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Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth II

Statue of Queen Elizabeth II Outside Manitoba Legislative Building

 Location:
London, England
Address:  Kensington Gardens
Date:  August 2015
Website:  www.hrp.org.uk

  Queen Elizabeth II lived to be 96 years old and was Queen for just over 70 years.  She was not only the Queen of England but also other Commonwealth countries such as Canada.  Her reign was the longest of any British monarch.  Most of us have only been alive during her reign.  Sadly, she passed away on Sept 8 2022 and will now be succeeded by her son Charles.  In this post we look at a few of the places we have visited where the Queen was honoured.

 
Queen Elizabeth II statue in  Winnipeg Manitoba.

    This statue of the Queen above can be found outside of the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnpeg, Manitoba, Canada.  We wrote a short blog about it during the Queen's 90th birthday.
 
Queen Elizabeth II Riding A Horse Outside Saskatchewan Legislative Building.

   In the next province over we found yet another statue of the Queen.  This time she was riding a horse outside the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.  The name of the horse is Burmese.  Burmese was born in Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan.

Queen Elizabeth II Statue Riding Her Horse Burmese.

    Burmese was given to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969.  The Queen rode Burmese every year in the annual Trooping of Colour ceremony until 1987.  The Trooping of Colour happens each June and is also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade.  It involves over a thousand officers and hundreds of horses on parade during the ceremonies.

Queen Elizabeth II Leaves Secret Garden Inn In Kingston Ontario.
 
   In Kingston, Ontario, Canada we once had afternoon tea in a place called the Secret Garden Inn.  After our tea, as we were leaving, we noticed a photograph in the front room.  The photo is of Queen Elizabeth II and was taken right in front of the inn.

The Spire Kingston Ontario.

      Had the Queen visited the Secret Garden Inn for tea?  Perhaps.  The photo was most likely taken as she visited the Sydenham Street United Church across the street.  This church is more commonly known as The Spire due to its long pointy top that can be seen all across Kingston.

Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip Photos Royal York Hotel Toronto

    At the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada there is a special book that can be found in the lobby area along the far wall.  The Queen has stayed at the Royal York many times and stays on her own floor in the Royal Suite.  The photos above are of the Queen and her husband Prince Philip.  Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died one year before the Queen in April 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II 7 Prince Philip Signatures In The Royal York Hotel

  In a glass case sitting below the photographs is a book signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip when they visited during the Golden Jubilee in October 2002.  They both signed using just their first names.

Queen Elizabeth Attends the 114th Queen's Plate.

    The Queen's Plate at Woodbine racetrack in Toronto was started with Queen Victoria's involvement in 1860.  Queen Elizabeth II has attended the event 4 times.  In 1973 she watched the horse races in a bright yellow dress.  The winning horse that year was named Royal Chocolate. 
 
Queen Elizabeth II Car Window Decal.
 
     We once thought we spotted the Queen sitting in a car outside a Toronto store.  It turned out it was just a fun window decal.
 
Toronto's First Post Office Stamps

    In Canada we are used to seeing the Queen's face everywhere we go.  She is on our money, our stamps and more.  The stamp pictured above is from a display on Adelaide Street East near Toronto's First Post Office.

Queen Elizabeth II Million Dollar Coin At The ROM in Toronto Ontario

    At the Royal Ontario Museum is a giant example of the Queen appearing on Canadian currency.  This million dollar gold coin weighs 100 kg and is made from 99.999% pure gold buillon.  The Royal Canadian Mint only ever made five of these in 2007.  At the time of release it held the Guiness world's record for largest gold coin.  Now that the Queen has passed we wonder what the coin's value is today.  Any new coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint will now feature King Charles on them.

The Queen's Cypher Over A Doorway In Windsor Castle.

    Aside from all the currency changes around the world there will also be changes to many structures throughout England and abroad.  This doorway at Windsor Castle has the Queen's Cypher hanging over it.  The letters stand for Elizabeth Regina.
 
The Queen's Cypher At Windsor Castle.
 
   Normally the letters in the cypher are shown as E II R for Elizabeth the second.  This wall at the Tower of London is only one of the thousands of places which will now be changed to C III R for Charles the third.
 
