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Showing posts with label Ontario. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ontario. Show all posts

Saturday 20 April 2024

Total Solar Eclipse 2024

Eclipse Glasses.

Location: Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada
Address: 89 Ridge Rd S  
Date: April 2024
Website: visitniagaracanada.com

  April 8, 2024 saw a total solar eclipse occur in parts of southern Ontario. A total solar eclipse is caused by the moon passing directly in front of the sun and blocking the sun from view. This was the first total solar eclipse to be visible in Ontario since February 26, 1979.  In order to view a solar eclipse safely you need special glasses. We had our glasses ready and then we chose our destination of Crystal Beach in the Fort Erie area. Crystal Beach was one of the places that was getting close to totality of the eclipse. As you move away from the line of totality you will experience less darkness and be able to see less of the show. Millions of people would be on the move in order to witness this phenomenon. This is how our adventure played out.

Morning Sky On Day Of Solar Eclipse.

  The early morning sky was coloured with bands of orange, red and purple. There was more cloud cover than we had hoped. Unfortunatey, any sort of lunar event seems to draw in the clouds and storms. We set off on our journey, optimistic that things would clear up as the day progressed.

Third Street Louth Ontario.

 We started out early in the day to avoid traffic. As we headed along the Queen Elizabeth Way near St. Catherines we decided to exit the highway and explore the side roads. We turned south onto Third Street. Our GPS said to turn on Third Street Louth.  We thought the GPS had a typo or speech impediment, but it turns out that Louth is the area. With so many First, Second and Third Streets in the surrounding farmlands they had added the area name to the end. Louth was named after a county in Ireland. We continued our journey Louth.

Tin Man Effingham
    This tin man was standing on Effingham Street. Sometimes people wear tinfoil hats to protect from harmful electromagnetic waves or alien mind reading. We are not sure what effect a solar eclipse would have on this tin man. We do know that we would not stand beside him in a thunderstorm.

Comfort Maple Niagara Conservation Area.

  We stopped into a Niagara Conservation area to visit the Comfort Maple. This tree is over 500 years old and is being preserved. It is called the Comfort Maple not because of how it makes people feel, but because the farm land used to belong to the Comfort family.

Comfort Maple Niagara Conservation Area.

    The tree is so old that there are ropes used to help support its branches. Hang in there Comfort Maple and enjoy the eclipse. We headed on towards Crystal Beach.

Beachcombers Crystal Beach
 There is a large group of seniors living in Crystal Beach as many people retire here or own cottages.  This happy gang is from the Beachcombers Seniors Centre.

Sweet E's Crystal Beach
  We had arrived well ahead of the crowds and had plenty of time before the moon and the sun put on their performance. We parked our car at Crystal Ridge Park and took a walk towards the northern part of town. We stopped into Sweet E's Bakery and had coffee and scones. We also chatted with some locals about the upcoming eclipse.

Friendship Trail.

  After our coffee break we took a walk along the Friendship Trail. The Friendship Trail is a biking/walking pathway built where the train tracks used to be. The trail starts well before Crystal Beach and goes all the way to Old Fort Erie. We timed our walk in order to be back for the opening of Brimstone.

Brimstone Crystal Beach.

Brimstone is a brewery and special events space. It is also a restaurant/bar that seems to be built into and around a former church. We came here in order to have something to eat before the eclipse started.  The waitress informed us that she had selected an eclispe themed playlist in honour of the days big event. We didn't hear any Bonnie Tyler while we were there, but did hear several moon themed songs such as Echo & The Bunnymen's The Killing Moon.

Brimstone Brews On Site In Crystal Beach.

