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Wednesday 30 December 2015

Chocolate Tour Of Toronto

Colourful Macarons.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: Dec 2015
Website: besttours.com

  We arrived at the corner of King & Spadina just before the tour departure time.  There were a few other people milling about.  A couple of  minutes later a girl revealed herself to be our tour guide and off we went.  We were going on a chocolate walking tour of Toronto and we were ready to sample some of the best that each location had to offer.

Forno Cultura.

Forno Cultura
Address:  609 King Street West, Toronto, ON
Website: fornocultura.com
 Our first stop was to sample some chocolate olive cake.  There was a contrast between the sweet chocolate and the olive that was quite pleasing.  The bakery also had racks of fresh bread as well as pizza that looked like something to try on a return visit.  Right now it was all about the chocolate.


Address:  780 King St W, Toronto, ON
Website: delysees.com
  Delysees was the location that appealed to us the most with rows of colourful macarons and other carefully decorated desserts.  We were allowed to choose which macarons to taste from the display.  We also tried a small cheese and egg croissant sandwich that called out to us.  We left Delysees and headed further west and then turned up to Queen Street for our next location.

Happy Birthday To You.

Address:  787 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
Website: www.dufflet.com
    At Dufflet we were given some brownies to eat.  We were familiar with Dufflet as their cakes can be found in many Toronto grocery stores.  The Queen Street West store has been here since 1982.  After finishing the brownies we were starting to feel full.

Dlish Cupcakes.

Address:  833 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
Website: www.dlishcupcakes.com
   We had passed Dlish on our way to Dufflet so now we doubled back.  We were offered to either have a cupcake now or to have it packed for later.  These were rather large cupcakes so we had a marshmallow cupcake and a salted caramel cupcake put into a little carrying case to take with us.

Nadege sweet treats.

Nadege Patisserie
Address:  780 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON
Website: www.nadege-patisserie.com
  The last stop was Nadege.  This shop is owned by a fourth generation pastry chef, Nadege Nourian.  Here we were treated to a small dark chocolate.  They seemed to know they were the last stop on the tour and they didn't want anyone exploding on them.  They also had some beautifully crafted desserts in their display case.  It seems there is some competition between Nadege and Delysees as to who has the best macarons.  We plan to return and do some blind taste testing to determine which is our favourite.

Queen Street West & Niagara.

  As we walked along our tour guide had quizzed us on how much chocolate it takes to kill a person.   This lead to questions such as "Is it being dropped on top of them?"  The tour guide clarified.  It turns out that a person would have to eat about 22 lbs of chocolate in one sitting for it to kill them.  While we did have quite a bit of chocolate on the tour, we were nowhere close to that limit.  After the tour we even took a chance and found a quiet place to sit and polish off those Dlish cupcakes.

Map of Our World
Forno Cultura , Delysèes Authentic French Bakery , Dufflet Pastries Inc. , Dlish Cupcakes , Nadege Patisserie

Post # 87

Sunday 20 December 2015

Christmas Windows At The Bay

The Bay Christmas Windows on Queen Street.

Location: Toronto Ontario, Canada
Address: 176 Yonge Street.
Date: Dec 2014
Website: www.hbcheritage.ca

 The building at the corner of Yonge Street & Queen Street West has been there since 1896.  It was a Simpsons department store up until more recently when it became a Hudson's Bay store.  The Hudson's Bay Company has been in business since 1670, so between the building and the tenants there is a lot of history here.  A long standing tradition is the Christmas windows.  Simpsons used to decorate its front windows each year and now The Bay has continued the tradition.  As the holidays approach, everyone would gather in front of the windows on Queen Street to admire the displays inside.  Usually the windows are decorated in November and stay up until the end of the year.  Due to its popularity, The Bay has had the same windows for a number of years with animated figures showing everyone preparing for Christmas.

6 Canada geese a laying.

  One thing we noticed this year was some Canada geese sitting outside above the windows.  Some of them were wearing ribbons or wreaths.  We don't recall them being there in previous visits.  Below are a few highlights from the windows.

