December 26th, 2016 Posted 10:40 pm
As a new resident to Toronto in 2013 it was impossible to ignore the bright lights of Honest Ed’s the first time I passed by the corner of Bloor & Bathurst, in the north-west of the downtown core.
Opened in 1948 by entrepreneur Ed Mirvish, it rose to prominence as the destination in town for no-frills bargains. Met with some resistance in its founding years, it ultimately carved a place in Toronto culture thanks its huge storefront display featuring tens of thousands of flashing light bulbs and pun-laden slogans (Honest Ed’s a nut! But look at the ‘cashew’ save!). You might compare its notoriety with something like Harrods in London – on the complete other end of the price & elegance scale, mind you – but a one-of-a-kind store that locals flock to & tourists read about in all their guidebooks. It became pretty clear to me that this place was an institution.
Unfortunately in mid-2014 it was announced Honest Ed’s would close on December 31st, 2016 to make way for a new residential & commercial development. With less than a week to go, I decided to drop by one final time today with my camera to snap a few shots of this lovable Toronto landmark before it’s gone forever.
February 23rd, 2016 Posted 8:35 pm
Around 35km east of Montreal lies the peaceful village of Mont Saint-Hilaire, situated along the base of the mountain with the same name. With its multitude of hiking & skiing tracks and four summits ranging in height from 320m to 414m, it’s an accessible day trip for anyone in the Montreal region who fancies a moderately-graded trek or some cross country skiing during the snowy months.
I’ve spent much of my time in Montreal over the past year exploring Mont-Royal, the peak in the centre of the island which the city surrounds, but I’d recently been eyeing off some of the hills a little further afield. Mont Saint-Hilaire was one of those that caught my attention, so with a warm Sunday forecast of -4º (well maybe not warm in the strict sense of the word, but still 35 degrees warmer than the previous weekend) I set off on the #200 bus and completed my journey with a taxi to the park’s entrance, the Gault Nature Reserve.
Here are some photos from my delightful 5 hour wander around Mont Saint-Hilaire 🙂
October 18th, 2015 Posted 6:56 pm
As an Australian who grew up only ever experiencing two seasons (namely: hot & wet followed by not-quite-as-hot & dry), the north American continent hasn’t yet ceased to amaze me after experiencing its seasonal variances for the past two years. From the brutal -38ºC Toronto/Montreal winter to the sweaty, humid summer a good 70º warmer than its icy counterpart, it must be a meteorologist’s dream (or nightmare, depending on how you see it) to know the job varies so extremely throughout the year.
Only last Monday the high was 24ºC with most of the city’s population out & about in their shorts & t-shirts; this weekend we had our first snowfall of the season and it didn’t get above 6º. I think people would riot if a drastic change in weather like this ever took place in my home town!
I took the opportunity over the past two days to explore the gorgeous autumnal foliage of the city during its transitional period between summer & winter. I began Saturday morning on the north-western face of Mont-Royal, a small mountain in downtown Montreal bursting with greenery & hiking tracks, before detouring through Mont-Royal cemetery where the skies opened up with a short but intense flurry of snow. After the sun returned I ventured along a number of mountain trails, stopping by two lookouts as well as the famous cross that can be seen lit up from miles away at night. Sunday saw a visit to Parc Jean-Drapeau, situated on a small island east of downtown, well-known for its 1967 world expo attraction, the ‘Biosphere’.
Here are a bunch of photos I snapped over this Montreal fall weekend:
November 9th, 2014 Posted 9:14 pm
This afternoon I took my camera and went for a walk along the streets of Harbord Village, Kensington Market & Alexandra Park – all home to a whole bunch of freakin’ spectacular urban artwork.
Here is a gallery featuring 60 reasons I fell even more in love with Toronto today.
November 3rd, 2014 Posted 5:16 pm
I love Google Maps. Sometimes I bring up Toronto and explore the city from above, searching for interesting streets, suburbs, towns and green areas around the GTA to potentially explore in real life.
A few months ago I became curious about this peninsula extending into Lake Ontario, south of Leslie Street in Toronto’s east end:
I soon found myself researching Tommy Thompson Park to see if it was worth visiting. I was surprised to learn the peninsula, known as the Leslie Street Spit, is entirely man-made out of millions of tonnes of concrete, rubble, earth and dredged sand. Construction began in the 1950’s with the intention of providing port facilities for Toronto’s outer harbour, but the demand declined in the end due to a decrease in shipping across the lake. Nevertheless, there was still a need to dispose of disused building materials from the ever-expanding city so construction of the headland continued primarily as a dumping ground.
