Colonel Samuel Smith Skating Trail, Kipling at Lakeshore Blvd.


One of TORONTO’s newest and largest waterfront parks is located in the west end.  It’s a sanctuary for wild life of all kinds, a favourite bird-watching location, and now home to an ice skating park – par excellence.  A former power plant houses change areas, skate sharpening facility and the washrooms.  <PHOTOS – James Melvin and City of Toronto Parks>

UNSUPERVISED SKATING: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm; SUPERVISED: Monday-Friday, 5-10pm; Saturday, Sunday, 9am-10pm
GETTING THERE BY CAR: exit the Queen Elizabeth Way/Gardiner at Kipling Avenue, and drive south; BY PUBLIC TRANSIT: subway to KIPLING station, and then #44 bus southbound to the park’s turnaround.


Check these websites for more information: and

Mr. (Steve) Martin takes Mr. (Lawren) Harris to LOS ANGELES

LAWRENHARRIS1<STEVE MARTIN, photographed by Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles TimesThe Art Gallery of Ontario has announced that actor-musician-comedian-banjo player-contemporary art collector, STEVE MARTIN, will co-curate a major exhibition of work by Canada’s LAWREN HARRIS for the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2015.  Plans are to tour the exhibit after its California debut, to other American cities, ending up back at the AGO.

LAWRENHARRIS9<LAWREN HARRIS, photographed by M. O. Hammond, April 25, 1926>  Mr. Harris, founder of the Group of Seven, is a Canadian iconic painter.  There are large collections of his work on exhibit at the AGO in TORONTO and the McMichael Collection in KLEINBERG, Ontario.  <IMAGES BELOW – Lawren Harris paints Toronto streets in the snow, 1920-1930;  “North Shore, Lake Superior”, 1926; and “Mount Lefroy”, 1930>




Folks on Leuty & Violet Avenues raise flags, funds & food for Daily Bread Food Bank

FLAGS1  Again this year residents of Leuty and Violet Avenues in the Beach are auctioning flags to raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank.  Dozens of families are working on the project.  Running every day until Dec. 25, one house on Queen Street and two dozen on Leuty and Violet Avenues will fly a holiday flag.  Inspired by Advent calendars and ranging from abstracts to landscapes, the art flags will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder on this website –


<FLAGS ABOVE – Flag #1 by Benedict Hilliard & Michelynn Laflèche; Flag #2 by Rachel, Maddie, Lindsay, Nathan, Candice and Lori>


<ABOVE – Flag #4 by Don, Jane and Mia>

Da Mao and Er Shun get cash registers jingling at Toronto’s Zoo

PANDAS1There’s nothing like a giant panda duo to bring in the visitors.  Between May 17 and October 31, Toronto Zoo attendance went up by 32%, with 252,000 more visitors than the same time in 2012.  Retail sales are ahead by $691,000 due to the popularity of panda-oiserie.  This money goes into operations and the Zoo’s species survival programs.  The Toronto Zoo is paying $1-million annually to China’s panda conservation program.  The two bears eat roughly 450 kilograms of imported bamboo weekly, flown in at a cost of $200,000 per year.  Da Mao and Er Shun are on loan for five years, and then they’ll move on to Calgary for another five.


TORONTO’s Zoo is located in the East End of the city in the rolling hills of the Rouge Valley.  It’s easy to get there – by car, from downtown, take the 401 Eastbound to Exit 389, Meadowvale Road.  Follow the Zoo signs to 361A Old Finch Avenue.  Large parking lot.  By TTC bus, take the subway (Sheppard Line) to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from here, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.  Along the way, you’ll pass through suburban Don Mills and Scarborough.