“Ross and I decided to hit the road & enjoy another of Ontario’s colourful cities.”

MISSISSAUGA’s population is about 722,000 and TORONTO numbers about 6,300,000. They both offer a lot. The challenge is finding a way to get into Mississauga. By our mistake we by-passed a highway entrance and found ourselves in an expensive-looking suburb of beautiful houses with plenty of trees. We drove forever it seemed. The Marilyn Monroe towers popped up on the horizon. We managed to find underground parking, and then met a young man in a tourism booth. He highlighted several places worth seeing. We began by walking through Mississauga City Hall and its surroundings. This was well worth exploring. We stopped and admired a painting of Hazel McCallion , former Mayor of Mississauga, who was elected in 1978, retired in 2014 after putting in 36 years with her rapidly growing city. Ross and I realized the City Centre was filled with skyscrapers. Some were plain, but several were spectacular. We spent more time walking around, enjoying a muffin, taking in the urban scene of Ontario’s third largest city. Neither of us found it boring, even when some of the shops were closed because of the pandemic. MISSISSAUGA has a mind of its own. It has a fine downtown  with shops, restaurants, higher education institutions and malls, lakes, and all kinds of people – 23% of residents are of non-European descent; 8% Chinese; 7% Black; 5% Arab; 5% Filipino; as well as Latin Americans, Koreans and Southeast Asians. Mississauga Transit buses serve within Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, and Hamilton areas. GO Trains provide service between Toronto’s Union Station and the eastern suburbs. It offers three main lines: the Kitchener line, Lakeshore West line, and the Barrie line. So public transit is available in many locations. Even Car Shares are easily available for getting home late at night when public transit arrives less frequently. All in all Ontario’s MISSISSAUGA is one great city.

THE 2021 ROYAL AGRICULTURAL WINTER FAIR WON’T TAKE PLACE IN PERSON THIS YEAR. IT WILL IN 2022.

The 2021 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will not take place in person this year. Instead the organization is looking forward to welcoming guests to its 100th anniversary celebration in 2022. The Royal’s Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the 2021 in favour of returning to an education focused online experience this year — in NOVEMBER 2022, The Royal will mark its 100th Anniversary then. Plans are to make it bigger and stronger than ever, and looking forward to celebrating with one-and-all. “As uncertainty surrounds COVID-19 it became clear we weren’t going to be able to host The Royal in its traditional way,” stated Charlie Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer at The Royal. But don’t forget NOVEMBER 2022!

‘HUGH’S ROOM LIVE’ MIGHT HAVE FOUND A NEW PLACE TO CALL HOME ON BROADVIEW AVENUE

The original ‘Hugh’s Room’ was established in Toronto’s West End Rochesvalles neighbourhood in 2001. It was a mixture of supper club and music room hosted by Odetta, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Richie Havens and Loudon Wainwright III, among many others. Then it began losing money in 2017 as it was turned into non-profit ‘Hugh’s Room Live’.  Three years later reality struck and Hugh’s left its home because the lease was beyond reach. The plan then became searching for space to purchase, and they thought they’d found one on Broadview Avenue, just south of Gerrard Street in the East End. One difficulty was dealing with property taxes, reduced 50% by the City for being a music venue for owners and operators.   Hugh’s’ had to face this until he had occupied the new building for one year. Raising $2-million would be a challenge for anyone these days, and surviving on arts music organizations that meant planning to do something innovative. If all works well a retired carpenter, Andrew Smith, devoted himself to live music, and was making miniature city music venues. He named one of them the old Hugh’s Room and some other silent venues with the name ‘Toronto, Lost Music City’. Will Broadview’s old church be a success? This may well be a triumph! There’s been good luck before for Hugh’s and there might be plenty more coming.

NOTHING MUCH BETTER THAN CANADIAN FORCES ‘SNOWBIRDS’ FLYING OVER TORONTO ON A SUNDAY A.M.

The Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds took to the air on a Sunday (about two years ago) as part of their cross-Canada tour inspiring hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. Snow and hail hit the city on Saturday but on Sunday’s mild Mother’s Day their planes took off. The Snowbirds were without a doubt expected to show up and they did. After flying over Toronto and landing at Pearson International, the pilots kept on with their next destination set for just after noon. By the close of that day there were already 35 new deaths and 308 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Ontario.

TORONTO STAR – QUEBEC’S CREATIVE SIDE – CLEVER PEOPLE & BUSINESSES WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED.

First-off you need to know about COVID-19. “Consult the provincial website for most up-to-date information, and contact individual businesses to confirm how they’re currently operating.” From Dean Lisk – Special to the Toronto Star – Wheels take a road trip through Montreal <and the efficient Metro> learning more about the people, culture and history of Ontario’s eastern neighbour.” This week we’re exploring Montréal. In the morning, grab some bagels from iconic spots like the famous St. Viateur Bagel Shop (since 1957) . <Photo – Sesame the Bagel  holds court on the streets of Montreal as the mascot of St. Viateur Bagel.> After Sesame why not head to Mont Royal Park and its iconic Catholic cross.  <Photo from The Gazette> Head inside the Biodome in Montréal’s Olympic Park. Walking through the expansive building you’ll encounter plants and animals from North and South America, including a tropical rainforest with penguins from Antarctica, and the Laurentian Forest. In the Afternoon – bread, pastries, cheeses and coffee at one of the city markets such as the Jean Talon Market in Little Italy, or The Atwater close to the Lachine Canal. If you want to learn more about the markets Spade and Palacio offers ‘Beyond the Market Walking Tour’ starting in May, and a 2-hour ‘Mural Art Tour’ including 20 massive works from 2-9 storeys high. In the evening – take one of the climate control gondolas at the Grande Roue de Montréal. (This is a Ferris wheel built at the Old Port of Montreal for festivities on the 375th anniversary of the city.) Located in the Old Port the wheel soars 60-metres high, offering one-of-a-kind views of the city and St. Lawrence River.

