Friday, May 31, 2024

Summer fun in the Distillery District 2024

Right now the historic Distillery District is dressed up in the colours of the Big Easy as spring slides toward summer and the neighbourhood is full of entertainment and events.

You can take in the New Orleans flavour with jazz and blues concerts, Creole foods and the banners of green, gold and purple. The Bourbon Street North Festival continues to June 16 and you can check the entertainment schedule on their website.

Distillery Summer Markets are also running until September 2, in addition to the stores, restaurants and galleries along the bricked, pedestrian friendly streets.

Coming soon will be the Lavazza IncluCity Film Festival taking place June 27 to July 21, 2024 at several screens spread around the district with cool blow up couches.

From the Lavazza website, "Celebrate movie magic, multiculturalism, and diversity! The Lavazza IncluCity Festival is an international event showcasing a curated selection of films representing Canada’s rich cultural mosaic. Immerse yourself in a Festival Village offering various art forms, including music, dance, gastronomy, tours, and much more!"
Don't forget to add your own Love Lock

Thursday, May 30, 2024

St Lawrence Market area and the Market Street urban park

Toronto's favourite old timey purveyour of groceries since the very early 1800s sits in a neighbourhood that continues to change and improve. The north market building just across Front Street held a hodge podge of vendors selling crap I mean antiques and oddities, etc was demolished and the replacement is slowly being finished.
Market Street pedestrian urban park

For the past couple of years the neighbourhood and market associations have worked with the City to close the adjacent Market Street to vehicular traffic for the summer, in hopes of one day permanently closing the road to vehicles. The street was temporarily closed this year beginning May 27, 2024 and has been pedestriansized with extended patios, picnic tables and muskoka chairs. Market Street is a relatively small street, bounded by Front and The Esplanade that can now handle more seating, pop-up vendors and live performances.

The closure will allow Old Town Toronto to host a music series (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and a kids centric day (Thursdays). From their website - Events hosted by Old Town Toronto:

"I Heart Market Street Music Series – a selection of Toronto musicians appearing Tuesday & Wednesday, 11:30am – 1:30pm and 5pm – 7pm. This series is scheduled to run weekly until mid September and is free to attend. Click here now to find upcoming performance details.

I Heart Market Street For Kids – join us on select Thursdays 11am – 3pm (July 6th & 20th, August 3rd, 17th and 31st) for fun performances and face painting for kids. Click here now to find upcoming Kids Days info. (Please note these events are yet to be listed. Please check back shortly.)"

The surrounding area is a well known local and tourist area with iconic landmarks like the flatiron building and the market building itself along with a number of interesting sites like St. James Park, the Esplanade, Market Lane Park and the Toronto Sculpture Park.

A massive pergola in St. James Park
Market Lane Park

Toronto Sculpture Garden - Upcoming exhibition "The Garden Gardens" by Julia Campisi starts June 1 and runs until September 10, 2024

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Canopy over The Well in Toronto

It all began with the collapse of the newspaper industry, low print sales combined with lower advertising revenues had a lot of newspapers closing, or selling the land and buildings and leasing properties to reduce costs and bring in some cash. The Globe and Mail got rid of their Front and Wellington Street properties and moved east to 351 King Street E. Two developers (RioCan and Allied Properties) then worked together on the old Globe and Mail site to construct the many new buildings making up The Well located at 486 Front Street West.

What makes this development unique is that the separate buildings were connected by a glass canopy running between the towers. It's kind of a cool twist to the outdoor strip mall. Also it has a food court that features a Japadog, a famous street food found in Vancouver.
Sculpture by artist Dustin Yellin titled Emergence

Cloud Gardens partly open now

One of Toronto's smaller parks has been closed for a number of years as the adjacent site was redeveloped and a new tower constructed. While part of the park is now open the waterfall and greenhouse or conservatory still remain closed and fenced off. 

Cloud Gardens is located between Richmond and Temporance Streets just east of Bay Street. The park was always a hangout for bike couriers wearing their shorts year round and meeting together to discuss bike stuff, courier stuff and I'm sure, some other stuff. I think the group smoking contributed to smoke clouds which is maybe how they named the park?
The greenhouse is up the stairs along Richmond Street
Empty waterfall and pond

The site has stairs, ramps, a nice concrete waterfall and terraces. The greenhouse simulates a Cloud Forest habitat which is cool and moist.
Some of the towers surrounding the site

Monday, May 27, 2024

Toronto supervised beaches open June 1, 2024

The City's ten supervised beaches on Lake Ontario are open for beach maintenance and lifeguard supervision beginning June 1, 2024 from 10:30am till 7:30pm. Toronto does not recommend swimming in the lake without supervision.

Of the ten supervised beaches four are on the Toronto Islands, one is in the Portlands, one is near High Park and two are in the east. The locations are as follows.