Guard Station With The Queen's Cypher.
  
   All of the guard stations will need to be repainted.  The Royal Guards are known to stand still and hold their post despite distractions or extreme heat.  Perhaps the painters will just set up a ladder and do their work around the stationed guard.

Post Box With The Queen's Cypher.

      Post boxes across the country will need to be changed.  Some of these marked for Queen Elizabeth II may have been around for 70 years.  We are not sure how quickly or if these changes will even be made.  King Charles is already 73 years old so he will be very lucky if he can serve as Head of the Commonwealth for even a quarter of the time that his mother served.
 
Souvenir Post Box Filled With Candy.

     Even souvenirs such as this post box shaped candy tin will see changes.  You will be able to tell from the cypher if your souvenir represents the Queen or the new King.  We predict that anything with the Queen's cypher on it will become highly sought after.
 
Solar Powered Waving Queen Elizabeth II.

    We also predict that souvenirs of the Queen will be around for many years to come just because she was so well loved.  Good news if you don't yet have your very own solar-powered, waving Queen figurine.

Queen Elizabeth II made out of Lego In Hamley's London.

     A Queen made completely out of Lego was once at Hamley's toy store in London, England.  It's too bad that this was not sold as a kit.  It might take a bit of time to build, but would be well worth it.
 
Mayflower Dinner Gown Worn By Queen Elizabeth II.

    In Kensington Palace we saw some more personal items belonging to the Queen.  This flowered dinner gown was worn by the Queen during a visit to Nova Scotia, Canada in 1959.  The mayflower is the provincial flower of Nova Scotia.
 
Dresses Worn By The Queen On Display At Kensington Palace.

    These two other dresses are a formal gown with beaded embroidery worn for the opening of the New Zealand parliament in 1963 and a yellow evening gown worn at the 1961 premiere of The Guns of Nazarene at the Odeon Leicester Square.
 
Memorial To The Queen Oakville Ontario

       These are just a few of the things and places that remind us of the Queen.  Memorials like this one at a British Grocery store in Oakville, Ontario will be showing up everywhere.  She will long be remembered by many people around the world.



Post # 315

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

Courtyard Hotel Rosebank Johannesburg South Africa

 Location:
Joahnnesburg, South Africa
Address:  39 Tyrwhitt Avenue, Rosebank
Date:  October 2018
Website:  www.clhg.com

  We travelled to South Africa in hopes of seeing as many different animals as we possibly could.  The first place we visited when we arrived was the Rosebank section of Johannesburg. We stayed in a Courtyard Hotel across the street from a busy shopping centre.  Little did we know that behind the gates of our hotel we would be introduced to so much wildlife.

Spider On The Wall Courtyard Hotel Rosebank South Africa
 
    Upon arrival, we checked out our room and found we were not alone.  On our wall we spotted a spider.  We generally like spiders as we hope that they will eat other flying pests.  We took a photo for later identification.  The best we can determine is it is a type of wolf spider and harmless.  It kept to itself patrolling the walls.
 
Black Jumping Spider Johannesburg South Africa.
 
    Above the window we spotted another spider.  This one appeared to be a black jumping spider.  It didn't jump at us when we took a closeup picture.  Enjoy your stay little friend.
 
Courtyard Hotel Doorknob Dolls Johannesburg.

    Our favourite thing that we found on the walls during our stay in Rosebank was these three ladies.  They were dolls designed to fit over the doorknob and let hotel staff know if we needed anything or just wanted to be left alone. 

Leopard Tortoise Rosebank Johannesburg

  After settling into our room, we headed outside and walked towards the main entrance.  Coming along the pathway was a leopard tortoise.  He stopped and gave us a look and then lumbered along.  This tortoise was a permanent resident.  His shell was far too big to fit under any fences.  He seemed perfectly content, but if he wanted to escape his only chance would be to make a break for it when security opened the front gate for a guest.  Security opened the gate for us to leave.  We looked back as we crossed the street and headed to the mall.  We didn't see any tortoises following us.

