Friday 28 May 2010

Media Alert

Metro Police to play mas with kids from Jane and Finch
Will open Mas Camp for kids
2nd floor, Yorkgate Mall

Monday May 31st, 11:00 am

Toronto, ON, 27.05.2010: Senior Officer Superintendent Sam Fernandez from 53 Division will be officially opening the Metro Toronto Police Force’s Mas Camp for Children on Monday May 31st at the Yorkgate Mall (Finch Avenue East at Jane St). He will be joined by children who are at the camp to learn how to make mas (masquerade) costumes for this summer’s Scotiabank Caribana/Yorkgate Mall Junior Carnival Parade. Brittany Dardaine, teenage pan artiste will be performing at the event.
In addition to the children and Sam Fernandez, members of the Toronto Mas Band Association, including NBA player Jamaal Magloire will be in attendance. Master costume designer Walter Elliott will be demonstrating to the children how to make costumes for the July 17th parade down Jane Street.

Scheduled to speak briefly at the Festival Management Committee morning event are:

• Superintendent Sam Fernandez
• Walter Elliott, master costume designer
• Denise Hererra-Jackson, co-chair - Scotiabank Caribana
• John Kam, Toronto Mas Band Assocation
• Teenage pannist Brittany Dardaine will perform

The Scotiabank Caribana Festival is an exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry as well as visual and performing arts. Now in its 43rd year, it has become a major international event and the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America. As Carnival is an international cultural phenomenon, the great metropolis of Toronto and its environs will come alive as the city explodes with the pulsating rhythms and melodies of Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Steel Pan and Brass Bands. The Festival Management Committee oversees the running of North America’s largest outdoor festival.
Corporate sponsors of this year’s festival include: Scotiabank, The Toronto Star, Sway Magazine, Eye Weekly, CTV, CP-24, The Canadian Federal Government, The Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, Tourism Toronto, Research In Motion (RIM)/BlackBerry, The Greater Toronto Airports
Authority, Ontario Place, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ontario Science Centre, The Toronto Libraries, Yorkgate Mall, Liberty Grand, Caribana Arts Group and Grace Kennedy Foods.
This year the Official Launch for the Festival will take place at 12 Noon on Thursday July 15th. The Scotiabank Caribana/Yorkgate Mall Junior Carnival Parade will be held on Saturday July 17th from 11am to 4pm. The adult parade will be staged Saturday July 31st; 10 am to 6 pm. For complete listing information, visit the only official website for the Festival.
Scotiabank Caribana 2010 Festival Office is located at 263 Davenport Avenue. Lower Level, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Tel., 416-391-5608; Fax, 416-391-5693; Email:

CUTLINE: Two children in Mas Costumes at the 2009 Scotiabank Caribana/Yorkgate Mall Junior Carnival Parade

For further information contact:

Stephen Weir Alicia Sealey
Stephen Weir & Associates ATC Heirs Promotions
416-489-5868; 416-801-3101 416-599-0664

Monday 17 May 2010

May 20 Media Preview of McMichael Gallery's rehang of the pernament collection and two show openings!!!

You are invited to a Media Preview for the stunning new installation of the gallery’s permanent collection and two new exhibitions:

The Group of Seven: Revelations and Changing Perspectives
Following in the Footsteps of the Group of Seven
Dorothy Knowles: Land Marks
Along with the launch of our innovative website:
FootPrints: Legacy of the Group of Seven

THURSDAY • MAY 20 • 2010
11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Ave. (north of Major Mackenzie Dr.)

The Group of Seven: Revelations and Changing Perspectives

Curated by Katerina Atanassova, Sharona Adamowicz-Clements, Chris Finn
Opening May 22, 2010

Experience the exceptional new installation of our renowned permanent collection. To mark the 90th anniversary of the Group of Seven’s first exhibition, rarely seen works from the McMichael collection and private collections are arrayed in the galleries in new and dynamic ways, opening up new themes and ideas to explore.