   Brimstone is usually not open on Mondays, but opened especially for us eclipse seekers. They brew several of their own beers on site. We had a Purple Lizard and a Sinister Minister which is one of their beer selections
Brimstone Hail Mary Ale
     They also have other ales such as the Hail Mary Ale. After enjoying our meal and beverages we headed back down to where we had parked to see if any crowds had gathered.
Crystal Ridge Park Crystal Beach Pre-Eclipse
    More people had arrived for the event but we had chosen a good spot. We are sure it was crowded down at the water's edge. Crystal Beach sits on the northeast side of Lake Erie.
Deer Crystal Ridge Park.
    A pair of deer had walked out into the park to graze. A few minutes later something spooked them and they both bounded away into the bushes.
Sun Peeks Through Clouds Crystal Ridge Park.
    The eclipse was slowly approaching. It would take the moon about an hour to slowly cover the sun.  Then there would be about 4 minutes of darkness until the moon would slowly reveal the sun once more.
Solar Eclipse Through Eclipse Glasses.
    We looked through our special glasses just to be safe as the eclipse started. Everything looked orange and we could see the sun through the clouds. We took this photo through the lens of the glasses. The eclipse had begun as the moon crept over the edge of the sun.
Solar Eclipse Halfway Crystal Beach
    More and more of the sun was covered. We realized that with so much cloud cover we didn't need the special glasses to protect our eyes or take photos.
Robin Crystal Ridge Park.
    The robins were singing in the trees. They didn't seem confused and sang throughout the eclipse, even in the total darkness. Spring is their season after all.
Darkness from Total solar eclipse.
    Then it happened. The sky went from day to night in about a minute. A cool breeze swept in and we were in the totality of the eclipse. Almost 4 minutes later we went from night to day again. The clouds robbed us of seeing the corona of the sun. We still enjoyed our day in Crystal Beach and viewing the spectacle of the eclipse with others. Next, we had the pleasure of many hours driving back home in traffic.

Map of Our World 

Crystal Ridge Park

Post # 334

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Arthur Conan Doyle Room

Sherlock Holmes Walk Toronto Reference Library

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  789 Yonge Street
Date:  March 2024
Website:  www.torontopubliclibrary.ca

  A little laneway behind the Toronto Reference Library has been named Sherlock Homes Walk.  This is because the Reference Library is home to one of the largest Arthur Conan Doyle collections in the world. The library has collected over 25,000 items since 1969 that are mostly works of author Arthur Conan Doyle and his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes Walk  Toronto Reference Library

    After taking a brief visit to the laneway we headed inside to check out the collection.

 Fifth Floor Of Toronto Reference Library.

  The Arthur Conan Doyle Room is located at the top of the library on the fifth floor.  It is part of the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre.

Arthur Conan Doyle Room.   Toronto Reference Library.

     The Arthur Conan Doyle Room is designed to resemble the study from Sherlock Holmes' London address of 221B Baker Street. There is a real 221B Baker Street in London, but obviously the fictional Sherlock never lived there. The location has been turned into a museum for fans of the stories to visit.

Arthur Conan Doyle Room Toronto Reference Library.

     The shelves in the room were filled with various books. Most of them were crime fiction like the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Book Shelf Arthur Conan Doyle.
  The majority were written by or contain stories from Arthur Conan Doyle. Other books are exploration into Arthur Conan Doyle's career and characters. All of the books on display are available to read in the library.
Watson Statue. Toronto Reference Library

  The room also contained non-literary works of art such as a figurine of Dr. Watson. Watson is Sherlock Holmes' friend and companion on most of his adventures. The stories of Sherlock are usually told from the point of view of Watson as the narrator.

Moriarty.  Toronto Reference Library.

       Professor James Moriarty also has a figurine. Moriarty is Sherlock Holmes' nemesis. In fact, it was in a battle with Moriarty that Sherlock Holmes died.

Richenbach Falls Rock.  Toronto Reference Library

    Sherlock and Moriarty fought and both fell into the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.  There is a piece of rock retrieved from the bottom of those falls in the Arthur Conan Doyle Room.

Sherlock Holmes Mantle.  Toronot Referemce Library.

      Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print in 1887. Another famous fictional detective, Hercule Poirot would not appear until 1920.

Thin Sherlock and Pipe.  Toronto Reference Library.

     Sherlock Holmes is considered the world's greatest detective. Sherlock would also agree that he is the greatest.  

Sherlock Holmes Study Toronto Reference Library.

    To enter into the Arthur Conan Doyle room you must leave your coats and bags outside. You are able to spend as much time as you like and take photos. You can sit and read about Sherlock solving mysteries until the library closes for the day.

Shelock Holmes Hat Arthur Conan Doyle Room.

    On a coat rack was a Sherlock Holmes hat known as a deerstalker. This hat is never properly described in the books but was a best guess at what Sherlock would wear. It became a popular symbol of Sherlock, along with a curved pipe, as the character started to appear in drawings, movies and television shows based on Arthur Conan Doyle's novels.

Arthur Conan Doyle Room. Toronto Reference Library.

     Outside of the glass enclosed study were even more books and a chess set on a round table. 

Sherlock Holmes Chess Set. Toronto Reference Library.

     Even the chess set was Sherlock Holmes themed. Sherlock Holmes solved crimes much like a chess player. Chess is the ultimate battle of wits and trying to figure out what the next move of your opponent will be. We recommend your next move is to the Toronto Reference Library to check out a wonderful collection presented in the most interesting way.

Map of Our World
Toronto Reference Library

Post # 333

Tuesday 20 February 2024

The Golden Lion

The Golden Lion Hotel. 

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  5120 Yonge Street
Date:  February 2024
Website:  www.torontopubliclibrary.ca

  There is a lion living at the North York Central Public Library. The lion is over 190 years old and started out as a symbol of the Golden Lion Hotel back in 1833. This lion is the second lion to stand guard over the hotel. The hotel opened in 1824 and was operated by Thomas Sheppard. His brother Paul carved a lion out of a pine tree stump. In 1840 the lion was stolen and Paul carved a second lion out of an oak stump and used putty for its mane.

Emerald Park & Nestle Building At Yonge & Sheppard In North York.

    The Golden Lion Hotel was located at the southwest corner of Yonge and Sheppard.  Sheppard Avenue was named after the Sheppard family. The hotel could hold about 20 guests. The Sheppard family owned the hotel until 1870.
Golden Lion Hotel Sign North York.

    A sign located on the northwest corner of Yonge & Sheppard remembers the hotel. Across the street today is a commercial Nestle building and the curvy Emerald Park condos. The Golden Lion Hotel was demolished in 1933.

Golden Lion North York Central Library.

     The lion has done some moving around through the years but in 1997 it finally became a permanent resident of North York Central Library thanks to the North York Historical Society. This photo was taken while the lion was being prepared for its newest location.

North York Central Library.

       North York Central Library is the second biggest branch of the Toronto Public Library. The Golden Lion can be found up on the fifth floor.

 Golden Lion North York Glass Enclosure.
     If you want to see the lion, it is now safely behind glass to ensure it survives for many years to come. 

Map of Our World
North York Central Library

Post # 332

Saturday 20 January 2024

Raccoons Of Toronto

Raccoon Sponge Cloths.
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada is often referred to as the "Raccoon Capital of the World". We thought we would list some of the raccoons that we have encountered around the city.  We like the little guys, despite the fact that they tear up your garbage or scare you half to death with their screams as you walk around the side of the house at night. Here are some actual raccoons and artistic raccoon tributes that we have seen in Toronto.

    Love Park
    Love Park Toronto Raccoon

    Love Park has many animal sculptures including the raccoon above.  Read More.

    Emily May Rose
    Feel Good Lane Raccoons.

    Artist Emily May Rose has painted her raccoons getting up to mischief on various walls around the city.  The critters above were found in Feel Good Lane.

    Davenport Road Emily May Rose Raccoons. Yonge Dundas Raccoons.

