Tuesday 30 April 2013

Dude, where's my car?


I spent the last two days downtown at a pension and benefits conference (it ended today at 12:30pm). I had a 2pm meeting at the office afterwards so I drove to the conference.

I parked across the street in the underground parking lot at city hall.  It's quite large so when I parked, I looked to see where I was so I'd remember.  I left through the "deer" exit (the exits are named after animals).

When I headed back to get my car 3.5 hours later, I went down the "deer" entrance and walked down two sets of stairs and exited through the purple door.  I remembered that I was parked at "2Q purple" (second floor down, Q row, purple section).  I walked to the purple section but couldn't find the "Q" row.  I was positive that I'd parked in the purple section so walked up and down the purple rows over and over and over.

After about 15 minutes, I was starting to feel a bit of panic.

Where's my car?!

There was a green exit door next to the purple exit door so I walked around the corner to where it would have opened ... and there was row Q.  I walked up the row and there was my car.

Huge relief!

Have you ever lost your car?

Monday 29 April 2013

GlossyBox - April

My April GlossyBox arrived this afternoon.
  • Stay up to date with current trends and discover new niche brands 
  • Every month, GlossyBox delivers a mix of 5 exciting product samples packed in a beautiful box for you to test at home 
  • Join for just $21 a month - cancel any time 
  • Delivery is free!

Here's what was inside ...

Sunday 28 April 2013

Toronto Rock 11, Minnesota Swarm 20

Gord and I went to the Toronto Rock game this afternoon.

The Toronto Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise founded in 1998. This season they won the Eastern Division of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and had the best record in the league.

This was the semi-final divisional game against the Minnesota Swarm.  Whoever won today would move on.  Whoever lost would be out.

Here come the Rock!

Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Bar Wellington, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I left Fort York, we stopped in at Bar Wellington.

It was such a nice day (sunny and 17C) and we were able to get a seat on the upper patio.

After all the walking we did, our beers tasted good!

We were snacky so we shared an order of nachos.

Puente De Luz pedestrian bridge, Toronto, ON

The Puente De Luz pedestrian bridge opened in October 2012.

Puente de Luz (Bridge of Light) was designed by Chilean sculptor Francisco Gazitua with structural engineer Peter Sheffield. It carries pedestrians and bicyclists from Front Street (between Spadina and Bathurst) to the western portion of CityPlace (condos), across the railway tracks.

After the opening ceremony, the bridge was quickly closed by City inspectors due to concerns over the sharpness of clips holding the mesh to the sides of the bridge and people tripping at joints. Those issues were fixed and the bridge reopened in December 2012.

Gord and I have been wanting to check it out ... just because.  So we did this afternoon.

Bicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of York - Commemorative Ceremonies, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I did the Bicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of York - Walking in Their Footsteps walking tour this morning, we stayed around for the commemorative ceremonies at Fort York.

An hour-long ceremony of remembrance will take place at 1:30 at Fort York National Historic Site in the presence of re-enactment units representing those who fought during the Battle of York, representatives of the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Army, and four First Nations. A commemorative ceremony from 3 to 4 pm will focus on the dedication of a new memorial plaque to honour the contribution of First Nations during the Battle of York. The dedication will be followed by singing, dancing, and drumming performed by descendants of those who fought in the battle. The rededication of restored plaques presented in 1934 will take place in the presence of the original organizations—the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 and the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire.

We bought some lunch from the food trucks that were parked outside the Fort.

Gord bought fish tacos ... he said they were okay.

I bought a pulled pork sandwich from Hogtown Smoke.

My sandwich was okay ... it would have been better had the BBQ sauce already been mixed in with the meat (instead you have to do it yourself).

Bicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of York - Walking in Their Footsteps walking tour, Toronto, ON

Gord and I did the Bicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of York - Walking in Their Footsteps walking tour this morning.  It was organized by Fort York.

Saturday April 27, 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of York. Beginning at 10 a.m. close to where the disembarked Americans began their advance, the public will be led by historical interpreters, stopping at several significant points, arriving at Fort York by 12:30 p.m.

This was the battle in which the Americans attacked York (aka Toronto) and had control for a few days.

It was a 5km walk ... we started at Palais Royale and finished at Fort York.

Tim Hortons provided everyone with free coffee and pastries before the walk started.

There were five stops on the walk and each was well-marked.

Friday 26 April 2013

Four Points by Sheraton, London, ON

I have seminars and one-on-ones to conduct today in London at 9am.  It's more than a two hour drive from Toronto so I came down yesterday.  I stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton.

When I had stayed here in October 2011, the hotel was under construction.  Construction is over now and looks great.  Here's the lobby.

 Here's my room ...

Thursday 25 April 2013

Bentley's Lounge, London, ON

It was raining this evening so I didn't want to go too far for supper ... Bentley's Lounge was close.

 It was nice and sunny once the rain stopped.

While I was waiting for my meal to arrive, Chris, the server/bartender, brought me a bowl of snacks (peanuts, etc.).  So addictive!

I ordered a grilled pork chop with apple chutney with garlic mashed potatoes.  It was good.

 Chris was very friendly and took good care of me.