Following in the Footsteps of the Group of Seven
Curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements and Linda Morita
May 22 to September 6, 2010

For over thirty years, art enthusiasts Jim and Sue Waddington have been locating the exact sketching sites for artworks by Group of Seven members. This enchanting exhibition showcases the Group’s art alongside stunning photographs taken of the original locations that inspired these artworks some eighty years ago.

FootPrints: Legacy of the Group of Seven,
Inspired by the Waddingtons’ story, this virtual exhibition using Web 2.0 technology promises to transform how the McMichael and Canadian art are shared with the world. The site is divided into three layers: ADVENTURES links Group of Seven artworks to a corresponding Waddington story; the McMICHAEL STORY features over 200 unique art objects; and the COMMUNITY FORUM is designed to encourage Canadians to share how art, nature, and the creative spirit plays a role in their lives.
The McMichael wishes to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy.
Additionally, we wish to thank ecentricarts inc. and David Tarnow, Documentary and Multimedia Producer.

Dorothy Knowles: Land Marks
Organized by the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery
Curated by Terry Fenton
May 22 to September 12, 2010

This exhibition celebrates Knowles’ favourite subjects—the lush river valleys and prairie landscapes that characterized her rural childhood. Knowles radically chose to document her own backyard during a time when abstract art was rapidly gaining ground.

About the Gallery

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located at 10365 Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For directions and information, visit
Media Contact

Stephen Weir, Publicist
Gallery: 905.893.1121 ext. 2529
Toronto Office: 416.489.5868
Cell: 416.801.3101

Sunday 16 May 2010

Minister Prentice (Environment/Parks Canada) and author Paul Duval and underwater photographer James Mathias unveil Studio Building plaque

Diver, Author, Cabinet Minister Unveil Plaque for Studio Building - building where Group of Seven and Tom Thomson worked.

Famed underwater photographer James Mathias and veteran arts writer/author Paul Duval were joined on Saturday, May 15th by Federal Minister of Environment Jim Prentice as Parks Canada unveiled a historic plaque in front of the Studio Building. The Studio building, which Mathias owns and lives in and where Duval rents an apartment, has a storied Toronto history.
The Studio Building, designed to be a workplace for artists, is an example of early 20th century modern architecture in Canada that rejected ornamentation and drew on industrial design. Its studios were specifically designed to let in the indirect northern sunlight - natural light sought out by artists for its clearness. The first six artists to use the Studio Building were Lawren Harris, Tom Thomson (who shared a studio with Jackson J. Beaty), A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Heming, and Albert Curtis Williamson.
Hosting several generations of artists, including the Group of Seven painters, the Studio Building is of enormous significance in the history of Canadian art. The building represents the contributions of generations of Canadian artists who produced the world-renowned paintings that are now prized possessions in museums across Canada and around the world. These artists shared a common interest in Canadian themes – together they radically changed and redefined the way Canadian art and artists were depicted.
The dedication ceremony was held in a park across the street from the Studio Building (which is located beside the Yonge Street subway near the Rosedale station). A small group of art lovers and friends of Mathias and Duval attended.
“Before the Group of Seven were able to gather and share their inspiration and creativity here in the Studio Building, the beauty of the Canadian landscape was not recognized. The artists who gathered here presented the magnificence of Canada to us and changed a vast empty wilderness into a stunning home – our home – that has foundations formed by the incredible and distinctly Canadian art created at this site, a home that is now the envy of the world,” said Minister Prentice when he unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque.
James Mathias has spent thousands of dollars restoring the Studio Building. He recently updated the large studio windows on the north face of the 3-story building. Mathias also paid tribute to his late adopted father, artist Gordon McNamara who owned the building for decades. It was McNamara who made the studio building available to the Canadian artists who followed the Group of Seven including Harold Town, the founder of Painters 11.
Paul Duval made a very rare public appearance and spoke at the Parks Canada ceremony. His 5-minute speech is printed below:
“I have known this building since I was a child” said Paul Duvall, at a special Saturday ceremony in downtown Toronto. “ I grew up one block away from here in Yorkville. My brothers used to bring me by here on the way to the Riverdale Zoo along Rosedale Valley Road (which runs by the Studio Building), which was then an unpaved thoroughfare.
“ I didn’t realize at that time, that I was passing exactly the same route that Tom Thomson would take from his shack (now at the McMichael Gallery) behind the studio building here, to draw animals in the very same zoo.
“I meet my first Group of Seven artist, Arthur Lismer, when they had children’s classes at the then Toronto Art Gallery (AGO) when I was 8-years old. That is when I first saw Group of Seven paintings and Tom Thomson’s works. “ he continued. “It wasn’t until I was 13 that I actually entered this building. That was because Paul Schaeffer, my art instructor at that time, suggested that the students should each have an artist to visit. He picked for me a man named Jackson.”
“ So I came to this gallery, walked up the stairs and met a man named Mr. Jackson. All I remember about him was that I was amazed that he put strings across his sketches in order to enlarge his canvasses. However, later we got to know each other very well. I was particularly fond of and became a good friend of Lawren Harris.
“I would like to speak particularly of him, not only did he devise the idea of this building and the other things the other gentleman (owner James Matthias) said. He was generous, he helped artists including Emily Carr, and he had great difficulties being accepted as an artist on a financial level.

