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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CKGW WAS TORONTO’S RADIO VOICE OF A FAMOUS DISTILLERY DURING PROHIBITION

ckgw1 With studios in the King Edward Hotel and transmitters in Bowmanville, CKGW was the radio voice of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery.  It was on-air in the 1920’s and 30’s, coinciding with the US Prohibition era.  <PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives>

ckgw2FULL DISCLOSURE: While the United States was under strict alcohol control around this time, TORONTO was busy making excellent booze in the Distillery District, and shipping it across the border.

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WYCHWOOD PARK, CA1870, A FORMER ARTISTS ENCLAVE, IS HIDDEN IN THE HEART OF THE CITY

WYCHWOODPARK1WYCHWOOD PARK was founded as a private artists colony by painter Marmaduke Matthews (his Autumn Still Life/1888′ below) and businessman Alexander Jardin.  It exists intact to this day.  Mr. Matthews’ home, Wychwood, #6 (BELOW), still stands, beside another 60 houses built around a small pond, which is actually a dammed up Taddle Creek.  http://www.lostrivers.ca

wychwoodpark101wychwoodpark71wychwoodpark4wychwoodpark5WYCHWOOD PARK is our only neighbourhood with a warning sign for quicksand and one of the few still lit by TORONTO’S old streetlamps.  Some of the houses have spectacular downtown views.  The village combines rusticity and exclusivity; house prices here run into the millions.  Adjacent are the Wychwood Car Barns.

wychwoodpark8 Getting to WYCHWOOD PARK – take the St. Clair streetcar #512 to Wychwood, and then walk south.

“WE’RE NOT WORTHY” SAID THE SQUIRRELS TO THE GIANT ACORN – @GIGGYHERTZ

JOELWEEKS2 TORONTO has thousands of squirrels, but I doubt “worthiness” has ever crossed their minds. Our black squirrels are interested in much more than acorns. They chew on wires, sharpen their teeth on window frames, perform acrobatics, inspect garbage cans, tease cats, destroy gardens, and generally make themselves at home.

JOELWEEKS3Sculptor Mary Anne Barkhouse has immortalized four of them in bronze. In JOEL WEEKS PARK, behind Queen Street East at Carroll Street in Riverside, four worshipful rodents surround a giant nut.

JOELWEEKS4JOELWEEKS1Who was JOEL WEEKS, and why was a city park named after him? He was an 8-year-old charismatic youngster who drowned in a Riverside sewer pipe in 1982. Formerly this area was known as Don Mount, a public housing project, with few places for children to play. During a game of hide-and-seek, Joel crawled through a 9-inch opening into a sanitary sewer, and that’s where firefighters found him four hours later. This park was named in his memory.

LOOKING DOWN ON THE GRANGE, ONE OF OUR OLDEST REMAINING BRICK BUILDINGS

GRANGE1 Built in 1817, The Grange was the first home of the Art Museum of TORONTO (now the Art Gallery of Ontario).  Recently renovated, it’s the twelfth oldest surviving building in the city.

GRANGE2IMAGE ABOVE – “The Grange”, painted ca1840 by British artist Henry Bowyer Lane, (1817-78)

THE PAN AM GAMES OPEN AND THE CN TOWER KNOCKS ITSELF OUT

The CN Tower, TORONTO’s principal icon, played its role on opening night of the Pan American Games. As the celebration began world-champion sprinter DONOVAN BAILEY jumped off the Tower and parachuted down onto the stadium roof (shades of Her Majesty dropping into the London Olympics). As he was lowered inside, torch in hand, the crowd went wild.

Two hours later, following a brilliant performance by Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil, came the lighting of the giant Pan Am Torch outside. That was the cue for the CN Tower to put on a short, but brilliant, light and fireworks show.  Even the cranky Toronto Sun was impressed.

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