Friday, August 3, 2012

Introducing What's Goin' On in Toronto!

Hey #TransitHubbers,

We’ve got some exciting news for you!

Down with Webster at #YongeDundas Square (Courtesy Coca Cola Co.)

We’ve heard you loud and clear. You want to know what’s goin’ on in Toronto and we’ve got something cool for you to check out.

We’re testing a new site called! We’ve got different categories: Food & Drink, Events & Festivals, Sightings & News and Transit. We’ve also chosen four Hubs that you can check out, to start: #SpadinaQueen, #YongeDundas, #YongeEglinton and #BathurstBloor.

If you want to be the first to know, subscribe to our email updates!

Now, go out there and get #TransitHubbing! As always, let us know what you think!

Much love,

The TransitHub Team

Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest Post: Live Green Toronto Festival

Ionatan Waisgluss is back with another guest blog post for us! He was kind enough to hang out with us at Network Orange last Saturday. He then checked out the Live Green Toronto Festival, of which he recounts his findings below ...
- Neil Jain

Last week, the TransitHub crew posted an article outlining nine different festivals that were happening over the July 21-22nd weekend—a true testament to Toronto’s busy summer buzz. With so many events to choose from, it was a great weekend to explore the city!

It can be hard to pick which festival to attend, but given that I was already in the area, the Live Green Toronto Festival was the obvious choice for me. If you missed this lively outdoor exhibit, don’t you worry—read on, and see what was going on last Saturday at #YongeDundas Square!

#YongeDundas Square, looking north

Saturday’s festival was organized by Live Green Toronto, a city-run environmental taskforce which has been hosting this festival since 2006.

Toronto Beer Festival coming up!

Hey-o! The Toronto Beer Festival is coming up! Running from Friday July 27 to Sunday July 29, The Exhibition is the place to be on a hot weekend.

You can look forward to dozens of different beers, BBQ, live music and much more!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beaches Jazz Festival in full swing!

The 24th annual Beaches International Jazz Festival is alive and kicking this weekend! There will be a lot of jazz to be heard with multiple outdoor stages and local venues hosting talented musicians from around the world. The festival runs until Sunday, July 29.

Last night, Papa Grows Funk, one of the hottest bands all the way from New Orleans, Louisiana, lit up the TD Main Stage at Woodbine Park!

Papa Grows Funk on the main stage!

The festival is spread out across the Beaches with performances at Woodbine Park, 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Festivals and events galore this weekend!

There are a lot of festivals on the go this weekend in Toronto! You don't wanna miss out! Here are nine to choose from ...

Festivals are a time to celebrate!

1. Sunday Serenades: The Casablanca Orchestra will be performing this Sunday from 7:30-9:00pm at Mel Lastman Square. Just head up the Yonge line to North York Centre subway station.

2. 60 Years of Designing the Ballet & The Tutu Project: This exhibition at the Design 

Waterfront Night Market at Cherry Beach

This may be the perfect free downtown summer event.  Inexpensive and exotic asian cuisine, live music, film, and sports events, and it's on Cherry Beach!  Grab the 72B bus from Pape or Union station.  Saturday until midnight, Sunday from 1-10 pm.  All the details

Live Green Fest looking pretty awesome this year!

Here are some photos of it at the #YongeDundas hub. Lots of tents and stalls! Fresh fruit & veggies, lots of organic stuff, and even honey!

Looking North on Yonge

Beautiful day. Great photos.

There are more photos on our Pinterest Board.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Canoeing: the perfect prescription to ease queasiness

Cruising down Queens Quay, my family and I were searching for some entertainment on a scorching, clammy afternoon. Once we hit the Harbourfront, we noticed sailboats and decided to hunt down what we hoped would be affordable rentals.

Sailboats and Power boats at Harbourfront Centre

Already feeling queasy from a heavy lunch and spending hours circling through the jam-packed streets

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

University of Toronto Ghost Tour - BOO!

University of Toronto Ghost Tour - BOO!

