Monday, 23 April 2018

On The Street

The streets are alive with art, inspiration and commentary on this cool early morning in Kensington picking up the goods at Caribbean Corner located on Baldwin west of Spadina here since 1977.

No West Indian comes here and leaves without some fresh fruits and vegetables such as okra, bodi, shadow bene, banana leaves scotch bonnet peppers, salt fish and cassava from the islands.

Art from 185 AugustaDeadboy and more is "admission free" and passionately served. Rob Ford, Prime Minister Harper feature along the way as the sweet smell of cinnamon calls around the corner to Mexican Churros $13. per dozen filled with caramel, chocolate or strawberry sauce.
Deep fried while you wait. Served hot at Pancho's.

Surrounding by glammed up teens and young adults sharing the F21 love over the holiday season, I make a post boxing day trip to the Eatons Centre, a mecca of  indoor shopping to check on the Forever 21 fashion frenzy.

Plastic. That's the smell. How many soda pop bottles did it take to make that dress?

So much colour and beauty taking the shortcuts down so many downtown alleyways.

Just bring your own paddle and ball for Ping Pong at June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mt. Pleasant. The ice cream truck still appears every Spring and is in serious need of a 2015 makeover - Gelato, Yogurt shakes and Kombucha popsicles anyone?

Keen Canada makes a great sole for any season on these mean streets of Toronto. This is a lightweight, comfortable waterproof shoe or boot that breathes. Build your own shoe online. Feel good supporting an organization that helps preserve the places we play.

It's art on the street in Kensington. Thank You for no car Sundays in the summer.

Weathered and neglected for years this unbranded wood makes for an exotic 352 Baldwin shop front.

Indigenous Women speak out against TAR SANDS poster.
Endorse, support or get more info at

Not much warmth from the grate and a light green blanket at Bay and Bloor in below zero weather.

Get Inspired by
 the work of French Street Artist Dran and British street Artist Banksy.

Giant multicoloured navigational buoys designed by Douglas Coupland in collaboration with Philips-Farevag-Smallenberg

What a beauty!
On the way home and on the theme of one-of-a-kind, we find a lotus. Ryerson University / Mount Pleasant Cemetary bicycle rack competition 2010 winning design LOTUS by Katy Alter and Jeff Cogliati bring together aesthetic, functionality and ease of use in perfect harmony.

Out front at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, we're happy to find this wonderful swirl of serious bike parking available.

City and Colour

Early morning market's a breeze

Stores are still shut tight in Kensington and hand-painted artwork on the storefronts are exposed when shutters are closed. A few early morning breakfast-seekers and food shoppers are about.

Trees are up in flames everywhere

Both urban artscape and natural colours of Fall inspire and charm. We stop just for a moment to enjoy the play of light and the uplifting feeling that a splash of colour adds to life.

Closed Coffee Shop front counter art

It's like a different coloured scarf everyday changing colours, wrapped around this Church on Belsize Drive.

Halloween skeleton pirates hang out below the brightest shades of orange and yellow

On Oct 31, a front yard line up of Halloween favourites include pumpkins, spiders, witches and Count Dracula.

Leaf tips seem dipped in petal colours after the rain

Groceries bagged and a quiet street makes a skateboard-perfect ride home.

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Monday, 11 December 2017

Comfort and Joy

Encased in ice, fragile winter berries glow like christmas lights

With a glowing sunset came overnight freezing drizzle on the first day of winter

Gingerbread houses constructed at  McCalls Bakery Workshop in the West end of the city.

Decorations on the tree hold special memories of Christmases past or gifts from loved ones  

Fresh Clementines from Morocco are a citrus treat every winter

At Warden and Eglinton, A nest of fresh stir fry and jasmine tea hits that cold spot 

A favourite Holiday card from my colleagues at Camp Kirk sits in the Christmas tree and puts a smile on everyone's face.

