Few trees down in Midland after tornado


First an earthquake in Ontario and Quebec, then a tornado touched down in Midland later in the week. I headed north to one of my favourite bike trails near Tiny Beaches and was happy to see very little damage along the trail.

TED video - Eric Sanderson pictures New York before the City

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I'm a huge fan of TED videos - I was watching one while doing the dishes looking out over Nottawasaga Bay and thought I'd post it here. From the TED site:

"Before becoming the center of the Western cultural universe, Manhattan was Mannahatta, 'Island of many hills,' in the language of 17th-century Native Americans. Using computer modeling, painstaking research and a lot of legwork, Wildlife Conservation Society ecologist Eric Sanderson has re-envisioned, block by block, the ecology of Manhattan as it was when Henry Hudson first sailed into the forested harbor in 1609."

85 years of Dundas and McCaul

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Old and the new Dundas and McCaulYou've probably seen some great blendings of old and new photos, and I thought I'd give it a try. This one is of a Toronto Archives photo from May, 1923, and the Google Street View from the same corner. I resized the two photographs to match, then blended them using The Gimp.

The streetcar tracks and houses on the north side of McCaul haven't changed too much, but the AGO on the south is rather new. As with many photos of Toronto, the telephone and hydro wires and poles bring the two images together nicely.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) 1933 Rotunda and gold Venetian glass mosaic

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Looking up at a pillar and the ceiling.
One of my favourite buildings in the city of Toronto is the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM for short), and my favourite space in the ROM is the 1933 rotunda with the spectacular gold and blue venetian glass domed ceiling. On this page I've collected some history and description of the room, some photos, even an audio tour from the ROM. It is a wonderful space, especially now that it can be enjoyed in relative peace, rather than as the cramped, busy, and loud main entrance to the museum. No visit to the ROM is complete without stopping in to the rotund for a moment or two.

Advanced Snowshoeing videos

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OK, the last of the Snowshoe videos - one more educational video, a fun one, and one I actually made myself:

Enjoy, as always!

Intermediate snowshoeing videos

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If you've already run through the three beginner snowshoeing videos then you're ready for three more:

Some good skills to master whether you're out on a trail at your local ski resort, or if you're breaking new trails in the forest. These quick videos are by Sheryl McGlochlin for eHow.com and are worth a look.

Three basic snowshoe videos - putting them on, walking, and getting up if you fall

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A quick search on YouTube and I found some good introductory videos on snowshoeing by Sheryl McGlochlin for eHow.com. We'll start with the basics:

  1. How to put on Snowshoes
  2. How to walk in Snowshoes
  3. How to get up if you fall

I found it really quite easy, once you have the snowshoes on, but these videos will give you a sense of what to expect.

Ontario snowshoeing in December

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Georgian Bay, not yet frozen
We managed to get out on the snowshoes for the first time this season in mid-December. There wasn't a ton of snow yet, maybe a foot, but enough to enjoy the Ontario forest. In some places there were branches sticking up through the snow, but not a lot. Here are some shots of the wonderful old lodge nearby, the afternoon sun in the forest itself, then down to Nottawasaga Bay which still has exposed sand. You can't see it in the photo, but the ski hills of Blue Mountain are directly across the bay, and look amazing all lit up for night skiing.

The Lost Symbol Companion: Links, photos, videos, MP3s, and more details


Dan Brown's latest book The Lost Symbol, is full of all sorts of references - religious, scientific, artistic, historical, architectural and on and on. If you're like me, you'll want to learn more about many of them, so I've started collecting maps, photos, videos, audio-clips, and other links to expand on some of the details in the book.

I've divided all this information up into multiple pages, organized chapter by chapter - you should read the chapter in the book first and then delve deeper into the items I present for that chapter -- in many cases you won't want to even see the titles of the links. You might want to skip some altogether, or dig even deeper into others...

Mount Pleasant Cemetery Visitation Centre


East side of the new visitation center
I passed through the south end of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery and noticed that the outside work on the new Mount Pleasant Visitation Centre is pretty much complete. The visitation centre ( don't call it a funeral home ) has a long, protracted history reaching back to initial plans in 2004. It looks like they've done a nice job of the building and landscaping, and the running/walking/biking path is now open. Here are some photos from the end of September, 2009.