There are more ghosts than you think haunting Toronto's oldest university. A great way to discover where they are, if you want to find them or avoid them, is to take this fun and frightening walking tour. Whether you are a skeptic, or if some of your best friends are ghosts, you can have a swell time on this tour.

Our guide Richard: suspected ghost.
We started at #AvenueBloor by the old east entrance to the ROM where we met our knowledgeable and fearless guide, Richard. He took us around campus to several spots on the 90-minute tour. We learned about a young ghost spotted in the old Planetarium called Celeste, who would be seen watching the stars with the other children. A famous axe-murder from the mid 1800s that left the victim and a door in a bad way. The story of a cookie maker who had a secret in his basement and much more! 

Not the door!
Tours are scheduled on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, call ahead to check availability and reserve a spot. You can also arrange your own time for you and a group, just get in contact with Muddy York Walking Tours - they've got lots of other fun and historical tours of the city. 

The site of some ghostly visions...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Parkdale like you’ve never seen before!

I’m a greeter with the City of Toronto’s TAP into TO program. Through this program, I've taken guests from around the world on visits of Toronto neighbourhoods over the last three years.

Today was a special day, as one of the greeters, Alma Handzic, gave ten other greeters a captivating and inspiring visit of the Parkdale neighbourhood!

Alma, extreme right, with curious greeters. Am I the only one who didn't wear shades?

It was a muggy morning as I ventured out to #DufferinQueen to meet the group. We met at the newly constructed open space on the north-west corner.

Public space with evidence of use by skateboarders and graffiti artists

I learned so much on this visit; and it started by finding out that the TTC stop at the south-east corner of #DufferinQueen is the busiest one in the city! Who knew? And, residential construction is underway in Parkdale too.

These new lofts under development are expected to retain Parkdale's character

Alma mentioned to us that artists prefer the Parkdale area because of lower rents compared to other studio locations in the city. Here's one that she encouraged us to check out!

Studios 1266 building

As we started walking west on Queen Street, we encountered a collection of popular bars that certainly get busy in the evenings.

Clockwise from top-left: Parkdale Drink, Stones Place, Rhino and Cadillac Lounge

Next, Alma invited us in to check out The Mascot cafe, which is a cool little space with funky decor.

Pictures from The Mascot; I couldn't resist getting on the rocking horse

In contrast to the hustle and bustle on Queen Street West, the intersecting streets are tranquil with impressive greenery.

Elm Grove Avenue (ooh, I wonder what's down Milky Way?)

Beaty Avenue

People need a place to live and with homes (not condos) becoming scarce in Toronto, some neighbourhoods are building infill housing. Here's an example.

Example of modern infill housing

Parkdale is a very ethnically diverse neighbourhood and is also home to a large Tibetan diaspora. Here are some more photographs of the neighbourhood:

Man and dog hanging out outside the Made You Look jewellery store

Really narrow building housing a yoga studio. Nice wood paneling!

How about these funky bicycle stands!

This globe used to be a fountain; now it's just a globe!

Someone was having a lot of fun with paint!

Community Garden on Cowan Avenue

Cool, old-style balconies

As we were admiring this old building called Edmond Place built in 1912, Leslie Miller, a resident came up and gave us an impromptu story about it. We learned that the building was taken over by the City, abandoned for over ten years by a landlord and then rebuilt by the Parkdale Area-Recreation Centre. Now it houses those who are recovering from mental health and addiction issues.

Leslie Miller, left, advocate for social change

Another view of Edmond Place at #DowlingQueen

As we continued walking west towards #RoncesvallesQueen, we were presented with an interesting mix of restaurants, bars and vintage stores.

Parts & Labour - formerly a hardware store, now a hip and happening resto-bar.

Those poles just needed some decoration. Knitting to the max!

The Pinball Cafe, which provides arcade games for hours of enjoyment!

Spooky antique shop called Hideaway Antiques

Finally, we reached #RoncesvallesQueen and near the end of our tour! Alma informed us that the building of the Gardiner Expressway in the 1950s changed the demographic composition of Parkdale from an upscale neighbourhood to lower income as rooming houses were built.

