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Wednesday 30 November 2016

Honest Ed's

Honest Ed's All Wet But He Never Soaks You.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 581 Bloor Street West
Date: Nov 2016
Website:  www.mirvish.com

  A bargain centre like this happens once in a lifetime.   Honest Ed's opened in 1948 and will close its doors for good on Dec 31st, 2016 after almost 70 years in business.  It was a place where you could find almost anything for sale and usually at a great deal.

Honest Ed Attracts Squirrels.  At These Prices They Think He's Nuts.

  Honest Ed Mirvish was the owner of the store until he passed away in 2007 at the age of 92.  He is also known for his contributions to Toronto theatre including operating the Royal Alexandra Theatre as well as building the Princess of Wales Theatre.

Honest Ed's is For The Birds. Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!

  Honest Ed was known for throwing his own birthday party and everyone was invited.  There would be free drinks, food, prizes, rides and more.   Since 1987 he hosted an annual Christmas turkey give-away and through the years has given away 40,000 turkeys.  Both of these events drew huge crowds and proved extremely popular for the store.

Only The Floors Are Crooked.
 Honest Ed's an Idiot.  His Prices are Cents Less.

  Honest Ed always has catchy slogans and the store is covered with them both inside and out.

There's No Place Like This Place, Any Place.

  The 160,000 square foot store stretches along Bloor Street West from Bathurst.Street.

Honest Ed Ain't Upper Crust But His Bargain Prices Save You Dough
Honest Ed Alley.

  In the middle of the store is Honest Ed Alley.  A glass walkway connects the two parts of the store.  Looking south from this walkway you can see the CN Tower.

Ed's Office  If You Do Not Have The Combination Please Use The Door At Bloor & Bathurst

  On the west side of the alley is a vault door.   It used to have a sign hanging over it stating that it was Ed's office.  Perhaps it is a special spot where Ed used to do his work or it could just be the emergency exit.  Who knows?

Honest Ed Has A Problem.  High Prices Bug Him.

   The large Honest Ed's signage has 23,000 light bulbs that bring the corner of Bathurst and Bloor to life at night.

Honest Ed Is Never Right And His Bargains Are Never Left.
Ed's Wacky Wirld.

   Inside the world famous bargain centre you can see why they say "Come in and Get Lost".  There are tables of merchandise everywhere and stairs in every corner.  It is very easy to get turned around inside the store and not be able to find your way out.  To make matters worse, all the entrances are one way turnstiles so once you are inside you have no choice but to shop your way to the checkout.

The Nicest People In The World Pass Through Our Doors.

  There are two sign painters who make hundreds of signs each week.  These hand painted signs are used to advertise the prices inside the store.  Since the store declared that it was closing, these signs have been made available for purchase so that the people of Toronto can hold onto a tiny piece of Honest Ed's once it is gone.

Elwood with Harvey The Invisible Rabbit.

  We finally made our way to the checkout line.  Ed Mirvish has made his store a one of a kind shopping experience.  As we left the checkout there was a painting on the wall of Harvey the invisible rabbit from one of the Mirvish theatre productions.  Now is your last chance to visit Honest Ed's because soon it will be something people may not believe existed.  When you try to explain about the giant store with cheap prices, thousands of lights and an owner who kept giving things away for free, they may think you are cuckoo.  Or did Ed's prices already make you that way?

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

Map of Our World
Honest Ed's

Post # 147

Friday 25 November 2016

Dog River (aka Rouleau)

Dog River Grain Elevator

Location: Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Canada
Address: Main Street
Date: Oct 2014
Website:  www.cornergas.com

  The fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan is where the television show Corner Gas takes place.  A set was built for the show in the very real town of Rouleau, Saskatchewan.  The set which consisted of the Corner Gas station and The Ruby Cafe was recently torn down.  All of the other buildings used for filming are real places that are still standing in this small prairie town (well, maybe not the FOO  MAR  T).  Anyway, let's pay a visit to Dog River.

The Grain Elevator

  Most small towns proudly have their name painted on the grain elevator as this is the first thing you see as you approach the town.  The Rouleau grain elevator has been re-painted so that it reads Dog River.  Despite the show ending in 2009, the grain elevator was never painted again.  On the show, you can see the elevator in the background just behind the Corner Gas station and The Ruby Cafe.

The Howler

Dog River Howler.