      These groups were spotted on the wall of 1988 Davenport Road and across from Yonge Dundas Square.  We like how when the raccoons spray paint, it is usually to paint raccoons.

    Guinness Raccoons Sheraton Centre

      These raccoons are brought to you by Guinness and located on Richmond Street West behind the Sheraton Centre.

    Driving Raccoon At the Foot Of University Ave. Toronto

     This driving raccoon is part of a bigger mural at the foot of University Ave.  Honk Honk!

    Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
    Raccoon Butterflyfish Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.

    At Toronto's aquarium you will find these butterflyfish called raccoon butterflyfish in tribute to everyone's least favourite nocturnal invaders. Read More.

    Santa Claus Parade
    Raccoons In The Santa Claus Parade Toronto.

    It is not an unusual sight to see raccoons walking down a Toronto street. We witnessed this group of raccoons during the annual Santa Claus Parade. Each one had a giant cookie on its arm. Read More.

    Bay Christmas Windows
    Hudson Bay Windows Christmas Queen Street.

    The Hudson Bay store on Queen Street West always has different Christmas windows. One year there were raccoons included amongst the creatures of the Enchanted Forest. Read More

    Toronto Zoo Residents

    Raccoons In A Stump Toronto Zoo

    The Toronto Zoo has a bunch of raccoons. Some live in the woods surrounding the zoo and some are permanent residents. The stump above has at least three raccoons piled up inside. The signage at the zoo informed us that the black mask around their eyes helps raccoons see better at night by reducing glare. It works in much the same way as a baseball outfielder putting black under their eyes to help them spot and catch fly balls.

    Raccoon At Toronto Zoo.

    A Micmac story says that the raccoon was caught stealing and as punishment had the black circles placed around his eyes to remind everyone of what he had done. This raccoon above is doing some hard time in the zoo's enclosure. If by hard time you mean sleeping all day and only waking up to be hand delivered your meals.

    Toronto Zoo Touch Table Raccoon & Skunk.

    If you want to know what a raccoon feels like, the zoo sometimes has touch tables where you can feel animal fur. Raccoons have tiny whiskers on their toes which increases their ability to feel food in the dark.

    Toronto Zoo Visitors

    Raccoon Babies Toronto Zoo.

    Other raccoons at the zoo are free to come and go as they wish. On many occassions we have had to warn people "Don't use that garbage bin, a raccoon just crawled in there". The zoo is located in the Rouge Valley so there are no shortage of wildlife visitors. These little guys were probably waiting for their mother to return with a treat from the trash.

    Raccoon Scratching Toronto Zoo

    This raccoon seemed not to mind the crowds walking around the zoo and was content to sit on a patch of grass and scratch itself.

    Young Raccoons In WIth The Kudu.

    This group of little guys chose to take a shortcut through one of the African enclosures. This can be a dangerous move. This enclosure happened to contain the harmless antelope called a Kudu and a disinterested vulture named Lloyd.

    Ground Hornbills At Toronto Zoo.

    The enclosure is also home to the dreaded hornbill gang. This group of ground hornbills is intimidating as it marches around the enclosure. Raccoons are pretty fearless fighters so they may not be afraid, but no one wants to get a good pecking from these large birds.

    Hay-lloween Town

    Hay-lloween Town Raccoon

      One year the Toronto Zoo had different characters made out of bales of hay. The beloved raccoon was also included.

    STACKT Market

    STACKT Market Raccoon.

    STACKT Market is made up of shipping containers. Inside are many different vendors.  The market is also known for its artwork. At the north end of the market on Bathurst Street you can find this painting of a raccoon.

    Clover Hill Park
    Clover Hill Park Raccoon.

    This raccoon shares Clover Hill Park with some snails, rabbits and a donkey wearing casts on its legs. Read More.

     Utility Boxes

    Toronto Utility Box Raccoon With Camera.Toronto Utility Box Raccoon With Teeth.
    Toronto Utility Box Raccoon.Toronto Utility Box Raccoon With Trumpet.

