Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Great Edutainment at Ontario Science Centre

Edutainment isn't just a 1990 album from Boogie Down Productions that made its way into my collection, it's also something I'm constantly on the lookout for my kids. I seek activities that make science fun, and the MythBusters exhibition currently at the Ontario Science Centre is precisely that.

We visited yesterday after taking in a Humpback Whales doc at the Omnimax theatre. There's plenty for the kids to do as they get to perform hands-on experiments, and there's even a live show. Michelle's favourite was trying to remove a table cloth without breaking the tableware while James dug the "what gets you wetter: running or walking in the rain" experiment.

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Queens Quay Revitalization Project Complete!

As you may know from reading this blog, I rediscovered my love of cycling a few years ago. A great deal of my riding is done on the Waterfront Trail, which runs along Lake Ontario. I know every nook and cranny of that trail.

On the days I decide to ride east, I would always hit the Queens Quay construction at Bathurst, forcing me off the path. This has been the case for three long years, but the Queens Quay revitalization project is finally complete.

Earlier today, I rode the Waterfront Trail, which includes the Martin Goodman Trail, from the west end of the city to The Beaches (or is it The Beach now?). There were no detours or closures, and it was everything I imagined it could be. It's truly wonderful public space and ideal for cyclists.

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I haven't yet explored the new space as a pedestrian, but from what I see it's going to be a fantastic place to take the kids and soak in the sun. Here's a pic I took during a recent ride there.

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Full marks to everyone behind this revitalization project. It was well worth the wait.

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8 Cities with Longer Championship Droughts than Toronto

Firstly, this entry is about NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB championships. I realize Toronto has had great success in lacrosse and has won Grey Cups recently, but with all due respect, I'm not counting them as major championships. For Toronto, I'm only counting the Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors.

That means Toronto hasn't won a championship since 1993. That's a 22 year drought. As bad as that sounds, many cities have it worse.

San Diego

Let's start with San Diego. The Chargers haven't won since 1963, the Padres have never won a World Series, and even their former NBA teams (Rockets and Clippers) didn't win a thing.
52 year drought


Cleveland

I'm rooting heavily for the Cavaliers in this year's NBA championship and they're currently tied 1-1 with the Warriors. The Cavs have never won a title, the Indians haven't won since 1948 and the Browns haven't won since 1964.
51 year drought


Buffalo

Buffalo only has the two teams, but that's enough to count. The Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup and the Bills haven't won since 1965.
50 year drought


Kansas City

Kansas City also only has two teams, but they did have a short-lived NHL and NBA franchise. Neither won a thing. The Chiefs haven't won the Super Bowl since 1970 and the Royals haven't won a World Series since 1985.
30 year drought


Oakland

The Golden State Warriors haven't won since 1975, the Oakland Raiders haven't won since 1983, and the A's haven't won since 1989.
26 year drought


Cincinnati

The Bengals have been consistently brutal throughout the years, never winning a title. Meanwhile, the Reds haven't won a World Series since 1990.
25 year drought


Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, the North Stars and Wild have never won a Stanley Cup, the Timberwolves have never won and the Twins haven't won a World Series since 1991.
24 year drought


Washington

The Bullets / Wizards haven't won since 1978, the Capitals have never won, the Nationals have never won and their NFL franchise hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1992.
23 year drought

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Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games: Still Underwhelmed

We're a little over a month away from the 2015 Pan American Games. Toronto's the host city and we'll be welcoming approximately 6,135 athletes from 41 nations who will participate in 36 sports.

The Pan Am Games are not the Olympics. The Olympics are the world's biggest stage for athletics, and I love following them closely, but the Pan Am Games fail to excite me. I keep thinking that the excitement will kick in at some point, because we're the host city, but I'm still completely underwhelmed.

I read recently that a million tickets remain unsold. That's out of 1.4 million tickets in total. That sounds about right.

Is anyone excited about the 2015 Pan Am Games?

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The Runnymede Theatre as a Shoppers Drug Mart

As a kid, I saw many films at the Runnymede Theatre. I saw a Star Trek there, the second Poltergeist movie, a Lethal Weapon, Beatlejuice, and a bunch of others. It was a great little theatre on Bloor near Runnymede.

Then, it became a Chapters. Chapters did a great job of paying tribute to the old theatre. We were all pleased.

Then, it became a Shoppers Drug Mart. Last Thursday afternoon, I popped my head in to see how it looked.

I'm pleased to report SDM did a fine job maintaining the old infrastructure. Here are some pics that show the Runnymede Theatre is alive and well, it's just selling cosmetics and ibuprofen now.

