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Thursday, 30 May 2019

Toronto Humane Society

Toronto Humane Society Mural

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  11 River Street
Date: May 2019
Website: www.torontohumanesociety.com

  The Toronto Humane Society always has its doors open for stray animals.  During Doors Open Toronto it welcomed people to tour behind the scenes.  The Humane Society is always a place of great sadness when a lost or injured animal is brought into the shelter.  It can also be a place of great joy when these animals find a new home.

Cats & Uber 5000's Bird Toronto Humane Society Mural

  The Humane Society building is hard to miss thanks to a bright mural by artist Uber 5000.  The mural fills the entire wall of the building which is located where King Street East meets Queen Street East.  As always in any Uber 5000 artwork there are little yellow birds hiding in the background.

Glenn Gould Dedication Toronto Humane Society

  As we entered the building we noticed a dedication to thank Canadian pianist Glenn Gould for his contributions.  Glenn was alway known for his love of animals as well as his piano playing.

Dogs Uber 500 Mural Toronto Humane Society

  The first animals we visited were the dogs.  As our group gathered, a volunteer brought out a small black dog and worked his way through the crowd.  Behind him followed an older man who said "He's going to be my dog".  A huge smile stretched across his face.  This was not the only dog to be successfully adopted.  As the dogs yipped and barked for our attention we could see from the signage that most would be on their way to new homes soon.

Bunny Door Stop

  After the dogs we visited the special species section.  A bunny door stop held the door open for us.

Bunny At Toronto Humane Society

  Just inside the doors was Carmel the bunny.  Carmel was doing her best to look cute and adoptable.  Getting a pet on impulse is a bad idea without understading the long term cost and comittment.

Hedgehog Care Book Toronto Humane Society.

  There were lots of information packages on caring for different animals.  We know a family who recently took in an African pygmy hedgehog so we picked up a booklet for them.

Red-Eared Slider

  Several pools at the back of the room held red-eared slider turtles.  Red-eared sliders are the most invasive turtle species in Ontario ponds.  Don't release your unwanted turtle into the wild.  Again think before you buy one as a pet.  Wild red-eared sliders are causing our local turtle species to head towards extinction.

A Bearded Dragon at Toronto Humane Society

  At the exit was a bearded dragon who was wearing a cone so he didn't touch or scratch where he shouldn't.  A note next to him stated that he was headed to a sanctuary.

Doug The Dog Toronto Humane Society Mural

  A lot of feral or street animals come into the shelter.  The only way to stop more and more of them from coming is to have them spayed or neutered.  This way they can no longer reproduce.

Spay or Neutering area at Toronto Humane Society

  A sign in the operating area shows how they clip the ears of spayed or neutered cats so they can easily be recognized.  This prevents cats being rounded up for repeat surgery that they don't need.

A Cat With Yarn

  The shelter is also home to many cats.  Cats like yarn and thread which can be a problem.

Toronto Humane Society Cat X-ray.

  We were shown some animal x-rays that showed broken bones and some that showed needles stuck inside a cat.  Cats love the thread but dont realize a needle is tied to the end.  Any metal in an x-ray shows up bright white like bones do.

Toronto Humane Society Donation Box.

  The Toronto Humane Society does a good job looking out for animals in our city.  They also do a good job for people who get the gift of a pet in their life.

Map of Our World
Toronto Humane Society

Post # 252

Monday, 20 May 2019

Capybara (The World's Biggest Rodent)

A Capybara Sits On The Grass.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date: May 2019
Website: www.torontozoo.com

  Some people may be surprised to learn that the world's biggest rodent is not a rat found in the New York subway system.  The title belongs to South America's capybara which weighs up to 65 kg, stands almost 2 feet tall and can grow up to 4 feet long.  We have come across capybara at several zoos, but had a real close encounter at the Toronto Zoo.


  Diego the capybara lives at the Toronto Zoo.  The zoo just recently started some Wild Encounter programs.  We were able to learn more about him as well as feed him a treat of some fresh lettuce.  Capybara are herbivores and eat only plants.  In fact the name capybara translates roughly to "master of the grasses".  All rodents have teeth that constantly grow and must gnaw on things to wear the teeth down.  As we fed the lettuce we had to make sure not to get near those teeth.

Capybara's Webbed Feet.

  Capybara are semi-aquatic and spend most of their time in the water.  They have webbed feet which helps make them great swimmers.  Their nostrils and eyes are high on their face so they can breathe and see above the water, but if they have to, a capybara can stay under water for up to 5 minutes.

The Behind Of A Capybara.

