Monday, 30 June 2014

World Pride Toronto

Toronto has been host to World Pride celebrations all last week. The rainbow flag has been flying high wherever you look. LBGTQ people from around the world have been streaming into the city to take part in the party. To honour the event, the CN Tower was lit up in rainbow colours.

One of the highlights of Pride Week was a mass wedding of 120 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer couples all getting legally married at the same time in the grounds of Casa Loma. The numbers: 4,000 glasses of sparkling wine, 100 floral arrangements, 100 feet of red carpet, and officiants from 12 different faiths: Catholic, Anglican, Pagan, Unitarian Universalist, Sikh, Humanist, Jewish, United, Bhuddist, Muslim, New Thought, and First Nations Elder.

Huge crowds watched the downtown Pride Parade on Sunday, with over 1200 participants from all over the world. An event like this gives a voice to those who don't have the same rights in their home countries.
I was downtown with friends to go to the Big Pride Singalong on Saturday night. A good friend sings in the Singing Out chorus and we go to all their events. The concert was pretty crazy, lots of laughs and poking fun at themselves, but room for some serious singing too. Beach balls flying around in the audience as a warm up, and the concert finished with a dance battle between Madonna songs and Lady Gaga music.... hilarious!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Summer in a Jar

We be jammin' again.
Somehow, as soon as the summer sun starts to shine, I get an irresistible impulse to make jam. I just can't help it. Must be something to do with preparation to survive the coming winter, I think.

And I don't make just a couple of pots of jam, I make enough to spread on toast for a hungry army.
I made marmalade back in February, when the Seville oranges were available. Yummy!

And now it's raspberry jam on the left, and strawberry jam on the right.
And blueberry, plum, cherry and peach season is coming up....... Help! I think I'm addicted.
(If you click on "Jam" in the labels, and scroll through all the previous jam posts, you'll KNOW I'm addicted!)

Thursday, 26 June 2014


ripleys aquarium of canadaMore incredible sea creatures from our visit to the Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto. It's a magical place, filled with sights from an underwater world that most of us will never get to visit in person.

The Aquarium uses 5.7 million litres (1.5 million gallons) of water showing marine and freshwater habitats from around the world. There are over 13,500 different ocean species to look at here, including jellyfish, tropical fish, seahorses, and stingrays. There's a predatory shark display with sand tiger sharks, largetooth sawfish, some as long as 12 feet.

The Aquarium is well worth a visit, but it's not cheap! And it's a busy place. We went on a weekday, but I can imagine it is even busier at the weekend. The grandchildren loved it and they are still talking about their trip to see the fish.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Fishy Story

We planned a Family Excursion to the new Ripley's Aquarium in downtown Toronto. I bought tickets on line a couple of weeks before we went, saving a long line up at the ticket booth, not something we wanted to experience with excited children.  It's not a very big building, but there's lots to see and do. The Canadian Waters Gallery features 17 exhibits totaling over 665,000 litres. And that's just the first gallery, there are 7 more!

A giant American lobster. Surf and Turf, anyone? He was enormous!

The Rainbow Reef featured colourful fish with imaginative names; Picasso Triggerfish, Humbug Dascyllus, Emperor Angelfish, Pajama Cardinalfish, Unicorn Surgeonfish.

Callum and Isaac tried swimming with the fish. No, not really, they crawled up a tube into the middle of the tank.
Halfway through the aquarium there's a children's play area and a snack bar. We took our lunch with us, so we ate on the benches next to the kids area, giving us all a break! The aquarium has only been open since late 2013 so it's a very popular place and quite busy. More pictures in a day or two.....

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Roof Tiles

I went on a bus trip to the little town of Drayton, Ontario, to see the thriller "Deathtrap" by Ira Levin at the Drayton Festival Theatre. Sorry, no photos of the lovely old theatre which was built as an Opera House in 1902, but I loved the roof on this little house nearby.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Bottoms Up!

The local chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons CARP hosted a FREE beer tasting event at a nearby posh retirement residence. So of course, FREE is the magic word, so I went along with a friend.

Mill Street Brewery is East Toronto's first commercial brewery to open in more than 100 years, producing handcrafted beers and ales in the historic Corktown area of the city since 2002. It is housed in an original tankhouse within the old Gooderham & Worts Distillery built in the late 1870s. 

The Mill Street Brewery brought 4 different beers, and everyone got a small taste of each brew along with a complementary nibble. Cheese, sausage, pretzels, and even dark chocolate. A handsome brewery rep gave a slideshow presentation describing the brewing process and the different beers. Some are produced all year round, and some are seasonal. I didn't know there were so many different ingredients in beer!

After the presentation, everyone was given 2 beer tickets which could be exchanged for, guess what? Yes, a couple of cold beers. The one I liked was the Wit beer.... according to the Mill St. web site "Mill Street Belgian Style Wit is a refreshing beer made with a unique blend of ingredients. The soft texture and pale colour comes from the use of wheat, coriander, orange peel and our special yeast produce the complexity and depth of fruity flavours contained within the glass. This beer is unfiltered. The resulting cloudiness gave rise to the term Wit, or White beer. May be served with an orange slice to enhance refreshment. Best with salads with oil and vinegar dressing, grilled scallops, brunch fare, Gouda cheese."

So we sipped our brew in comfort while enjoying the singalong style music of a couple of Irish entertainers. Now we are eagerly waiting for CARP to organize a wine tasting afternoon!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Daily Delivery in Ireland

A pinta milk and a pinta Guinness....

Postcard received from Maria in County Cork in Ireland via Postcrossing.
This card took 5 days to get here, travelling 5,152km, and is my 122nd Postcrossing card.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Pool Man Saves Squirrel

Saw this video on line.... thought it was worth watching. If you have a pool, and you see a squirrel in difficulties, now you will immediately know what to do.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

OK, so that's a corny blog title, it's all I could think of!

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals at the Rogers Centre.... formerly known as Skydome in Toronto. What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Callum stayed with me overnight on Saturday, then we went downtown on the GO bus on Sunday morning, and met up with his dad outside the stadium. His mummy couldn't join us as she was busy moving her galloping steed to a new stable.
Luckily we had seats that were in the shade, as it can get pretty hot sitting in the sun for 3 hours. I don't know a lot about baseball stats but I love going to the games. The two chaps in full Blue Jays regalia sitting next to me talked sports for the whole game. I was listening in and learned quite a bit!
It was Blue Jays Cowboy Hat Giveaway Day. The first 20,000 people into the ball park got a cowboy hat (made in China, of course). We were a bit late getting to the park, but surprisingly there were still hats being given away. Last week was Blue Jay Jersey Giveaway Day. Next week it's Jose Reyes Bobblehead Day!

 Here's OlderSon and Callum giving me the Encarnation parrot-on-the-elbow salute.

I planned to do some sketching at the game, but Callum hijacked the sketch pad. This is Encarnation hitting his home run. He definitely looks pleased with himself.

Blue Jays won the game 4-0, as you can see on the scoreboard. Finally I go to a winning game! The last 2 games I was at, the Jays lost. Exciting home runs by Navarro and Encarnation. Winning pitcher was Mark Buehrle. Jays are currently on top of the A.L East with 34 wins and 24 losses.... keep it up, boys.
Go Jays Go!