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The Final Days of Captain John’s

Captain John's, the floating restaurant in the water at Yonge and Queen's Quay, will be gone by May 26. It'll be tugged through the Welland Canal to Port Colborne where it will be dismantled for scrap. These are indeed the final days of Captain John's.

Captain John's Restaurant has been around all of my life. I've never been inside, but I've walked or biked by it hundreds and hundreds of time. I always found the idea of a restaurant in a boat rather charming. I agree it needs to go, but I can't say I won't miss it.

Anchor's aweigh, Captain John's.

Captain John's

On the side (pun intended), and relevant considering my previous entry, there's a glaring misspelling of the word "everyday" on the east side of the sign about brunch that always irks me. I've got to get a pic before it's too late.

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The GTA Housing Correction That Never Seems to Come

Toronto home prices are awfully high, and getting higher. This past April, for example, prices were up 10% year-over-year.

Detached home sales saw a 17 per cent spike across the GTA, with sales gains stronger (18.2 per cent) in the 905 regions than the City of Toronto (up 13.8 per cent.) The average price of a detached remained above $1 million in the 416 region, up 9.2 per cent year over year in April to $1,056,114. The average detached price was up 13.1 per cent in the 905 regions to $729,961.

Sales of semi-detached homes climbed by almost 15 per cent across the GTA and prices hit a new high of $727,875 (up 3.5 per cent) in the City of Toronto and $489,796 (up 10.5 per cent) in the 905 regions.

For years I've read and listened to economists claiming a housing correction in the GTA is imminent. This bubble has to burst, and every year someone predicts that is the year it'll happen. Every year comes and goes with housing prices rising.

A smart first-time home buyer would be wise to wait until the correction before entering the market, but is that so wise if the correction never comes? If detached home prices are up 17% this year, you'd have been far wiser to buy last year, unless your crystal ball works better than mine.

Is anyone out there waiting for the bubble to burst before buying a home in the GTA?

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Andrew Wiggins: 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year

The 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year is GTA native Andrew Wiggins. This is the first time a Canadian has won the award.

Wiggins averaged 16.9 points and 4.6 rebounds while playing all 82 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Nice start...

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Rainy Day Activities in Toronto

Living in Toronto has one major drawback and that is receiving more than its fair share of rainfall. There’s nothing worse than a rainy day to dampen your spirits especially if you had an exciting outdoor activity to look forward to. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot still enjoy yourself when the clouds decide to open and leave you soaked through and wishing the rain away.

So when the rain begins to pour run yourself to the closest theatre or cinema, where in Toronto there is no shortage of. If you happen to be facing a regrettable downpour in August then why not check out the excellent line-up at the Summerworks festival. There is music, dance, exhibitions, live art shows and a whole host of special presentations and concerts. If none of the main festivals such as Summerworks or The Toronto Fringe are out of season then you can always head to the Soulpepper, Tarragon or Annex theatres to see what’s on.

If you can’t find a show or a movie to go and check out then you can always head on over to TIFF's Film Reference Library. The library is full of thousands and thousands of various movie related books, scripts and magazines to keep any avid movie lover content for hours on end. If you like your entertainment a little more visual then there’s also thousands of viewing stations where you can watch endless TV shows and movies.

For those with more of a competitive streak you may be interested in heading to just one of the increasingly popular board game café locations around the city or a local bingo hall. On the other hand you may just to sit around and play a few games with your friends at an online casino.

Whilst it may be teaming down with rain outside this doesn’t mean you cannot still enjoy a sporting activity. There are plenty of indoor sports you can participate in with both family and friends on a rainy day and Toronto has plenty to offer. You can take in a game of Badminton at the Boulevard Club or perhaps some indoor tennis at Rosedale or the North York Winter Tennis Club. There’s skating, curling, swimming and even table tennis but if you would like to get involved with more of an outdoor type sport but indoors then look no further than Beach Blast or the North Beach Volleyball centre where you can play real barefooted beach volleyball on the sands without the risk of adverse weather affecting play, which is terrific fun for all the family.

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Why Ranked Ballots Are Better

John Tory supports ranked ballots in the next civic election. This is great news.

The "first past the post" system we currently have forces people like me to vote strategically instead of voting for the person they'd like to lead. For example, those who wanted Olivia Chow to win, but were afraid a vote for Chow would help Doug Ford win, would be able to rank their candidates so a vote for Chow isn't a vote for Ford.

This video explains how it works.

Ranked ballots all but sink Ford Nation, so there's that added benefit as well.

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