    These four utility box raccoons are from artist Jeff Blackburn. Clockwise they are a tourist raccoon with a camera at Church and Front, a toothy raccoon at the bottom of the Baldwin Steps, a trumpet holding raccoon outside of The Rex on Queen Street West.and a regular raccoon at Roncesvalles and High Park Blvd.

    Toronto Utility Box Raccoon Stack.

    Another box in Scarborough can be found at Markham Rd. and Ellesmere. These raccoons are working together to reach new heights.

    Daredevil Raccoon
    Raccoon Climbs Building At Yonge & Eglinton Toronto.
    Speaking of heights, this raccoon somehow managed to get itself on a ledge part-way up a building at Yonge & Eglinton. 

    Porter Airlines
    Porter Airlines Snack Box.
    Porter Airlines is a local Toronto airline that used to operate smaller planes exclusively from Toronto Island Airport. Their mascot is a raccoon and he can be found all over the place. We believe that "orte" means scraps or possibly a small meal or snack.

    Mr Porter Is Porter Airlines Mascot.

    His name is Mr. Porter and above he can be seen dressed as a Mountie advertising trips to Ottawa on the side of the free shuttle from Union Station to the airport.

    Downsview Park
    Downsview Park Raccoon Sleeps In Tree.

    Downsview Park is home to many wild creatures, even in the winter. Rabbits, coyotes, hawks, owls, squirrels and a variety of small birds call the park home. Despite the bitter cold, this raccoon is fine just tucked against the trunk of a tree waiting for nightfall. Read More.

    Raccoons Reimagined CNE 2019 Toronto
    In 2019 the Canadian National Exhibition had a series of painted raccoon statues. The raccoons were painted by different charity and commmunity groups. It was called Racoons Reimagined.

    Butter Carved Racooon CNE Toronto.

    There is always a butter carving competition each year. This of course means a butter raccoon.
    416 Baseball Cap Raccoons

    During a Home & Garden show on the CNE grounds there was a company selling baseball caps. This of course means a baseball cap wearing raccoon.

    Royal Ontario Museum
    ROM Raccoon Specimen.
     A racoon and a garbage bin spell trouble. Not to worry, this raccoon is a Royal Ontario Museum specimen and that is about as far as things are going to go. A live raccoon would easily tip that can over and spread the contents all over your front lawn with the help of a few of its friends. 

    Runnymede Underpass
    Runnymede Raccoon Mural.

    Just south of St. Clair Avenue West where Runnymede goes under the train tracks you will find a mural painted on both sides of the road. There are many animals n the mural including guess who?
    Pink Kitchen
    King West Pink Kitchen Raccoon.

    King Street West has added some roadside seating for pedestrians. As you approach Spadina Avenue there is a little pink kitchen that you can sit inside. There is also a little pink raccoon waiting for food to be prepared. Anything at all, it is not picky.
    Little Canada
    Little Canada Raccoon In A Crown.

    Little Canada has little scaled down models of places all across Canada. It has a Little Toronto which means it also has Little Toronto raccoons. This raccon is wearing a feather boa and a crown which means it must be the night before garbage day.
    Holland Bloorview
    Holland Bloorview Art Deco Raccoon.

    Holland Bloorview is a Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. In its garden it has sculptures and artwork of little creatures that the children might enjoy. We enjoy both animals and art so this little raccoon and his friends also brought us some joy.
    Raccoon Footprints In The Mud.

    Despite Toronto being full of raccoons, you may still have a hard time finding one. The next best thing is to find their footprints. Those tiny little toes leave a distinctive print. After it rains look for footprints in the mud.
    Raccoon Prints In The Snow.

    In the winter look for footprints in the snow.
    Raccoon Footprints In Cement.

    The best of all is after someone pours cement, look for little tiny footprints the following day. Just like these footprints, raccoons are a permanent part of life in Toronto.