Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Made Me Shake My Head

 July 2022 - Toronto ON

TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) investigates a video of subway surfers riding on top of trains.

Canadian Artist of the Day

Rex Woods. "Female equestrian with Dalmatian". 1936.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Tuesday Treasures

Monday Mural

 I'm linking up at Monday Mural

June 2022 - London ON

More from our few days  in London ON.

There are many boarded up business in London. The pandemic did not help an already declining downtown. The boardings have been colourfully painted.

Flame of Hope Sir Frederick Grant Banting - Canadian doctor who invented insulin.

Canadian Artist of the Day

Alex Colville. "Woman, Dog and Canoe”, Serigraph, 1982

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Road trip Toronto to Newfoundland Labrador WIP

 July 2022 - Toronto ON

When we are planning a road trip (or any trip) we like to do spreadsheets and itinerary detailed plans. For us the planning is fun. I am always looking for strange and odd road side spots to stop. I like to know about the different foods that are unique to the area. 

We are driving to Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) (you can fly). It is a 20 hour drive that we are taking 4 days to do. We will drive through Quebec to New Brunswick and then into Nova Scotia. Then the ferry to NL.

We have driven to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI,  click here, so we are making different stops this time.

We flew in 2013 to visit Cape Breton Island NS, click on this link.

You do not drive in the Maritimes after dark due to the danger of moose on the road.

We have 2 time zone changes - NB and NS are in Atlantic Daylight Savings Time (AST) 1 hour ahead (Toronto) and NL is Newfoundland Daylight Savings Time (NST) is 1.5 hours ahead of Toronto.

We are giving ourselves a free day in Sydney Nova Scotia as a contingency as catching the ferry is a hard stop.

The challenge with NL is the number of ferries you have to rely on and plan according to those schedules.

You can take a ferry to Newfoundland from Labrador and Quebec (the Northern part that borders Labrador).

Over 95% of all visitors to Newfoundland arrive by ferry to Newfoundland from a ferry that departs from the small community of North Sydney, Nova Scotia, that’s situated on the north of Cape Breton. It’s important to note that there are two ferries to choose from when departing from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and they take you to very different locations, so be sure to choose the right ferry to Newfoundland.

We chose North Sydney NS to Port aux Basques (PAB) NL 7 hours approx. $250 one way with a car and cabin. We chose a cabin ($50) although we are sailing during the day. The ferry departs at 12:15 PM and you board 2 hours earlier at 10:15 so we will overnight in North Sydney. 


North Sydney NS to Argentia NL 16 hours $700 one way with a car and cabin!
At first thought we were going to go to PAB and return home from Argentia. 
$700 one way breaks down this way plus 15% taxes. You would definitely want a cabin for a 16 hour trip! PLUS it only runs Mid-June to late September, up to three times per week.

But based on the cost and the fact that it is a 10 hour drive from St. John's NL back to PAB we chose to drive instead with 2 nights in hotels, again, building in a day contingency. 

Then we had to determine what we wanted to do and see, decide how long we were going to be there. We are not in a hurry, the joys of being retired! We really wanted to go to Labrador, although you typically only go for a day or two. Again there is a ferry involved.

The ferry crossing from Newfoundland to Labrador is approximately 1.5 hours, and provides an opportunity for viewing seabirds, whales and icebergs.  St Barbe - Blanc Sablon Ferry Service.
You disembark at Blanc Sablon, Quebec, just a few minutes drive from the Labrador-Quebec provincial border. It's an easy 1.5 hour drive to Red Bay, but you may want to make some stops along the way.

So once again we were grappling with logistics of timing - where to stay and what ferry to catch back and forth? Did we want to go to Labrador for an overnight stay?
This region of Newfoundland, known as the Viking Trail, offers much for the traveller -- including World Heritage Sites at L'Anse au Meadows and Gros Morne National Park. Everyone says you MUST do Gros Morne.

Did we want to do this area and Labrador? We decided we did but we would take a 7 day (6 nights) tour. Aha found a tour, leaving September 10, the last of the season!! The tour starts in Cornerbrook and ends in Deer Lake.

"Spoke" with tour operator to determine if we could make it to Cornerbrook (2.5 hour drive) for Sep 10 as we only get into PAB on the evening of Sep 9. 
She said, no problem. Like most tours DAY 1 is simply an arrival day.

