Trying to Buy Hip Tickets for the Last Time

This morning at 10am, tickets for the last Tragically Hip tour went on sale for the many of us with a presale password. I was logged into Ticketmaster and ready to rock well before go time.


Then, I started my search for 3 tickets. I really wanted to take my oldest two kids to see their dad's favourite band. I tried for both Toronto shows, the London show and the Hamilton show. I came up empty every time.


I reduced my search to two tickets, and tried for another 30 minutes. Still nothing.

Then, I narrowed my search to one ticket. I figured I'd go alone and enjoy Gord and the boys for a twelfth and final time. It would be a personal, spiritual journey. Cathartic, even. Finally, after the 30th security check to prove I'm not a robot, I got a ticket.


But, for reasons I still don't understand, the final "submit" button was greyed out. There was no way to click it. I spent several minutes trying to figure out what was preventing the submit button from becoming active to no avail. I never was able to buy this ticket.

But I kept trying to find one ticket at any of the aforementioned four shows. I never did.

After 90 minutes of trying, I managed to score a single ticket to the Friday, August 12 show at the ACC. It's in the nosebleeds, but I'm in the building. This makes me very, very happy.


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2015-16 Raptors Season Ends

Our We The North flag is still hanging in the bay window. Yesterday's loss to the Cavs in game six wasn't unexpected, and to be frank, we were ready for it. And when it was all over, I didn't feel sad or mad, I felt glad it happened.

It's been a great six months for Toronto's sports teams. The Jays and Raps both got within two wins of the finals, and the Leafs won the draft lottery. That's more success than we saw in the previous decade.

After the best regular season in franchise history, I knew what I had to see. I needed to see the Raps win a playoff series. Heck, I needed to see them win two.

We did that, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals against the mighty Cavs. I was confident the Raptors were the second best team in the conference, but even more certain that the Cavs were the best team in the conference. I predicted the Cavs would win in five.

The Raps gave all they had, giving us fans a helluva ride, making further progress. It was both infuriating, and exhilerating. It was, as sports is meant to be, damn fun.


My focus returns to the .500 Blue Jays and the hopes the offense will right itself and we'll be enjoying another pennant race this September. The next step is a championship.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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After 175 Episodes, I Wanted to Thank a Few People

I just recorded the 175th episode of my podcast, Toronto Mike'd. Ron Hawkins, frontman, primary songwriter, lead vocalist, and one of two guitarists for Lowest of the Low, dropped by my home for a 90 minute chat and it was as awesome as I had hoped it would be. I've been a fan of Lowest of the Low since I first heard them on 102.1 in 1991 and I still can't believe Ron took the time to visit.

175 feels like a like a nice round number, and I wanted to thank some people who helped me get here. This passion project has been so incredibly fulfilling, I still can't believe I'm sitting down and conversing with Ron MacLean, Strombo, Matt Galloway, Ashley Buchholz, Ed the Sock and so many others I admire.

Here's a non-exhaustive list of those who helped out along the way.

Humble and Fred

Way back in 2006, Humble and Fred wanted to record a Christmas special, only they had both been fired from their terrestrial radio gig at Mix 999. They had the content covered, but they asked me to help out with the technical aspects of creating a podcast, and on December 17 we recorded The 17th Annual Humble & Fred Christmas Show at Dan Duran's house. They produced the MP3 file and I took it from there to ensure fans could hear the festive joy. In 2006, few knew what a podcast was, making this a rather educational experience. It was the very first podcast I ever produced.

A Part of History

We'd meet up a few more times over the years to produce Humble and Fred podcast specials, and then in October 2011, Humble and Fred decided to make a real go of this podcast thing. They started podcasting daily.

Humble and Mike

In those early days, I was at their studio every day for the recording, and held Fred's hand as he learned how to maintain the XML file that powered podcast subscriptions. I'm proud to say they're still producing their podcast almost five years later.

Fred's Wall of Fame

Without this experience, and witnessing the creative content creation process up close, I likely never would have got the itch to try it on my own. One day I decided to start Toronto Mike'd, and Humble and Fred lent me their studio until I built my own.


When I did decide to start Toronto Mike'd, I wanted a co-host who would sound great on the air and with whom I had great chemistry. I honestly only thought of one person, my dear friend Rosie.

Rosie and I go back to grade ten when we found ourselves bonding over Mr. Dougherty's english class at Michael Power. She's the only person who attended both my weddings (other than me, of course) and if I was going to podcast, I wanted her sitting beside me.


Rosie co-hosted Toronto Mike'd with me through episode 56 and without her there likely never would have been an episode 1. By the way, she gave a speech about me in episode 45 that I would like played at my celebration of life.


The first 20 episodes of Toronto Mike'd were recorded at Humble and Fred's studio, but I wanted to take another leap of independence. I wanted to build my own studio in my own home.

It just so happened I had recently met an audio guru who was responsible for what you hear during Blue Jays home games on Sportsnet. His name is Andrew and he was kind enough to help me choose the gear I'd need for my studio. And by "help" I mean he literally told me where to go and what to buy.

It Begins

$1600 later, I had kick-ass mics, proper cables and stands and a mixer. Andrew happily came over to help me put it together. If you think Toronto Mike'd sounds good, there's only one man to thank.


Episode 21 truly was The House That Heaven Built.


When I was unable to meet Rosie's salary demands after episode 56, I found myself in need of a new co-host. If I couldn't have Rosie, I knew exactly who I wanted.