Bluffer's Beach

Centre Island Beach

Cherry/Clarke Beach

Gibraltar Point Beach

Hanlan's Point Beach (note the whole beach is clothing optional now)

Kew-Balmy Beach

Marie Curtis Park East Beach

Sunnyside Beach

Ward's Island Beach

Woodbine Beach

And don't try to swim at HTO Beach and Sugar Beach. They are urban beaches only made for pretending that you are going to swim while relaxing on the sand or sitting on Muskoka Chairs under permanent umbrellas.

Toronto Women's International Dragon Boat Festival

This annual all-women's dragon boat regatta is one of the first of the season and teams from Canada and the United States competed in Heart Lake Conservation Park on Sunday, May 26, 2024. The Toronto Women's International Dragon Boat Festival is hosted by the True North Senior Women and hundreds of participants take to the lake in boats holding 22 crew - 20 paddlers, one drummer/caller and one steerer.
Teams get in some stretches prior to their races
Some of the teams had banners - like Gilda's Dragons
True North Paddling Club

Several of the teams include breast cancer survivor teams and the ages of the rowers was quite diverse as they took part in qualifications and elimination rounds in races of 200m, 500m and 2km. This is also a qualifier for the Canadian National Championships. The festival also included food and beverage sales, mystery bag sales and a lot of items up for bids in a silent auction. 
Competitions had two to four teams. Each team lined up and two teams boarded the boats at a time
The GWN dragon boats even had their own dragons

See more of the festival after the jump.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Ontario Honda Dealers Indy Toronto 2024 prelim schedule

As we get closer to the Toronto race festival previously known as Honda Indy Toronto, now known as the Ontario Honda Dealers Indy Toronto we are starting to see info about the race schedule for the July 19-21 weekend.
The 11-turn, 2.84 km temporary street course winds through Exhibition Station and onto Lake Shore Boulevard with both sports cars and open wheel race cars. Headlining the weekend is the NTT IndyCar Series race with Practice and Qualifying on Friday and Saturday, then the main event race ending the day Sunday.
Open-wheel vehicles
NTT IndyCar Series
USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire
USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire

Sports Cars

Sports Car Championship presented by Michelin
Emzone Radical Cup Canada presented by Michelin (Radical race-within-race format with the Blue Marble Radical Cup North America series)

Preliminary Schedule of Events - Subject to Change

Friday - July 19, 2024
Emzone Radical Cup Canada presented by Michelin - On-Track Action TBD
Sports Car Championship Canada presented by Michelin - On-Track Action TBD
USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire – On-Track Action TBD
USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire – On-Track Action TBD
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Practice & Drivers’ Autograph Session
Rev & Run - 5K race after all on-track car sessions

Saturday - July 20, 2024
Emzone Radical Cup Canada presented by Michelin - On-Track Action TBD
Sports Car Championship Canada presented by Michelin - On-Track Action TBD
USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire – On-Track Action TBD
USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire – On-Track Action TBD
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Practice & Qualifying

Sunday - July 21, 2024
Emzone Radical Cup Canada presented by Michelin - On-Track Action TBD
Sports Car Championship Canada presented by Michelin - On-Track Action TBD
USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire – On-Track Action TBD
USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire – On-Track Action TBD
NTT INDYCAR SERIES – Ontario Honda Dealers Indy Toronto (85 Laps / 244.29 km)

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Doors Open Toronto 2024

Sir, you can't go in there! Not this weekend, instead it's going to be come right in as Doors Open Toronto returns and those doors open wide into places that are architectural, historical, cultural and socially significant buildings - for free. The theme for 2024 is hidden histories and you can also take in tours and talks. The downloadable downtown map section from Doors Open is shown at top.

The annual event takes place May 25-26 from 10 am to 5pm, mostly, with over 160 sites that you can review online for more details and locations. Saturday's rain turned to sun for the Sunday and crowds for popular attractions in the downtown core were formidable.
Doors Open at City Hall. The lines were immense
The City notes that "Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square will once again be a hub for family-friendly programming that invites the public to go behind the scenes at this important civic site. Visitors can see the Mayor’s Office, find out what happens inside Council Chamber, explore the Hall of Memory and enjoy remarkable views from the 27th floor Observation Deck. Programming includes guided tours, photo exhibitions, live music and activities all weekend long."
Old Fort York

Soldiers provided musket firing demonstrations

See more of Doors Open Toronto after the jump.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Garden of the Greek Gods in Exhibition Place

The home of Toronto's Canadian National Exhibtion (CNE) is a pretty big piece of property with lots of nooks and crannies. Back behind the Bandshell is a fountain with a statue dedicated to Universal Peace, just next to the fountain is the Garden of Greek Gods containing 20 sculptures by artist E.B. Cox.

Mr. Cox made the limestone sculptures in the 1960s and they are figures right from Greek mythology like Hercules, Orpheus, Medusa and Hydra (pictured at top).

Hercules stands tall on the right side of the photo
The Three Graces
Garden of the Greek Gods sign

If you look around the grounds in Exhibition Place you can find all sorts of stuff. See more after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square