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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.

harold-danica

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.

budapest-eblast-bills-blog

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.

eastside-skyline

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.

canopy-detail

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”.

route-blockages

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”

the-andersens-are-dead

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.

Still a “babe” at 60

The Hickeys invited us to help celebrate Jolanta’s birthday last night. That’s Brian Hickey BBQing excellent ribs.

jol-60th

Centre shot: left to right: Garden nymphs Cheryl, Sonia, Danica and Jolanta

Jolanta has always been the “baby” in her circle of friends, so she got a lot of “welcome to the club” greetings for her 60th birthday. Youthful appearance aside, she is a woman of serious accomplishments, having created internationally celebrated string orchestras, gained certification as a Master Gardener and most recently, completed her Master’s Degree (while teaching full time) before her appointment as Principal of a high school.

Music is Jolanta’s major skill and passion, but she’s good at anything she tackles, including gourmet cooking. Lucky to know her? Yes, we are.

Why bike lanes must be expensive

Whether they are ignorant or indifferent, some drivers make physically separated bicycle lanes necessary. This one parked in the new bicycle lane on Dixon Avenue, right at a busy intersection.

bike-lane-blocker

There was no room whatsoever for a cyclist to use the lane. The remaining road is for oncoming traffic.

Cities like Copenhagen, where cycling is a major option for commuters, have recognized the need for physically curbed lanes that prevent cars from entering bicycle space. It is a necessary cost. Painted lines, even ones that cost $10 a metre like they did on Dixon Avenue, just don’t cut it.

Budapest Restaurant: DAY ONE

It was a soft day, as the Irish say, for the “soft opening” of Beach Hill’s new Budapest Restaurant. Light rain did not dampen enthusiasm. A steady stream of customers showed up to see what Edit, Lorie and their crew would bring to the neighbourhood. It’s ALL good!
opening-day-budapestDanica and I were there for lunch. Goulash soup and a light, delicious chicken schnitzel sandwich for me. Beet salad and a pierogi and sausage appetizer were enough for Danica. Of course we shared tastes and declare the Budapest Restaurant an instant success. The food IS wonderful.

day-one-lunch

White table cloths are a nice touch and the room, though small, can serve more than two dozen people at a time. The plan is to double the seating area, as soon as the space next door becomes available. That won’t be too far in the future.

Everyone who came in agrees that we needed this restaurant and we are glad it’s finally open. The liquor licence is still a month away and there are a few details to finish up, but hey … it’s DAY ONE! We were very happy with our lunch and look forward to bringing friends … for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

More about the menu later. No web site, yet.