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Thursday 30 August 2018

Legends Of The Silk Road

Princes' Gates Lead To The Silk Road

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 100 Princes' Blvd.
Date: Aug 2018
Website:  theex.com

  This year the Canadian National Exhibition features an indoor lantern festival.  The displays are based on an ancient trade route between Europe and China known as The Silk Road.  According to our CNE guidebook it took 55 metres of steel and 4000 metres of synthetic silk to make the lanterns.  It took over 40 days to make the lanterns and 60 days to travel from China to Toronto.  The lanterns bring to life the stories and adventures associated with the Silk Road.  Join us as we walk the Silk Road and see these stories come to light.

Map Of The Silk Road.

  The tour starts with a silk lantern version of the CNE's Princes' Gates that welcome us.  A map shows the routes taken both by land and sea as this trade route was used. The Silk Road spanned more than 6,500 kilometres. 

The Adventures of Marco Polo


Marco Polo was an Italian explorer.  He travelled the Silk Road on an epic 24 year journey from Italy to Asia. He travelled with a caravan of people and animals he encountered on the way.

The Four Dragons
Enter The Dragon. Dragon Number Two.

Four dragons were placed underneath mountains. They transformed into rivers to bring water to the people.

Dragon Number Three.
The Last Dragon.

I Think I Can Hold It Til We Get Home.

  After the dragons, we encountered the only washrooms on the Silk Road.  Yikes!  We had better use the facilities as we still have to walk all the way from China to Europe.

The Fairies of Lake Saif-ul-Malook
The Prince, The Fairy And The Spaceship?
Dance Of The Saif-ul-Malook Fairies.

This is a tale of a prince who fell in love with a fairy.  The lake is located in northern Pakistan and on the full moon it is said the lake shimmers as the prince and fairy dance along the water.

Voyages Of Sinbad the Sailor
Sinbad vs Cyclops

Sinbad had many adventures.  This time he fights a group of cyclops on the island of Krakatoa.

Odysseus and the Sirens
Did I Dream You Dreamed About Me?

It is said that the beautiful song of the sirens causes sailors to shipwreck or plunge into the sea.  Odysseus tied himself to the mast and plugged his crews ears with beeswax so that he could safely listen to the siren song.

Aladin and the Magic Lamp
Ten Thousand Years Will Give You Such A Crick In The Neck.

Aladin polishes a golden lamp and a genie appears to grant him three wishes.  If only we were that lucky.

Sancai The Tang Horse
A Tang Tomb.
 War Horse.

Beautiful pottery replicas were made of war horses during the Tang Dynasty and displayed in tombs.
The Minotaur and the Maze
Escape My Labyrinth If You....Hey Where Did They Go?

In Greek mythology, every nine years Minos sent seven boys and seven girls into a labyrinth where they were eaten by the Minotaur.  We did encounter the half man, half bull, Minotaur but survived as the maze itself was not very difficult.  After all the CNE wouldn't want families getting lost and missing the next performance of the President's Choice Super Dogs.

Atlas Holding The World
Atlas Holds Up The World.
A Different View Of The World.

Atlas tried to conquer Zeus and was punished by being forced to hold the weight of the world on his shoulders.  The two photos above are of the same display from two different angles but they look quite different.  You can see how the lanterns transform what you are seeing as you wak around them.

Portraits of Power
No I'm The Wizard He's The Magician.  You Can Tell By Our Hats.
Amazon Woman

This display features lanterns portraying Mulan, an Amazon woman, an enchantress, a wizard and a magician.  All powerful and wise.

Animals of the World
This display featured some legends of how animals came to look the way they do. Here is a quick summary.

After This Job I Have Baskets Full Of Eggs To Paint

How the zebra got its stripes?  A rabbit painted a donkey.

Looks Like You Stretched My Legs Out A Bit Too.

How the giraffe got its long neck? Got stuck in a tree and the other animals pulled and pulled.

The Tiger And The Lion.

