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Thursday, 30 January 2020

Australia Day

Australia Day At The Toronto Zoo.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  Jan 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Australian wildlife is being affected by wildfires.  The Toronto Zoo pledged to donate all the income from their Australia Day tours to help support the animal rescue efforts.  We took advantage and felt this was a great time to take an Australasia Pavilion behind the scenes tour.

A Matschie's Tree Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

  Our tour started with the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo.  These kangaroos spend the majority of their time up in the trees and are more agile moving through the branches than down on the ground.  The kangaroo pictured above is a female called Puzzle.

Victoria Crowned Pigeons At The Toronto Zoo.

    The next section of the pavilion features free flying birds.  One of our favourites is the Victoria Crowned Pigeons.  They have white tips on the feathers that stick up from the top of their head like a crown.  If you are lucky you might hear the drumming whooping sound they make when they wish to attract attention.

A Macleay's Spectre At The Toronto Zoo.

  Next we went through a Staff Only door for a behind the scenes visit.  The tour guide opened a wooden door and we found ourselves at the back of the Macleay's Spectre exhibit.  We half expected insects to come flying out to make their escape.  Nothing happened as the usual defense mechanism for this stick insect is to cling to a branch and gently sway in order to make us think it is a leaf.

Kangaroos Behind The Scenes At The Toronto Zoo.

  We travelled down a small hall and were taken into the kangaroo winter home.  There were a few holding areas where the kangaroos were all lying around just relaxing.  Once we arrived and lettuce was offered things picked up.


   The Toronto Zoo has a mob of Western Grey Kangaroos.  A mob is what you call a group of kangaroos.

A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.
 A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

    The kangaroos have big teeth for munching.  The kangaroo above on the left was a new mother about three months ago.  The baby joey will not leave the pouch for almost six more months.

Senior Kangaroos At The Toronto Zoo.

  One enclosure contained what the keepers called the old timers.  This is where the senior kangaroos were kept.  They often get annoyed by the constant hopping about of their more youthful family members.

A Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  There was a Bennett's Wallaby in with the older kangaroos.  Wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos so despite being thirteen years old this wallaby appeared very young.  Thirteen is an upper age for a wallaby but hanging around kangaroos keeps it looking youthful.

A Swamp Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  Another wallaby was in an enclosure by itself.  It was called a Swamp Wallaby.  The keepers ensured us that it was not alone and behind a piece of wood a bettong was sleeping waiting for dark.  A bettong is still a marsupial but more of a kangaroo rat than a kangaroo.

The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.
 The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.

  After leaving the kangaroo area we travelled through the pavilion to the Great Barrier Reef tank.  This tank is filled with various Australian fishes.  We went through another Staff Only door and up some steps to the top of the tank.


   We enjoyed feeding the fish in this tank.  Two of our favourites were the Clown Triggerfish and the Scribbled Angelfish who make a snapping sound when they bite down on the seaweed we dropped into the water.


    If you wish to identify the other fish in these videos above you can check out our Toronto Zoo page and scroll down to the Australasia Pavilion (Great Barrier Reef) section.  We enjoyed our tour and hope the money donated helps Australian wildlife. You can always go "down under" anytime if you visit the Toronto Zoo.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 276

Monday, 20 January 2020

Dream Machines

Rowland Emett's Dream Machines

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 770 Don Mills Road.
Date: Jan 2020
Website: www.ontariosciencecentre.ca

  Every winter around Christmas time, the Ontario Science Centre puts their collection of Rowland Emett's machines on display.  It is the largest single collection of these mechanical inventions and never ceases to amuse and amaze.  Rowland Emett started as a cartoonist for Punch magazine before building these herky-jerky contraptions which always seem to include lampshades and teapots and be driven by thin men with mustaches.  Let's take a look at a few of these dream machines.

The Vivivision Machine
The Vivivision Machine By Rowland Emett.

This machine is made up of a gramophone and an old sewing machine.  Like most of Rowland's creations it has a lot of moving parts but it is hard to figure out the purpose.


It somehow projects an image into the horn of the gramophone which is supposed to be that of a man bull-fighting with a goat.  This machine made a brief appearance in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

 The Humbug Major Sweet Machine
The Humbug Major Sweet Machine by Rowland Emett.

  This next contraption had a bigger role in the Dick Van Dyke movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.   It makes candied apples and more as it whirs and turns.

The Humbug Major Sweet Machine by Rowland Emett.

The machine makes candy but as Truly Scrumptuous says, "The boiling point of your sugar is too high".  As a result the candy has holes in it but lets you blow into it to make a whistling sound. Toot Sweets.

Toot Sweets from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  Dick Van Dyke's character Caractacus Potts takes his candy to try and sell it to the candy factory.  As everyone blows into the candy, the whistle attracts dogs which end up making a mess of everything.

Little Dragon Carpet Cleaner
Little Dragon Carpet Cleaner by Rowland Emett.

