TORONTO’S VAST RAVINE SYSTEM LINKS US TO ‘THE GREAT OUTDOORS‘ – THEY’RE OUR MOUNTAINS

ravines5 TORONTO is not a flat, featureless sprawl. A network of deep ravines form a large urban forest that runs up, down and crossways through the city – miles and miles of them. Cultivated parkland, bike and walking trails have been created in some parts, but large sections have been left as nature intended. The ravines are home to families of raccoons, squirrels, red foxes, rabbits and the occasional coyote.

ravines1There are four major groups of ravines, and many smaller ones.  In the west – the Humber River and Black Creek.  To the east, the Don River ravine, which branches off into the Rosedale Ravine, West Don, East Don and Taylor-Massey Creek.  Scarborough is home to two large ravine systems – Highland Creek and the Rouge River system – and there are others in Etobicoke and Mimico.

ravines4Because the network is so vast, most ravines are deserted much of the time. Crimes seldom occur, but it’s probably unwise to go on solitary walks through the wilder stretches carrying the family jewels. Some parts are gay cruising areas. Others have been settled by the homeless, who live in fairly elaborate temporary structures.  Overall though, the ravines are safe, and the popular interconnected bike paths allow you to explore the west side, pass by the Lake Ontario shoreline, and then go on up the east side.  Connections can be made to the Martin Goodman Trail, leading to the Beach and Queens Quay.

ravines3<PHOTOS ABOVE – Chuckman’s Toronto Nostalgia; Nightshade Bike Crew>

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CHINA’S NEW MEGALOPOLIS – JING-JIN-JI – WILL BE MORE THAN 4 TIMES AS POPULOUS AS CANADA

JING-JIN-JI1The numbers are staggering. Canadians cannot imagine a supercity bigger than Uruguay with a population of 130-million. But, in an effort to rein in ultra-expensive BEIJING, the Chinese government is expanding the surrounding region and incorporating the port city of TIANJIN (population 8-10 million) and the hinterlands of Hebei Province into one.

JING-JIN-JI3       <PHOTO ABOVE – the port city of TIANJIN>  BEIJING will be the creative and cultural centre of the 82,000-square-mile megalopolis, with TIANJIN providing economic muscle. Satellite towns and cities will be connected by high-speed rail. Already 25-storey housing blocks are stretching to the horizon, so this project is well underway.

JING-JIN-JI7JING-JIN-JI, as the region is called, gets its name from “Jing” for Beijing, “Jin” for Tianjin and “Ji”, the traditional name for Hebei Province.

JING-JIN-JI2<PHOTO ABOVE – taken by the Expedition 26 crew, NASA, 2010; Beijing on the upper left, Tianjin bottom right>

JING-JIN-JI8 <PHOTO – high-speed rail, Tianjin to Beijing>  Much has been written about the plan – the latest being a New York Times article with photos and a video. The address – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/20/world/asia/in-china-a-supercity-rises-around-beijing.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1&gwh=F3C087331CB90C718B35CF1C3515C6D5&gwt=pay&assetType=nyt_now

TORONTO RAILWAY HERITAGE CENTRE AND MUSEUM, 225 BREMNER BLVD., SOUTH OF UNION STATION

RRHERITAGE1TORONTO has always been a major railroading town – and still is, although much of the trackage these days can be found in distant suburbs. The Railway Heritage Centre and Museum, well worth a visit, is proving popular with folks of all ages. The park itself – dotted with rolling stock – is free.

RRHERITAGE2Subway stop – UNION, and then walk south on York Street to 255 Bremner Boulevard (opposite the Convention Centre)

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CHANDELIER REFITTED WITH URANIUM GLASS BEADS & UV BULBS STARS IN ‘CAMERA ATOMICA’

CHANDELIER1The star of ‘Camera Atomica’ at the Art Gallery of Ontario is this acid-green antique chandelier – one of 31 – created by Japanese-Australian artists Ken and Julia Yonetani to commemorate the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Representing Canada’s nuclear program, it’s the centrepiece of a large exhibit of photographs, installations and objects from the Atomic Age. Until November 15/2015.  <PHOTO – Jennifer Roberts/Globe and Mail>

THE ROYAL BANK OF CANADA’S CORRUGATED GOLDEN TOWERS HAVE 14,000 WINDOWS

rbc4RBC Plaza, headquarters of the Royal Bank of Canada, was erected in the late seventies, after moving to TORONTO from Montreal.  On sunny days, the gold-bronze glass windows with tan granite accents set in angular bays, act as giant reflector boards.  Wellington Street West at Bay Street.

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