Elvis has been a great friend for over a decade, and he sounds fantastic on the mic. Since I have absolutely no broadcasting experience and never particularly liked my voice, I felt it was important to surround myself with great voices who knew how to articulate and use a microphone. Throw in a solid dose of chemistry and you've got yourself a co-host.


To this day, when I feel like recording but don't have an actual guest booked, I turn to Elvis. It's always a blast.

Great Lakes Brewery

As listener numbers rise, I often wonder if I'm leaving money on the table by not properly monetizing Toronto Mike'd. I've been hesitant to seek sponsorship, and only recently introduced the Patreon campaign. But when I received an email from Great Lakes Brewery asking me to visit their facility for a meeting, I curiously biked over and kept a very open mind.

GLB is independent, local and run by good people. This is a company I wanted to partner with, and I was pleased as punch when they signed on for six months. I'm all but certain we'll renew that deal.


Corporations seem hesitant to sponsor independent podcasts in this country, so it was great to see a company take a gamble on my little podcast. If any companies out there want to follow suit, let me know.

The Guests

At the end of 2013, I knew what I wanted Toronto Mike'd to become. I didn't want it to strictly be "two friends shooting the shit", but wanted to have conversations with a wide variety of interesting Toronto people.

strombo and me

In January 2014, I was visited by Jonathan Torrens, Alan Cross and Todd Shapiro consecutively, and everything crystallized. That was Toronto Mike'd. I truly appreciate everyone who accepted my invitation and took time out of their busy scheduled to visit and chat.

Ron MacLean and Me

Not everyone has said yes, but I'm pleased to report most have and I haven't had a bad experience yet.

Listeners Like You

Sure, it's a little corny, but it's your feedback that fuels this podcast. I really do try to learn from my mistakes, and I like to think it's only getting better.

Toronto Mike'd podcast ranks #3 in iTunes

Thank you for listening, thanks for letting me know when you like what I do, and when you think there's room for improvement. You can leave a comment, send me an email, tweet at me or rent a billboard.

Keep sharing!

And thanks!

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 175: Ron Hawkins

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 175In this 175th episode, Mike chats with Lowest of the Low lead singer and songwriter Ron Hawkins about Shakespeare My Butt, success for which you're unprepared, Gord Downie, the perfect marriage of Peace and Quiet and Tim Thompson's Maple Leafs montage and much, much more. This episode is exactly 1:30:54.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:


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Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd and subscribe here.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Gord Downie Diagnosed with Terminal Brain Cancer

When I awoke this morning, the first thing I did was check email. The first email I read was my Tragically Hip newsletter. I'm looking for them to tour again because I want to take my teenaged son to see his dad's favourite band.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Here's what the email said.

Hello friends.

We have some very tough news to share with you today, and we wish it wasn't so.

A few months ago, in December, Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

Since then, obviously, he's endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard. In privacy along with his family, and through all of this, we've been standing by him.

So after 30-some years together as The Tragically Hip, thousands of shows, and hundreds of tours...

We've decided to do another one.

This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us.

What we in The Hip receive, each time we play together, is a connection; with each other; with music and it's magic; and during the shows, a special connection with all of you, our incredible fans.

So, we're going to dig deep, and try to make this our best tour yet.

We hope you can come out and join us this summer - details and dates will be coming this week.

And we sincerely thank all of you, for your continued love and support,

Paul, GordD, Johnny, Rob, GordS

I was stunned. I've seen The Hip 11 times (all insanely documented here) and my Hallelujah hunt remains a personal highlight. The fact is you only have one favourite band and The Tragically Hip has been that to me for almost three decades.

Thank you, Gord.

The Hip @ Fort York

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John Brophy, Dead at 83

John BrophyJohn Brophy was 83. He spent the bulk of his hockey career as a player and coach in the Eastern Hockey League but I knew him best as head coach of the Leafs from 1986 to 1988.

He was coach for one of my first favourite Maple Leafs memories, a first round sweep of the Chicago Black Hawks in 1985-86.

John Brophy

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Whimbrels Spotted in Sam Smith Park

I've written about Whimbrel Point before, a spot in Samuel Smith Park where whimbrels rest for a day or two every May. This morning, I finally spotted these whimbrels.

Apparently, they had just arrived from an overnight flight from Virginia. They're just resting on their way to the arctic. I couldn't get too close as to not disturb them, but here's my pic of the elusive whimbrels.


Let's zoom in a little...


See them? Let's zoom in a little more...


Four whimbrels on a rock at appropriately named Whimbrel Point.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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My Week with a Ford Flex

I just spent a week driving a new Ford Flex, and it all started with this tweet that prompted me to seek out a Ford Flex test drive.

Ed wasn't kidding when he referred to it as a big box. That's exactly what it is, a very big box. But because it's a box, it's incredibly roomy.


The Ford Flex seats seven comfortably which is precisely why I wanted to test drive it. I have a family of six but only have five seatbelts in my Mazda. This past week was the first time we all travelled somewhere together.



There was actually room to spare. It's an incredibly roomy crossover, but it didn't drive "big". It really felt like I was driving a car, and I was only reminded how big it was when it came time to park.

Some say the Flex is ugly. I cannot state clearly enough how little I care about a car's appearance. I need a safe car that seats at least six people, and I can't have it destroy my bank account. When it comes to cars, I'm all about substance over style.

The Ford Flex fits the bill. I'll be testing a few other cars over the summer. I'll let you know how those drives go.


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