  Also in the movie is the little dragon carpet cleaner which instead of cleaning a carpet sucks up the whole thing.  The carpet cleaner on display at the Science Centre had a little brush that looked like a mustache.

The Hush-a-Bye Hot Air Rocking Chair
The Hush-a-Bye Hot Air Rocking Chair by Rowland Emett.

  This chair works with a hot air engine to keep it rocking.  It also conveniently has slippers sticking out in front so you can put your feet inside.  Keep your eyes open and you might notice it also in a certain film.

Clockwork Lullaby Machine
Clockwork Lullaby Machine by Rowland Emett.

    When Caractacus Potts sings Hushabye Mountain to his children he first starts up this contraption which is made up of a conch shell and a wine bottle among other things.

Featherstone Kite Openwork Basketweave Mark Two Gentleman's Flying Machine
Featherstone Kite Openwork Basketweave Mark Two Gentleman's Flying Machine by Rowland Emett

  This machine is our all time favourite and it also boasts the longest name.  It has been at the Ontario Science Centre for decades.  It is meant to be a flying machine but as it lurches back and forth we don't think it is ever going to get off the ground.  It looks like it has a better chance of making tea.

Featherstone Kite Openwork Basketweave Mark Two Gentleman's Flying Machine by Rowland Emett

  This machine features one of the thin, mustached men that Rowland seems to like to add to his contraptions.  It also has a few furry friends like the dog looking forward at the front of the plane and a little kitten sitting in the rudder.

The Forget Me Not Computer
The Forget Me Not Computer by Rowland Emett.

Memory may hold the door, but elephants never forget.  The picture above shows FRED who is part of the Forget Me Not Computer that Rowland made for Honeywell.  FRED stands for Frightfully Rapid Evaluator and Dispense.

The Forget Me Not Computer by Rowland Emett.

  The next part of the Forget Me Not Computer looks like an elephant.  The computer frame is made from a lot of bamboo.

The Forget Me Not Computer by Rowland Emett.

Inside it has something called the Eenie-Meenie-Miney-Mo unit.

The Forget Me Not Computer by Rowland Emett.

Another smaller elephant is called Forget Me Not Junior and works the card punch system.  Unforgetable.

Afternoon Tea Train To Wisteria Halt
Afternoon Tea Train To Wisteria Halt by Rowland Emett.

  Rowland Emett's popularity increased after he created a railway for the 1951 Festival of Britain.  This next machine is another train creation.  It is a tea train headed to Wisteria Halt.

Afternoon Tea Train To Wisteria Halt by Rowland Emett.

  It is made up of several train cars.  The last car has a cow being milked in order to provide cream for tea.

Afternoon Tea Train To Wisteria Halt by Rowland Emett.

  The next car has a first class passenger enjoying their tea.  The cow has chosen to munch on the ostrich feathers sticking out of her hat.

Afternoon Tea Train To Wisteria Halt by Rowland Emett.

  The whole train is pulled by Nellie the steam engine in a beautiful blue.  Nellie also heats up and pours tea as well as preparing a bit of breakfast as she goes.

Exploratory Moon Probe Lunacycle MAUD
Exploratory Moon Probe Lunacycle MAUD by Rowland Emett

The last device on display was designed to be landed on the moon and then pedalled about for exploratory purposes. 

Exploratory Moon Probe Lunacycle MAUD by Rowland Emett.

  The mustachioed man must keep pedalling in order to bring oxygen into his helmet.  He looks out through a stained glass dome over his head.

Check out Rowland Emett's machines in action in the video below and find out why they are known as dream machines.


Map of Our World
Dream Machines

Post # 275

Friday, 10 January 2020

Toronto Man

Toronto Man Sculpture 101 St Clair West.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 101 St. Clair Avenue West
Date: Nov 2019
Website: 101stclair.com

    A man holding what looks like part of a condo building is one of the newest works of art to appear on Toronto streets.  This sculpture was chosen as it is said to embody the present moment in the city's evolution.  If that means that every time you turn around a new building has sprung up reaching for the sky then they are exactly right.

Toronto Man Sculpture Outside St. Clair West Starbucks.

  The sculpture is called Toronto Man and stands over 25 feet tall.  It was created by artist Stephan Balkenhol.  It is located outside of a Starbucks so you can't miss it.

Toronto Man Stands On Building Blocks.

  The man stands on top of coloured building blocks.  Perhaps this reminds Toronto Man of when he was just a Toronto Boy playing in his room.  Now the city is his playground.

Toronto Man Holds A Slice Of A Condo.

  From the side angle it looks exactly like Toronto Man has stolen a slice of suites from the building behind him.  Is Toronto Man creating something new or turning one suite from every floor into Air BnB's?

Toronto Man Stands Against The Sky.

  From a slightly different angle Toronto Man is in shadow cast by the buildings behind him. We can still see some sky behind him where the buildings have not yet risen.  Maybe that is where he is headed next.  Toronto Man sure does raise a lot of questions which is probably why he exists in the first place.

Map of Our World
Toronto Man

Post # 274