Archive for July, 2011

Volunteers are what makes Toronto’s ‘Caribana’ so successful and last night was an example, at ScotiaBank Toronto Caribbean Carnival kickoff

Toronto, Canada - At Lamport Stadium in Toronto’s west end thousands gathered for the kickoff of ScotiaBank Toronto Caribbean Carnival  and volunteers make the difference, as one of North America’s largest Caribbean celebrations got underway. The 44th parade starts tomorrow, Saturday and runs along the Lakshore Blvd. with almost/or over a million revelers expected, and there is special seating available to see all the action much closer,  if you want to pay the additional fee.This young women must have had a professional make-up artist do this to her, but apparently not.  She did all the makeup herself and she has been a volunteer for the event since she was a young girl, well done. Fortunately the rain held out last night and for the parade on Saturday, the forecast is no rain or she may have lost her beautiful makeup.And as you can see the volunteers start at a very young age as this 15 year old helps with many different floats, preparing them for last nights event and will be in full swing on Saturday for the parade.On Friday at Lamport Stadium the forces were out in plain view as they cracked down on people selling products (food, carnival items) without a license. Metro Licensing Commission Enforcement   made their tour around the stadium with police in tow as they cautioned people about selling food products, and it’s against the city by-laws. One of the Enforcement officers said   “It’s just like someone with a licensed hot dog stand, but the guy across the street is selling without a license.” The problem is that a license costs between $5-600 per year and the city does not sell licenses for single events or for a weekend.  Why not?  The city says they are “BROKE”   why not sell licenses for one event, one weekend, one day, wouldn’t that generate income?Licensing is an excellent idea, especially when it comes to food, and our health, but why hassle Caribbean Carnival vendors and not other events, like the Taste of the Danforth?  I have never seen any Enforcement Officers at the Taste of the Danforth, why Not?  And the troops were out in full force, for a very small crowd of about 3-4000 people who paid $38 each to attend the event. Do these enforcement officers target only certain groups?It shall be interesting to see how they stop the millions on Saturday at the parade on Lakeshore Blvd.
UPDATE: Sunday morning it was reported in the  Toronto Star   that one man was shot and killed and two others received minor injuries when a Toronto Police officer shot the unnamed man with the gun.  Special Investigations Unit   is investigating. Very sad indeed.
More  INFO   on the shooting this weekend at the ScotiaBank Caribbean Carnival.dandmb50flickr's photos on Flickriver
Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything
@dandmb50

Americans: Are you visiting Canada ‘Caribana 2011′ and expect to get exchange of 20% on your money? Not anymore, you lose 6%, 94 cents Canadian

UPDATE: Why is it not called CARIBANA anymore? Read below for the answer.
Toronto, Canada – For many years Americans visiting Canada always got about 20% exchange on US funds but not any longer. The rate today was about 6% loss on American dollar and has this been reported in the USA media? Not to my knowledge, because I watch a lot of USA business channels and have never heard it reported. Why is that?  Another thing visitors to our great city must be aware of is the gasoline prices. Fill up before you come to Canada, since our price is around $1.32 per gallon, opps I mean per LITRE, so you are actually paying more than in the USA. I find it very sleazy when you come off the bridge from the USA and let’s say Windsor, Ontario, you come out of customs, and the first thing you see is a huge sign on all the gas stations with $1.32, and then in very tiny letters the word, litre. Do they do this on purpose so you might think it’s way cheaper to buy gas in Canada? You bet, that’s what they want.  And then there are the signs on the highway when you leave Windsor, at least they are honest, you see a speed sign that says, 100, but then again that’s kilometres per mile, which translates into about 65 miles per hour.  I’m not trying to scare you away from our great city, Toronto, but be aware of these things if you are coming here for vacation or a visit. But won’t the USA media tell us these things? Sorry, it appears not, and I’m not sure why they keep it under wraps.                                                                              This weekend we have the ScotiaBank Toronto Caribbean Carnival which was previously called the Caribana and it brings millions to Toronto, and it’s a great time had by all. The reason they don’t call it Caribana anymore is because the owner of rights for “Caribana”name, will not allow them to use that name. But we all still call it Caribana.You can of course exchange your US dollars before you come to Canada, and check HERE to see what the current conversation rates may be. I’m sure most retailers will take your US dollars at par, that means you get dollar for dollar, no exchange rate, but you never know.

