Toronto’s Christmas night

Before being pre-empted by my Christmas eve wanderings, the plan had been to wander the downtown core on Christmas evening (Dec 25th, to avoid confusion).

Sharks at Toronto’s new aquarium

I love aquariums, both the smaller home version and the larger amusement park versions. Thus, after bemoaning the absence of one in Toronto (the largest frickin’ city in Canada), you can only imagine my enthusiasm when the Ripley’s company said they would build one in Toronto near two other major city landmarks, the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre.

Well, last month, the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada finally opened, and on Wednesday, I finally visited it.

Over the next few days, I will display some of the photos I took at the aquarium. Today, I’ll focus on the amazing walk-through shark tank.

Let’s go to the Ex – Part One

Every year for two weeks in August, going back to the Ex has nothing to do with trying to rekindle an old flame…or does it?

Ending on Labour Day, the Canadian National Exhibition plays host to families from throughout the Greater Toronto Area, often dragged by parents trying to relive their own childhoods.

At 134 years old, the grand lady is starting to seriously show her age. She struggles every year to keep up with a population that is increasingly more comfortable keeping its head in a Blackberry or iPad.

She’s creaky. She’s doddering. She smells funny. But she’s ours, and I think we’ll keep her for a few more years yet.

Here are some of the people who agree with me.

PS If you want to learn more about old things Canadian, check out this great blog Bite Size Canada by T.K. Morin

Sunny Toronto

A few more shots from my recent trip down to Toronto’s waterfront, including some taking in the sights across from Billy Bishop Airport.

Patterns and redirections

Sometimes things just don’t look right when you’re taking a walk, or they can seem to lead your mind one way and then switch-back in another direction.

I had a few of these moments in my recent walk through downtown Toronto.

Great distances

I sat down recently to come up with some of the great distances in the known universe and think I have discovered the one that trumps them all.

Riding the elevator on Toronto’s CN Tower? Like falling off a log.

Leaping the chasm of the Grand Canyon? Pfft, nothing!

Swimming the Pacific Ocean? Like taking a bath.

Visiting the Oort Cloud at the edge of our solar system? A walk on a foggy day.

No, my friends, none of these is even close to the Greatest Distance in the Universe. That title goes to the space between the nib of a pen and the paper beneath it. I know this, because I have spent hours of my life watching people who cannot traverse this great gap.

The pen sits poised. Ink tantalizingly and agonizingly close to realizing its dream of spreading through the fibres of the paper. You can practically hear the Siren call of the note pad, seducing the ink to come join it in creative matrimony.

And yet, nothing.

The muscles of the hands tighten. The forearm presses harder into the table. The blood accelerates through the capillaries. Neurons in the brain fire in all directions. The spirit wails in unfulfilled lust.

And yet, nothing.

The gap is too large. The rewards uncertain. The risks too high.

Like a supportive father-to-be, I want to scream “Push!” and remind them to breathe.

Like a bicycle-training parent, I just want to nudge their hand to the paper and trail alongside it as it wends its way across the page, releasing just as it seems they have the hang of it.

Like a police psychologist, I just want to talk them down, let them know it will be okay.

But I am powerless in this process. This is something they have to do for themselves, much as I did for myself. When they are ready, they will write.

Until then, as a friend, I will stand with them at the edge of the abyss and imagine what is on the other side, awaiting them.

Any journey is an individual one, no matter how many people come along. (View from Mt. Baker in Washington State)

Any journey is an individual one, no matter how many people come along. (View from Mt. Baker in Washington State)