Happy Canada Day! Toronto and Hamilton

Happy Canada Day!

I went to watch the fireworks at Harbourfront over the weekend and Ashbridge Bay on Monday, Canada Day. It  is definitely one of the best days of the year for many people, including me. There are so many meaningful and fun events taking place.  It is a great day to honor Canada and celebrate this wonderful country that we call home.  Below is a great picture of the fireworks celebrations at Toronto Harbourfront on Sunday June 30th from Flickr.

Fireworks display over Harbourfront Canada Day celebrations (picture by Steven Talunay on Flickr)

Fireworks display over Harbourfront Canada Day celebrations (picture by Steven Talunay on Flickr)

Here are more pictures of Canada Day celebrations from Hamilton, courtesy of the CBC Hamilton, at the link below:

Happy Canada Day pictures from Hamilton

Wow! Lily Frost at the Toronto Jazz Fest 2013

Wow! That is all I can say after watching Lily Frost in action.

Tuesday, June 25th was a hot, sticky day in Toronto. It was over 30 degrees Celsius with high humidity. This was not the best day for intense physical exercise. But there I was, walking at a brisk rate, heading for the outdoor stage in the Shops at Don Mills mall. One of Canada’s best jazz artists, Lily Frost was performing that night for the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival. Her music has been described by the New York Music Daily as “catchy, edgy, eclectic, intelligent.” A light drizzle came down during her show, but we were all hooked by then, no one left. Jazz on the green grass, fancy restaurants, chic shopping, a great combination. What a relaxing evening.

Lily Frost at the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival

Lily Frost at the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival

Lily Frost and her band

Lily Frost and her band

The Beautiful Michael Lee-Chin Crystal At The ROM

The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor street is to me one of the most beautiful sites in Toronto.  I always stop to admire it when I pass by the ROM.  There are many historical sites around it, and blends neatly into the surrounding business and sky scrapers round it.  Although the Washington Post has its reservations about this extension to the ROM and called it one of the worst designs of the decade, I personally love this building. I hope that you will enjoy this movie-musical view of the crystal that I made.

Art Exhibit On Symington

On June 15, I went to a visual art show on Symington Avenue in downtown Toronto. I was really impressed with the depth and vision on display. Right there in the back garden I was pleasantly surprised to meet an artist from the old country, Zimbabwe, Chikonzero Chazunguza.

In his words, this display was inspired by cultural changes in Africa. Most communities have now lost their traditional ways and adopted consumer culture. Waiting in line for basic commodities has become the order of the day. This has created a whole culture of waiting. His piece tries to express how the anxiety of waiting dehumanizes people. It renders them into mere shells, and how this act repeats itself again and again. Food for thought. Here is some of his work.

Waiting

With the artist, Chikonzero Chazunguza

With the artist, Chikonzero Chazunguza

A Glorious Reunion At The Beer Academy

At some point in the summer you may feel a sudden urge to visit a brewery and soak in one or two of their fine beverages. Friday, June 17th was that day for me. I had the pleasure to visit The Beer Academy on Victoria Street in Toronto. It was not by coincidence that my good friend Lindsey was having her 30th birthday party at the same venue. What a great party! Anyway, as I walked around admiring this noble and holy place, I noticed a beer in the display that I had last seen 15 years ago. If my memory serves me well, this was in a seedy place outside Harare, Zimbabwe, called the Londoners, which in those days was the same as an after hours joint in Toronto today. There she was, Ms Black Label beer, proudly showing off her curves among all the beers from all over the world. This picture says it all. It was such a glorious reunion. If only it was 15 years ago.

Ms Black Label at the Beer Academy

Ms Black Label at the Beer Academy

Finding Beauty And Inspiration At Bessarion

The TTC subway line in Toronto is a treasure trove of hidden treasures, if you look hard enough. Here is a great YouTube video about Jeremy Woodcock’s journey to discover Bessarion subway station on the purple line. He says he went on this journey  “to find out if it really does exist and why it would be built in the first place.” Watch, enjoy and be inspired!

Transit Blues at Yonge and Bloor

Empty Southbound lane closed at Bloor Street subway

Empty Southbound lane closed at Bloor Street subway

English: The tile signage for the Bloor subway...

English: The tile signage for the Bloor subway station in Toronto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bloor subway southbound lane is closed on Saturdays this summer for ‘reconstruction’. I was standing in the Northbound lane on Saturday, it was running, looking across at the scene above. No anxious faces across the tracks as they wait for their train, no mothers trying to control their kids, just emptiness. It got me thinking, why do we have subways? Who decided at some stage that human beings must travel underground, through cold, dark tunnels? Well, it seems the first subway was built in England. No wonder everyone is grumpy and deathly quiet on the subway. If only the subway was invented in Brazil or Mexico or Africa, where strangers talk and laugh together on the transit. Oh well, time to bring out the newspaper, my train is here…Samba time!

Reflections On Life From Riverdale Park

City view from Riverdale Park

City view from Riverdale Park

The skyline of Toronto looking across Riverdal...

The skyline of Toronto looking across Riverdale Park, just off Broadview Avenue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the view from Riverdale Park. As I took this picture I thought of life, nature and how man had dramatically changed both. There are kids playing with their dogs in the park, laughter and innocence. The greenery is beautiful. As we enjoy the park, there is the relentless and constant noise from the traffic on the DVP. The big building on the left in the picture is Bridgepoint  health centre. It reminds us of the fragility of life, and why everything natural or man-made must end eventually. In the distance is the mountain of cement, brick and mortar that we have chosen to build there. Life and nature are beautiful, and we are constantly struggling to build and maintain what we need whist preserving its natural character. In the continuing struggle between man and nature, we are grateful for Riverdale park, which offers us a place to breathe and be at peace with nature, even for one brief moment.

A Visit To City Hall

Entrance to the Mayor's  office

Entrance to the Mayor’s office

Toronto Open Doors on May 25th gave us the opportunity to visit City Hall. The Mayor’s office on the second floor was unusually popular this year.

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Inside Mayor Rob Ford’s office

After waiting patiently in line for an hour we were allowed into Mayor Rob Ford’s office. Very smart I must say. Despite the current troubles that he is having, no suspicious items were seen  in his office. Nothing to report.

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The famous Cut the Waste scale

The Mayor’s ‘Cut the Waste’ scale however looked very clean, perhaps it has not been used recently.

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Winston Churchill walks briskly away from City Hall

Winston Churchill’s statue stands just outside City Hall. He looks like he is walking away, at a brisk pace, with a stern face and hands on hips. This of course is not related to the current troubles at City Hall.

Old City Hall

After visiting City Hall and Mayor Rob Ford’s office, I felt a sudden urge to visit Old City Hall. This is where the prosecutors, judges and defence lawyers spend their days, not forgetting those in the dungeons underneath. Regrettably, most areas inside were off-limits.

All in all, a great day at Doors Open Toronto.

Summer Is Here, Well, Almost

Toronto from the harbour

Toronto waterfront

Today is May 28th. Although we are almost into June, there has been a slight delay for mother nature to warm up the city. We have yet to see the sun in its full splendor. We however, remain hopeful. One of these days someone God will hear our cries, and we can safely put away the Vitamin D supplements. Keep your fingers crossed. Now, where did I put that winter jacket?

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