Another very important thing to remember if you are traveling by car to Toronto, don’t speed, or to be specific, don’t speed over 50 km over the limit, you may lose your car and huge fines. Other than that, have a great visit. And then of course a visit to the CN Tower is expected and they have a new feature called “EDGE Walk” yes you are right, you walk along the outside of the CN Tower with harnesses attached to your body and it’s a measly $175 Canadian, but doesn’t officially open to the public until August 1/2011.

JUMP UP, Jump up, have fun, join in ..

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We all LOVE Toronto

Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything
@dandmb50


The Tour de France 2011 is over, on the Paris Champs-Élysées and what a finish, as Cadel Evans is the first Australian to win

Champs-Élysées, Paris, France - The winner of the 98th running of the Tour de France 2011 was won by Cadel Evans from Australia and it was the first win for his country.

Outside of the Tour, the City Of Paris   is just completely magnificent and the Champs-Élysées on HD was breathtaking, as the riders made the final laps to finish the 98th running of the Tour de France. There is no doubt it was one of the greatest races, since the beginning in 1903 and they couldn’t have had a better day for the final Stage 21 today.

I’m not boasting or anything (umm, yes I am) but I’m amazed myself, if you search google for “The Tour de France” there are 349,000,000 hits and my BLOG comes up on the first page? Not too bad eh. Greatest race I’ve ever watched, won’t ever miss it again, Well done boys ….

For more on My Take on the Tour de France CLICK HERE

 

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Daniel … Toronto, CANADA

My take on everything
@dandmb50

 

We live in one of the greatest countries in the world, Canada, but we must take better care of the homeless who need our help

John needs help, can we help him?

Toronto, Canada - There are all kinds of young people who are abusing the system for themselves, but people such as this older man (let’s call him John) need our help, and I believe he truly does. Canada is a rich nation and we must not ignore people such as John. If you look closely through the homelessness, John appears to be an interesting old man. But is he old, or just worn down from his struggle in Toronto?

I made an attempt to speak with John, but it appeared he had some mental illness concerns, and in Canada the government cannot force someone to take care, unless they agree to it. Instead of forcing people such as John to be admitted to a place where he can be cared for, he wanders the streets, looking for anything he can find.

Many years ago the Ontario Government emptied the mental institutions to save money and this sadly, has been the result. I’m no Doctor, but I can recognize that John is definitely in need of special care. We see it all over downtown, and people panhandling and if you don’t hand over any spare change they ask for a smoke.

John asked for nothing, that is the true sign of someone that is truly in NEED.

Yet everyday I see the same from young people in their 20′s asking for spare change and they look and sound perfectly, physically and mentally sound. It’s my opinion that many of these young people are smart and know exactly how to work the system. One young person told me “Toronto is the only place people on welfare are fat,”   however John is not one of them.

Most regular people are concerned what cell plan they are going to switch to, or what APP they need for their cellphone, and worried about how well their air conditioner is working.
John has none of those concerns, all he is worried about is how tonight will be, can he scrounge up enough to buy a ham sandwich or a bottle of water.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many agencies that do wonderful work and go around during the night and offer sandwiches and drinks to people that need it, but John likely will not approach them, because he may have some mental problems and will stay away from anyone offering assistance, and do it on his own. Well it seems John is not making a good go of it, and he does need some special care for his own well being, even though he may not know it, but what should we all do?

We shall say a prayer for John tonight, you will always be in our thoughts ….

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Daniel … Toronto, Canada,    丹尼尔دانيال … تورنتو، كندا،
My take on everything
@dandmb50

Translate full Blog into any language. Click your flag above, if it’s not there click any flag. It will take you to Google Translate.There will be a drop down menu for languages, find yours and click to the right.

