Saturday, November 11, 2023

Remembrance Day warplane flyover

Hundreds of people took in the 2023 Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton on November 11th. As part of the event the Lancaster flew over the museum near the ceremony's two minutes of silence to help us remember those that served our country. There was a little bit of blue sky in the overall grey clouds in the heavens above in the photo at top.
The original Lancaster type Mk. X was built in Mississauga (Malton) in 1945 and later transitioned to a 10MR configuration, had a wing section replaced in 1952 and was finally retired from the military in 1963. Then in 1977 the Royal Canadian Legion in Goderich sold the plane to the museum where it took 11 years to get the Lancaster ready for flight. It is one of many warplanes, flight ready or on static display at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
Returning to the museum

Today was the last scheduled 2023 flight of the Lancaster and the museum's airplanes were joined by a J-type Hercules from the Canadian Armed Forces out of Trenton air force base, arriving just for the ceremony.
Hercules prepares for the flight home

See more photos after the jump.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

The best are back for the Royal Horse Show Toronto 2023

The equine world comes back to Toronto during the Royal Horse Show which takes place as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Exhibition Place from November 3 to 12, 2023. The excitement features hundreds of show jumpers and many other competitors looking to take home part of the over $1 million dollars in prizes. Your Royal Horse Show ticket even includes entry into the 101 year old Winter Fair - the World's largest combined Agricultural and Equestrian Fair.
Six Horse Hitch competitors

The Highlanders band

From the Horse Show's website; "The Royal boasts a huge variety of equestrian competitions open to all ages. Along with Hunters and Show Jumpers, you will be amazed at the many different breeds of horses that pull carts, coaches, wagons and big hitches. Cheer for your favorite high stepping Hackney, shout when the announcer calls “drive on!” in the Road Horse classes or clap and whoop it up when the judge approaches your favorite heavy horse hitch for inspection! The Royal Horse Show is world-class equestrian competition at its finest."

Some of the interesting competitions are the $20,000 Mad Barn Indoor Eventing Challenge (took place Saturday, November 4 and won by Phillip Dutton a two-time Olympic gold medalist), the Belgian Six Horse Hitch, Polo at the Royal, Hackney & Harness Pony Championships, Royal Heavy Horse Team Championship, Royal Horse Show Tack Room Competition, the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping World Cup and the Royal Rodeo. The World Cup happens Saturday night (November 11) while the Rodeo takes place on Sunday, November 12 beginning at 1 PM and closes out the Royal Horse Show.
Riders do a course walk for the McKee International Jumper Challenge

The 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup was won by Daniel Coyle of Ireland riding Legacy, a Canadian horse owned by Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, Ontario. Daniel will return in 2023 to defend his title. “Winning the World Cup class with Legacy at The Royal last year was a special victory to check off my bucket list,” said Coyle, who is currently ranked number 11 in the Longines World Rider Rankings. “The Royal is a very important part of our fall schedule, and the atmosphere was electric last year. Toronto feels like home for the Lothlorien Farm team – it is Ariel Grange's hometown – and the Canadian crowds have always felt like my own crowds; they are so supportive.

The winner was announced by Jump Media; "Kent Farrington of the United States opened international show jumping competition at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, in Toronto, ON, by scoring victory in the $38,500 Strength and Speed Challenge on Wednesday, November 8."

You can see why they are celebrating over a century of champions as Olympians along with Canadian and International teams of top horses and amazing riders take to the ring in the Coca-Cola Coliseum, adjacent to the Winter Fair held in the Enercare Centre. The Winter Fair takes in agricultural experiences, farm animals, food, beverages and lots of vendors.

Royal Winter Fair Hours: Sun. 9 AM - 6 PM, Mon. 9 AM - 6 PM, Tues. 9 AM - 8PM, Wed. 9 AM - 8 PM, Thur. 9 AM - 8 PM, Fri. 9 AM - 8 PM and Sat. 9 AM - 8 PM. The Royal Horse Show starts at 7 PM with weekend matinees starting at 1 PM. Note there is no 7 PM show on the last day of the Fair.

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup at Royal Horse Show finished off with Israel's Daniel Bluman on Gemma W winning the $250,000 competition. From the media release "British course designer Kelvin Bywater set the challenging track for the star-studded field of 20 riders representing seven countries. In his Royal Horse Show debut, Rene Dittmer of Germany delivered the first clear with Corsica X. Just a few rides later, Canadian talent Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB, thrilled the home crowd with a fault-free effort aboard Carmela Z. Then it was Kent Farrington of the United States, currently third on the Longines World Rankings, who added his name to the jump-off list with Greya, a nine-year-old Oldenburg mare (Colestus x Contender) owned by Kent Farrington LLC. Bluman with Gemma W, and young British star Jessica Mendoza, 27, with I-Cap CL Z, also managed to find the clear path, bringing the count to five to contest the all-deciding jump-off."

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Toronto Cavalcade of Lights 2023 coming soon

At Toronto City Hall they have drained the pond in Nathan Phillips Square in anticipation of the soon to be frozen skating rink. They will soon also have to start adding the thousands of lights along with a big Christmas Tree to prepare for the Cavalcade of Lights, presented by Desjardins Financial Group, which lights up the city from November 25 till January 7.
From the City's website, "Inspired by the luminous festivals and cultural revelries from around the globe, enjoy a host of holiday traditions centred on light, lanterns and fire woven into mesmerizing new lighting installations. Opening night celebration on November 25 includes live performances and the grand illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas tree."

