Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Fall 2023 is coming fast

It's coming to the end of August 2023 and already we are seeing fall colours around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Officially September 23, 2023 is the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. The Ontario Parks fall colour report shows 0% colour change for now but my eyes do not deceive me, it is starting! 

The change starts when daylight is reduced and the weather gets colder. From the Algonquin Provincial Park website on fall colours; "As the daylight length shortens, and temperatures grow cooler in autumn, trees slow and eventually halt their sugar making process of photosynthesis and begin to prepare for the dormant winter period. During this preparation for winter, trees extract the valued chemical components within their leaves, including the green chlorophyll, for re-use again next growing season (the following spring/summer). As these valued chemical components break down and get extracted from the leaf, underlying pigments get revealed. These now visible pigments (that were in the leaves all along, but hidden by the green chlorophyll) include the orange and yellow colours of pigments such as carotenes and xanthophylls. Red pigments, or anthocyanins, are believed to be specially formed late in the summer and protect sensitive leaves from bright sunlight during the chemical extraction process." We go from a peak of 15 hours, 27 minutes of summer sunlight to 12 hours, 11 minutes at the Autumn Equinox.

On August 18, 2023 the night time temperatures started to hit 14 degrees Celsius and below in Toronto. It seems to rain every second day in the Toronto area this year and while a large part of the world is suffering drought conditions we seem to be producing a record amount of rainfall in 2023. Normal peak fall colours in Ontario stretch from mid-September into October, moving from the north into southern Ontario as autumn progresses.
Big Bend lookout in Arrowhead Provincial Park

North of Toronto in the Muskoka area one of the best places to see the colour change is at Arrowhead Provincial Park and the Big Bend Lookout - which is also great to see year round!

Algonquin Park in Central Ontario is in peak fall colour at the end of September, early October.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Canadian International Air Show CIAS 2023 coming soon

The Toronto Air Show, known formally as the Canadian International Air Show (CIAS), will soon be flying over the city's down harbourfront in early September. Taking place at the tail end of the traditional end of summer celebration found at the Canadian National Exhibition which starts today in Exhibition Place - August 18 to September 4, 2023. CIAS will begin with a practice on Friday, September 1 from noon to 3:45pm and the actual Air Show will run September 2-4 from noon till 3:30pm over the Labour Day long weekend. These are some of the planes that performed in 2022.

The show will include the following aircraft; U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Canadian Forces Snowbirds, U.S.A.F. F-16 Demonstration Team, P-51 Mustang Heritage Flight and the Canadian Forces CF-18 Demonstration Team. Additional aircraft can be found on the airshow website with more performers to be announced in the coming weeks.

Watching warplanes fly in Hamilton

It's interesting to visit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum on days when flights are scheduled, you get a chance to see some iconic aircraft taking to the skies from Hamilton Airport. You can even purchase flights in the planes - some are very expensive though (from $200 to $3,900 per seat), and you have to purchase a membership first. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The B-25 passes by the Harvard and Dakota planes on the way to the active runways
The Lancaster is receiving some tender loving care

Many Torontonians have see the famous Lancaster bomber flying over the city and back to Hamilton. Currently the bomber is going through some maintenance work and the museum is looking for donations towards the half a million dollar cost of the engine upgrades. From the museum's website, "Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum intends to fly the Lancaster well into the future and carry on with this important mission, but we need you to help us accomplish our worthy task. As we approach our 25th year of flight operations in 2013, we are at a point where the four mighty Packard Merlin 224 engines are nearing the end of their operating life and will need to be overhauled in a planned sequence. The Museum already has all the professional contacts in place with the two engine overhaul facilities that have the capability to overhaul these V12 engines. We will be able to operate the Lancaster throughout the planned overhaul sequence, but the costs of these engine overhauls and specialty work is significant."

Most flights are from Thursday to Sunday and can feature the following aircraft; Beechcraft Expeditor, Noorduyn Norseman, Fairchild Cornell, de Havilland Tiger Moth, de Havilland Canada Chipmunk, Douglas C-47 Dakota, Boeing Stearman, North American Harvard, Consolidated Canso, North American B-25 Mitchell and the Avro Lancaster. You can watch the planes start and take off from the observation deck of the museum or from the deck of the plane parking area, both are exciting to watch. Most planes also fly over the museum after takeoff. Hamilton is a working airfield and has a number of domestic and international flights that you can see from the observation deck.

The static displays, both inside and out on the outdoor parking area are worth checking out as well.

See more of the static displays after the jump.

Floating MAiZE art in Brookfield Place Toronto

The Allen Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place continues to support art as the display of Floating MAiZE by Jean Shin hangs down near the Bay Street entrance. The art installation uses discarded materials in search of sustainability, taking plastic Mountain Dew bottles and making a new, artificial landscape hanging above visitors. Jean's art made me think of the environment and of having a drink.

From Brookfield's website, "Using cast-off or donated materials, I create large-scale sculptures that draw attention to everyday objects, often underscoring their circulation and cumulative effect upon our live environment. In the case of Floating MAiZE, the repurposed single-use plastic Mountain Dew bottles, once filled with soda containing corn syrup, illustrate the issues of corporate extraction and overconsumption, and the harmful effects of highly processed foods on our health. The sheer mass of plastic in Floating MAiZE encourages visitors to consider the failure of the beverage industry to take responsibility for the scale of plastic waste it generates, less than 9% of which is recycled, and this waste’s detrimental effects on the environment and our collective well-being."

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square