(English is default language.)

Please comment what you think about the TRANSLATION full BLOG feature. I’ve been trying to add it for years and I think it’s very powerful, thanks Google. Tell us what you think, leave a comment.

The Tour de France ends it’s final stage 21, this Sunday on NBC (Versus) in USA or TSN2 in Canada, shown all over the world

Alpe-d’Huez, France - The Tour de France first started in 1903 and the 98th race this year has served it well, as 198 racers from all over the world started, but only 167  remain.

The race covers 3,430.5 Km and travels through six mountain stages and four summit finishes, three medium mountain stages. The racing fans (some estimated 15,000,000) along the route, come out in recreational vehicles, and camp out all night, over the 21 stages and dress up in all kinds of costumes and tag the road with their favorite cyclists names.

The final stage will be this Sunday on TSN2 across Canada and can be viewed online for free LIVE streaming and it is shown worldwide. They do have a viewing package you can purchase which would probably be better quality, but it is available in HD on TSN2.

In my opinion this is probably one of the most grueling sporting events ever, as the professional cyclists ride about 100 to 200 Km each day for 21 days up and down mountains, through rain or shine.

There are always accidents, and every year there are many cars, media, bikers maintenance crews driving the route with the racers, and all kinds of motorcycles with media covering the race. In one of the earlier stages a media car was driving along a flat road while the bikers were on the right side. He came upon a tree ahead of him while racers were on his right, and he suddenly turned quickly to the right and hit three racers, with one flying into a barbed wire fence. No one was seriously injured and all racers returned to the tour. The driver and his crew were banned from the course.

Much like baseball there is tremendous amount of strategy used in cycling and I had no idea until I watched the Tour this year.

The roads even through the Pyrenees mountains are incredibly smooth, and that may because there are fewer cars than in North America. I also noticed that many of the high mountain roads do not have any barriers protecting cars from driving over, but I think the drivers are obviously accustomed to the roads in France in the mountains.

How and why did the Tour de France start in 1903? You might be surprised, I sure was, check it out HERE.

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Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything
@dandmb50

New Toronto Rocket subway launches today with lots of fanfare

Toronto, Canada - The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) launched it’s new subway train today, The Rocket, and will only run on the University/Yonge line with just the one train until next month.

Another train will be added in August to the system and then every two weeks more trains will be added. It’s a very sleek and modern train, with many new security features   and you can walk the full length of the train without any doors. The walkway through each car is similar to those on the articulated streetcars which are in service on many busy routes within Toronto.

The cars are air conditioned and with the walkway through each connecting car the capacity is increased by 10%. There did seem to be a delay in the doors opening when the trains arrived at each station today. There is special seating for handicapped, or elderly passengers and special security cameras and an emergency intercom system throughout the new cars. The special seating area can also accommodate strollers and bikes as the seats are always in an upright position unless needed. The route map above the doors is still there, but it has an added feature that indicates where the train is on the route, by a green or red light. When the TTC first launched the subway from Union Station to Bloor Street back in 1954 (video above) the train was called the Red Rocket, but today it is still called Rocket, but it is no longer red. There are still station announcements, so you know when to get off the train, and you can actually understand what they are saying.

It was overheard by one of the Inspectors on the train today, “It seems to be running slower than the other trains,” and this may because, they are just driving slower in the initial release. One way of catching the New Rocket, if you have the time, is wait at a station where the passenger area is between the tracks, like Union Station, Yorkdale, York Mills and many others, that way you can catch either train, without running up/down the stairs.

Representatives from all levels of government (Federal, Provincial and Mayor Rob Ford) were on hand to cut the ribbon this morning at Downsview Station when the train made it’s first public run from there to Finch Station.

A little TTC trivia:  When the Yonge subway was built in the early 1950′s the engineers felt that another subway line may be built in the future, so they actually built a dummy station under the Queen Street station near the Eaton Centre. You can’t see it, but it can be accessed by TTC employees where you walk under the tracks to go between north or southbound trains. At the Bloor/Bay Street station there is a fully functional train station underneath the Bay Station, which is used mostly for commercials and films, but was also built to accommodate future expansions, which never happened.

