Monday, May 31, 2010

My Toronto - Dundas Square

This is Dundas Square. It's on the southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas. Right across the street from the Eaton Centre and south of the recently built Toronto Life Square (2007).

In a past life it was a block of old commercial buildings. Sometime in the mid-90's it was decided the city needed a new public space and in 1998 the Toronto City Council expropriated the land for such a use. Designed by architects Brown + Storey Dundas Square became a reality by the end of 2002.

Surrounded by many bright lights and giant billboards it's been called Toronto's version of a mini Times Square. Among it's many uses it's been the site of concerts, film screenings and other public events. During the summer you can find many people, visitors and locals alike, lounging about enjoying the weather.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Toronto The Good

This past Monday my friend Cortina and I were downtown touring the city. She's only here for a few more days and wanted to play the tourist. Since it was a stat holiday I bought a TTC day pass for $10. It's good for two people for unlimited travel on weekends and holidays (on other days it's only good for one person).

We started the day at the ROM where Cortina wanted to take some pictures of the Michael Lee Chin Crystal. After that we went through the U of T campus and over to Queen's Park. Later we walked to Chinatown for lunch and the nearby AGO for some more photos. Next we hopped back on the subway and dropped by the Harbourfront. It was packed with people enjoying the beautiful weather. Finally we ended this part of the tour at Nathan Philips Square and Toronto City Hall.

In the evening we had planned on heading over to Ashbridge's Bay to watch the Victoria Day fireworks. I wanted to take the streetcar straight across Queen to Woodbine and get off there. At that point I figured we could grab a bite to eat at Lick's before finding a spot to settle down to watch the show.

Well things didn't work out exactly as I had planned. After finishing at City Hall we waited for the streetcar at Queen and York. I figure since it was a holiday we might have to wait a little longer. Though I did hear they were increasing service to and from the Beaches for the Victoria Day festivities. I saw a westbound streetcar stopped near the Eaton Centre east of Bay. It didn't seem to be moving for some reason. In the distance we (me and the other riders at the stop) thought we saw a westbound streetcar. It didn't seem to be moving any closer either.

Five or ten minutes passed when a lady walked by coming from the east. She stopped and told us that there was a power outage and that the streetcars weren't running. We groaned at our bad luck and two of the six of us waiting at the stop left. The rest of us stayed trying to figure out how we could get out there. A fellow coming from the west in a taxi told us some more details when they were stopped at the red light. After that a fellow on a motorcycle came by and told us there was a fire out west and that the roads had been blocked off when he was stopped at the lights. Cortina and I left at that point. I decided we should take the subway up to Bloor and head across to Woodbine and take the bus down.

This story just reinforces my view on how friendly and helpful Torontonians can be. When three total strangers come up to you in a span of five minutes and let you know that the transit service had been interrupted it restores your faith in the residents of this fair city. I really think we're still Toronto the Good.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Toronto - The Beach(es)

Here's a photo from the boardwalk down by the beach at Ashbridge's Bay (south of Lake Shore Blvd. E., east of Coxwell Ave.). Ashbridge's Bay was named after the first settlers, John and Sarah Ashbridge from Philiadelphia, who came to Canada in 1793.

The Beach is an extremely popular area in the summer. During that time it's inundated by thousands of people who come to bike or in-line skate along the Martin Goodman trail or walk or jog along the 3 km long boardwalk. There are also many people who come to play beach volleyball or just lay out on the sand to get a tan. On Victoria Day in May there's a fireworks show. Another popular event is the annual Beaches Jazz Festival in July.

Things weren't always so tranquil here though. There was a "name war" about what to call the area. Some people liked "The Beach" while others were partial to "The Beaches". In April of 2006 the residents had their say. 58% of the voters selected "The Beach". That's what appears on the top of the street signs today.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Distillery District visit

The next day we went to the Beach(es) for a visit. It was a cool day out, but nice nonetheless. We walked along the boardwalk for a bit before heading up to Queen Street for a bite at Sunset Grill.

After that we headed over to the Distillery District for a couple of hours to hang out. Here's a photo of Cortina in front of the Michael Christian sculpture Koilos.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My friend Cortina

My friend Cortina is visiting from Hong Kong. She's in Toronto visiting her sister Caroline for a couple of weeks. Before that she was in the Vancouver area visiting her other sister Sylvia for two weeks as well.

On Monday we met up briefly at Edwards Gardens. Cortina went there her sister Caroline and her niece Jesse. I was nearby at my sister's place so I went by to meet them. We hung out for about an hour or so taking photos of the plant life there. I have to say there wasn't a lot of colour when we were there. I imagine they'll start planting all the nice flowers when wedding season is in full swing.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Group Shot

This is a group shot of our congregation. Both the English and Chinese-speaking sides. I think we're going to use it in our 100th anniversary book. Though it seems like we take these group shots every now and then.

Everyone is looking at the other cameras set up on tripods. I should have actually gotten them to look at me. Though I was only doing some test shots originally. I Photoshopped a few of us in. The photographers were by their cameras when I took my shots.

Since I have a wide angle lens I managed to get a shot without the huge garbage can in the foreground (like in everyone else's shots). I had to tweak the photo to get rid of the distortion on the edges from the lens though.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Toronto - Toronto Chinese Presbyterian Church

This is a photo of my church. It's our 100th anniversary this year. We're located close to Chinatown, just north of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Our current location was built in 1960. Before that we were on University Avenue.