“When young artists complain that they can’t be accepted, I like to tell that in 1959 when Harris was already a celebrated painter and a wealthy man from his inheritance, we sat together in a hotel over on Avenue Road, having lunch one day in 1959. About on us on the walls, surrounding us were the Harris paintings of the arctic and the Rockies. These had been put there by Dick Van Brockleberrie, the director of the Fine Arts Department of Eaton’s College Street which represented Harris in the hopes that someone would come in and having lunch or dinner and pay $1,500 for one of these large canvases, which now as you know bring $1 to $3 million dollars.”
“ Nothing has changed in that respect in Canadian art.”
Cutline: top: Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada (left), unveils an Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque in front of the Studio building, home of the Group of Seven, with the help of building owner James Matthias (right) and long time resident Paul Duval (centre) during a ceremony in Toronto, Saturday, May 15, 2010.
Bottom: Following the plaque unveiling, underwater photographer James Mathias opened up his home (the Studio Building) for a reception. Mathias brought a little known Group of Seven painting out of storage and hung it back in the Studio Building for the party. Beaver Lake was painted by Lawren Harris.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Responding to reader's question: Where to Park to See the Big Airplanes



This website received the following question via email from Scott Craig:
Subject: A380 at Pearson
Date: Friday, May 14, 2010, 10:47 AM
Hi, I was wondering if you know if which terminal is the best to park at for viewing arriving planes at Pearson, 1 or 3? I assume one of those would be the safest bet for a general view of the airport, unless you know which runway the A380 will land on, which I assume will somewhat depend on the wind conditions.


We asked frequent airplane videographer/photographer George Socka where he goest to get good pictures of the A380 landing at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Canada. This is his response:

George Socka

The A380 usually comes in on Runway 23 see map at

Best place to see them is to go to the Wendy's on Airport Road (east side south of the International Center - if you get to the Tim Hortons Restaurant you are too far). There is a huge parking area behind Wendys, and a grassy area where you can walk out right under the flight path - the big planes are about 100 ft up - or less. The leading lights are right there. You can hear the air currents after a plane has gone by. You can cross Airport road and you are about 100 ft from the end of the runway. Use to be a place to park by the DeHaviland plant - now fenced off.