How the tiger got its stripes? A farmer tied it to a tree causing rope burn when it escaped.
How the lion got its mane?  Got some sticky olive oil on its head and ran into long dry grass..

Rhino And Zebra

Mythical Creatures
Woof Woof Woof. Unicorns I Love Them.

This display features a unicorn as well as Carberus, the three headed dog.

You Complete Me. You Had Me At Hello.

It also has hippogriffs and centaurs which both have the body of a horse.  The other half of a hippogriff is eagle and a centaur is half human.

Phoenix Rising
But I Will Rise.  And I Will Return.  The Phoenix From The Flame

Every 500 years the phoenix builds a nest and sets herself on fire.  She then bursts from the flames empowered and strong.

Jack & Beanstalk
Fe Fi Fo Fum I smell the ... Is that Deep Fried Oreos?

Jack trades his cow for some magic beans and climbs a beanstalk into the clouds.  Here he encounters a giant.

Legends Of The Sky
Icarus Is Flying Too Close To The Sun.

Icarus's father made him some wings but warned him not to fly too close to the sun or the wax that held his wings together would melt.  He didn't listen to his Dad's warnings.

Pegasus & The Spaceship?
Also flying high above us was the winged stallion, Pegasus and a half eagle, half lion called a griffin.

The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg
I'm Hawaiian.  The Golden Nene.

Each day the goose laid a golden egg.  The greedy farmer killed the goose thinking it was full of gold.  Inside was just a regular goose that laid regular eggs.

Hansel & Gretel
Another Grimm Tale.

 Hansel and Gretel were walking in the woods where a witch had built a gingerbread house filled with candy.  The witch was hoping to catch and eat the children but they escaped.

We had finally reached the end of the Silk Road.  We hope this becomes a regular exhibit at the CNE.  Even though the road is filled with dangerous creatures, it is great to see the beautifully constructed lanterns that bring those creatures to life.

Map of Our World
Legends of The Silk Road

Post # 225

Monday 20 August 2018

Lower Bay Station Filming Location

Lower Bay Much Like Upper Bay

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  1013 Critchley Lane
Date: May 2018
Website:  transit.toronto.on.ca

  The Toronto Transit Commission runs the subway system in Toronto.  Bay Station is one of the stations along Bloor Street.  Bay Station also has a hidden lower station beneath it which was only used briefly in 1966.  It has become known as Lower Bay and has not seen much action as far as commuters since it was closed.  What it has seen is an increase in movie stars.

Entrance To Lower Bay

  We finally visited Lower Bay during Doors Open Toronto 2018 when the public was allowed inside.  You enter the station from the platform of Bay Station.

Arriving at Bay.  Bay Station.

  Then you head down a long stairwell to this hidden filming location.  Over a series of posts we will describe some of the movie scenes filmed on the TTC.  We hunted down these movies and actually watched them.  The TTC had posters from some of the movies displayed on the platform.  Also thanks goes out to Transmania Ontario for this video, Transit Toronto for this list, and Reel Toronto for these posts.  We have chosen not to get too detailed on the plot or to express our opinion of the movies. A lot of them despite featuring well known actors are not well known movies for a reason.  You will just have to decide if you want to watch them for yourselves.

Okay, let's see what Hollywood has been doing in Toronto's sub-subway.

Suicide Squad Filmed In Lower Bay

  Suicide Squad is the highest grossing movie ever filmed in Lower Bay Station.  The movie is part of the DC comics universe and is about a woman who becomes possesed by a witch known as Enchantress.  Enchantress frees her brother who possesses a man.   He goes out onto the Lower Bay platform and takes over several other people.  They all fall onto the tracks and using the third rail for strength he crashes through a subway train.  We couldn't get onto the tracks during Doors Open as two subway trains were parked there for safety reasons.

Bay Station Entrance.

