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. )
The groundhog has turned. The sweet, sociable Edwards Gardens' groundhog of old has become downright confrontational. I'll admit that I may have been partly to blame. I chose to bring a bagel with peanut butter for lunch. The smell of peanut butter alone might have been enough to entice the groundhog. I had been feeding some crackers to a black squirrel and hoped the groundhog would be satisfied with crackers too. It wasn't. My pitiful shrieks and frantic shooing motions wouldn't deter the groundhog either. It almost jumped up on the bench while I was sitting there. As I quickly packed away my lunch, it circled the bench and actually nudged my foot with its snout. It was at this point that I leapt up from the bench and beat a hasty retreat. The groundhog was trying to climb up the back of the bench as I fled to a new spot.
I think I was sitting on the same bench last year when I almost ended up with a squirrel in my lap, so I suppose it could be the location. However, I suspect that people like me are to blame. If you're going to feed animals, you shouldn't be surprised when those same animals begin to associate people with food and become increasingly aggressive and brazen, especially if peanut butter is involved. I know the groundhog was only interested in my bagel, but it still freaked me out. I enjoy seeing wildlife up close, but not that close. *g*
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. )
On Friday, my mom and I went to an excellent Chihuly exhibit at the ROM. Chihuly is the brainchild of artist Dale Chihuly, who began experimenting with glass as an art form several years ago. Chihuly can be anything from intricate small scale pieces to major installations in public spaces. And words really don't do this artwork justice... ( I'm not kidding. This artwork is going to seriously impress you. )
I had my first guest come to stay at my new place on Friday. EX Weekend had rolled around again, so my mom and I made our annual pilgrimage to the CNE. It took a lot of work to whip this apartment into half-decent shape, but my mom seemed very happy with how the place looked. Anywaaaaaay, it was a fun weekend and a very welcome break for both of us. ( Click for pics! )
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.
( I bet you can't resist checking out what's under the cut now! )
It's taken me close to two weeks, but I'm finally posting photos from my annual pilgrimage to the EX (Canadian National Exhibition). As usual, there are pictures of cats and sand sculptures. However, this year there are also pictures from The Game is Afoot: Consulting Sherlock Holmes Exhibit and a Virtue and Moir ice skating show (Bon Voyage! Aerial Acrobatic & Ice Skating Show). Well...I only managed to get three not-so-awful photos from the ice skating show, but I think I got some pretty good coverage of the Sherlock Holmes exhibit. ( She obsessively snapped pictures at a Sherlock Holmes exhibit. What a huge surprise. )
Happy Canada Day to all Canucks and non-Canucks alike! :-) I thought I'd start off by sharing this fabulous vid a friend sent me on Facebook. It's so absurdly Canadian that it seems perfect for the occasion:
( More babbling under cut )
( More babbling under cut )
Despite the issues I've recently had with a couple of my neighbours, working from home seems like a really good option today. This morning around 6:30 am the subway system had to close down. And I'm not talking one line or two lines. It was ALL four lines. The TTC had to close the subway because their subway communication systems completely shut down. People had to be evacuated from all the stations and left to take shuttle buses -- shuttle buses that weren't arriving because there was no way to contact them. However, even if the TTC had been able to send out some shuttle buses, it wouldn't have been enough. Half a million people travel on the subway during rush hour, so it would have been impossible to transport everyone. Fortunately, around 7:30, all of the lines were back up again, but I know everything must have still been chaos. I've seen the aftermath of delays affecting just one line and it's not pretty. Of course, a lot of people do have a Plan B, but not everyone can have one that's entirely reliant on buses and/or streetcars. Did I also mention that it's been raining? The timing really couldn't have been much worse.
I really feel sorry for everyone who's had to commute on the TTC this morning. Yikes! What a mess!
I should have posted this over a week ago, but I'm hoping it was worth the wait. My mom, sister and I took advantage of Doors Open Toronto again this year and visited three fabulous locations in Scarborough. I'll provide a bit of background on each place, but this entry will mostly be made up of pictures. ( Pretty pictures of pretty places! )
Because I'm now home-based, I've been taking morning walks before starting work each day. This ensures that I get exercise and fresh air, especially on days when I'm not going anywhere after work. In any case, given the time of year, I've been seeing some fantastic Halloween displays in my neighbourhood, especially on Hillsdale Avenue and Manor Road. In fact, they're so good that I ended up taking some pictures that I thought I'd share with you. Happy Halloween! ( Check them out! They're spooktacular! )
I took some photos last weekend during Canadian Thanksgiving, but I'm only now getting around to posting them. The majority of them were taken when my mom, sister and I took a walk in and around the Guild Inn. However, I did manage to snap some pictures of Tuppence with her mommy. ( They're really cute. You'll totally regret it if you don't take a look. )
Just wrapped up another annual EX weekend with my mom. For those who aren't in the know, my mom comes to stay for the weekend every August so that we can take in the Canadian National Exhibition, though we always do other things as well. For example, on Friday, we paid a visit to my mom's favourite shop, Adornments on Queen and went to see The Hundred-Foot Journey. As usual, we both spent more money than we'd planned. I hadn't intended to spend any money in Adornments on Queen and came out with a beautiful wooden box and a tiny stone figurine of two cats. I had hoped not to buy a lot at the EX and came away with a piece of blue calcite, some fudge, two DVDs, two CDs and two large and heavy books, though Supernatural was a real find and, as my mom pointed out, the CNE only comes around once a year. I can also take some comfort in the fact that the later purchases were all discount items...Anywaaaaaaaay, we both had a lot of fun, and I know my mom appreciated the break.
I didn't think lightning could strike twice, but, apparently, it can! I was at Edwards Gardens today to do some writing and a spot of reading, when the groundhog made his triumphant return! Well, I'm assuming it's the same groundhog from last year. He was haunting the same area (though I was sitting on a different bench this time) and it seems unlikely that another groundhog would possess the same nerve and courage as the one I saw previously. I'm pretty sure it's the same one. ( And this time I got pictures! Okay, not brilliant pictures as I only had my cellphone on me, but pictures all the same! )
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. )