Happy Canada Day! Today marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation and Canada's 150th birthday!
This is one year when I know I can't stay home. As it's me, I'll be engaged in suitably nerdy activities. I'll be attending a lecture on Toronto history at 11:00 at St. Lawrence Hall and then I'll be going on Muddy York's two-hour Canada 150 history walk at 1:00. We'll end up at Nathan Phillips Square, so maybe I'll take in some of the festivities there, though I'm not really into crowds or partying. A huge shock, I know.
If I manage to snap any interesting pics, I'll post them here. In the mean time, here's an absurdly Canadian vid that celebrates Canada's 150:
This year, my brother was brave enough to accompany me during this year’s Doors Open weekend. As usual, it was a challenge to narrow down the choices when there were so many buildings to choose from. In the end, we decided to focus on the area around Yonge and King and visited St. James Cathedral, Tom Jones Steakhouse, and the Commerce Court North. I think we managed to sample a good variety of buildings, each of which serves very different purposes. ( Sorry it took two weeks to post this. I'm hoping it was worth the wait. )
It’s only taken two weeks, but here are some pictures from the April 9th Fort York tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Many consider the Battle of Vimy Ridge to be a defining moment in Canadian history as it was one of Canada’s greatest (if not the greatest) military achievements. In fact, some historians view Vimy Ridge as the moment when Canada finally came of age as a nation and played a major role on the world’s stage. I should point out that Vimy Ridge was not just a Canadian victory. While it was the first time that all four Canadian divisions participated in a battle, the British 5th Infantry Division (and supplementary artillery, engineer and labour units) provided essential support. Whatever the Battle of Vimy Ridge might represent, the victory came at a huge cost: 3,598 men were killed and 7,004 men were wounded.
Naturally, the main commemoration ceremony took place at the Vimy Ridge Memorial itself, but there were several events throughout the country to mark the anniversary. It was my dad’s idea to attend the Fort York tribute. I’m glad we did because of all the historical displays and reenactments. The reenactors really worked hard to recreate aspects of the First World War experience. I was pleasantly surprised by how many items I saw from the period. My dad, brother and I were even able to partake in the mess hall experience by dining at the The Great War Heritage Café, which had rows of long tables. It was a great opportunity to actually talk to people as you were sharing a table with strangers. I ate something called Canadian Stew, which was basically baked beans mixed with maple syrup and bits of bacon. What really impressed me, though, were the homemade butter tarts. They were the best butter tarts I’d had in years.
Well, I think I’ve provided more than enough background. On to the photos! ( There really are more pictures and fewer words ahead. )
This year, I was looking for a fun Halloween activity -- a ghost walk if possible, though I knew I had gone on most of them already. As luck would have it, I found a list of Toronto Halloween activities online, which is how I learned about the Necropolis Cemetery tour taking place on Sunday. It immediately appealed to me because I had never been to the Necropolis Cemetery before or seen much of Cabbagetown at all, really. As you'll see by my photos (which probably don't do the place justice), the Necropolis Cemetery is a beautiful, fascinating place and the tour was excellent. It was conducted by staff from Mackenzie House, so much of what we saw and heard had some link to Toronto's first mayor and his tumultuous life.
I'm going to provide a very quick history of the Necropolis Cemetery and share some pretty pictures. Then I'm going to share more pictures that I took during the tour, along with some interesting facts and Victorian trivia I learned along the way. I'll even tell you how to be sure not to bring a ghost home with you when visiting a cemetery.
( How can you possibly resist the City of the Dead? )
On Sunday, my mom, sister and I decided to visit some of the buildings being featured in this year's Doors Open Toronto. Given the popularity of the Old Don Jail last year, I suggested that we hit the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre first as it was the place we all wanted to see most. ( It won't just be me droning on. There are pretty pictures as well. )
Tonight, I had the opportunity to see inside the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, which is very rarely open to the public. In fact, this tour wouldn't have been possible at all if the founder of Muddy York Tours hadn't spent two years pleading his case to Toronto Parks & Rec. And I wouldn't have even known there was a tour if pyrateanny hadn't been kind enough to give me the heads up. ( Lots of pics of a haunted lighthouse this way! )
For this year’s annual Halloween ghost walk, I decided to go solo and not drag any friends along. I also decided to book with Muddy York Walking Tours instead of Tasty Tours because I had already gone on the ghost walk Shirley was offering a couple of years ago. And, while I knew I might be covering some of the same ground I had covered before, I thought Muddy York’s The Haunted Streets of Downtown Toronto should still be interesting.
( Let’s do the time warp again! )