SIX WILD TURKEYS PAID US A VISIT UP NORTH ON NEW YEAR’S EVE & THEY RETURNED JANUARY 1ST

<PHOTOS by Bryan Blenkin and Ross Winter>

<Such elegance – and (I’m told) they taste good too>

<The Northland was freezing, but the turkeys didn’t seem to mind.  Another group of fifteen were feeding in a farmer’s field.>

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CANADA’S 552-CARAT YELLOW DIAMOND IS THE SEVENTH LARGEST FOUND IN THE WORLD

Considered the largest diamond ever discovered in North America, it’s about the size of a chicken’s egg.

The diamond was uncovered in October/2018 in DIAVIK, Northwest Territories, about 135 miles from the Arctic Circle.  <ABOVE – the Diavik Diamond Mine>

It was found by Rio Tinto Group & Dominion Diamond Mine Company. “Abrasion markings on the stone’s surface attest to the difficult journey it underwent during recovery, and the fact that it remains intact is remarkable,” said the company on December 14/2018. The diamond will soon be cut and polished, once its value is determined.

The company said, “A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America.” The largest one ever found at DIAVIK was in 2015. It was a 187.7-carat “Diavik Foxfire”.

TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY HAS CREATED A DIGITAL MAP CELEBRATING THE WORKS OF LOCAL POETS

The TORONTO Poetry Map is a collection of poetic excerpts written about different parts of our city. It’s simple to use. Just click on a neighbourhood and a verse pops up, along with a link to books where the poem was published.

There are about 200 poems on the map running the gamut of emotions.
To operate the map go to http://www.torontopoetry.ca

GREENWOOD STATION
We bought a house. Beneath it, thunder.
Our neighbour says, take a bath,
put your head under the water and the train
is in there with you. In the tub, water
belongs to us, warm, fourteen feet
to the street. Moves in the pipes. Belonging
or not belonging, the new house works,
fitted into the city’s plug.
Sewage treatment down hill.
Greenwood station at the top.
– RONNA BLOOM, book of poems, ‘Public Works’; photo by Shelbie Vernette-Grant

THE JUNCTION
Temperance dried up these streets
in nineteen oh something
& thirst became the hidebound
neighbourhood legacy –
oasis reversed.
– GLEN DOWNIE, published in ‘Loyalty Management’

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Look they’ve knocked down
that brick building
near the university
where we sat sometimes at night
and talked
about the way things would someday be.
– SUZANNE BOWNESS, published in ‘The Days You’ve Spent’

LIFE IN FOREST HILL
Here at the confluence
of Forest and Hill
our Cadillac-driving neighbours never wave
in their flow to and from Bay St.
– JOHN OUGHTON, published in ‘Gearing of Love‘

A NEW EXHIBIT HAS OPENED AT THE MZTV TELEVISION MUSEUM IN TORONTO’S LIBERTY VILLAGE

‘PHILO T. FARNSWORTH – FORGOTTEN GENIUS’ at the MZTV Museum and Archive highlights the most famous person nobody’s ever heard of. Almost 100 years ago, 14-year-old PHILO came up with an invention that would transform our lives – TELEVISION!

Farnsworth conceived the idea for electronic television and his story is being told at the Museum.  Exhibit curator Phil Savenick says Farnsworth made the groundbreaking discovery while plowing potato fields back in 1922, before he attended high school.

<PHOTO – Philo T. Farnsworth in 1939>

“Forgotten Genius: The Boy who Invented Electronic TV” is now open at the MZTV Television Museum and it’s FREE.  For more information – http://www.MZTV.com

THE 150-YEAR-OLD ST. CHARLES CLOCKTOWER IS A SURVIVOR & COULD BE STANDING FOR 150 MORE

Whatever’s left on the west side of Yonge St. from College to Grenville is on the endangered species list – even though it’s now part of a heritage conservation district. But . . . Fire Hall #3’s clock tower has been given a new lease on life.

<ABOVE – the clock tower in 2017; the street level small businesses have all been demolished.>

<ABOVE – the clock tower in 2018>

The elegant little tower lives on. It will soon be incorporated into the podium of a 38-storey condo tower named Halo Residences by architectsAlliance.

<PHOTO – west side of Yonge Street between College St. and Grenville, ca1950’s>

Built in 1872, the structure has a checkered career from fire station to auto tire emporium to hotel to Canada’s largest gay dance hall, restaurant and tavern. In 1939 a fire destroyed the whole building, but the little tower survived.

In 1955 millionaire horse breeder CHARLES HEMSTEAD opened the Oriental Room, serving Chinese and Canadian food.  Soon it went decidedly gay. After he died in 1961, the building hosted a variety of clubs and discos – the Empire, Time, Tower, Circus, Maygay, Charly’s and Y-Not – until 1992. The clock, perpetually stuck, became a monument to gay culture in TORONTO.

“Meet me under the clock” was a summons for gay community events, cruising and a night out.

<PHOTO – the clock tower in the 1950’s; foreground future site of the Westbury Hotel, which itself could be demolished soon.>

Hallowe’en nights in the sixties and seventies attracted huge crowds – up to 5,000 – on the sidewalk opposite, hoping to catch a glimpse of a drag queen or an exotic dancer – many of whom were pelted with eggs.

VIMEO video – http://www.queerstory.ca/project/st-charles-tavern/

<The Survivor – standing tall on Yonge Street, 1872 – 2018>

TORONTO HAS BEEN A MAJOR PRODUCTION CENTRE FOR KIDS’ TELEVISION – SINCE AT LEAST THE 1960’S

<POLKAROO from Polka Dot Door, TVOntario>

For decades, children around the world have been watching television produced in TORONTO. From the days of DeGrassi and TVO’s Polka Dot Door, to the CBC’s new Studio K, animators, writers, directors and producers have been turning out quality kids’ television series.

<KID’S DAY/2018 at the CBC Broadcasting Centre, July 18/2018>

Among the players – CORUS Entertainment, which envelopes YTV and Nelvana

Independent production companies such as Sinking Ship and Radical Sheep.

Broadcast pioneers – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and TVOntario, known for the daily CBC Kids and TVO Kids.

Mr. Rogers got his start at the CBC. In the 1960’s he appeared for the first time, on camera, in an early Canadian prototype for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Goosebumps, The Big Comfy Couch, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock were all made at least partially in TORONTO. So are today’s Annedroids, Paw Patrol & Super Why.

CENTENNIAL COLLEGE is home to a children’s media program – the only one of its kind in Canada. The college hosts the 7-year-old Children’s Entertainment and Media Centre for research on kids’ tv content. Centennial’s NATE HOROWITZ says “(Canadian) products tend to be not-so-much sweet cereal-driven or consumer-driven . . . and I think that’s what the industry here is about.”