Beautiful Jacaranda Trees In Johannesburg South Africa
 
    As we returned to our hotel we were able to get a good look at the jacaranda trees that line so many of Johannesburg's streets.  We were lucky to be visiting during September to November when the purple flowers bloom.

Looking Up At A Jacaranda Tree in Johannesburg.

    These beautiful trees are not native to Africa, but came from Brazil.  The first jacaranda were said to be brought here and planted in 1888.  There has since been a ban on planting more but every year the streets of Johannesburg still turn purple.

Cape White Eye Sits In A Jacaranda Tree.

  As we returned to our hotel we noticed a cape white eye sitting up in one of the jacarandas.  These small greenish-yellow birds have a bright white circle around their eyes.  We wished that we could see the jacaranda from the bird's vantage point high up in the branches.

Common Myna In Johannesburg South Africa

  Another bird we spotted up in the trees was this common myna.  It had chosen a less colourful tree to make its perch.  This bird is also known as the Indian myna and is now an invasive species found all over the world.

Cape Robin Chat Rosebank Johannesburg

  Sitting on the edge of a bench in our garden was a cape robin chat.
 
A Cape Sparrow In an Eavestrough.
 
     Up on an eavestrough was a cape sparrow.  South Africa has many bird species whose names start with cape. It was done to represent that they came from the old Cape of Good Hope and Cape Province that made up a large part of South Africa.
 
Tortoise Courtyard Hotel Rosebank South Africa

    The next morning we walked along the edge of the garden to see who was visiting today.  We spotted the tortoise just sitting still in the leafy garden.  His busy day had yet to begin.

Hadeda Ibis Rosebank South Africa.

    This morning there was also another visitor walking through the grass.  It was a hadeda ibis.  They are named for their loud call of "HA-DE-DA" which many South Africans use as their early morning wake up alarm.  We did hear them calling out at various times, but they never woke us up.

Hadeda Ibis On The Roof Of Rosebank Courtyard Hotel.

    This hadeda did give out a cry as it flew away.  We had returned to our room, but we rushed out and spotted the ibis now perched up on the rooftop.

Go-Away Bird Rosebank Johannesburg.

    We continued our walk along the edge of the garden.  We heard another unusual noise and looked into the trees.  There was a grey bird hidden in the branches making a sound that sounded like the last whirl of something that had been wound up.  "Whirrrrrrrrrr".  The bird sounded most displeased.  It is called a go-away bird and perhaps this is why.  We were happy to spot a cat lingering beneath the tree the bird was sitting in.  At least the bird's displeasure was not directed at us.

Karoo Thrush Courtyard Hotel Rosebank Johannesburg

    As we walked along the garden wall we saw some dirt falling from up above.  A small bird was busy kicking dirt out of the eavestrough.  We didn't take this personally as we were quietly walking along so the bird probably didn't know that we were there.  It did fly down to give us a closer look.  The picture (above) isn't the best, but this is a karoo thrush.
 
Snail In The Drain Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

     Near the pool area we spotted this rather large snail.  It was just hanging out in a drain.  Thankfully no wildlife was taking a swim in our pool.
 
Speckled Mousebird Johannesburg

    At the end of the garden we saw another grey bird and expected to get a good talking to.  It turns out that this was not a go-away bird but a speckled mousebird.  It is smaller than a go-away bird and has a different hairstyle and a darker face around its eye and beak.
 
The Garden Of The Courtyard Hotel Rosebank.

     The next day we were off to see some large animals such as lions, giraffes and elephants.  We also enjoyed our time visiting some of Africa's smaller wildlife within the walls of our hotel.

Map of Our World
Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

Post # 314

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Canadian Tire Turns 100

Canadian Tire Turns 100 Celebration

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  169 Bastedo Avenue
Date:  July 2022
Website:  www.canadiantire.ca

  This year Canadian Tire is celebrating their 100 year anniversary.  Canadian Tire stores sell more than just tires and have been providing automotive, hardware, houseware and sporting good needs to Canadians for a century.  As part of the celebrations, they worked with local residents in order to turn a Toronto street into a giant beach party for the Canada Day weekend.  Up and down Bastedo Avenue there were giant inflatable pool floats on every front lawn.