In June 2011 the city announced the start of a tunnel expansion to York University and further to Vaughan, and the boring machine is currently underway working it’s way northwest. In 1913 Edmund W. Burke   the architect who designed and built the arch bridge, Prince Edward Viaduct,   envisioned that in the future there may be a train that would travel across, so he built the structure with the anticipation that a train would travel from the west of the Don Valley to the Danforth, at Broadview and of course we know that as the Bloor subway which was build in 1966. The 1951 vintage refurbished streetcar is still in service and is available for private rental, but it still runs along Queens Quay from Union Station every Sunday during the summer months, a great outing for the whole family.
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Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything
@dandmb50

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Jarvis St became one big bike lane at ‘Save Jarvis’ Wednesday as 1400 bikers showed up

Toronto, CANADA -  Jarvis St. in downtown Toronto became one big bike lane yesterday as a reported 1400 cyclists turned up to protest the cancelling of the bike lanes by city council.In an attempt to make Toronto a more bike friendly community, city council approved bike lanes on Jarvis Street last year at a cost of around $200,000 and just last week they made an about face and decided to discontinue the lanes at the cost of another $200,000. While many world class cities are building “Protected bike lanes” that keep traffic out of cyclists area for safety concerns, Toronto is removing a major bike lane in downtown Toronto. Mayor Rob Ford is trying to save the city money and yet paying to cancel something that is currently working, bike lanes on Jarvis, is actually costing the city extra money.

Rob Ford cuts hurt us all

The plan is to cancel Jarvis Street bike lanes then build new lanes (unprotected) on Sherbourne Street which is one block to the west. Many at the protest disagree. “It just doesn’t make any sense, and instead of cancelling lanes they should concentrate on building bike lanes that protect riders from injury,” said Joanne from Toronto. “We’re going in the wrong direction, instead of eliminating bike lanes the city should be encouraging more lanes to assist cyclists in riding safely,” commented Jonathan from the west end.

Car free yesterday as bike lane protesters take over Jarvis St.There was a plan in the previous administration to build protected bike lanes on University Avenue but that was put on hold and although we have several bike lanes throughout the city we still don’t have any protected bike lanes where cars are kept out by having poles all along the route. All the majority of the protesters want, is a safe environment where they can ride without fear of being hit by cars. “We are taxpayers too and have every right to ride the roads of the city in a safe way, and Mayor Ford and his council have made a bad decision, with the turnout today it’s obvious people want bike lanes,” said David from North York.
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Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything
@dandmb50

Do you put your toddlers in seats on your bike? Is this safe for the children? It’s too dangerous for me to ride ‘alone’ in Toronto

Toronto, CANADA -  I see these bikes with toddler carriers on the back all over the downtown busy streets and yesterday I saw this one, with two toddler seats attached to the bike. Is it just me, or does this seem a little dangerous for the children? I agree it may be fun for the child with a helmet, but I think this borders on child abuse, to ride around downtown Toronto on the main streets, with a child buckled into one of these seats. The head may be protected but what about the rest of the toddlers body, do they have padding on the child? Do these parents take their child, skydiving with a helmet on, or bungee jumping?
It just does not make any logical sense to me, but maybe I am wrong. I love riding my bike in the city and often go down to the bike trails on the lakefront, but for me, just getting there safely, is my concern. We have bike lanes on some city streets and they recently built one on a major throughway on Jarvis Street about a year ago which cost about $200,000 and now city council has decided to eliminate it, at another $200,000.

What we need in this city is protected bike lanes, where a vehicle can not turn into the bike lanes, since the city is encouraging biking within the downtown core, they must protect the adult riders from vehicular traffic. More and more each week I see these electric bikes, and they are becoming another problem, since there is no license required, no insurance, and very little training. I have seen them riding down sidewalks, without any helmets, because there is no requirement to do so.

What do you think, is this safe for the children in a large busy city to have them riding on the back of their parents bikes?

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Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything
@dandmb50



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