Friday, 10 May 2019
Location: Rockton, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1049 Kirkwall Road
Date: May 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Tuesday, 5 March 2019
Location: London, England
Address: Regent's Park
Date: September 2015
In 1934, London Zoo opened its famous spiral-ramped Penguin Pool. The pool was designed by Berthold Lubetkin who worked for an architectural firm called Tecton. It is one of the first uses of reinforced concrete and is a grade I listed structure in England. A grade I listing is reserved for buildings of exceptional interest.
The movie About a Boy was released in 2002. In the movie there is a small scene where Will (Hugh Grant) and Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) visit the zoo. As they have their discussion they walk past the Penguin Pool. There are still penguins in the enclosure as they did not leave until 2004.
We saw a few reasons for the penguins moving out of the pool. One said that they were contracting bumblefoot due to walking on concrete. Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection on the feet of birds. Some people say there was originally rubber over the concrete and it should be put back. We also read they were moved to a duck pond during some repairs and seemed to really enjoy their new location. Another lesser believed theory was based on the popularity of the About A Boy movie and the inclusion of the pool in the film. It was said that the pool attracted too many Hugh Grant fans and the penguins requested to move to a new location where people came just to see them. Who knows? At any rate you can now visit the London Zoo and see the old exhibit which sits empty. You can also see the colony of penguins who are happily living in a new area of the zoo called Penguin Beach.
Map of Our World
ZSL London Zoo (Lubetkin Penguin Pool)
Post # 243
Sunday, 10 February 2019
- Hawaiian Pigs
- CNE Pigs
- Miss Piggy
- Miss Piggy
- Red River Hog
- Tamworth Pigs
- Pig Pot at the ROM
- Pigman at the Campbell House
1 ) Hawaiian Pigs
Dan's Green House is located in the town of Lahaina, on the island of Maui, in Hawaii. They have exotic plants and rare birds as well as mini pigs. We got a chance to spend some time with these two little guys. Aren't they just the cutest?
Speaking of cute, we are sorry but babirusa are just the opposite. They have long legs, weird curvy tusks and look like all of their hair just fell out. They are only found on a few islands in Indonesia and are unforgettable. We saw this pair at the Toronto Zoo.
3) CNE Pigs
When the Canadian National Exhibition comes to Toronto at the end of each summer so does "The Farm". You can experience the sights and smells of livestock. There are always lots of pigs and usually one big sow who spends her day constantly feeding her litter of piglets.
4) Miss Piggy
In Queens, New York the Museum of the Moving Image has a Jim Henson Exhibition. Miss Piggy is one of our favourite Muppets and favourite pigs. Here she is in her wedding gown ready for her big day.
5) Miss Piggy
This Miss Piggy is a crashed freight plane. It can be found in Churchill, Manitoba still sitting where it crashed in 1979. Miss Piggy the Muppet made her debut in 1974. We have read that the plane is named after Miss Piggy because it was overloaded or it once carried a cargo of pigs.
We think it should be called Miss Piggy because of its flat snout.
6) Red River Hog
The red river hog is a colourful African pig. We like its whiskers and red coat. It turns out that we have a fondness for animals with red coloured fur.
7) Tamworth Pigs
Based on our previously professed love of red furred anuimals you can see why we like Tamworth pigs. They are one of the oldest breeds of pigs. You can also see the curly little tail in the photo above that makes pigs even more appealing. These pigs are from Toronto's Riverdale Farm.
8) Pig Pot at the ROM
This pig shaped vessel was at the Royal Ontario Museum. We imagine it could be filled with some sort of liquid which could then be poured out of the spout in the snout. We didn't make note of what was listed as its intended purpose and often the museum uncovers artifacts whose purpose is only assumed.
9 ) Pigman at the Campbell House
We took this photo of the Campbell House Museum in Toronto. The Campbell House was built in 1822 and was actually moved to where it sits today. Looking at our photo later we noticed something odd.
There was a well dressed pig man on the grounds. We hope he was there for an event or promotion at the museum.
10 ) Warthogs
We took a trip to Africa and encountered many wild warthogs. We watched them come and go at a waterhole in Greater Kruger in South Africa. We also watched them mow the lawn in Zimbabwe beside the mighty Zambezi River.
Because warthogs have such short necks they usually have to kneel down on their front legs to eat grass. In the video below, various African animals eat beside a waterhole until the warthogs come and take over.
That is our list of favourite pigs. We took part in some celebrations at the Scarborough Town Centre for the Chinese New Year. You can celebrate and enjoy pigs all year long.
Map of Our World
Thursday, 10 January 2019
Location: Markham, Ontario, Canada
Address: 171 Town Centre Blvd
Date: Jan 2019
Super Dave Osborne was the greatest stuntman the world has ever known. Actually he was far better at making us laugh than he was at successfully completing a stunt. Super Dave was the creation of Bob Einstein and we have been laughing at the same joke for decades. What will go wrong with Super Dave's stunt today? Super Dave always starts out cheery and optimistic and then things go wrong and he ends up injured and censored. Bob Einstein died January 2nd, 2019 and we thought we would highlight the Toronto connection with his beloved character.