The headland was opened to the public in the early 1970’s with a huge transformation taking place in the decades that followed, from that of a refuse ground into an area of environmental and recreational significance. It’s with thanks to organisations such as Friends of the Spit that the people of Toronto can today enjoy a beautiful green space boasted as North America’s most remarkable public urban wilderness, complete with over 400 species of plant life, 300 species of birds, cycling tracks, walking trails and some of the most gorgeous scenery you’re likely to see so close to a major city.
I paid my first visit to Tommy Thompson Park in July of this year, where I was quick to note its impressive greenery. Unfortunately it was a gloomy day and I barely made it a few hundred metres into the park before the skies opened up and I had to turn around. I did manage to snap a few pictures that day, which I took as a brief introduction to what was yet to come:
May 22nd, 2014 Posted 6:16 pm
She’s an awesomely adorable 4.5 year-old staffie who lives with my mum & dad on their property in Bluewater, North Queensland.
Coco & I hung out quite a lot while I visited home earlier this month.
This is what we got up to 😀
December 22nd, 2013 Posted 10:30 pm
In the very early hours of the morning I was awoken by strange whirring noises and sharp flashes of light radiating through my bedroom window. At first I thought it was some kind of hallucinogenic dream, but as I regained consciousness and peered behind the curtains I found a streetcar creeping along the tracks at a very slow pace. Each inch it travelled, it would let out a bright electrical spark at the point where the trolley pole touched the overhead electrical line. I assumed it was a faulty tram on its way back to the depot for repairs and I returned to my slumber, completely unaware that Toronto was in the midst of one of the most catastrophic ice storms in recent history.
December 14th, 2013 Posted 7:06 pm
Earlier this week I pulled some Bear Grylls moves through the brambles in order to reach a near-frozen river, which left me with slightly dirty shoes by the end of the day. I hadn’t yet bothered to wash them, but a thought struck me this afternoon while admiring the first proper snowstorm to hit Toronto this winter:
Can a walk through the snow clean dirty shoes?
I donned my filthy footwear, took my camera along for some company, and set through the chilly streets of Kensington Market to find out.
November 18th, 2013 Posted 12:47 pm
Yesterday was the day of the 2013 Toronto Santa Claus Parade! At 5.6km long and having been held every year since 1905, it’s one of the longest running and altogether largest parades of its kind anywhere in the world.
Now, I’m normally a major grinch when it comes to Christmas-related items. I’ve always thought it was a silly celebration in the southern hemisphere (commercially speaking, anyway). We’re bombarded with images of snow and Santa and reindeer when in reality it’s 42 degrees under the blistering hot sun and as humid as a sauna. But seeing as I’ll be in the northern hemisphere for Christmas this year, I figured I’d at least make a small effort to soak in the traditional wintry Christmas imagery we’re all so familiar with.
I almost didn’t bother going to the parade until my friend Laura mentioned on FB how impressive the floats all looked as she walked past them lining up for the event early in the morning – not to mention the fact that there was a One Direction float in the mix. That was enough to convince me to get out of the house, but I still had the inkling I wouldn’t be impressed, so I declined to carry around my camera.
Thankfully I still had my phone camera, because it actually turned out to be a darn lot more impressive than I could have imagined. Never in my life have I seen such a conglomeration of clowns, marching bands, gorilla/monkey/bee/squirrel/giraffe onesies, fairy floss, Santa Claus hats and floats featuring all kinds of crazy Christmassy characters… it was insane! And I couldn’t believe how many participants there were and how many people lined the streets to observe the jolly festivities.
I’m still not a Christmas convert but I’m glad I made it out to see the parade in the end. Here’s a little of what happened on the day:
October 21st, 2013 Posted 8:44 pm
I had a few hours to spare the other night in Chicago and took the opportunity to venture up North Michigan Avenue and check out the John Hancock Observatory. 94 floors above the famous Magnificent Mile, it’s a spectacular destination for anyone wanting a birds-eye view of Illinois’ most illustrious city.
I didn’t have a tripod to steady my camera for the long exposures required at such a time of day, so I decided to have some fun instead.
I present to you: the Chicago skyline on LSD.