Sunday, May 27, 2007

Toronto Islands

Thursday 24 May, 2007
The adventurers returned to Toronto Wednesday night and had coffee at Starbucks, downstairs in our condo building, before returning the rental car.
The McBeans head downtown and take the ferry to the Toronto Islands: "The area of the islands is about 230 hectares. The largest, outermost island, commonly called Centre Island, is crescent-shaped and forms the shoreline of both the Eastern and Western Channels. Algonquin and Olympic are two of the other major islands. What is commonly called Ward's Island is actually the eastern end of Centre Island. In the 1930s, the western end was supplemented by landfill so that the island airport could be created. Landfill was also used to create the former amusement park operated by the Toronto Ferry Company." Source: Wikipedia

McBean & Maloney Road Trip

On their road trip to Algonquin park, hubby and the McBeans stopped at Bracebridge and Gravenhurst on the way to Huntsville where they stayed Monday & Tuesday nights.
To Barrie for a Maloney reunion on Wednesday, May 23. Bernie's uncle and aunt immigrated from Ireland to Barrie, Ontario in 1930. Some of their nine children (or their widows) still live in the area. The youngest of this branch of Maloneys was at one time a household name in Toronto. Dan Maloney first played with and later coached the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bear Watching

Photo by Bernie McBean.

I'd heard of bird-watching and whale-watching but wasn't sure what to think when Bernie said she wanted to go bear-watching. When my sister-in-law was here from the UK she saw seven moose one day in Algonquin Provincial Park so hubby figured that was a good place for the McBeans to see some Canadian wildlife.

"Algonquin was established in 1893, not to stop logging but to establish a wildlife sanctuary, and by excluding agriculture, to protect the headwaters of the five major rivers which flow from the Park. Soon it was "discovered", at first by adventurous fishermen, then by Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven [Canadian Artists], and a host of other visitors who came by train and stayed at one of Algonquin's several hotels."

Got this text message from them yesterday: No bears, 6 moose, deer, lots of mozzies & old rail track now dining in Hville [Huntsville].

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sunnyside Cafe

Monday 21 May, 2006

Hubby & the McBeans where packed up and on the road north to Huntsville by 10:30 this morning. They are booked into the Comfort Inn there for two nights and will return on Wednesday after meeting up with the Clan Maloney in Barrie, Ontario on Wednesday.

Sunday 20 May, 2006

Our guests spent a leisurely morning before setting of on a walk through High Park to Sunnyside Cafe. "The name "Sunnyside" had been used to denote a beach and its surrounding area for 70-plus years before the amusement park opened. The name may have been coined by George Howard, a prominent citizen whom in 1848 had built a home overlooking the shore on the sunny side of a hill. The other possibility is that subsequent owner George Cheney, named it after American author Washington Irving's home in Tarrytown, New York." Read more about the pavilion's history here.

I had been at Sunnyside very early Saturday morning with the camera club from my church (Keele Street Christian Church) and took the photos seen here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The FA Cup & Hughs Room

Saturday 19 May, 2007

While here in Toronto, Andy McBean has got hooked on watching the National Hockey League playoffs. Andy & Bernie went to their "local", Mackenzies Bar & Grill 1982 Bloor Street location, to watch the FA Cup (Chelsea beat Manchester United). I think Andy found it dull compared to the hockey he's been watching!

In the evening we go to Hugh's Room , a supper and concert venue, for the Third Annual John Prine Shrine where nine musicians play tribute to the acclaimed singer/songwriter. Highlights included the guitar picking of Wendell Ferguson and fiddle playing of Sahra Featherstone.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Toronto Harbour Cruise

You always learn new things about your city when visitors come and do the tourist sites. The McBeans went on a Mariposa Cruises tour of the Toronto Harbour aboard the Oriole: A Great Lakes Steamship replica, all 76 feet have been decorated with the perfect blend of varnished woods, wrought iron, polished brass and plush upholstery. The comfortable dining space is warmly lit by traditional brass coach lamps and features large picture windows and an oak stool bar.
The tour guide pointed out the Amsterdam Bridge: The steel structure is a cable footbridge that crosses over the Simcoe Street Slip. The Amsterdam Bridge commemorates the twinning of the two cities. Similarly, a bridge that crosses the Amstel river in Amsterdam was renamed Toronto Bridge. They also learned about the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, rumoured to be haunted.
Earlier in the day, they visited the docklands and the Distillery District stopping at Balzac for coffee.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fort York and Harbourfront

Thursday 17 May, 2007
To Fort York where the costumed staff are putting visiting school kids through military drills. In 1793, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe authorized a garrison on the present site of Fort York, just west of the mouth of Garrison Creek on the north eastern shore of Lake Ontario. Simcoe recognized Toronto was an ideal site for settlement and defence because of its natural harbour and relative distance from the United States. Fort York guards the western (at the time of construction, the only) entrance to Toronto harbour. Simcoe had decided to make Toronto (at that time called York) the capital of Upper Canada, and the government, the first parliament buildings and the town were established one and a half miles east of the fort (near the foot of the present Parliament Street).
The McBeans travel eastward to Harbourfront where they have lunch and do some souvenir shopping.
Wednesday 16 May, 2007
A cool, rainy day and an unofficial day of rest for the McBeans. It's hard to keep up the pace while on holiday and a day to regroup is often just what you need.