Santa's little helpers make sure all is right so that nothing will go wrong on that faithful night.

  Elves feed and prepare the reindeer for Santa's big flight.  The Bay has been selling point blankets for centuries.  The multistripe point coats worn by these elves have also had a long history.  They are traditional First Nation designs and products. Through the years, the green, red , yellow and blue stripes on a white coat or blanket have become a trademark of the Hudson's Bay Company.

There's no time to pause for old Satna Claus. 

  A big Christmas countdown clock counts down to Christmas Eve as the elves are busy preparing gifts and Santa Claus checks his list. Twice.

The carollers are signing what a wonderful evening!
One more quick stop: this is the very last shop.

Carollers sing together in the street as a familiar looking girl eyes some delicious baked goods.  We were looking through a window at her looking through a window.  Now everyone has a craving for some sweets.

A job well done merits plenty of cheer. A toast from your friends and a hug from your dear.

  The last window shows Santa enjoying a feast after he has finished delivering toys to girls and boys all around the world.  Some of the elves bang their knives and forks on the table as they are eager to start eating.  Make sure you view the windows from east to west to get the story in the correct order.  If you came from Nathan Phillips Square and this is the first window you are seeing then keep heading further along.  There are only about five windows in the whole display.
  Downtown Toronto always does a great job of decorating for Christmas and the windows at The Bay are a big part of that.  It is always nice to take a break and watch the windows from the street before cramming back into the Eaton Centre with all the other Christmas shoppers.

This location is near Queen subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.

Map of Our World
Christmas Windows At The Bay

Post # 86

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Steaming Tea Kettle

Exactly how many gills in a Venti coffee?

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Address: 63-65 Court Street
Date: Sept 2010
Website: www.starbucks.com

  It can hold 227 gallons, 2 quarts, 1 pint and 3 gills.  We know this since it is stamped right on the side.  In front of what is now a Starbucks, hangs a giant tea kettle from 1873.  We were in the upper deck of a Boston Upper Deck Trolley Tour when we got a really good look at this kettle.  If you look carefully you can see steam coming out of the spout.  The picture at the bottom of this post shows it best.
  The kettle was built for the Oriental Tea Company and in 1875 they had a contest to see who could guess the kettle's capacity.  Thousands of people came out to guess and find out what the kettle could hold.  The kettle was carefully filled by a city inspector to ensure everything was accurate.  The story is that several people came within three gills of the correct answer and shared in the prize of tea.  This brings us back to what some of you may have asked at the start of this post.  What is a gill?  This type of gill has nothing to do with fish, but is a measurement equal to one quarter of a pint.  It is no longer in common use today.  There have been many other changes since this kettle was first hung back in 1873.  We enjoyed seeing this little blast (of steam) from the past.

It's such a blast to be alive.

Map of Our World
Steaming Tea Kettle

Post # 85

Thursday 10 December 2015

Johnny 5 is Barely Alive

St Andrew's Between Roy Thomson Hall & Canadian Blood Services.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: Emily Street
Date: Dec 2015
Website: www.standrewstoronto.org

  Johnny 5 was attacked beside St Andrew's Church in Toronto.  "Who's Johnny?" you might ask.  Number 5 is a military robot who was hit by lightning and went against his programming and started to make his own decisions and develop his own personality.  He is always on a quest for more input.  Number 5 is the much loved star of the movie Short Circuit and its sequel Short Circuit 2.  At the end of the first movie he decided he should be called Johnny 5.
  You might also ask "What about St, Andrew's?"  St. Andrew's Church has been on this Toronto corner since 1876.  According to their website, there used to be Government House on the corner across from the church.  A college on the other corner and finally a tavern on the last corner.  These four corners were known as Legislation, Education, Damnation and Salvation.  Currently, St. Andrews is right across the street from the popular Roy Thomson Hall.
  In Short Circuit 2, Johnny is attacked by Oscar and two other thugs.  Oscar is played by Jack Weston who some may recognize as one of the men harassing Audrey Hepburn in the movie Wait Until Dark.  First you pick on legendary actress Audrey Hepburn and then over 20 years later you attack one of the greatest on-screen robots of all time?  Shame!  We have walked past this crime scene many times, but this time we stopped to take a few pictures.

