Monday, October 26, 2009

Lift off

At any time of day, week, or season, Riverdale Park hosts a variety of solo and group activities.

Soccer matches coincide with baseball games, boot camp cardio lessons, swimming, individual fitness coaching, tennis, stick hockey, kids on swings and slides, Montcrest School recess activities, dog walkers, bird watchers, guitar players and runners.

All activities take place in the open air and are spectacularly visible from the crest of the hill on Broadview Avenue in front of one of the best views of the Toronto skyline.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Twentieth anniversary of the Toronto Police Dog Services Unit

Thirty-two canine officers and their twenty-nine human handlers recently put on an interesting show for the public as they celebrated their twenty years in business. The Toronto Police Dog Servies Unit started in 1989 and is the largest of its kind in Canada. Canine officers (yes, they are officers of the law, each dog has a numbered badge, and they are true partners to the human men and women to whom they are attached. Police dogs are used to sniff out drugs and explosives, human scents, contraband of various kinds, and firearms. They search for missing people and cadavers, and they are invaluable in apprehending and holding suspects during criminal apprehensions. Mostly German Shepherds are used, but a good nose is a good nose, and the Toronto force has a Golden Retriever, a Lab Cross, a Spaniel cross and several other mixes. These are great dogs and this unit is a great service to our community.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A shopper driving this vehicle stopped by the organic market in Withrow Park this summer. Shades of the 1960s.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Art installation on Doris McCarthy Trail, Scarborough

Scarborough Bluff swallow nesting grounds

Swallows have burrowed thousands of these holes into the bluffs to nest and lay their eggs. Their only predators are red tailed hawks who circle above but are often chased away by swooping swallow vigilantes.
In the world of nature, housing and shelter come in so many different forms, often hidden from human eyes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The juxtaposition of these signs and the two images on the right are what I find so wonderful about living in Toronto. They reflect the complexity and harmony of our shared cultures and beliefs.

Jenny Appleseed

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Undressing a brick house

What's going on here? This house was built circa 1900-1920s. Like many homes built in that era, it's made of double brick construction. What you see is the exposed front inside brick wall. The outer brick layer has been temporarily removed. Houses of this vintage often incorporated construction methods that have since been improved upon. Ingenuity and new materials are now applied by improvising and adapting state-of- the-art retrofit knowledge and tools to beautiful heritage homes. These improvements result in increased energy efficiency, increased comfort, and decreased utility expenses.
On the right you can see the gaps in the rows of exposed bricks and the missing mortar. When a home inspector tells you there is no insulation in your walls, this is what he means. Imagine how much air and moisture gets through if there is any missing mortar in the outer brick too. (Inexpensive re-pointing can take care of that.) Some time ago, likely during the 1970s, the outer bricks of this house were sandblasted. This method was used to lighten to clean the brick. Sandblasting isn't used any more because, while it brightens the brick colour, it also leaves the bricks more porous and therefore more vulnerable to deterioration. Using modern energy conservation methods, the inside walls of this house will be coated with spray insulation before new drywall is installed. A brand new outer brick wall will cover the original. This is an interesting look at what's often behind the facade and behind the decorative features of a home that make for first impressions.