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StreetFest is my favourite part

The Beaches Jazz Festival goes on for weeks, most of that on the Woodbine Park main stage, but I like it best when they close Queen Street to car traffic and bands play in front of stores. This happens all day today and tomorrow, Thursday and Friday evenings, too.

I like all of the performers, just for being out there and I like the variety of music, but if I had to pick a favourite group, it would be the Sultans of String. This year they added a sitar guy from Pakistan. The Sultans fuse music from around the world.

Harold dresses all Beachers

The creator of “ENDS” clothing store sits outside the shop on a Jazz Festival Friday evening. A likeable fellow, he’s easy to chat with and pleasantly modest.


Beachers are sometimes kidded about their fashion uniformity … whatever Harold has on sale at his discount clothing store on Queen Street East is what we wear. Of course! Harold has a genius for finding odd lots of designer label clothing and sells great stuff, brand new, for incredibly low prices.

Uhhhh, who are you thinking of in those, Danica?

Not an ad, an announcement

I like to keep this blog mercifully ad-free, but I made this little graphic in support of Beach Hill’s new restaurant. The photo is swiped from the menu cover.


I’ve already had lunch there twice, once with Danica and once with a buddy. Danica and I will be going back for dinner with friends on the weekend. That should tell you something about the food.


What would Toronto be without its trees?

From a friend’s 8th floor balcony, you’d think Toronto’s east side had one apartment building and a smoke stack. The tree canopy shades our streets and cleans our air.


To be honest, there is a lot of ugly in our city, but the urban forest covers up many human errors. The more trees, the nicer the neighbourhood.

Our geography is quite featureless. Except for wonderful ravines below the horizon, the land doesn’t have much shape at all.

Our architecture is mostly dull, practical and economical, not beautiful. Our roads are congested and many are in bad shape.  Telephone poles, hydro lines and cellphone towers abound. Stripped of its lush, green covering, Toronto would be a pretty sorry sight.


Let’s remember this when falling branches whack parked cars and take out the power lines we should be putting underground. Toronto’s trees are her most distinctive physical attribute. Visitors marvel at them and we should too.

Waterfront: Some good bits

Not even concrete obsessed builders can completely undo the fact that waters’ edges offer pleasure. The best things we saw today are not new, but the wave decks are nice. Trees may soften the the environment some day. Attempts are being made to plant them so that they can grow for more that 5 to 7 years before dying.

The first slide shows a freighter unloading beside Sugar Beach. The last slide is a view of the old waterslide at Ontario Place, a derelict that has been closed for years.

The tall, fibreglass umbrellas at HTO Beach are a success. People can watch airplanes come and go from the nearby airport. Noise levels are generally very high, especially truck and construction equipment noise. Some will say that a big city is supposed to be noisy, but for me it’s a negative in parks and recreational areas.

Waterfront so-so for another summer

We thought Queen’s Quay would be more finished by this year. Didn’t they throw an opening celebration one month ago? Danica and I were out of town for that, so today was our chance to ride the bikes and see what was new.

“Let’s keep riding until we get to the spectacular stuff,” said Danica, as we rode along wondering where the wonderful bits were. There IS a lot of new concrete, but no “spectacular”.


East of the Harbour Castle Hotel, the bicycle path still isn’t finished. The way is interrupted by, you guessed it, construction. Tridel trucks cut off cyclists and the Bayside condo development (yes, more condos, now creeping eastward) will not be finished this year. Maybe next summer, the ride downtown will finally be decent. This summer, it’s still kind of a mess down there.

Awww, I remembered it as ” the Andersons”


After my gigantic piece of chocolate birthday cake the other night, this Larson cartoon surfaced in my memory. It comes to me whenever I overeat and still makes me laugh.

I finally looked it up and discovered that I identify with the bloated “Parkers” so much that I’ve recalled the name wrongly. I always think of the caption as
Well, the Anderson’s are dead … You had to encourage them to take thirds, didn’t you?

I knew the spelling wasn’t quite my way, but “Parkers”? Not even close.

Apologies to the brilliant creator of The Far Side, Gary Larson, for this theft. I’ll remove it if asked but hope my offence will be taken as a compliment. I’ve remembered the piece for 30 years and Mr Larson has been retired for 20 of them.