Dan Schaumann

Official site of avid traveller and singer/songwriter, Dan Schaumann. Debut album "A Thousand Days Beneath The Sun" out now on CD and iTunes.

Posts Tagged ‘toronto’

Toronto street art

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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.

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Tommy Thompson Park

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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:

Tommy Thompson Park-1

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Garliced out at the Toronto Garlic Festival

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September 21st, 2014 Posted 10:25 pm

Way back in 2009 while living & working in London, my delightful colleagues and I embarked on a team night out to Garlic & Shots, a restaurant in Soho that serves no meal without said ingredient. I recall ordering a pasta dish (the sauce of which was absolutely piled with the spicy white clove) and washing it down with a garlic beer before rounding off the feast with a huge bowl of garlic ice cream. That’s not to mention the shot of garlic honey vodka we sampled in the Swedish gothic metal bar below the dining room. I never thought I’d ever experience so much garlic in one sitting again.

Well, I’m pleased to announce today was the day I broke my garlic consumption personal best by a long shot, thanks to the Toronto Garlic Festival. Held annually at the picturesque Don Valley Brickworks, the festival celebrates the harvest of garlic throughout the province of Ontario. With around 80 exhibitors taking part in this year’s festival, punters were spoilt for choice when it came to the sheer variety of the bulb available for purchase, garlic-themed cooking demonstrations and garlic-inspired culinary delights – both savoury and sweet.

My afternoon at the event began at the garlic sampling booth, where friendly festival staff spent their time peeling & crushing ‘shots’ of raw Ontarian garlic into the hands of whoever dared to try. There was also lemon & parsley on hand to add some zest to the fiery mouthful.

Toronto Garlic Festival-1

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A few things about Canada

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March 17th, 2014 Posted 8:09 pm

Well it’s been nearly 6 months since I first touched down on Canadian soil, and I’m very pleased to report that it’s been a delightful experience. I love this country!

I’m at the stage now where I feel like I’ve passed my probation. Settling in Toronto has given me the fantastic opportunity to get to know first-hand what life is like within the boundaries of the most populous & multicultural city in Canada, and I’ve done enough travelling around the province and south of the border to gain a basic understanding of the North American way of life in general.

So in no particular order, here is a list of a few Canadian quirks, loves, frustrations, tongue-in-cheek observations and comparisons to life in Australia that I’ve come to notice so far during my time here.

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Hockey

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January 14th, 2014 Posted 11:53 pm

On Sunday evening I went to the Air Canada Centre to see my first ever hockey game. Massive thanks to my brother Adrian for the brilliant Christmas gift idea!

Similarly to my first live baseball experience in NYC a few months ago, I barely knew a thing about the game of hockey and had never even gone as far as watching a match on TV before. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Canada’s national winter sport.

I took some notes & photos throughout the match, and I present to you here a review in my (sports illiterate) eyes of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs the New Jersey Devils on Sunday 12th January, 2014.

Toronto Hockey-11

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No pants subway ride

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January 13th, 2014 Posted 2:02 am

A few days ago my friend Alan in Montreal let me know about a global event that was to be held today: the 13th annual No Pants Subway Ride!

The tradition began in 2002 by a ‘prank collective’ known as Improv Everywhere. Founded in New York City by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere puts together elaborate pranks on the unsuspecting public, recruiting thousands of ‘agents’ over the years who are in on the joke and participate in their events. I’ve stumbled across their immensely popular videos on Youtube before, but it’s only been in the past couple of days that I’ve read up on who they are, leading me to watch the fascinating documentary that details their rise to fame, We Cause Scenes.

The original No Pants Subway Ride was a simple experiment in which a man walked onto to a subway carriage without his pants. A few stops later, a second man walked onto the same carriage sans trousers. Each man was to remain completely blasé about the fact he was in his underpants; neither was to acknowledge one another. The idea was to see what kind of reaction would be evoked by the surrounding people on the carriage, and also to leave the commuters with a smile on their face (not to mention a crazy story to tell at dinner parties). This is the hidden video taken on the day:

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Minus thirty-nine

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January 7th, 2014 Posted 7:05 pm

Today was cold.

I mean, REALLY FREAKING COLD.

I knew I’d be in for a harsh winter before I moved to Toronto, but even the locals are saying there hasn’t been an icy epidemic as ridiculous as this for many years!

Almost every consecutive week for the past month now I’ve broken my record for the coldest weather I’ve experienced. Prior to leaving for Canada my record remained at -11°C, achieved in Jindabyne, NSW in 2001 (that’s even despite spending 15 months in Europe from 2008-2009). It didn’t take long to reach my -11°C record upon my Canadian arrival, followed quickly by minimums of -14°C, then -18°C, then an ice storm, and on Friday last week exceeding all my expectations at -23°C with a -35°C wind chill.

And then today happened. A blast of air direct from the Arctic made its way over Canada & the US, breaking decades worth of wind chill records. Just before I left home for work this morning, I checked the weather on my phone and found this:

-24 Toronto -39 Toronto

Yep: that’s -24°C with a -39°C wind chill.

Holy moses!

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No streetcars today (the Toronto Ice Storm)

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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.

Toronto Ice Storm-10

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Can snow clean dirty shoes?

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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.

Can Snow Clean Dirty Shoes-6

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Santa Claus Parade

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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:

Santa Claus Parade 2013 - Clowns

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