Bentley’s Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Book ~ "The Banks of Certain Rivers" (2013) Jon Harrison

From Goodreads ~ Neil Kazenzakis is barely holding his life together: ever since an accident left his wife profoundly disabled, he's been doing his best as a single dad and popular high school teacher. He's also been dealing with Lauren Downey, his sort-of girlfriend of the past two years who's pushing for a commitment - and for Neil to finally tell his son, Christopher, about their secret relationship.

Neil's carefully balanced world begins to fall apart when some questionable footage of him is anonymously posted to YouTube ... just as Chris learns about Lauren in the worst possible way. Doubting his own recollection of the events in the online video and threatened with the loss of his job and the ability to care for his wife, Neil must find a way to prove the truth to his family, his community and himself as he struggles to regain the splintered trust of his son.

Heartbreaking, poignant, and written with devastating humor and warmth, The Banks of Certain Rivers is a shattering story of memory, loss, and just how far a man will go to show the people closest to him the meaning of love.

Neil, his wife, Wendy, and their son, Chris, were on vacation when tragedy strikes ... Wendy gets caught at the bottom of a pool.  About five years later, Wendy is in long term care, not responsive.  Carol, Wendy's mother, isn't well and lives next door to Neil and Chris ... Neil oversees her care with nurses.  Neil has had a secret relationship with one of those nurses, Lauren, for the last two years.  When Lauren discovers she is pregnant, Neil knows he has to tell his son what's going on but he is afraid Chris will feel betrayed because the relationship has been going on as long as it has.

In the meantime, a video of Neil breaking up a fight at the school where he is a teacher is loaded onto You Tube.  It looks like Neil was beating up the kid, apparently because the kid had recently uploaded naked pictures of his ex-girlfriend.  As Neil fights to keep his job, he is also dealing with his guilt to Wendy over his relationship with Lauren, Chris' feelings of betrayal and the pressure of perhaps having to sell his in-laws' land to cover the bills.

This is the first novel I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  I look forward to reading others by this author.
The story is told in first person in Neil's voice.  I found it a bit confusing in the beginning but it got better once I caught onto the rhythm ... while the story is happening in present day, there are also Neil's reminisces about the past and his present day emails to his Wendy (to an account he opened for her as a diary for his thoughts).

It posed an interesting scenario ... if your spouse was going to be in a vegetative state for the rest of their life, does that mean that your life also ends?  It would be a hard decision but eventually, like Neil, you have to move on with your life.  Neil not only ensured that Wendy was well taken care off, he also made sure that his mother-in-law had the best care and that the land that was in Wendy's family wasn't sold off for development.

I think the writing could have been tighter ... I found it rambled a bit a times. 

As a head's up, the language and actions are mature at times.

I received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.  

Sunday 21 April 2013

Parliament Interpretive Centre, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I did The American Occupation of the Town of York tour, we checked out the Parliament Interpretive Centre with Richard since that's where the tour ended. 

It is on the site where the original parliament buildings were (which the Americans burnt down in 1813).

There's lots of space ... it's in a former car dealership.

After watching a ten minute video about the discovery and excavation of pieces of the original parliament building, we walked around looking at the exhibits.

Here's Toronto (formerly called York) from a couple hundred years ago ... a bit different from today!

This is the attack by the Americans on April 27, 1813, when they took over York for about four days and burnt down the parliament buildings.

The American Occupation of the Town of York Tour, Muddy York Tours, Toronto, ON

This afternoon Gord and I did the two hour The American Occupation of the Town of York tour, led by Richard Fiennes-Clinton of Muddy York Tours.

We'll wander the streets of the Old Town District, to talk about some of the townspeople who played a role during the Battle of York.

John Strachan was one of the town's civilians who helped to negotiate a surrender of the Town of York. All the Americans would go on to pillage, plunder and burn the town during the occupation. Strachan helped to prevent even worse attrocities.

As rector of York's Anglican Church of St. James, Strachan oversaw many of the burials that took place in the aftermath of the battle. The church was both looted and damaged by Americans and used as a hospital in the treatment of the wounded.

William Allan was one of the richest merchants in York at the time of the invasion. He was also an officer in the York militia and a government official. Like other members of York's elite, Allan's home in town was raided by Americans on the pretext that he was a government representative.

William Warren Baldwin was a “jack of all trades” in early York and had degrees in both medicine and law. He was also an amateur architect, politician and merchant. He tended to the injured on the battlefield.

William Campbell, John Beverley Robinson and William Powell were all legal figures in York. They all participated in the “Bloody Assize”, where a number of men accused for treason were hanged for giving aid and comfort to the American enemy.

As we wander through the old Town of York, we will see where these figures lived 200 years ago. Our visit will end at the site of the parliament buildings in York, which were torched by the invading Americans.

We started the tour at the corner of Yonge Street/Front Street W.

Hard to believe that the harbour used to come up this far ... where the Sony Centre and condos now are.

We headed east along Front Street E to Berczy Park where Richard told us the story of John Ewart, who came to York after the War of 1812.  He was significant in designing many of the buildings after, including the third Parliament Buildings.