A BLUE WHALE’S HEART IS SURE TO BE THIS YEAR’S MAIN ATTRACTION @ ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

<PHOTO – Samantha Phillips>

The BLUE WHALE, world’s largest animal, has a heart that’s 4 feet wide, 3 & a half feet tall, and 3 feet thick. It pumps 150 litres of blood (40 gallons) per beat and weighs in at 400 pounds. This particular heart was taken from a whale that washed ashore in Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland.

<PHOTO – Lance McMillan>

David Hains in Metro News writes “4 months were needed to prepare the heart in nearly sixteen 200-litre barrels of formaldehyde. Technicians then dehydrated the heart using 22,000 litres of acetone, a process that took nearly 5 months. Then came dissection, reshaping and colouring.

“The ROM team shipped the heart to Gubener Plastinate in Germany to preserve and plastinate it, and then a team of six prepared it for shipping back to TORONTO.” The heart and the whale’s skeletal remains are on display until September 4 at the Royal Ontario Museum in TORONTO.

<PHOTO – Lance McMillan>

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FROM THE CABBAGETOWN/REGENT PARK MUSEUM – TWO LONG-GONE PARLIAMENT STREET CINEMAS

The Eclipse, 389 Parliament Street, made way for apartment buildings in North Regent Park in the mid-1950’s. It was quite normal for Cabbagetown theatres to show out-of-date movies, and The Eclipse was one of them. <PHOTO – The Eclipse, July 27, 1949. City of Toronto Arcives.>

The Bluebell Theatre, later named The Gay, stood next to Frenchie’s Fish & Chips on Parliament at Dundas. After a renovation, it didn’t take long to again become a dump. According to the Museum, the Bluebell’s floor was coated with gallons of spilled soda pop making it very sticky. Saturday matinees could get so rowdy that there was a bouncer on hand to throw troublemakers out.

CARVED FROM BACKYARDS OF NEIGHBOURING HOMES, CRAVEN ROAD’S ‘TINY TOWN’ HOUSES ARE UNIQUE

“As TORONTO continues to be surrounded by more and more condo buildings, it is fun being reminded that somewhere near these gigantic high-rise buildings lives a world of little spaces. Craven Road and the Tiny House Society have managed to prove that a few hundred square feet is more than enough space to live comfortably — even among rooms full of history.” – Spacing Magazine

CRAVEN ROAD is reachable by the Queen Street East and Dundas East streetcar lines. The subway stop is COXWELL.

THE TOLLKEEPER’S COTTAGE – RESCUED & REBUILT BY VOLUNTEERS – IS NOW A HERITAGE MUSEUM

In the 1800’s private companies were contracted to build, improve and maintain roads in (what was then called) Upper Canada.  This was costly, so to pay for upkeep, all users were charged a small toll.  A tollkeeper’s cottage – the oldest survivor anywhere in Canada – was discovered in 1993 attached to a house in the Davenport/Bathurst Street neighbourhood.  <PHOTO ABOVE – cottage when discovered, with original window intact, 1996>

In 1996 the Community History Project rescued the cottage and transported it to a temporary location inside the Toronto Transit Commission’s Wychwood Barns site.  A Tollkeeper’s Fund was setup while volunteers searched for a permanent site.  <PHOTOS ABOVE – Cottage transported to the TTC Wychwood Barns>

<PHOTOS BELOW – volunteers apply replacement clapboard with handmade nails; cedar roof goes on; chimney rebuilt with handmade bricks, 2002/2003>

The Cottage was eventually moved to 750 Davenport Road, where it sits today, surrounded by its very own namesake park.  Additions were made to the rear of the building, providing space for a museum and interpretive centre.  The Cottage is a block or so from the very unique Wychwood Park neighbourhood.  <PHOTO BELOW – Opening Day, July 1, 2008>

For background info and museum opening times: http://www.tollkeeperscottage.ca