After that, explore Old Montréal and enjoy dinner at one of its amazing restaurants. On DAY 2 – Leave Montréal and cross the Samuel de Champlain Bridge <A new bridge, photo below> to Quebec’s Eastern Townships,  along with small bridges and cities between the St. Lawrence River and The  Border of The United States of America.

AMERICA’S BALD EAGLES HAVE BEEN WELL PROTECTED FOR SURE – UNTIL RECENTLY

Much as we admire them, they’re facing a serious threat – namely lead poisoning. Scientists believe the primary lead source comes from hunter’s ammunitions. Evidence was found in feathers, bones, livers or blood of 1,200 bald eagles and golden eagles. Often taking in lead poisoning can lead to death and slow population growth. A surprise to me while driving through Cape Breton, Nova Scotia were two Bald Eagles landing in the middle of the highway. The number of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) visiting Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley during the winter has increased dramatically. On the roads during January and February, one easily counts several hundred eagles and may see more than 30 perched in a single tree. <Photo – Bald Eagles congregated at a Sheffield Mills feeding area in the Eastern Annapolis Valley. Credit – Rick Harley> Most Nova Scotia eagle nests are found on Cape Breton Island, around Bras D’or Lake in areas of shallow water and irregular coastlines. Nests are common along coasts of Antigonish and Pictou counties. They like mainlands on lakes, rivers, and coastal bays. <Information from The N. S. Department of Lands & Forests.>

THE NEW ‘NORTH’ SAINT LAWRENCE MARKET IS GOING UP AND IT’S WELL UNDERWAY.

Lawrence Hall and both the North and South Market buildings have served as landmarks for more than 200 years and remain the most valuable of our city’s historical complexes. Work continues on replacing Toronto’s 1968-built North St Lawrence Market structure.  It’s been wearing out.  The new creation by Rogers Stirk Harbour+ Partners will replace the old former one-storey North structure with new multi-levels. The South building opened in 1845 as Toronto’s City Hall and municipal complex contains a major public market, and in an upper level there’s an art gallery (which may or may not always be open). You’ll find the Saint Lawrence Market Complex, North and South on the southwest corner of Front and Lower Jarvis Streets.  <Photo below shows the completely finished North structure as it will be>

 

WE THOUGHT IT WAS GONE FOREVER, BUT “NO” THE SUNDAY ANTIQUES MARKET WILL NO DOUBT BE BACK

Sundays just wouldn’t be the same without the St. Lawrence Sunday Antiques Market with folks selling vintage collectables of all kinds – jewelry, photography, books, paintings – the works. Unfortunately the Market was opening-and-closing there  for some time.

Now things are looking up. Marlene Cook, the owner and organizer for thirty years, pays a fee to the city and rents the space and tables to about 130 regular venders. Ms. Cook once said “We know how important we are to the community and to tourism . . . Not just the dealers are losing if they aren’t selling, but other dealers buy off those dealers and put their (items) into auctions. That feeds those who trade and make money.” <photo below – a great day both inside and out when the Market is open.  May it continue real soon!>

SUNNYSIDE IS STILL MORE THAN AN AMUSEMENT PARK TO THIS VERY DAY. IT HAS A LONG HISTORY.

Sunnyside is a lakefront district in Toronto, Ontario. It includes a beach and park area along Lake Ontario’s Humber Bay, from west of Exhibition Place to the mouth of the Humber River. The area is within the traditional lands of several First Nations. It ran from 1922 to 1955, but was demolished in 1955 to facilitate the building of the Gardiner Expressway. The Expressway left behind several shoreline recreation uses from the era of the park, including the pool, beaches and sports clubs, all of which remain popular. . . . . . . First historic history – the landing for an 1813 attack resulting from the famous War of 1812. American troops attacked the ‘town of York’ then, now the city of Toronto. The site’s popularity grew as a summertime recreation area and from 1922 to 1955 the reclaimed land was home to popular Sunnyside Amusement Park (photo below), which ran all summers long. < The Boardwalk, 1931, below> 

TORONTO STAR – ONLY IF COVID-19 CONDITIONS MAKE IT SAFE TO EXPLORE ‘A WINDSOR WONDERLAND’

Jessica Huras is working on a series of daytrips and longer drives highlighting experiences you can have in Ontario, and show you why it’s ‘Our’s to Discover’. Windsor is first on the list. These are ten specials beginning with 1) The Ambassador Bridge; 2) The Windsor Sculpture Park; 3) Armando’s Pizza; 4) The Walkerville District; 5) Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery; 6) The Art Gallery of Windsor; 7) Riverfront Trail; 8) Gladstone Commons; 9) The Anchor Coffee House; and 10) the drive back to Toronto.<The  top photo above – The Art Gallery of Windsor features more than 4,000 pieces of contemporary art with a focus on Canadian works.>