Now, I did see the thing come in over Mississauga a few days ago probably on its way to Runway 6. No way to know in advance (unless you have a scanner). There is a parking lot by a business centre on the east side of Dixie Road that is close but the planes are still pretty high overhead. As well there is deadend turnaround area on Luke Road off Shawson (all off Dixie) where you can get photographs.
Be warned, I always feel someone is going to kill you there. There is also a strip club (I assume) on Luke Road that has a parking lot behind it. But there are a lot of trees.
If the plane comes in from the east on Runway 24 there is no easy place to park. Hooters on Carlingview has a big parking lot, as does Moore's. There is also a big parking lot behind the Landing Strip ( another strip club) that gets a good view, sometimes of the talent at the Landing Strip out for a smoke as well. There is also street parking there. If you cross Carlingview at the Hooters you are in a bit of a depression but you are right at the end of Runway 24, and can see the big antenna and light array. But the planes are usually coming in pretty high there too. Now, if you were to frequent either of those fine establishments, it would be a great break from watching the show there. My personal experience is limited - I think I may have been in the Landing Strip in the 70's
The Hortons on Dixie is also a good place for photographers, but the runway is a bit far away and I never saw the 380 there though. There was once a great place behind FedEx by the gun club, but that hill got levelled and fences put up because of an article in the Star. The gun club is still there, but photographers are banished. (Because the photogs were going to shoot down planes?)
There is also good viewing from the Landmark executive terminate on Vedette- the Snowbirds and Blue Eagles parked there during the last International Air Show. Fences and gates block the view a bit but you can almost touch the planes. Interestingly, if you find that on Google maps and take the satellite view you see the Golden Eagles 2009 Air show planes on the ground. I have a photo of those at the Sky Service parking area.. Too cool

Best bet is Wendy's at 3:30 - check the schedule

CUTLINE: The big plane comes in. George Socka, from his Flickr page.


Friday 7 May 2010

Gumballs, Nude News and Hot Dogging Mayors all part of Urban Karma

On Time? In Toronto the Gods Conspire (almost every day)

It is a form of urban karma. No matter how hard one tries to be on time, the city conspires to get in the way. Friday morning. Breakfast in Yorkville. 8 am. Almost right on time. But no, access to Yorkville denied because the street is blocked off and filled with expensive cars. Movie shoot? Don't know but all the cars carried the words Gumball 3000.
By the time breakfast was over - 9.30 am, the cars were gone and the street was open. On my way to an important meeting. Toronto Star. University Avenue closed. Pharmacists on strike. No, my wife was working, but a few of her fellow pharmacists were doing their best to make me late. They succeeded.
Lunch time at Dundas Square, just prior to an Omni TV interview with a client. Nude TV decided to shoot the news in the square (female announcer takes off clothes while she reads the news) near the front door of the Omni / CITY TV building. Crowd gathered quickly. Had trouble making my way into the studio. Open space blocked by gawkers. Rest of square turned over to M&M Meats. Fundraiser for some worthy cause (never did find out what) all hot dogs and hamburgers $2.50.
Celebrity chefs in action. Didn't want my food cooked by Mike Holmes (probably enough sawdust in the food to begin with) so I opted to buy from mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti. Didn't have the heart to make him give me a hot dog, out of pity I got a veggie burger instead.

Omni taping successful but long. How long? 6 minute interview took 2-hours. Got to hit rush hour traffic all the way up Yonge Street. Still a successful day (shoulda ordered the hot dog).
Back at home I checked on the Gumball 3000, turns out it is an annual 3,000 mile international road rally which takes place on public roads, with a different 3,000 mile route around the world each year. According to Wikipedia the Rally was "founded in 1999 by Maximillion Cooper, it sees an annual entry of 120 cars, which are mostly exotic and powerful sports cars. However, more unusual entries, such as police cars and campervans, have been seen."
CUTLINES: Two top photos. Yorkville streets in Toronto closed off to traffic so that the cars taking part in the Gumball 3000 rally could be parked for the night.
Middle. New OMNI TV host Ms. Surbhi Guleria talks on set to Upkar Arora, for the TV show Baddhai-Ho. Mr. Arora is being interviewed because he is the new chair at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg.
Bottom. Chef Giorgio Mammoliti