AN “AUTHENTIC BALLET PRINCE” COMES HOME TO TORONTO FROM STUTTGART

EVANMCKIE1 Principal Dancer EVAN McKIE is leaving the Stuttgart Ballet after 13 years, and returning to his hometown and the National Ballet of Canada. Born in TORONTO and educated at Canada’s National Ballet School, he has received critical acclaim for many roles including Hamlet, Onegin, Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty and Albrecht in Giselle.

He has appeared with Moscow’s Bolshoi, the Paris Opera Ballet, and companies in South America and Japan. With the renowned Stuttgart Ballet, he performed in many commissioned new works.

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Artistic Director, National Ballet of Canada, KAREN KAIN: “Evan is a very intelligent dancer and has the spirit of a true artist. He loves the contemporary and the process of creation but also absolutely embodies the danseur noble.”

EVAN McKIE; “The National Ballet has a rich history and its own strong identity. It has a bright future. I’m excited that I’ll be a part of it.”

<PHOTOS – Aleksandar Antonijevic and Patricio Melo>

PHOTOGRAPHER JOSEPH HARTMAN IS DRAWN TO HAMILTON’S “GRITTY PERSONALITY”

HAMILTON2HAMILTON (known in some circles as The Hammer) is Canada’s steeltown – a city of factories and smoke-laden skylines – roughly 40 miles (65 kilometres) southwest of TORONTO. With a population of about 500,000, Greater Hamilton boasts one of the country’s top universities, a growing arts community, one daily newspaper, a major medical centre, a botanic garden, television station and fine art gallery.  <PHOTO ABOVE – Hamilton from Devil’s Punch Bowl/2009>

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JOSEPH HARTMAN, a Hamilton resident, has spent 7 years photographing his city’s East End, a cross-section of working class neighbourhoods and the surrounding landscape. With globalization, times are tough these days – marked by desolate downtown streets and the increase of low end stores. The citizenry waits for a rebirth as heavy industry slowly, but surely, leaves town.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Joseph Hartman by Scott Gardner, Hamilton Spectator>

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“Hamilton isn’t a perfect sort of idyllic kind of place, but there is a beauty which I think is quite unique. There’s a lot of resilience in Hamilton. There’s this sort of gritty personality and I mean that in a good way,” Hartman says.
“I love that Hamilton’s not trying to pretend to be something else. Hamilton’s happy with what it is.”

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<PHOTOS ABOVEGage Park/2008; Feast/2010; Canada Street/2010; Hughson Street/2011; Hamilton From Above Sherman Avenue/2011>

REGENT PARK’S NEW PLAYGROUND AND CENTRAL PARK ARE MAKING REAL PROGRESS

For an inner-city park it’s a big one. REGENT PARK, the eastside’s massive, multi-phased redevelopment is transforming a swath of downtown TORONTO into something real good. <PHOTO BELOW – aerial of Central Park and surroundings, ChesterCopperpot>

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Several public housing and market-value buildings have gone up, with many more to come (15-20 altogether). There’s a new Aquatics Centre designed by MJM Architects; the Daniels Spectrum, home to several small theatre companies; soccer playing fields, an under-construction community centre, basketball courts, a restaurant, coffee shop, bank and supermarket – quite a change from the dodgy Regent Park of old.

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Regent Park is also seeing progress in the form of re-envisioned public spaces. The Central Park playground will open soon, while work continues on the west side lawn, a water play area, greenhouse, community gardens, a dogs-off-leash area, lighting and public art.

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Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and The Daniels Corporation are working together on this development.

The Planning Partnership designed the park. Based in TORONTO, The Planning Partnership prepares policies, plans, designs and studies related to new communities, campuses, waterfronts, open spaces, urban corridors and downtowns in Canada, the United States, China and Russia.

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LOOK WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH A PARKING PAD. THIS ONE’S ON BRITAIN STREET.

BRITAIN STREET, situated between a rather rundown Queen Street East and up-and-coming Richmond, is home to a number of small media companies. One little parking pad demands your attention. All it took was fresh paint, tea cups, bird houses, an old window frame, and a sculpture with green eyes that light up, and parking pad becomes art.

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Our oldest tavern – the Wheat Sheaf – has been serving up the drink since 1849

A designated historic landmark, TORONTO’s Wheat Sheaf Tavern is still in business – after 165 years.  PHOTO BELOW – the old Wheat Sheaf, 1964, http://www.chuckmantorontoostalgia.wordpress.com

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Until 1969, only men were allowed on the premises, but that’s all over now.  Today, the Wheat Sheaf is a sports bar open to one-and-all, with 13 wide-screen televisions, heavy wooden tables, athletes photos on the walls, a cornucopia of draft beer, and rooms upstairs.  It’s one of a diminishing number of old downtown taverns.  You’ll find the Wheat Sheaf at 667 King Street West.

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TORONTO ZOO, ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST, WORKS TO SAVE ENDANGERED SPECIES

zoo2 Over the past ten years there’ve been many new arrivals at TORONTO ZOO, located on the doorstep of Canada’s newest and largest urban national park (Rouge National Urban Park). Among them – first birth of Sumatran tiger cubs in Canada; first hatchings of Komodo Dragons in Canada; two endangered Amur (Siberian) tiger cubs born; two rare snow leopard cubs born; Hudson the polar bear born; Mstari – the 17th Masai Giraffe born at the Toronto Zoo; Ngozi, a Western lowland gorilla gave birth to a healthy female baby in January; and Luke, a zebra foal arrived last November.

TORONTO ZOO’s Gabriela Mastromonaco is the only full-time reproductive physiologist in a Canadian zoo. She works with two permanent staff and a team of wildlife organizations, governments, universities, other zoos and researchers to help conceive healthy offspring.

PHOTOS BELOW – Ngozi, a Western lowland gorilla and her newborn, January 10/2014; Luke, a zebra foal born in November/2013; feeding time for a new-born polar bear cub

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It’s easy to get to TORONTO ZOO – 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.

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MONO’S JIM MENKEN CARVES DAMAGED TREES INTO SCULPTURES – IT’S HIS PASSION

JIM MENKEN is a genius with a chain saw. Once a teacher by profession with a background in landscaping, his full-time passion is carving. Home base is MONO in Dufferin County, an hour northwest of TORONTO, close to the Bruce Trail and the Hockley Valley, where he’s surrounded by nature.

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A stellar example of Jim’s work has just appeared in Riverdale Park West at Carlton Street. It’s close to Riverdale Farm and a Don Valley nature reserve. To see more of Jim’s work go to http://www.jimmenken.com

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