  Most of the Corner Gas action takes place on Main Street in Rouleau.  The Dog River Howler is the town's newspaper and is sort of a hard hitting tabloid with bad spelling.  Some example headlines are "New Tree Attracts Boozy Element", "Cattle Killed By Werewolfs" or "Cop Nabs Barely Thief".  The Dog River residents rely on the Howler to get the real scoop on what is happening in town.

The Dog River Hotel

Dog River Hotel.

  The Dog River Hotel is home to Phil's bar.  The residents of Dog River hang out here to enjoy a drink after work.  In Corner Gas: The Movie, Brent buys the bar in order to help try and save the town.  Wanda once threw herself a birthday party in the bar because she convinced everyone else that she hates parties.  The Dog River Hotel is located directly across the street from The Howler.

Dog River Municipal Office

Dog River Police Station.

  A little further along the road is the Dog River Municipal Office.  This is where local law enforcement, Davis (Lorne Cardinal) and Karen (Tara Spencer-Nairn) can usually be found.

Dog River Doorway.

  According to the sign on the door it is home to Mayor Fitzy as well as the Police Office and Public Works.  It was just outside of these offices where Lacey filled in a pothole and speeding became rampant on Main Street.

Oscar and Emma's House

Get Off My Driveway! Jackass!

   The main character of Corner Gas is Brent Leroy.  Oscar and Emma are Brent's parents.  They are played by Eric Peterson and Janet Wright.  Oscar is always getting worked up over one thing or another and Emma is the one who takes charge.  Their house is located just a few blocks away from Main Street. Davis and Oscar spent one entire episode stuck up on the roof of this house as they kept letting their ladder fall over.
  We enjoyed our visit to Dog River (aka Rouleau) and it reminded us of how much we enjoyed watching Corner Gas.  We hope you found our blog post informative.  Now we don't know the same things you don't know about Dog River.

Map of Our World
Dog River Grain Elevator , The Howler , Dog River Hotel , Dog River Municipal Office , Oscar & Emma's House

Post # 146

Sunday 20 November 2016

Super Moon 2016

Super Moon.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  The Moon
Date: Nov 2016
Website:  earthsky.org

  There had been much talk of an upcoming super moon.  Because the moon's orbit around the earth is elliptical, there is a point where the moon is at its closest and a point where it is furthest away.  A full moon occurs when the earth, the sun and the moon are all lined up.  A super moon occurs when there is a full moon while the moon is still at its perigee (closest).

New Moon On Monday.

  On Monday, November 14th, 2016 there was a super moon.  On the evening of the 14th we waited for darkness to fall and looked out the window.  At first there was nothing.  Then we started to see a glow behind the clouds and finally the moon revealed itself.  We grabbed our tripod and headed out into the streets to get a better look.  We headed for the closest, darkest place, which just happened to be a nearby hydro field.

Bark At The Moon.

  The moon appeared blurry again behind some cloud cover, but we patiently waited it out.  We moved our tripod off the pathway and tried to get set up for the perfect photo between the hydro lines. The clouds started to move away again and the bright glowing orb revealed itself once more.  The perfect shot was right in front of us.

Arff Arff!! Arr Arrf! Arr Arr!

  A dog had spotted us in the darkness and wanted to let everyone know.  We are aware that the moon has an effect on the tides and there is talk of it affecting the mood of people.  We don't know if this dog was just excited to see us or if he was extra, super moon excited.    His owner apologized for the shock and they continued off into the night.

Hazy Super Moon.
 Super Moon Sits on A Cloud.

  Now we focused our attention back to the moon.  After several unsuccessful shots, we did determine that we need some lessons on how to use our camera.  We took pictures using various settings and hoped for the best.  The next day we compared our pictures against other photos of the moon that we had taken through the years.  We were happy to discover that compared to those blurry, misshapen blobs these were the best ones yet.  Super!

Hydro Field Super Moon.

Post # 145

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Corner Gas Set

Corner Gas Dog River.

Location: Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Canada
Address: 1st Ave. & Weckman Drive
Date: Oct 2014
Website:  www.cornergas.com

  You think there's not a lot goin' on?  Unfortunately, there seems to be even less with each passing year.  As fans of the television show Corner Gas, we are glad that we paid a visit to the town of Rouleau, Saskatchewan when we did.  The show aired from 2004 to 2009 and was very popular all across Canada.  In the summer of 2014 they filmed Corner Gas: The Movie in Rouleau.  We arrived in the fall of 2014 after filming of the movie had finished and before the movie was released.