Blue Mountain and Creemore

Tuesday 14 May, 2007
Driving the rented Toyota Yaris back to Toronto from Collingwood, hubby & the McBeans stop to enjoy the view from Blue Mountain. They take a detour and go for lunch at Creemore which is tucked away in the valley of the Mad River, surrounded by what everyone calls the Purple Hills. " Artists have been coming here for years to set up their studios and paint the beautiful scenery. The commercial centre in the village has been doing good business for over 100 started with lumber, then shipping hogs to Toronto. Now it's the brewery and a bunch of stores to shop and places to eat run by friendly folks eager to chat and provide some old-fashioned personal service."

From Goderich to Collingwood

Monday 14 May, 2007
In Goderich, hubby and the McBeans visited the Huron County Museum. (The Huron County Museum is located in the original old Central School, erected in 1856. The original Museum collection was brought together by Mr. Joseph Herbert Neill (1884-1969) as a result of a lifetime of collecting. In 1948, he sold all of his 4,000 objects to the County of Huron for an average price of one dollar per object and with two conditions. First, that the County establish a public museum and second, that he be made the Curator for as long as he wished to hold the position.)

They stayed overnight at the Beild House Country Inn & Spa in Collingwood: This grand turn-of-the-century home was built for Dr. Joseph Arthur who named it Beild House (a Scottish word for shelter). Each of the guest rooms features its own unique decor, a gentle blending of antique furnishings with modern amenities.

Kitchener and Goderich

Sunday 13 May 2007
To Kitchener on Mother's Day to stay with my Mom for a few days. (A city of southern Ontario, Canada, west-southwest of Toronto. Settled by Mennonites (1806) and by Germans who named it Berlin in 1825, it was renamed in honor of Lord Kitchener in 1916. Population: 210,000.) Hubby and McBeans came in for tea before heading northwest to Goderich on Lake Huron where they stayed at the Bedford Hotel. (Goderich's downtown has a unique octagonal traffic circle known as 'The Square'. The county courthouse stands in the middle of The Square. Sifto Canada, Inc operates a salt mine underneath Goderich's harbour. The mine extends 5 kilometers under Lake Huron, and is the largest salt mine in the world.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Credit Valley Explorer Train

Saturday 12 May, 2007
We arrive at the station in Orangeville in time for some photos before the 11 o'clock excursion train departure. " Tours travel along a route that was completed in 1879, known as the Credit Valley Railway. The rail line travels from Orangeville south through the Hills of Headwaters region, through the Caledon Hills and the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, then through the Peel Plains region to Brampton and on to Streetsville in Mississauga. Passenger tours travel as far south as Snelgrove in north Brampton. Our busy freight service connects Orangeville and Brampton with the Canadian Pacific Railway main line in Streetsville."
On our way home we stop at the Canadian Tire Store parking lot for the first Street Classics Cruise of the season. The warm sunny weather has brought the classic cars and their fans out in droves.

Shopping Day

Friday May 11th 2007

Went on a shopping spree with the McBeans. First stop Weston Bakery Outlet where the bargain of the day was six baguettes for $1 CAD = 45 p GBP. Next to Dimpflmeier's Bakery outlet where we have 4 cups of coffee and 4 pastries (pictured here) that cost $7.45 CAD = £ 3.42 GBP.

On to Sherway Gardens, a large suburban shopping mall, where we shop for shoes, jeans, luggage, picture frames and more. Then we drop in to Payless Shoes and Mark's Work Wearhouse across the street before our final stop at the grocery store, Sobeys.