Super Dave was a regular on John Byner's comedy television program called Bizarre. It was during Bizarre that Super Dave filmed his memorable CN Tower stunt. Just one year after stuntman Dar Robertson jumped off the tower as Christopher Plummer's stunt double in the movie Highpoint, Super Dave prepared for his jump. Super Dave is standing outside at the top of the tower with announcer Mike Walden. Mike would be Super Dave's announcer throughout the Super One's career.
The stunt has to be called off due to high winds, but as Mike goes back inside the tower he hits Super Dave with the door. We see Super Dave flail as he falls from the tower. He lands in a parking lot that used to be just about where Ripley's Aquarium is today. To add insult to injury, the ambulance runs Super Dave over and drags him underneath the vehicle.
Bizarre was filmed at the Glen Warren Studios in Scarborough. The buildings are still there today as CTV Studios. The studios are located at number nine Channel Nine Court since 9 is the channel that the station broadcasts on. One of us has been inside the studios to watch a taping of a television show called Circus which aired in the early 1980s. In 1987 Super Dave was given his own show and it also filmed at CTV.
One of us was also lucky enough to see a taping of the Super Dave show when it moved to its new location at the Markham Theatre. The show was filmed in Markham, Ontario up until it ended in 1991. Each week there were specials guest performers along with a Super Dave stunt. Super Dave would attempt his stunt strapped in with genuine Saskatchewan seal skin bindings but things never worked out as he planned. We always knew something was going to happen when Super Dave attempted a stunt. We would have a good laugh.
If you still need a little more of the Super One while you are in Toronto then you need to visit Super Dave! Convenience at the corner of Coxwell and Gerrard. It has everything you expect from a convenience store. Lotto tickets, candy bars, milk, magazines and more. While you are there you can stand out front and give a big thumbs up with the words Super Dave up above your head. Higher up still, in comedy heaven, you will find the legendary Super Dave.
Map of Our World
CTV Toronto , Markham Theatre
CN Tower , Super Dave! Convenience
Post # 238
Sunday, 30 December 2018
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 2223 Bloor St W
Date: March 2017
It started out as a place to see vaudeville performances. These days the Runnymede Theatre is a place to collect Optimum points. The theatre first opened in 1927 and today is one of the nicest looking drug stores in Toronto.
In the middle of the store is a decorative gold dome. We can see why the theatre was called "Canada's Theatre Beautiful".
From the second level we could see the stage behind the cosmetic counter. The ceiling was painted like the sky. In the later 1930s the theatre was a movie house only.
A projector from the old movie house days was sitting up on the second floor balcony. Even the emergency exit reminded us of the building's earlier theatre days.
In 1972, the building became a bingo hall. In 1980 it played movies again for about two decades and then it became a retail store. Today it is a Shopper's Drug Mart but well worth a visit to get a glimpse into history.
This location is near Runnymede subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.
Map of Our World
Post # 237
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Location: Bostan, Massachusetts, USA
Address: Tremont Street
Date: Sept 2013
Granary Burying Ground in Boston has been a graveyard since the late 1600s. Many of the graves have been worn thin through the years or had the writing on their faces worn down to where they are unreadable. Many famous people in Boston's history are buried here. We were looking for one grave in particular. The grave of Mother Goose.
Mother Goose is credited with many nursery rhymes. Some famous ones are "Three Blind Mice", "Humpty Dumpty" or Hickory Dickory Dock". After hunting around the cemetery we finally located her grave.
Mary Goose died in 1690. Her husband Issac remarried to a woman called Elizabeth. Thomas Fleet married her daughter also called Elizabeth. It is said that grandmother Goose sang songs and rhymes when Thomas and his wife had their first child. Thomas being a printer made a book of some of these rhymes called Mother Goose's Melodies For Children. This is said to be the first use of Mother Goose in America but Mother Goose had also been associated with rhymes in England long before even Mary Goose's death.
So it appears there is no true Mother Goose. At least not in a cemetery in Boston. Most people are familiar with some Mother Goose nursery rhymes even if much like the myth of Boston's Mother Goose, they have changed and been re-written through the years.
The Hancock Tower is the tallest tower in Boston. It is named afterJohn Hancock Insurance company which had offices there. The insurance company is named after John Hancock whose signature is on the Declaration of Independence. Johm Hancock's grave is also located in Granary Burying Ground.
Paul Revere's grave is also located in the Granary Burying Ground. Paul Revere is best known for riding through Massachusetts warning that the British were coming. We didn't see his grave, but did visit his statue in Boston's North End. Granary Burying Ground is filled with centuries of history and a little bit of mystery.
Map of Our World
Paul Revere Statue
Granary Burying Ground , John Hancock Tower
Post # 231