Overlooking the Palais Royale and Lake Ontario in the background

We're at the end of our tour and Easy Restaurant is making me hungry!

And, a final reminder, from Wrongbar, when you plan to go out and party in Parkdale:

Hope you enjoyed this virtual visit! Are you inspired to check out Parkdale now?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Last call to Fringe the weekend away!

Last call to Fringe the weekend away!

Sign at the Fringe artist alley directing people where to go

Don't miss your last chance to catch shows at the Fringe Festival this weekend. For all you theatre-enthusiasts out there, grab affordable tickets while you can for a unique theatre experience at Fringe 2012.

Running low on cash or a broke student? Don’t worry! The festival caters to people like you and I too. Drop by the Artist alley located by Honest Ed’s at 581 Bloor Street West (#Bathurst and Bloor). The Fringe Club is buzzing with excitement, music and artists talks for all you intellectuals out there. Saturday’s tent talk will feature tourist artist at Fringe and the talk will revolve around international theatre. (Yes, as the title suggests, theatre does exist outside Toronto). The talk will start at 4pm and will be followed by an open-mic night filled with music, dance and of course…an open bar! 

In case you can’t catch Saturday’s festivities, make sure you make it to the alleyway on Sunday for the Long Live Theatre tent talk at 4pm. Some more music and drinks to follow of course and prizes will be awarded to Rootin Tootin winners at 9:30pm.

Keep an eye out for the large Fringe arrow directing you to the alley because it’s easy to miss as you rush past the flashy advertisements for Honest Ed’s.

Celebrate with Fringe as the festival wraps up!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Summerlicious Patio Lunch

A Summerlicious Patio Lunch


Two of my favorite joys, Asian food and sunlight, complimented one another on a Wednesday afternoon at Spice Route Asian Bistro and Bar. One of the 180 (or more) restaurants participating in Summerlicious 2012, Spice Route offered an appetizer, entrée and dessert to customers for just $15 per person. 

Spice Route's relaxing patio lounge on a sunny afternoon 

Growing up on spicy Asian fusion dishes, my taste buds are familiar to unusual mixtures of spices but as I licked Spice Route's spicy wasabi mayo off my finger, my taste buds began to tingle. After a sip of water to simmer down the spice, I gave it another go but this time, I coupled the wasabi mayo with my vegetable egg rolls. The tingling minimized to a mere kick that wasabi usually adds to Asian food, making my selected appetizer delicious! Lesson of the meal: Just because you can't see the wasabi, doesn't mean the flavor isn't there.

The route continued to remain a scrumptious one as I moved onto the soy-ginger glazed salmon plated with a colorful mix of red and green peppers. 

The restaurant's soy-ginger glazed salmon entrée laid out over a bed of bell-peppers and coleslaw.

But the best part of the meal was yet to come. Now I'm not a big fan of bananas to be honest, but I am a die-hard chocolate-lover. So, I had to order the only chocolate dessert on the menu. Well, it wasn't even chocolate really but tempura bananas just drizzled in chocolate and caramel sauce. Did I mention that I HATE bananas? But these freshly-fried, pipping bananas were like bananas that I have never tasted before. They melted right in my mouth! Did I mention they were covered in chocolate?

Mouth-watering tempura banana dessert with chocolate and caramel sauce

Enough said. Spice Route is definitely a must-try on Summerlicious' list of restaurants. The ambiance helps deliver an authentic Asian dining experience. Oh and don't forget to try the washrooms. You won't be disappointed!

Comfy inside seating area and bar space at Spice Route

Remember to check out our Hub-based list of Summerlicious restaurants and the inside scoop of five restaurants!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Festival of India

So exciting! 40th annual Festival of India is going down this weekend (July 14th and 15th). So many fun things in store.

Friday July 13th - "Tearing the roof off spiritually" with a 12 hour chanting/drumming session at #YongeDundas for the Kirtan Festival.

Saturday July 14th morning - The festival will officially kick off with a parade starting at #YongeBloor hub and going all the way down to the Lakeshore. The parade will start at 11am and wind down at 2pm. 