  Capybara have a high rounded back.  Diego looks kind of like a coconut with legs in the photo above.

Capybara And A Waterfall.

  The other capybara at the Toronto Zoo can be found near the waterfall in the Americas section.  Diego prefers to keep by himself and lives in the Kid's Zoo not that far from his relative the guinea pig.

Capybara eating in the water.

  The keepers said that Diego was about 6 years old.   We think that the photo above may have been taken while Diego, his brother and parents enjoyed a family dinner together.

High Park Capybara Family.

  In Toronto there are also capybara at the High Park Zoo.  Two of the High Park capybara are famous for escaping.  One of them wasn't found for almost a month before being returned to the zoo.  In the photos and video above you can see the runaways with their babies.  Baby capybara are called pups.

A Capybara During Feeding Time.

  Feeding the capybara was fun and Diego was friends with whoever had a piece of lettuce.  Once all the lettuce was gone he went off to the other side of his enclosure to be by himself again.  It was great to see and learn about this amazing rodent up close.   Next time we are in New York City though, we would still like the rats to keep to themselves.


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

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo (Kids Zoo) , High Park Zoo

Post # 251

Friday, 10 May 2019

Westfield Heritage Museum (1775 to 1825)

A Stone Commemorates the Opening of Westfeild Village

Location: Rockton, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1049 Kirkwall Road
Date: May 2019
Website:  westfieldheritage.ca

  In October 1960 two Brantford area high school teachers started Westfield Village in order to educate children and adults on how life was lived in 19th century Ontario.  They started the process of moving heritage buildings to a thirty acre property that they had purchased.  Today that property has over 40 buildings and is known as Westfield Heritage Museum.  During Doors Open Hamilton we visted the museum and learned a thing or two about how life used to be.

Hill House From 1911 and Westbrook House from 1810

    We started our tour in the area representing the years 1775 up to 1825.  The first houses we came across were Hill House (pictured above on the right) and Westbrook House (white house in distance).  Hill House was built in 1911 on the Six Nations Reserve in Brantford but was built in a similar style to homes built in the early 1800s.  Westbrook House came from Brant County and was a much fancier home.  It originally overlooked the "Battle of Malcolm's Mills" in 1814 which was the last land battle on Canadian soil.

Westfield Village Oldest Log Chapel in Ontario.

  Across the road from Hill House stood a log chapel.  This was built in 1814 and is believed to be the oldest log chapel in all of Ontario.

Queen's Rangers' Cabin At Westfield Heritage Museum.
Bamberger House Built 1810 At Westfeild Heritage Museum.

  Two other buildings in this area are the Queen's Rangers' cabin built in 1792 and the Bamberger House (the one with four windows on the left) built in 1810.  Bamberger House was the oldest home in Hamilton before being moved to Westfield.  The Queen's Ranger's cabin is one of the oldest log cabins in Ontario.  If you want old homes made of logs, then Westfield is your place.

A Man Sits Outside ATrading Post At Westfiled Heritage Museum.

  The most interesting building in this section of Westfield was the 19th Century Trading Post.  As we walked by, the man out front said "Before you head into the future let me tell you a few things about life in the early 1800s."  We followed him into the building.

Inside The Trading Post.

  Now some of what the man told us is true and some of it is just tall tales.  All of it was entertaining.  First he explained different levels of poor.  The expression "dirt poor" is someone who could not afford to have wooden floors put in their house so the ground level was just dirt.  The building we were in had wooden floors.  He also stated that horses were also kept on the ground floor so they would stand in the dirt and the family would live upstairs.  The expression "mad as a hatter" came from the hat makers who used mercury to make hats out of animal skins like beavers.  The hatmaker and sometimes the frequent hat wearer would suffer from mercury posioning and often become delirious and live a shortened life from prolonged exposure.  A beaver hat in the early 1800s could cost up to $500 dollars.  Only the very well-to-do could afford such a luxury.  A building such as the trading post itself would cost only $100 dollars.  Madness!

Furs dry on a fence at Westfiled Village.

  Another level of poor is "piss poor".  In order to tan the hides of animals, urine was used in the process.  A very poor family could fill a bucket and take it to the Trading Post in exchange for some money.  Unfortunately, some people didn't even have a pot to piss in. The man also went on to explain the origin of a threshold in the home and "throwing the baby out with the bath water". 
  We left the Trading Post and headed deeper into the Westfield Heritage Village.  We were headed towards the 1900s. All the tales we had just heard are passed on through the years much like the information about the old homes at Westfield.  Thankfully someone is around to preserve them.

Map of Our World
Westfield Heritage Museum

Post # 250