And from the City's announcement regarding the schedule for the event;

"City of Toronto announces lineup for Cavalcade of Lights and heralds in the holiday season with arrival of the Nathan Phillips Square Christmas tree

Today, the City of Toronto officially started the festive holiday season by welcoming its traditional Christmas tree to Nathan Phillips Square in preparation for the 57th annual Cavalcade of Lights presented by Desjardins Group. The celebration will kick off on Saturday, November 25 and will run until Sunday, January 7, 2024.

This year’s 16.75-metre (55 foot) majestic white spruce tree was grown in Baldwin, Ontario. Installation will take approximately eight hours and be followed by three days of settling before decorating begins with more than 500 ornaments to dazzle throughout the holidays. After the holiday season, the tree will be recycled into mulch for tree planting in the spring.

From 3 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, November 25 – the opening night for Cavalcade of Lights – residents and visitors are invited to participate in a line-up of free special programming including skating presentations, art installations, food vendors and live performances. The ceremonial countdown to the lighting of the Christmas tree, sponsored by Toronto Hydro, will take place at Nathan Phillips Square at 6:30 p.m.

Inspired by Christmas, winter solstice, lantern and light festivals from around the world, Cavalcade of Lights is a free event that transforms Toronto City Hall and its surroundings into a downtown winter wonderland.

Nathan Phillips Square will be set aglow with 300,000 energy-efficient twinkling lights, interactive displays and festive d├ęcor illuminating Toronto’s iconic public skating rink.

On November 25, entertainment, family-friendly activities and performers representing more than 15 communities and cultures will include:

• Team Trinity ice-skating showcase featuring two-time Canadian Champion and Olympian, Madeline Schizas. Ice rink programming is sponsored by Desjardins Group.
• Banda do Senhor Santo Cristo of Toronto performing holiday favourites and traditional Portuguese songs.
• R&B, soul and jazz musical performances by Zaki Ibrahim.
• Lanterns of Peace and Love hand crafted by artisans from Zigong, China will be on display, presented in partnership with Woodside Square Shopping Centre.
• Folk dances combined with western street dance by T.S.D. Crew from Taiwan along with Lunar Lanterns of Indigenous Light will connect Asian traditions and North American Indigenous cultures, presented in partnership with Lunarfest GTA.
• Polish folk band, Polky with their joyful vocal harmonies and unusual instruments.
• A stunning choreographed fire show by the Hoop You trio.

The City is thankful for the generous support of presenting sponsor Desjardins Group and sponsors 95 Developments Construction Company, Ferrero Rocher, Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, Christmas tree lighting sponsor Toronto Hydro and hotel sponsor Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, as well as media partners CHUM 104.5, CP24, Toronto Star and Virgin Radio."

Here is my post of the 2013 Cavalcade of Lights when it featured Mayor Rob Ford and still had fireworks.

Ships waiting outside the Welland Canal

St Lawrence Seaway lock workers in Ontario and Quebec went on strike on October 22 and when the Welland Canal was cleared out, the cargo ships had to wait outside the canal for successful negotiations to reopen the H2O water highway. Ships began to pile up on both sides of the Welland Canal - at Port Dalhousie in Lake Ontario and Port Colborne and Port Dover in Lake Erie.
People gathered along the beach to see the large contingent of ships anchored in place
A ship sits between Port Dalhousie and the Toronto skyline

On Sunday, October 29 both sides reached a tentative agreement and on Monday the 30th the canal and seaway opened to traffic through their respective locks. By Wednesday the backlog looked to be resolved as they pumped those ships through the locks as the floating parking lot was on the move again.

panoramas of the 14 ships outside of Port Dalhousie

The almost 400 workers were from the Unifor union and they operated 13 out of 15 system locks, including the 8 within the Welland Canal which connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Luckily both sides worked fast to remedy the work stoppage with a mediated resolution, especially due to the economic impact the strike had to all those affected.
Ships gathered around Port Dover
Looking past the old canal entrance at Port Dalhousie
Ships have been in the Welland Canal since Monday, October 30. This one was near lock 8 moving cargo on November 1.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Toronto's Octo Zone claw machine store

Colourful neon lights and claw machines full of stuffed figures, toys and chips fill the Octo Zone on Yonge Street just south of Dundas Avenue in Toronto. There are more than 100 machines that you can play and you can keep or trade the prizes that you win. I like it because it looks interesting.

See more photos after the jump.

New Cold Storage facility off Steeles Avenue

Driving along Steeles Avenue from Milton into Halton Hills we have been seeing a strange blue structure going up on 10th Line South and didn't have a lot of luck determining what the heck this thing was. It looked like it was made strictly of scaffolds complete with an excessive amount of cross bracing. Finally we drove to the site and asked security what it was and they said it was new part of the Conestoga Cold Storage Limited facilities.

It really looks like you can't do anything with the building as we didn't see floors or elevators, plus the cross braces would stop people driving a forklift in between the bracing. However we must assume that someone knows what they are doing and everything will work out in the Canadian-owned future 150 foot high, 2.7 million cubic metres of cold storage.
I mean there are even gaps between the sections

"This expansion represents a significant milestone for Conestoga Cold Storage," stated Gavin Sargeant, Vice President, at Conestoga Cold Storage Limited. "We are proud to announce the construction of this world-class facility, which will not only solidify our position as an industry leader but also allow us to meet the growing demand for cold storage solutions. Our commitment to delivering exceptional services to our customers remains unwavering, and this expansion will further enhance our capabilities."

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square