Flamingoes Bastedo Avenue Canadian Tire Celebration

   We are not sure how the theme for each yard was chosen.  Did the homeowners help set up the displays or did Canadian Tire send in a team?  There were lots of yards with flamingo filled displays.

Yoga Flamingoes Canadian Tire 100 Years Celebration

     Some of the flamingoes were more chill than the others.  The flamingoes above were taking part in a yoga session. 

Dinosaurs Candian Tire 100 Celebration

     Another popular theme was dinosaurs.  In the corporate world some may say that Canadian Tire is a dinosuar.  Meaning that the company is old, not that it is no longer relevant.
 
Dinosaur Bastedo Avenue Canadian Tire

  Candian Tire is far from extinct.  Despite being one hundred years old, their website boasts over 500 stores and that 90 % of all Canadians are only 15 minutes away from a Canadian Tire store.

Blue Canadian Tire Truck With Ice Cream.

  Parked up and down the street were some brightly painted pickup trucks.  This blue truck was full of ice cream.

Pink Canadian Tire Truck Full Of Beach Balls.

    This pink truck was carrying a load of Canadian Tire beach balls.

Yellow Canadian Tire Truck With Crocodiles.

    There was a yellow truck carrying a flamingo, a pineapple and a pair of crocodiles.

Canadian Tire Unicorn Floaties.

    Seeing a unicorn was not an unsual thing on Bastedo Avenue that day.  The largest unicorn floaties were up to 16 feet long and could hold about 5 adults.  One of them would take up the whole pool and leave no room for little Johnnie to test out his water wings.

Peacock Bastedo Avenue Canaidn Tire 100 Years.

    One of the yards had a nice display with a single peacock in front of their bushes.

 A Flock Of Lawn Ornaments Canadian Tire Celebration

    Other yards did not subscribe to the theory that less is more.  This yard had quite the flock and variety of birds.  If Canadian Tire is offering you free lawn ornaments why say no?

 Canadian Tire Bastedo Avenue Umbrellas In Yard.

    Another yard had a whale and a variety of umbrellas.  Luckily the weather was perfect all weekend or this display may have been picked clean by people needing to "borrow" an umbrella.

Llama Floaties And Giant Donut Canadian Tire 100 Year Celebration.

    We started to get a bit hungry as we walked past donuts that were half eaten by grazing llamas.

Giant Floatie Melon Flamingo And Pineapple On Bastedo Avenue Toronto

    We started to feel like we needed some refreshment after looking at all these displays of watermelons, pineapples and pink lemonade coloured flamingoes.  

Gelato On The Danny.

    Thankfully at the top of Bastedo Avenue you can find Gelato On The Danny which can stop hunger and provide refreshment all in one shot.  With gelato cups in hand we headed back south through the beach party once more.

Snail Sprinkler Canadian Tire Walk Slow.

   A sign beside a giant snail told us to walk slow.  Not a problem now as we worked on eating spoonfulls of our gelato.  We were wondering how these floaties stayed upright and if you just kind of hung through the snail shell.  Then we checked the Canadian Tire website and realized these are actually sprinkler snails.  You hook it up to your hose and jump through the hoop to beat the summer heat.

Inflatable Cows From Canadian Tire 100 Year Celebration

    There was one yard where a group of inflatable cows had been properly fenced in.  Much safer than the flamingoes, unicorns and dinosaurs allowed to just roam free in other front yards.

Canadian Tire Chalk Drawing Bastedo Avenue

    One driveway had a different approach.  Someone has drawn a 3D chalk drawing of a canoe headed over a tall waterfall.  These types of drawings mess with your perspective and trick your mind.  We are not sure if the chalk was donated by Canadian Tire.

Killer Whales In A Canoe At Canadian Tire 100 Years Celebration

    There was a yard which had killer whales inside canoes and on a floatation device.  We are not sure why these intelligent creatures would need this mode of transport when they are such excellent swimmers.  Most likely they had just recently displaced the human occupants.

Summer Of The Century Celebration

     Canadian Tire has called this their Summer Of The Century Celebration.  We hope they have more events like this across Canada so everyone gets a chance to help them ring in their one hundreth year.


Map of Our World
Summer Of The Century Celebration

Post # 313