  The Suicide Squad is assembled from a group of imprisoned criminals to defeat the Enchantress.  Later in the movie, the Suicide Squad wait outside Toronto's Bay Station.  They replaced the exisiting BAY sign with a different Bay St. sign for the movie.

Suicide Squad Make Sure They Have Enough Tokens For Everyone To Ride The TTC.

  Deadshot (Will Smith) leans against the tiled wall on the right while Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) sits on the escalator rail on the left.  Special forces colonel Rick Flag, Killer Croc, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang and Katana are all there as well.

I Live Underground. Y'all Just Tourists.

   Killer Croc swims into a flooded lower portion of the station and the rest of the crew walk the Lower Bay platform which is covered in remains and black residue from the Enchantress's brother's attack.  It seems they used Lower Bay to pretend it was Upper Bay for the movie.

 Max Payne Filmed In Lower Bay.

  Max Payne is a movie based on a video game.  Mark Wahlberg is a cop with a dark past obsessed with finding out who killed his wife and child.
We Found The Bench's Performance To Be Kind Of Wooden.

  He walks along the platform and three twitchy junkies sit on a wooden bench.  They notice his nice shiny watch.  When he enters the men's room they confront him for his watch. He tells them to come and get it.  The washroom gets destroyed. One junkie runs into the tunnel where he is attacked by flying shadows. Mark keeps his watch.

Resident Evil & The Lower Bay Pillars

  You can usually tell a movie is filmed in Lower Bay by its distinctive white pillars with a blue green stripe near the top.   Almost all of the movies we watched did nothing to hide them.  Resident Evil : Retribution is a zombie movie based on a video game and stars Milla Jovovich.  Milla walks along a subway platform with her daughter.  This time Lower Bay station is made up to look like a Russian subway station with large yellow and red pillars.  They encounter Michelle Rodriguez there and Milla gives Michelle a gun to defend herself from the zombie hoardes.  Milla leaves to rescue the rest of her team and after a car chase they all end up back on the subway platform.  They escape by going down into the subway tunnel.  When they climb down from the platform onto the tracks you can see the distinctive Lower Bay pillars.  You can also see the fancy Russian pillars behind them further along the platform. They only dressed part of the station for the movie and figured we wouldn't notice.

You Must Wear Full Length Trousers Or S&M Getup.

  Since Lower Bay is an unused station it also much safer to film there than at a live station.  You can cut all the power when your franchise star (from six Resident Evil movies) gets near the third rail.  Not to mention the film crew.  The photo above shows a list of required equipment for all the crew.


Who Is Dark Man Now And Where On The TTC Was It Filmed?

    Another movie that filmed somewhere on the TTC was Darkman II.  We started to realize that the posters on display were not all movies filmed at Lower Bay, but somewhere on the TTC system.  We also realized that the Darkman poster they had on display was for the original movie and not the sequel.  The first movie was directed by Sam Rami, filmed in Los Angeles and starred Liam Neeson as Darkman.  The sequel was directed by Bradford May, filmed in Toronto and starred Arnold Vosloo as Darkman.  Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills so you just can't go and replace him.  Anyway, the only short scene from Darkman II that was filmed on the TTC is when Darkman drives his home-made train car through the tunnels.

Into The Tunnel We Go.

  During Doors Open we were able to go into the front subway car and take some photos of the subway tunnels.  Many actors have run into one of the four tunnels at Lower Bay and maybe even the non Liam Neeson Darkman rode his special train car through here too.


Undercover Brother Filmed In The TTC ??

  There was a poster of Undercover Brother in Lower Bay.  We could not determine where or if this movie ever filmed on the TTC.  Maybe some deleted scenes?  This seems like a good spot to end this blog post as we are going to go and watch Undercover Brother one more time.  We will revisit Lower Bay Station again in another post.

This location is near Bay subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.

Map of Our World
Lower Bay Station

Post # 224

Friday 10 August 2018

Sharks Take Buffalo By Storm

Magic Buffalo.

