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Saturday 30 April 2016

Batman Avenue

Batman Ave.

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Address: Batman Avenue
Date: May 2012
Website: www.onlymelbourne.com.au

  We were headed towards Federation Square when we noticed the street sign in front of us.  We were about to cross Batman Avenue.  Maybe Melbourne would also have a Spiderman Street or Iron Man Crescent?  We wondered why the street was named after a fictional superhero.  It was only much later that we would discover the street was actually named after John Batman, who was one of the founders of Melbourne, Australia.  John Batman died in May 1839 and it would be almost exactly 100 years before the Batman character made his debut in Detective Comics #27.   Detective Comics is better known as DC comics.  Try as we might we could make no other connections between John Batman and the caped crusader.  We even looked through his family tree hoping to find a Bruce or an Alfred or a Wayne.  No luck.  John Batman had seven daughters and one son and married a woman named Elizabeth.  We were hoping that he had married a woman named Robin, because the name Robin Batman would have been awesome. 

Map of Our World
Batman Avenue

Post # 110

Monday 25 April 2016

High Park Cherry Blossoms

Sakura Hanami.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: High Park
Date: May 2015
Website: http://www.highparktoronto.com

   Since 1959 there have been sakura in High Park.  Sakura is the Japanese name for cherry blossoms.  Toronto was given 2000 trees by the Japanese ambassador for helping Japanese-Canadians after World War II.  When the sakura tree blossoms it is a beautiful sight.  The trees all tend to bloom around the same time, but some trees will bloom sooner than others.  The timing has to be just right if you want to see the blossoms as they only last for about a week.  If a heavy rain occurs all the blossoms could fall even sooner.  In High Park it is usually late April or early May when the majority of trees are in bloom.  We kept a close eye on the website above in order to make sure that we did not miss the event.  As soon as the announcement was made that the trees were in peak bloom we headed to the park.

The Bloomin' Crowds.
  We were not alone as thousands of people come to witness the beautiful blossoms each spring.  Cherry blossoms are usually white or pink in colour and have a star shaped pattern inside.

Close-up of the Blossoms.
Blossoms beside Grenadier Pond.

  There are a few spots where sakura trees have been planted in High Park, but the best spot to see the trees is along West Road and the edge of Grenadier Pond.   The cherry blossoms are said to be a metaphor for life.  They are only here for a short time so appreciate their beauty while it lasts.

Pink Blossoms.

This location is near High Park subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.

Map of Our World
High Park Cherry Blossoms

Post # 109

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Queen Elizabeth II Statue

Queen Elizabeth II

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Address: 450 Broadway
Date: Oct 2014
Website: https://www.gov.mb.ca

   Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926.  She will turn 90 years old this year.  She is currently the world's oldest monarch and the longest reigning British monarch of all time.  Queen Elizabeth II is not only the Queen of England, but also the Queen of Canada.  Therefore, she visits Canada quite frequently and there are many statues and monuments in her honour across the country.
  When we were in Winnipeg, Manitoba we visited the beautiful legislative building.  On the east side of the grounds near Kennedy Street is a monument which commemorates the Queen’s address to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly during its provincial centennial in 1970.  The sculpture was created by Leo Mol who also has hundreds of other sculptures located in Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park. When the statue was relocated to the legislative building grounds the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh were there for the unveiling.

Map of Our World
Queen Elizabeth II Statue

Post # 108

Friday 15 April 2016

Dimitrios Mitropanos

Entrance to First Cemetery of Athens.

Location: Athens, Greece
Address: First Cemetery of Athens, Logginou
Date: Aug 2015

  Dimitrios Mitropanos was one of the most highly regarded Greek musicians of all time.  On April 17, 2012 he passed away leaving millions of fans saddened.  At least his music will live on and bring them comfort.  Some of his most popular songs are Ta Lathathika, S'Anazito and Panta Gelastoi.  When we were in Athens we decided to pay our respects. At the front gates of the First Cemetery of Athens was a woman selling flowers, candles and other religious articles.  Her stall was surrounded by the ever present pigeons and at least one sleeping street dog.  We purchased some white roses that we planned to leave at the grave of Mitropanos.  We knew that he was buried somewhere in the cemetery, but despite trying to do some research beforehand we did not know exactly where.

Church Of St.Theodori

  After entering through the front gates of the cemetery we came across the Church of St.Theodori.  We had seen video clips of Dimitrios Mitropanos' casket being carried through the crowds and into this church.  Now we just had to find his final resting place.  We knew that he was in an area of the cemetery along with other artists and musicians.  We walked up and down the rows of graves in hopes of spotting his name on one of them.  After some time we decided to ask for help and consulted with a guard at the western gates.  He sent us towards an area on the other side that we had not checked.  Again we walked up and down the rows with no luck.  The cicadas buzzed in the trees that sheltered us from the midday Athens sun.  We were prepared for the heat, but we feared the flowers may not reach their intended destination.  As we headed back towards the front gates, a groundskeeper approached us.  He had no doubt been observing this couple wandering from row to row with flowers in hand.  We asked if he knew where Mitropanos was buried and he said "Of course".  We followed him as he wound his way through the cemetery until we reached a section far in the back corner.  We realized that we never would have found this place without his help. 