However, she said, why not go to Deer Lake to join the tour as we will be ending there and it would not be a problem to leave the car there. DONE


Thousands of years of history come alive as you explore the West Coast of Newfoundland & Labrador. Learn about ancient peoples-the Maritime Archaic and Dorset Indians at Port au Choix, the Vikings in L'Anse aux Meadows, and the Basque Whalers in Red Bay - as you meet the hospitable and friendly people of today. See the beauty of Gros Morne National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and coastal fishing communities. Take a boat tour in St. Anthony (weather permitting) where you may see whales and, depending on the time of year, icebergs! 754 km.
Day 3 is in Labrador.

6 nights accommodation
13 meals

Gros Morne National Park - UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Great Viking Feast at Leifsburdir
Western Brook Pond or Bonne Bay Scenic Boat Tour in Gros Morne (weather permitting)
"Screech In" Ceremony

Whale Watching Boat Tours (weather permitting)

So that is now decided! Time to work on an ending date. 

We really wanted to go into St. Pierre et Miquelon (FRANCE) but it still requires covid testing so we decided to pass.

We will stay a couple of nights in some places and 3 nights in St. John's. St. John's is the capital and largest city of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland and is the easternmost city in North America (excluding Greenland).

We really wanted to do one of the boat tours to hopefully see a puffin (my bucket list LOL) but the boats around Twillingate were fully booked and some others had already finished their season.
But the highly recommended one in Bay Bulls just outside St. John's had availability and I worked the schedule so that we could drive in the morning from Brigus to catch the Sep 23 11:30 AM tour.

ENDING DATE DETERMINED we return to North Sydney NS on Sep 29.
Then it is time for John to review the document and spreadsheet to double check my dates and logic. He added the days of the week to the spreadsheet which is a good idea and adds another level of cross-check. APPROVED

The ferry departs from PAB at 11:45 AM (9:45 boarding) and arrives in North Sydney NS at 18:00. FERRY BOOKED ($260)

NEXT STEPS - book remaining hotels.

UPDATE hotels booked for Sep 28 in PAB and 29 in North Sydney NS.


Load arriveCAN app in case we decide to go into the States on the drive home.

Pack passports just in case.

Check DSLR cameras - yes we are bringing them. We haven't used them in over 3 years as we use our phone cameras. But since we will be driving it will be handy to have them. Mine has a 70 - 300 mm lens which is a medium telephoto lens great for travel photography.


 One Word Sunday

Canadian Artist of the Day

Jessica Alice McVicker. "The Drawn Curtain”. 2021.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Black Canary

July 2022 - Toronto ON

Sherbourne St. Toronto ON
Not much activity this week. We just did all the usual house and home administrivia and chores.
I spent Thursday and Friday(15 hours) (ferry/7 day tour/some hotels/Bay Bulls boat are booked so far) finalizing our Newfoundland Labrador trip from Toronto to St. John's NL and then back to the ferry in Port aux Basques NL. P.S. has always been on our bucket list!

John had his almost last physio.

I booked Stratford ON theatre tickets for the end of the month. This was a birthday tradition until the pandemic. 

Monday John golfed and I went downtown. The island airport bus is now using our downtown spot making it crowded. It is usually parked at the Royal York Hotel, but it is being used for filming, something called Flint, according to the sandwich boards.

I am wondering what they are doing here under the Gardner??

John golfed on Wednesday and I did a grocery shop at Longo's. 

I did a post on our the pathetic lump we have as the newly re-elected premier of Ontario.

Plumbing company figured out they had John's last name spelled incorrectly on the last invoice ($450), they fixed it and we paid it.

Friday was Canada Day so we just vegged. 


Saturday chicken wings and fries

Sunday slow cooker pot roast carrots mashed potatoes and cauliflower

Monday chicken curry

Tuesday rotisserie chicken salad  with this salad dressing. I used up the hard taco shells we didn't like. I threw them out.

Wednesday leftover chicken became fajitas.

Thursday hamburgers and chips.

Friday steak with broccolini mushrooms and onions

I did also make chicken stock out of bones that were in the freezer.


I gave up on Eleanor Roosevelt's volume 1 biography.

I then binge read The Golden Couple, a 7 day loan from the library. A book about people you'd like to slap!
The wife is such a boring character that you can't feel any empathy with. There is a ridiculous side plot about big pharma (read intimidating men in trench coats) to tie in the ending. 

The Woman He Loved Before is a captivating and sad read. I am wondering what the outcome will be.

Canadian Artist of the Day

Ken Danby 1983