Location: Buffalo, New York, USA
Address:  420 Main Street
Date: July 2018
Website:  www.mainliberty.com

  As we traveled around Buffalo, New York we noticed that they have really embraced their city's name.  Everywhere we looked we saw American bison (aka buffalo).  There was this colourful mural on Hertel Avenue called Magic Buffalo (above).

Calf & Herd Services Buffalo.

  There was a buffalo sculpture outside of the Child & Family Services building near the airport.

Bison Dressed For A Wedding.

  We enjoyed a very nice lunch at The Terrace at Delaware Park.  They had a well dressed buffalo painted on the wall inside.  There was a wedding in the rose garden beside the Terrace as we arrived.  This buffalo would have fit right in.  On second thought, the giant, furry head and horns may have made him stand out.
Walter J Mahoney State Office Buffalo.

  There were buffalo in the artwork on the side of buildings.

This Is My Zoo.

  And finally, there was an actual American Bison at the Buffalo Zoo.  Of course.

Jocko Will Be Right Up To Help You With Your Bags.

  The only place we didn't see buffalo was at our hotel, Reikart House.  They had a little monkey bellhop called Jocko.  He was on our menus, coasters, writing pads and even hidden in the wallpaper.

Soldiers & Sailors Monument.

 We were not looking for buffalo or monkeys.  We were looking for sharks.  We had heard there were some in Lafayette Square near the Soldiers & Sailors Monument.  Anyone who has been reading this far and thought this blog post was going to be about sports, we are sorry.  We do see how the title could have mislead you into thinking San Jose defeated the Sabres in a hockey game.

A Beautiful Day In Buffalo.  Not A Shark In The Sky.

  2014 was a bad year for sharks in Buffalo.  Or a good year depending on how you look at it.  Sharknado 2 : The Second One premiered on July 30, 2014.  This was a made for TV movie based on the ridiculous premise of tornadoes pulling sharks out of the ocean and dropping them onto major cities.  In the original Sharknado, Los Angeles was under attack.  This time it is New York City.  Once again Ian Ziering, best known as Steve from Beverly Hills 90210, must save the day.

The Liberty Building.

  When it came to filming the movie, a second crew traveled upstate and visited Buffalo to film a few scenes.  The extras grabbed pitchforks or anything else they could find in the trunks of their cars as the sharks fell from the sky.  You can see them running in the streets away from the Liberty Building (above).  In the previous photo you can see the small Statue of Liberty that sits on the roof of the building.

Lafayette Square.

  Basically sharks rain down and it is either kill or be killed for these poor extras.  During filming we imagine they had no idea what they were fighting as the computer generated sharks were added later.

Is That Sinbad's Brother Doubar Chucking Chainsaws?

 An older, bearded man tosses three chainsaws up into the wind to fend off the sharks.  Yet another warning needed on chainsaws.  "Not to be thrown into a tornado."
Filing Your Taxes Just Got Even Harder.

  Finally, a Zevon Brothers Fireworks truck explodes right outside the H & R Block above.  The sharknado has been defeated for now.  The Last Sharknado is set to air in August 2018 and will be the sixth movie for the series.

Part Shark, Part Girl, All Fun.

  In August of 2014 a different kind of shark arrived in Buffalo.   Shark Girl appeared down at Canalside.  She came from Cleveland and was not flown in by the sharknado.

Don't Worry I Won't Bite.

  Shark Girl is the creation of artist Casey Riordan Millard and she sits waiting for someone to join her on her rock.  We took a few photos with Shark Girl and she just sat quietly in her blue dress.

Thank You For Visiting Sharkalo New York.

  In a city full of buffalo, it was fun to fish for a few sharks.  Oh, and we liked the monkey too!

Map of Our World
Magic Buffalo , Child & Family Services Buffalo , Soldiers & Sailors Monument , Shark Girl
The Terrace at Delaware Park , Reikart House
Liberty Building
Buffalo Zoo
Sharknado (Buffalo)

Post # 223