Saturday July 14th afternoon (after the parade) - The festivities continue at Centre Island with free vegetarian feast, a bazaar, face painting, yoga festival, and much more.

Sunday July 15th all day - The festivities continue with much more of the same.

Sunday July 15th (12pm to 5pm) - Yoga Meltdown. Should be loads of sweaty fun :)

Sounds like fun will be had in oodles! You can find a detailed breakdown of the arts & culture shows here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guest Post: On the Rocks - Boulderz Climbing Centre

Ionatan Waisgluss has done it again with yet another guest blog post for TransitHub. You would think the guy loves us or something? In this article, Ionatan talks about his experience with bouldering. What's that, you ask? Well, see what he has to say, complete with pictures ...
- Neil Jain 

On the Rocks: Boulderz Climbing Centre

I've recently been spending a lot of time around #LansdowneDupont, enjoying an activity known as bouldering, a unique type of rock-climbing sport. Defining this activity is rather tricky, as it shares a significant overlap with parkour, buildering, and treeclimbing. While everyone’s idea of bouldering is undoubtedly different, it shares a common thread... or lack thereof, I should say—bouldering involves no ropes!

For obvious reasons, bouldering is generally limited to smaller climbs, and usually makes use of crash pads (thick mats placed below the routes). Bouldering can be done outdoors (in natural formations or man-made structures), or in rock climbing gyms. In this post, I’ll be talking about a particular gym I’ve been hitting up in the west end of Toronto—Boulderz Climbing Centre.

Boulderz is a unique rock climbing gym because it focuses on bouldering as its main attraction. As soon as you enter the place, the first thing you notice is the odd shape of the walls. The place is full of interesting angles, including some nice caves and overhangs. The padded flooring is also well-implemented, and makes for safe landing—as important in bouldering as it is in regular climbing. The place has a really interesting and adventuresome feel to it, but also feels safe, comfortable, and really well thought-out.

The amount and variety of different holds (the things you can grab) is completely incredible. By the end of the day, you’ll have held on to everything from alien faces to corn-on-the-cob. Routes are changed up weekly, so you’re always faced with new challenges, and the climbs never get old!

Beyond being interesting from an aesthetic perspective, the astounding variety of holds forces you to use your hands in interesting ways, making use of all sorts of different techniques. Here are three very basic ones:

A jug  is an easy hold, where the climber is able to use all of their fingers and forearm strength.

A crimp is a bit harder, relying mostly on the first joints of the fingers.

A pinch is even harder than that, and requires the climber to use the thumb and fingers to pinch the sides of a hold.

... and these are just the basics! The way you use your feet is equally as important, and has its own terminology, as does the way you transfer from one hold to the next!

Boulderz has routes for all ages and abilities, with features such as topout routes, a workout & stretching area, free-climbing, a mini-bouldering wall for kids, and even a climbing treadmill! All of the essentials are taken care of: water fountains, changerooms, washrooms, lockers, and so on are all available and well-maintained; snacks, drinks, and even some climbing equipment are available for purchase at their kiosk. On top of all of this, Boulderz hosts various programs, along with birthday parties, competitions, and private bookings.

Here it is! The climbing treadmill!

Everyone I’ve met here has been friendly and helpful, and the staff is fantastic! Their hours are great, and it’s easy to get there—even the music is lively and has a tribal sort of groove that’s perfect for climbing. Boulderz really is a great place to get a workout, and it’s quite a bit more fun than mindlessly pumping iron at the gym. Maybe I’ll see you there!

If you’d like to read more about why bouldering is a rock-solid activity, check out this article I wrote on the Top 10 Reasons to Go Bouldering!


Other goodies at #LansdowneDupont

Bouldering burns a lot of calories, and you’re going to be pretty hungry by the time you’re done. Luckily, Thai Lime (just across the street) offers some of the best Thai food in Toronto. The menu is great, and the meals come in big portions; if you feel like you’ve ordered way too much, eat it anyways— you can always digest by walking west along Dupont and linking up to the West Toronto RailPath, which I explore in this article.