looking at keeping within about two hours from Toronto and decided to try for Port Burwell and Long Point Provincial Parks. Waking up early months ahead of our trip we tried to book the parks and failed at Long Point but were successful at Port Burwell. Looking around we then ended up adding Selkirk Provincial Park to our itinerary which was disappointing as the site seemed a little boring. 

Port Burwell was great, close to the small town of Port Burwell, great beaches within 20 minutes walking distance from our site, nice camping spots and services and a bonus tourist submarine (HMCS Ojibwa). The shallow, sandy beaches can pick up some serious waves which made kayaking near shore quite challenging at times. You can also sit on the beach at twilight and watch the sunset go down over the shores of Lake Erie.

During the camping at Burwell we looked at possibly dropping Selkirk and going to Long Point for a few days, we couldn't, but we did find a spot at Turkey Point for one day, so we cancelled Selkirk and extended our stay at a different spot in Burwell. As our stay at Burwell was coming to a close we decided to try Turkey Point again, found a spot for two days and cancelled the Burwell extension, the one day spot at Turkey Point and booked a new spot in Turkey Point for two days. The revisions to the reservations also cost some chunk of change.

Turkey Point turned out to be less than we hoped as there wasn't much in the park itself, you had to drive down the road to get to the beach, and no nearby town but you learn as you go. Sunset was behind the beach so we weren't able to see it when we sat on the beach.

A plaque on the historic St. Thomas building
A statue of Jumbo, run over by a train
Elevated art park

We did end up driving into St. Thomas during a rainy day a little over an hour away from the Turkey Point park which is an interesting city to visit if you are close by where you can find a statue of Jumbo, a large, historic railway station and an elevated art park.

As kayakers we were intrigued by the rumour that the "Amazon River of Canada" was near Turkey Point so we did some research and found out that the Big Creek was it and so we found a place to launch the boats (42.595324642328855, -80.48507333011551) just past Port Rowan. The creek meanders through the countryside and empties into the area at the base of Long Point. We headed upstream passing by plenty of signs from the king of the marsh area, the kayaking was nice, not too much current and busy enough with people enjoying the paddling tours from Long Point Eco-Adventures coming downstream.

Burning Kiln Winery

On the way back from Big Creek we also passed by, and decided to stop at a local winery called Burning Kiln and found out that the Long Point Eco-Adventures was across Front Road. Both places were worth the visit. The adventure site has zip lines, biking trails, axe throwing, a restaurant, brewery and an observatory.

Long Point Eco-Adventures camp sites - Pods
The seacan brewery
Restaurant and observatory

Overall we decided to forgo the RV four our cross country tour and take the trip with our car carrying our kayaks and ebikes and staying in hotels or BnBs along the way.

Kayaks on the Hullavator carrier rack system

Monday, August 22, 2022

Celebrate Toronto Festival coming in September 2022

Toronto's 188th birthday is fast approaching and you can party like there is no tomorrow on September down at City Hall.

From the City's webpage "Celebrate Toronto brings the city together while highlighting the city’s small businesses, artists and musicians. While we will miss hosting our in-person festival this March due to COVID-19, we look forward to re-connecting with the public September 10-11, 2022 at Nathan Phillips Square. Let’s do our part to stay safe, and help provide support to local small businesses."

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Canadian National Exhibition is back for 2022

Exhibition Place is once again hosting the CNE, the traditional end of summer event which leads the kids back into school in September. I will be going this Wednesday to the grand ol' fair to check out some of the new foods and walk the fairgrounds. This is the opening weekend and the Ex runs from August 19 till September 5, 2002. You can see photos of this year's Ex on my post here.

2022 CNE Map

General Admission tickets cost $25 per adult (14 years to 64 years old). You can find a discount ticket code (Enter Access Code: 2022FY3N43D7) from eBOSS Canada on their webpage. You can also go to the EX during weekdays after 5pm to purchase the $11 evening pass (excluding Labour Day). RedFlagDeals also has discount food tickets here.

Rides are open till midnight, they have a nightly drone show (Aug 19-Sept 4 at 10:45pm) and the annual Canadian International Air Show is on Labour Day weekend (Sept 3-5).

Berzcy Park with Dog Poop garbage can

I love the atmosphere and sights in Berzcy Park, from the patterns built into the square, the incredible dog fountain and all the places to sit and enjoy the park along with the buildings that surround it.

Dog poop receptacle to the right

It was funny when I just noticed that the standard City of Toronto garbage can came with a separate section just for dog poop which makes perfect sense as this park is a favourite for dog owners.

Toronto Chinatown Festival 2022

Midsummer brings much fun to the City of Toronto including the annual festival hosted by the Toronto Chinatown Business Improvement Area. This is the 22nd annual Toronto Chinatown Festival and the theme for this year is the "Eight Immortals" with their secrets to nature. The festival takes place on the southbound side of Spadina Avenue between St Andrew Street and Sullivan Street from August 20-21, 2022.

The CBIA describes the eight Immortals as follows.
"Lü Dongbin (呂洞賓) – a scholar and poet considered to be the leader of the Eight Immortals.
He Xiangu (何仙姑) – in the modern context generally seen as the only female of the group, often depicted holding a lotus flower.
Cao Guojiu (曹國舅) – related to a Song dynasty emperor before he became an immortal.
Li Tieguai (李鐵拐) – associated with medicine and easing the suffering of the sick and needy, identified by his iron crutch and Calabash bottle.
Lan Caihe (藍采和) – originally pictured as female later developed an ambiguous or more accurately, a “transformative” gender and is considered the patron of florists and gardeners.
Han Xiangzi (韓湘子) – a flute artist.
Zhang Guolao (張果老) – a Taoist symbol of longevity.
Zhongli Quan (鍾離權) – associated with death and the power to create silver and gold, often depicted holding a fan."

This event, like too many others, took a hiatus during the peak of covid precautions but is back over the two days to share the culture of the Chinese with performances on several stages, food vendors, dragons and lions along with parades and family activities.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square