The Foo Fighters did what they could.

   Many of Rouleau's actual buildings were used for the filming of Corner Gas and make up the fictional town of Dog River.  Just one month before we arrived, the building that was used as the "FOO  MAR  T"  (that's FOOD MARKET with a few letters missing) burnt down.  You can see the damage in the photo above.

The Ruby & Corner Gas

  The FOO  MAR  T isn't the only building that no longer stands in Rouleau.  On November 4th 2016 the long standing set from Corner Gas was torn down.  This building was erected specifically for filming of the show.  It consisted of the gas station that was run by Brent Leroy (Brent Butt) and the Ruby Cafe that was run by Lacey (Gabrielle Miller).  When we visited, the main signs and embellishments had been taken down and all the windows were boarded up. 

Behind the scenes at Corner Gas.

  You could see from the back that this building was never intended for longevity.

Truckers Welcome at Corner Gas.
Sakatchewan is flat.  What do you mean? Like topographically?

  The gas station scenes were filmed on location. You can often see vehicles heading down the road in the background while Brent, Wanda and Hank are having discussions in front of the cash register.  Brent is the owner of Corner Gas and Wanda (Nancy Robertson) works there, or tries not to.  Hank (Fred Ewanuick) just always seems to be hanging around.  Thankfully, there is an actual gas station in town just in case the set fooled a driver into pulling off of the highway.

Entrance to The Ruby.

  When the residents of Dog River are not at Corner Gas they seem to spend all of their time inside the Ruby Cafe.  The show's success comes from its writing. The characters are all likeable and their banter back and forth is hilarious. As the theme song, by Craig Northey of Canadian band The Odds, says
"And that's why you can stay so long where there's not a lot goin' on."

Map of Our World
Corner Gas Set , FOO MAR T

Post # 144

Thursday 10 November 2016

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Location: Santa Barbara, California, USA
Address: 1100 Anacapa St.
Date:  Feb 2014
Website:  sbcourthouse.org

  If you find yourself in court, you could do far worse than the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.  The courthouse was built in 1926 and is a great example of Spanish Colonial Architecture.  We spent some time enjoying the building as well as the surrounding grounds during our visit.

Courthouse Archway.

  As you approach the courthouse, an archway states "Dios nos dio los campos El arte humana edific√≥ ciudades".  This means "God gave us the country, the skill of man hath built the town."

We want Justice man.

  Two figures sit above the archway.  The figure in the photo above looks like a male version of the familiar Justice statue.  He appears to be holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other.

Spirit Of The Ocean.

  Next to the archway is the Spirit of the Ocean fountain.  This is a hand carved replica of the original  courthouse fountain.  The original had deteriorated through the years and it was decided that it must be replaced.  The replica was unveiled in 2011.

The Courthouse Hallway.
Quiet Court Is In Session.

The inside of the courthouse is equally impressive with its long hallways.  Even the "Quiet. Court is in session" sign is unique.

Mosaic Bench.
 Curved Stairway.

  Intricate mosaic tiles adorned benches and stairwells.  The courthouse truly is a work of art inside and out.

Painted Court Room.

  One court room which is a popular wedding spot is the Mural Room.  All of its walls are covered with a giant mural.

Clock Tower.

  No trip to the courthouse is complete without a trip up the clock tower.

  Just before reaching the viewing area at the top of the tower is the clock room.  This houses a Seth Thomas tower clock which ticks away the time.

Santa Barbara Bells.

  You can also see bells hanging from the ceiling inside to save space. This way everyone can visit the top of the tower and enjoy the view.

View from the clock tower.
 Santa Ynez Mountains in the distance.
 Santa Barbara County Administration Building.
 Red tiled rooftops.
What the Frack?

  From the top of the tower you can see the red tiled rooftops of Santa Barbara. You can tell that the Spanish Colonial style is popular all across the town.  Behind the town you can see the Santa Ynez mountains.  Out across the ocean you can see oil rigs trying to hide behind the hazy sky.

Sunken Garden.

  As you look straight down from the tower you are looking into the sunken garden on the courthouse grounds.

Santa Barbara Courthouse Garden.
 Deep in the Sunken Garden.

  We descended the tower and headed out into the gardens.  We were glad that we were only visiting as tourists. If we found ourselves on trial at this courthouse at least there would be many beautiful distractions.

Map of Our World
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Post # 143