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>

LORI BLONDEAU’S “ASINLY ISKWEW” IN DEVONIAN SQUARE PORTRAYS A POWERFUL ‘ROCK WOMAN’

Ryerson University has given over its Devonian Square during Scotiabank’s Contact Photography Festival to Lori Blondeau’s ‘Rock Woman’ (translated from the Cree language).

The images are adhered to 2-billion-year-old boulders transported from the Canadian Shield to downtown TORONTO. This points to issues of displacement, environmental preservation, indigenous history and connection to the land.

Adjacent to Devonian Square is the Ryerson Image Centre at 33 Gould Street. RIC is presenting three special exhibits, including photographs by Suzie Lake, which will continue until mid-August. Admission is free. Closed on Mondays. For the details go to http://www.ryerson.ca/ric

TORONTO’S ‘PATH’ SYSTEM IS THE BIG DADDY OF SUBTERRANEAN PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS

More than 50 buildings, 20 parking garages, 6 subway stations, 8 major hotels, Union Station, the CBC Broadcasting Centre, Hockey Hall of Fame, the Stock Exchange, Hudson’s Bay department store, Canada’s six banks, Roy Thomson Hall, the Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, City Hall, the Air Canada Centre and 1200 shops and services are all accessible via PATH.

About 5,000 people work in the tunnels themselves, and a few hundred thousand in the office towers above.

Altogether, TORONTO’s PATH network is 30 kilometres (19 miles) end-to-end-to-end. It contains 372,000 square metres (4 million square feet) of retail space. By comparison, the tunnel network in HOUSTON, Texas is approximately 6 miles (9.7 kilometres) long.

REMEMBERING THE TURBOTRAIN – HIGH-SPEED RAIL BETWEEN TORONTO & MONTREAL, 1968-84

It’s the closest Canada has ever come to high-speed rail.  The TurboTrain was one of the first tilting trains to enter service in both Canada and the United States.  The one above reached a top speed of 140 miles per hour, between Toronto and Montreal, in 1976.

<Concept drawing Canadian National>