Dimitrios Mitropanos Grave.

   We thanked the groundskeeper and then placed our roses at the foot of Mitropanos' grave.  We stood in silence for a moment and then turned to be on our way.  We took one last look as a dove flew down and landed on the cross of the grave next to Mitropanos.  As Dimitrios sings in his song Akou, "Listen, I'm still living".

A Dove in the First Cemetery of Athens.

Map of Our World
First National Cemetery of Athens (Dimitrios Mitropanos) , Ekklisia Agii Theodori Malamou

Post # 107

Sunday 10 April 2016

Toronto Zoo Baby Boom

Panda Growth Chart.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 2000 Meadowvale Road
Date: Mar 2016
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Lions and rhinos and bears!  Oh My!  The Toronto Zoo is currently in the middle of a baby boom.  During our latest visit to the zoo we were able to visit their eight newest arrivals.  There are 4 white lion cubs, 1 polar bear, 1 Indian rhino calf and 2 giant panda cubs all now on display for public viewing.

The White Lion Cub Club.

   The first to arrive were the four white lion cubs.  They were born in September 2015 and are all males.

White Lion Cub chews on a leaf.
 White Lion Cub.

  White lions have a gene mutation that causes them to have lighter hair, but they are not albinos.  The four cubs at the zoo are named Gus, Hank, Harrison and Oliver.  

White Lion Brothers.

  Like most wild animals they are growing rapidly and it will not be long until these babies are as big as their parents.

Getting Bigger Every Day.

    Below is a video of the boys playing and Mom keeping control while she still can.

Meet The First Giant Panda Cubs Born In Canada.

  On October 13, 2015 the Toronto Zoo welcomed the first giant panda cubs to ever be born in Canada.  There was one boy and one girl.  They were kept under special watch and 24 hour care as they grew bigger and bigger.  The public was waiting patiently and finally in March 2016 the panda babies were named and we were given a chance to see them in their nursery.

Jia Panpan.

  The male panda is named Jia Panpan which means Canadian hope.  He has round black fur around his eyes.

Jia Yueyue.

  The female panda is named Jia Yueyue which means Canadian joy.  She has black fur that points like a diamond towards her eyes.

Panda baby hiding behind a tree.Brother & Sister.

  While we were visiting, Jia Yueyue was asleep in a fenced off area.  It wasn't long until she woke up again.  This area might have contained her when she was a bit smaller, but now she was able to make her escape.

Panda baby sleeping.
To Freedom.

  Below is a video of the panda babies being fed, exploring their enclosure and playing together.

Juno the baby Polar Bear.

  On November 11, 2015 a little baby girl polar bear was born.  Her name is Juno and she has even been adopted into the Canadian Army and given the rank of private.  The Toronto Zoo has had polar bear babies before such as Humphrey and Hudson, but this is the first female that we can recall.

Juno looks around.
Juno's Pillow.
 Juno Gives A Look.

  There is something about her face and behaviour which makes it easy to determine that she is a girl.  We have seen her both outside as well as inside her little house playing with her toys.

Juno's House Full Of Toys.

Indian Rhino Baby.

  The last to arrive was a baby Indian rhino.  He was born in February 2016 and when we visited him he was only five weeks old.

Mom watches over her baby boy.

  He looked so small and fragile compared to his mother, but if he charged at you be sure to get out of the way as he already weighs over 200 pounds.

Indian Rhino Smile.

  At the time of our visit the rhino baby did not yet have a name.  Another thing it does not yet have is its horn.  A baby rhino is born without a horn, but it starts to grow right away.  That is one more thing for Mom to be thankful for as she nurses and cares for her baby..

Mom & Baby Rhino.

Click here to take a virtual tour and see our collection of Toronto Zoo animal photos.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo (Lion House) , Toronto Zoo (Giant Pandas) , Toronto Zoo (Tundra Trek) , Toronto Zoo (Indian Rhino)

Post # 106

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Downtown Saturday Night

Downtown Saturday Night as the sun starts to set.

Location: Kipling, Saskatchewan, Canada
Address: 6th Avenue
Date: Oct 2014
Website: townofkipling.ca

  The town of Kipling, Saskatchewan has a population of about 1100 people.  According to the town website it was named after author Rudyard Kipling who wrote The Jungle Book.  Being a small town it has a strong sense of community.  A mural by Janet Blackstock is painted on the corner of 6th Ave and Main Street.  It depicts the town coming together on a typical Saturday night.  Children play in the street as the adults gather in groups around their vehicles.  The crowds all seem to be headed towards one building which is painted red like the town's famous paper clip.  The words Downtown Saturday Night are written on the side of the building.  We actually visited Kipling on a Saturday, but needed to be back in Winnipeg, Manitoba that evening.  While we were taking pictures of the mural, the sun was already starting to set and was making quite a glare on the wall.  By the time the sun fully set across the prairies we were already well on our way to Winnipeg.  We may never know what actually happens in Kipling on a Saturday night, once the sun goes down.

Downtown Saturday Night in Kipling.

Map of Our World
Downtown Saturday Night

Post # 105