Not a great place to fly model airplanes.

  The scene starts with Johnny 5 passing Roy Thomson Hall headed towards the church.  You can see the church in the left of the picture above.  Some kids are flying model airplanes in what used to be an empty lot.

King Street West & Emily Street.

  He is pursued past St. Andrew's and turns onto Emily Street.  When the thugs chasing him enter the street he has disappeared. 

Where's Johnny ?

  Oscar comes around the corner and Johnny 5 drops out of the tree below and grabs him.  One thing we noticed about this area is that some of the fencing and one of the pillars has been removed from in front of the tree in order to allow direct access to the church's side entrance.

Johnny 5 drops from a tree.
I do not understand this input.  What language are you speaking Oscar?

  Despite Johnny 5's massive intake of input he has yet to master pig latin.  Oscar says "Etgay ehindbay imhay" and Johnny does not understand.  The thugs pretend to run away, but sneak around behind Number 5 and he is attacked with an axe and a crowbar.  Oscar encourages the thugs to finish Johnny off.

No. Not Disassemble!

  Johnny manages to send out a signal and commandeer some of the nearby radio controlled airplanes.   A plane rounds the corner at Wellington Street, does a quick loop at King Street West and gives one of the thugs a reason to prefer standing for a few days.  Despite the violent attack, Johnny 5 is still alive.  He only has a short time to total memory failure so he pulls himself up using the fence, collects his pieces and heads south on Emily Street.

Hey have you seen a robot?  About this big. Looks like a metal grasshopper?

  Johnny steals a DieHard car battery from a vehicle parked behind the church and this gives him some energy to carry on.  He is still in critical danger until he breaks into a Radio Shack store and finally gets repaired properly.  Thank goodness Johnny 5 is alive.  After all the events that took place, we think that everyone, including Johnny 5, should find out what time they hear confessions at St. Andrew's.  

This location is near St. Andrew subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.

Map of Our World
Johnny 5 is Barely Alive

Post # 84

Saturday 5 December 2015

100 % Possible Rally

Crowds gather in front of Ottawa City Hall.

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Address: 111 Wellington Ave.
Date: Nov 2015
Website: www.100possible.ca

     In the early morning of Sunday, November 29th, we loaded onto a bus and headed for Ottawa.  We arrived just as the event was about to start.  We were there for the 100 % Possible Rally.  The purpose of the rally was to convince the government to move toward 100 per cent renewable energy by the year 2050.  There were rallies held all across Canada and around the world.

I Have A Sign.

  The crowds grew larger and then onto the stage came Aboriginal elders who wanted a better world for their grandchildren.  Other speakers took to the stage as well as environmental activist  David Suzuki, best known for his television show The Nature of Things.

100 % renewable is not an option.  It's a necessity.

  David declared now let's get the hell on the road and march!

On with the march.

  The crowd headed off and the march wound through the streets of Canada's capital.  Various chants could be heard from the different groups marching.  "Hey hey, ho ho, the tar sands machine has got to go!"  and "This is what democracy looks like!"

Crowds head past Confederation Park.

  We turned off of Laurier Avenue West onto Elgin Street.

Hungry for Climate Leadership.

We marched up the street near Byward Market.

Marchers and Maman.

We marched past the National Gallery Of Canada.

It's 100 % Possible in Ottawa.

  Eventually everyone ended up in front of the Parliament buildings.  This time youth speakers took the stage and encouraged everyone to make changes to keep the world clean for generations to come. 

That's TPP in english.
Screen showing the crowds on Parliament Hill.

  Next the crowd held white paper above their heads to form a giant 100 % sign on the lawn in front of parliament.  We helped form part of the giant number one.  We hope that each person will come together and do their small part for the good of our planet.

Map of Our World
Ottawa City Hall , 100 % Possible Rally

Post # 83