From the ultimate window seat, CHRIS HADFIELD photographs Canada in winter

 Born in SARNIA, Ontario in 1959, former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, now astronaut, CHRIS HADFIELD, is circling the globe aboard the International Space Station.  Besides being an astronaut, he’s an excellent photographer.  His images are appearing in newspapers and other media around the world.

As the Space Station passes over the largest country in the world – Canada – Chris has been taking photographs of our landscape, cities and towns.  He’s also been busy talking with school kids via satellite, doing lengthy interviews on CBC radio and television, and even “dropping” the puck for last week’s Montreal-Toronto NHL game.  Toronto won by the way.

PHOTOS BY CHRIS HADFIELD BELOW1)  Toronto by day;  2) Montreal by day; 3) Toronto (left), Montreal (right), 350 miles in between: 4) Winnipeg; 5) Quebec City by night; 6) Detroit (top), Windsor, Ontario (bottom) by night 7) Calgary; and 8) Vancouver, British Columbia.

To learn more about Canada’s Space Program, check out the Canadian Space Agency @


There are 17 ‘Walker’s Paradises’ in TORONTO. Believe it!

MONTYPYTHON<Ministry of Silly Walks, Monty Python’s Flying Circus>

Of 1200 Canadian neighbourhoods surveyed by WALKSCORE,, 30 of them were tagged ‘Walker’s Paradises’, scoring 90% or higher.  TORONTO has 17 of them.  VANCOUVER 3.  (Naw, couldn’t be.  Could it?)

The Walkscore website rates Canada’s Top 10 most walkable large cities . . .
1. Vancouver (Walk Score = 78)
2. Toronto (Walk Score = 71)
3. Montreal (Walk Score = 70)
4. Mississauga (Walk Score = 59)
5. Ottawa (Walk Score = 54)
6. Winnipeg (Walk Score = 53)
7. Edmonton (Walk Score = 51)
8. Hamilton (Walk Score = 51)
9. Brampton (Walk Score = 48)
10. Calgary (Walk Score = 48)

* Toronto Public Health study recently found overwhelming consumer preference for walkable neighbourhoods with easy access to public transit.  Futhermore, people living in walkable neighbourhoods have lower body weights and walkable neighbourhoods contribute to better air quality and traffic reduction.
* People who live in walkable areas are 2.4 times more likely to get the required daily amount of physical activity (Government of Canada).
* One point of Walk Score adds up to US$3,000 in home values according to independent research conducted by CEOs for Cities.

Stantec Window Gallery was recently exhibited at Barcelona’s Architecture Festival

The former McGregor Sock Factory on Spadina Avenue now has its own contemporary art gallery.  Housed in the entranceway, the Stantec Window Gallery is free of charge, and open to all who pass by – pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, streetcar riders, skateboarders and vampires (we have plenty of those in Toronto).  Curated by the office, artists are given some funding to create their installations.

STANTEC1Currently on exhibit: Weave” by Margo Whitfield and Nicole Liao.  Their installation is inspired by textiles. (PHOTO BELOW)


The Scadding townhouse & Scadding cabin connect us to Toronto’s past

SCADDING5SCADDING1TRINITY SQUARE, cradled by the Eaton Centre and a stone’s throw from City Hall, was home to the Reverend Henry Scadding from 1862 to 1901.  His modest brick townhouse, with its little balcony, sits between downtown’s largest indoor shopping centre and Church of the Holy Trinity.

This Gothic Revival church was built in 1847 by architect Henry Bower Lane, with funds provided by Mary Lambert Swale of Sette, England.  Holy Trinity was the fourth Anglican church in Toronto, after St. James Cathedral, Little Trinity and St. George the Martyr.

HENRY SCADDING, a native of Devonshire, came to Upper Canada in 1821.  He was educated at Cambridge University and Upper Canada College, and was ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1838.  In that same year, he was appointed Master of Classics at Upper Canada College, and nine years later rector of  the Church of the Holy Trinity –  next door.  He served until 1875.

The townhouse, which complements the church, was designed by Scottish architect William Hay.  In this house, Scadding wrote numerous religious, literary and historical works, including his best-known books, ‘Toronto of Old’(1873) and, in collaboration with J.C. Dent, ‘Toronto: Past and Present’ (1884).


TORONTO’s oldest house, the John Scadding Cabin, was constructed by the Queen’s Rangers in 1794.  JOHN SCADDING (1754-1824), clerk to Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, and eventually the father of three sons, lived here in a single room.  The cabin, constructed of squared, white pine logs with dovetailed corners, was a typical settler’s first house.

It was originally on the east bank of the Don River.  In 1879, the York Pioneer Society moved the cabin to its present location at Exhibition Place – Toronto’s earliest example of architectural preservation.

These buildings still exist – the Church of the Holy Trinity and Henry Scadding’s townhouse in Trinity Square; and John Scadding’s log cabin at Exhibition Place.  They’ve played an important role in building our city – and the church continues to do so today.

After a 10 year reno, AMSTERDAM’s beloved Rijksmuseum has re-opened

The Dutch must be the most patient museum-goers in the world.  They’ve waited 10 years and paid out nearly $500 million to rebuild a neo-gothic, 19th century art palace in the centre of AMSTERDAM.  On April 13/2013, the Rijksmuseum opened its doors once again.  Eighty new galleries were inaugurated, showing over 8,000 objects and paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

JHML1207_8445PHOTO – Jannes Linders, Gallery of Honour, Rijksmuseum,

The building – constructed in 1885 –  is young by European standards.  It was cleaned, inside and out.  Several rooms were demolished; others rebuilt as they once were – the Gallery of Honour, the staircases, the monumental hall.   It’s one of the first times that a national museum has had a complete makeover. With 3,000 square meters of additional exhibition space, the Rijks has become a completely new museum.