I've been attending since 1986. I started attending with my friend from high school, Vince. Like many others, he's since moved on. Though he hasn't landed too far from the CPC tree. His family attends our sister church near Fairview Mall.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Harrison Richard.

I was at the OOTC volunteer appreciation dinner last Tuesday at Knox. We have it at the beginning of May every year right after the season finishes. Vicki and Bill will prepare a meal for the volunteers that helped out over the winter to show their thanks.

This year I sat at a table with Darlene and her sewing buddy, Max. As well there was a girl (who's name escapes me) and Kara. Another girl whose name I've also forgotten joined us late (I'm sooo bad).

Kara had recently become an aunt. Her brother's wife had given birth to a lovely baby boy they named Jack. She brought pictures of him to share with the rest of us. He's pretty good looking for a newborn. Not too pink or wrinkly like most kids that age.

Anyway, Kara told us a hilarious story about how they named him. Jack wasn't the original name they had chosen for her nephew. It was supposed to be Harrison which sounds pretty cool as far as I'm concerned. They were going to give him the middle name Richard (which was supposed to have some historical family significance if I remember correctly). But, after some contemplation they realized it might not be such a good combination. I have to wholeheartedly agree...

...Think about it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away.

Bleah. Rain, rain go away.

We've had some pretty miserable weather lately. Rain, rain, rain. And cold too. It's good for the grass and other plant life (the rain that is). But, not so good for the spirit as far as I'm concerned (neither the rain nor the cold). The rain doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon either. It's supposed to rain part of the day tomorrow (Wednesday), and Thursday and Friday. We'll have a short respite over the weekend then it's back again at the beginning of next week. I suppose we should be happy that the weekend looks relatively dry. But, in my case every day is the weekend (being ungainfully unemployed) so it doesn't really make a difference to me.

I suppose we've been spoiled with all the good weather we've been lucky enough to have. Now when inclement weather comes we're just befuddled. We haven't seen it in such a long time we don't know how to react. I guess Mother Nature is getting us back for giving us a mild winter. I have to say, that's not very nice of her. Too bad, so sad.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Toronto - High Park

This is a shot of the cherry trees blossoming on the hill overlooking Grenadier Pond at High Park in Toronto. Every spring the trees blossom for just over a week at the end of April/beginning of May. It's a very popular spot for people to visit at this time. The side of the hill is normally filled with people picnicking or just hanging out with their friends enjoying the scenery.

As well as viewing the lovely cherry trees by the pond there are many trails and roads throughout the park for people to hike on or ride their bikes. They even have a small "zoo" with bison, deer, llama, peacocks and other non-exotic animals. It's not that impressive, but the upside is that it's free. You can go for a nice walk there then head over to the Grenadier Restaurant for an afternoon bite.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Little Cardinal

Not my photo

On Monday afternoon I went to go pick my nephews up from their after school program. My dad put their helmets in the back seat and stuffed their bicycles in the trunk of his car and we went there together. I jogged back with them while my father drove their backpacks back home.

Upon returning to their place one of them noticed a baby bird on the driveway. Earlier in the day I had noticed a bird flying in and out of one of the trees by their house and I had heard a bit of chirping. So, of course, I knew there was a nest there.

From watching a lot of television in the past I knew that quite often that if there is more than one chick in the nest the larger one will attack and trying kill or get rid of it's smaller sibling so that it'll get all the food. I'm sure that's what happened here. The little fellow had a few marks on his head from where he had been attacked. There was a mark on his left eye and another larger one on his forehead between his eyes. Poor little guy. The only thing I could think of doing was returning him to his nest. I'm not sure what his chances of survival would be, but they were probably better than being left on the pavement below.

Before I put him back in I thought I'd try to feed him. I dug around the backyard and found a couple of worms which I tried to feed him. For some reason he didn't seem interested. One of the worms I found was tiny. It was the perfect size for him to swallow. The other worm was slightly bigger. I lost the little worm when I tried to get some water to clean them. So I cut the larger one up and stuffed it in his mouth at one of the rare times he opened it. He didn't seem that interested in it. It just sat there in his mouth. Finally I decided I'd better fish it out. So I used two toothpicks like mini chopsticks and plucked it out the next time he opened his mouth. I found the little worm shortly thereafter. After waiting quite a long time for him to open his mouth again I dropped it in. Still he made no effort to swallow. After awhile I decided to put him back in his nest. I hope his big brother doesn't attack him again, but I'm sort of afraid he will.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Toronto - Flatiron Building

The Gooderham/Flatiron Building down at Front and Church Streets. Comissioned by George Gooderham, owner of Gooderham & Worts Distillery, construction was started in 1891. It was completed in 1892, ten years before the more famous "Flatiron Building" in New York City was finished. It cost $18,000, a huge amount of money at that time.

I took this shot back in May of 2009 as part of the Doors Open Toronto. It's an annual event where many public and private buildings, both historical and newer, open their doors to the public so we may get the chance to glimpse at sights we otherwise might not get the opportunity to see. I'd highly recommend going the next time it comes around.

To see more photos click here or here.