Friday, May 11, 2007


After picking up a rental car, we drive to Niagara Falls stopping for coffee at Tim Horton's in Grimsby on the way. Niagara falls has three sections: American Falls — At about 170 ft/52 m high, these falls are located between Prospect Point and Luna Island. Bridal Veil Falls — Located between Luna Island and Goat Island, this is the smallest of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls. Horseshoe Falls — Otherwise known as the Canadian Falls, these falls are about 170 ft/52 m high and the crest line is an estimated 2200 ft/675 m wide. The depth of the river at the base of the falls — 184 ft/56 m — is actually higher than the falls itself.
The adventurous McBeans opt for a "Journey Behind the Falls" tour and are not disappointed. Next to the Niagara Gorge where the brave Bernie rides the Whirlpool Aero Car. "The Spanish Aero Car was designed to travel 1,770 feet (539m) across the Whirlpool from Canadian terminus at Colt's Point (where the ticket office is located and where passengers embark) to Canadian terminal at Thompson Point, at a height of 250 feet (76 meters) above the surface of the turbulent waters. The Aero Car has a capacity of 40 persons.
The Olde Angel Inn at Niagara-on-the-lake is always a great place to stop for a beverage when taking visitors to see the falls. It's the closest thing to a British pub in our part of the world.
We get to the Welland Canal just in time to see a huge laker passing through Lock 3. "Welland Ship Canal, 27.6 mi (44.4 km) long, SE Ont., Canada, connecting Lake Ontario with Lake Erie and bypassing Niagara Falls. Built between 1914 and 1932 by Canada to replace a canal opened in 1829, it can accommodate (minimum depth 27 ft/8 m) the largest lake ships. Its eight locks overcome a 326-ft (99-m) difference in level between the lakes. The Lake Ontario entrance is near Port Dalhousie; the Lake Erie entrance is at Port Colborne. It is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway system."
Dinner at O Sushi Place, 2330 Lakeshore Rd W, Oakville, where the food and service are excellent. The host gives Andy a sake tutorial and sample of "beginner's sake".
We stop for a photo op at Bazar McBean Chartered Accounts before heading home.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Downtown Toronto with the McBeans

Downtown by subway train then streetcar. We walk up Yonge Street and drop in to Sam the Record Man's: "Sam the Record Man is a Canadian record store chain.
The chain was first launched in 1936 by Sam Sniderman, as a record department in his family's existing radio store in Toronto. In 1961, the store moved out to its own location on Yonge Street, and its location at 347 Yonge Street has become a Toronto landmark. The four story record store located to the site in 1961 and added two spinning record neon signs. The record store also obtained the building at 349 Yonge Street in 1985, formerly Steele's Tavern. " Source:
Next Bernie and I tackle the CN Tower while to boys opt for a tour of Steamwhistle Brewery nearby."Defining the Toronto skyline, the CN Tower is Canada's most recognizable and celebrated icon. At a height of 553.33m (1,815 ft., 5 inches), it is Canada’s National Tower, the World's Tallest Building, an important telecommunications hub, and the centre of tourism in Toronto. Each year, approximately 2 million people visit the CN Tower to take in the breath-taking view and enjoy all the attractions it has to offer.The CN Tower was built in 1976 by Canadian National (CN) who wanted to demonstrate the strength of Canadian industry by building a tower taller than any other in the world."

Bird watching with the McBeans

Breakfast at the Grenadier Cafe in High Park then a walk south to Lake Ontario and west to Humber Bay Park. Birdwatching highlights are a pair of Northern Orioles (right) and a Tree Swallow (left) that seems to be posing for the camera. We also see: Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, Common Golden Eyes, Killdeer, Ring-billed Gulls, Common Terns, Rock Doves, Mourning Doves, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Barn Swallows, American Robins, European Starlings, various types of Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Cormorants.

We take the street car to the Butler's Pantry on Roncesvalles for lunch with an international flare: Moroccan Vegetable Tajine, Kosharee, Jambalaya, and Norwegian Smoked Salmon on a bagel.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The McBeans visit

Andy & Bernie arrived at J C Munro Airport in Hamilton yesterday at 4:30. They flew on Globespan from London Stansted and were unaware that it was necessary to pre-book in flight meals.
After a brief scuffle at customs over the importation of jars of Marmite, they were wisked to our condo by Chaplin Clive in his Jeep Cherokee.
They seem to be adjusting well to the time change and don't seem at all jetlagged. We had a quiet dinner at home and hubby took them on a mini pub crawl of Bloor West Village.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

From the Disciples to the Christian Choir

This afternoon we drop by Cloverdale Mall's 50th Anniversary celebration where the joint is jumping as radio station 1050 Chum, (which celebrates its 50th later this month), broadcasts live. Robbie Lane and the Disciples get the crowd dancing to covers of classic 50s and 60s songs like Bony Maroney and Shout! Originally an open air mall, Cloverdale was the first shopping centre in Etobicoke. It was enclosed in 1970s in response to the opening of Sherway Gardens, a larger mall to the south in 1971.In the evening, Keele Street Christian Church hosts the Great Lakes Christian College Choir. Made up of high school student, this well disciplined a cappella group sings in a range of styles from the Baroque to spirituals to modern praise music under the direction of Rick McBay. The vocal harmonies are amazing and they do an awesome job of "Days of Elijah" and "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross".