I checked things out last week and, believe me, OTTAWA, Canada’s capital, has never looked better.

<PHOTOS ABOVE – looking down on the National Gallery & the chapel of the former Rideau Street Convent, 1880’s, National Gallery of Canada.>

<PHOTOS – Ottawa’s oldest bar in the By Ward Market & Changing of the Guard, 10 am each morning on Parliament Hill.>

<PHOTOS ABOVE – locks leading up to the Rideau Canal & security bollards behind the American embassy provide a nifty protected bike path.>

<PHOTO – the splendid Library of Parliament, oldest building on The Hill>

<House of Commons>

<Prime Minister’s Office Building>

<The Senate>

<The Supreme Court of Canada>

<National War Memorial & the Chateau Laurier>

<PHOTO – a Parliament Hill gopherRoss Winter>

Surrounded by several miles of green space the capital is home to some of Canada’s finest museums, a thriving music scene, super places to eat, drink and shop, a new bike network, and at the centre of it all – Parliament Hill.

Driving from TORONTO to OTTAWA take the eastbound 401 to either picturesque Highway 115 north at KINGSTON; or the much faster 416 north to the 417 into downtown OTTAWA. Exit at Metcalfe Street, and be prepared for bike paths, one-way streets and no parking zones. Advice – check into your hotel, leave the car and walk or take public transit.


Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by visiting our country’s newest national park.

Twice a day buses depart from Yonge Street at College, and 30-45 minutes later you’re in Rouge National Park this country’s first urban national park. The is free – although seats can be reserved in advance ($5 refundable deposit) at this website –

First-come, first-served free seats on all buses. Departure times from TORONTO #1 at 8:30am; #2 at 11am. From Rouge Park to TORONTO #1 at 1:00pm; #2 3:00pm; #3 5:00pm.


This yellow brick building on Dundas Street West at Spadina Avenue opened its doors in 1922 as The Standard Theatre. Designed by architect Benjamin Brown, it was home to Yiddish comedy, original Jewish and translated plays, music, and left-wing politics. It went on to become The Strand, a movie house, and from there the Victory Burlesque. These days it’s a bank, and will soon be home to a 7,000 square-foot Rexall Pharmacy Plus.

In 1961, as the Victory, it was one of three burlesque theatres in town, but by the mid-sixties the other two had disappeared. Ryerson and University of Toronto students became its most loyal fans.

Occasionally The Victory doubled as a music venue. The New York Dolls, Kiss, Iggy Pop and Rush all played there. Once TORONTO’s educational television station did a live New Year’s Eve telecast from the theatre.

Now plans are for a pharmacy at street level, and hope is a community-based space of some kind will appear on the upper levels.


Mayor JOHN TORY welcomed ROSS, an artificial intelligence company, headquartered in San Francisco to TORONTO. The company uses computers to do research for lawyers by sifting through thousands of legal documents looking for key information.

ROSS intelligence co-founder and University of Toronto graduate, ANDREW ARUDA, saysopening a research and development centre here a “no brainer.” calling the city “the hub of artificial intelligence development. TORONTO is where we always knew we had to be.” The Centre will be called ROSS North. <PHOTO – CBC>

TORONTO’s movie, animation & television production business continues to boom – from $1.13-billion in 2011 to $2.01-billion in 2016.  The outlook for 2017 is more of the same.

To help celebrate Pride Month/2017, Toronto Public Library has gathered recent and notable LGBTQ books for adults, teens the children.

TORONTO Mayor JOHN TORY has no problem with medical marijuana dispensaries, and decriminalizing smokers of small amounts of pot. “That’s something that should have been done years ago.” But he’s not keen on neighbourhood rogue pop-up pot shops.

“The federal government has said nothing about having some wide network of shops on every street corner to sell marijuana,” he said. “They’re in stable neighbourhoods and cause disruptions to families and to other retailers.”

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” With that in mind RYERSON University’s DMZ Startup Incubator has opened an outpost in New York City’s financial district. In the past, Canadian startups have moved to the US, but with this free space in Manhattan they can tap the American market while keeping their headquarters in Canada.

DMZ executive director Abdullah Snobar said “Our play here is not to get talent to leave the country; it’s to grow talent internationally.”

“The sizzling real estate market may be cooling, but not so for high-end houses in TORONTO. A foreign buyers tax hasn’t slowed them down at all. Buyers of luxury real estate have a deeper understanding of the long-term value in the market, or they simply don’t have to look at the price as carefully, say realtors specializing in high-end properties.” – Tess Kalinowski, Sunday Star

PETRINA BROMLEY & ROMANO DINILLO, the two Newfoundlanders in the cast of ‘Come From Away’ couldn’t contain themselves when their show won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.

Director CHRISTOPHER ASHLEY accepted the Tony and dedicated it to the people of Newfoundland. – The Telegram, St. John’s, Nfld. & Labrador

TORONTO artist Janet Romero has unveiled her wood-paneled mural to commemorate those who died in ORLANDO’s Pulse nightclub shooting one year ago. 49 people lost their lives when a gunman opened fire inside the Florida club – the worst mass shooting in US history.

The mural features four faces as well as natural motifs like cacti and birds. Romero wanted to simultaneously honour the Hispanic victims of the Pulse massacre as well as other groups within the LGBTQ community targeted in violent hate crimes. Her piece – at the 519 Community Centre – is entitled Still Estmaos Aqui – Spanish for “we are still here”.

Just a couple of regular guys kickin’ back at Joe Beef – Liverpool House in MONTREAL’s Little Burgundy – President Barack Obama & Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, June 13/2017


Opened in 1994, The Design Exchange – or DX – is a non-profit library, archive, art gallery, museum and resource centre in TORONTO’s Financial District.  Formerly the TSX Stock Exchange, the DX building stores the permanent collection of Canadian Industrial Design, the Clairtone, Fred Moffat and Thomas Lamb Archives . . . and designer’s galleries open to the public.

Intact on the second floor, is the deco Trading Floor of the Old Stock Exchange, with its famous clock and spectacular murals by Charles Comfort (1900-1994), who also created the frieze on the building’s facade.

 The Design Exchange mounts regular exhibitions in the ground floor galleries. Some are free.  PHOTOS – Trading floor in colour, Miles Storey/torontoist; clock and “Gold” mural detail,

<PHOTO – the Trading Floor when this was the TORONTO Stock Exchange>

Subway stop: KING, and walk to Bay, then south one block.