Aimee creates a book from a deck of playing cards - a Christmas present for her Mom to share "52  Things I Love About You".

At a Park or backyard near you - Plant a tree and dedicate it to someone you care about, as here at the Davisville Park where dedications were left on little painted river stones.

Sarah and her cousins make colourful Easter Egg baskets out of woven strips of scrap paper, held together with packing tape; then plan an Easter Egg hunt with coloured plastic eggs filled with little chocolate sweetness.
Splurge on exotic flavours like pink guava, mango and pomegranate truffles from Toronto online chocolatier Chocolates 4 the World.

 A quality wool/acrylic blend sweater like this BELIKA brand will take a man through all 4 seasons, available at Carrerra Casuals on Bayview

Happy Father's Day - Cole makes a fun poster for a present, cutting out foam letters out of packing material from a computer packing box.

That summer feeling! Mocassins made entirely of buttery soft leather melt on your feet and keep you in touch with the earth. In Wendake Québec, Huron craftsmen make exquisite hand beaded genuine leather mocassins since 1878. Order yours from Francine or Natalie at

An array of ear plugs in wood, lucite and stone; all sizes and stages of stretching. Get your ear pierced for $25.00 and if you want to revert a few years later, it will take $1,600.00 for elective, reconstructive surgery  with an experienced plastic surgeon at Women's College Hospital. Read More in this CBC article.

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

My Teaching Tools

My essential notes and reminders on giving adults learners a reason to learn, freedom to learn in their own way and opportunities to practice their new skills hands-on.

Lesson Planning

Learning Objectives

  • This three-step process will help explain what you want your students to learn by the end of the lesson.

4 Elements of Adult Learning

  1. motivation
  2. reinforcement
  3. retention
  4. transference.

Learner types

  • Auditory visual kinesthetic
  • Auditory sequential - organized
  • Auditory visual spatial - messy.

Learning Styles

• Why • What  • How • What If?
The 4-Mat System - Bernice McCarthy makes it easy to address all learning styles:


  • People People Divergers: ask Why


  • Facts and theories People Assimilators: ask What


  • Problem solving people Convergers: ask How


  • Innovative People Accommodators: ask What if.

eLearning Development Software Tools

Go to Training

Online training software lets you hold interactive training sessions with up to 200 people – right from your desk saving time and travel costs by moving training program online.

Adobe Captivate

Industry-leading e-learning authoring software for rapidly creating and maintaining interactive content.

Adobe Connect

Web conferencing solution for web meetings, eLearning, and webinars.

Resources for lesson or presentation planning

  • Icebreakers  improving performance playfully
  • Math doodles
  • Pop culture is one way to connect with your learners - classroom management mechanism
  • Body Language - Somatics
  • Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands Europe: How to Do Business in 25 European Countries [Paperback]  Terri Morrison (Author), Wayne A. Conaway (Author).

Essential Communications

by Ian Kennedy

How to be a Top Trainer

by Alan Matthews
  • get people in a receptive state to learn
  • facilitate and make learning interactive instead of just presenting info
  • cater to different styles of learning
  • maximize the transfer of learning
  • know how to choose the right content
  • never blame the material. Bring the content to life.

9 tips for IT trainers Sheena Whyatt

Social Tools  collect, organize, share what you’re interested in on the web a clean and simple way to visually bookmark multiple URLs  share presentations, documents and professional videos.

Body Language and Voice: Your body speaks Video 

Online Learning Examples

Teaching Tips

Sandwich Feedback

When responding to your learners:

  1. Positive  -  what was done that was right
  2. Consider This  -  what needs to be improved
  3. Positive - Overall positive statement for the student

Presentation Skills

The most crucial part of the presentation is the first minute.

Use Games

This learning strategy in adult education adds variety, appeals to kinesthetic learners.


Rules and conventions that regulate social and professional behaviour make you feel comfortable, not uncomfortable. You know what’s expected.

Energizers vs Icebreakers

Difference between energizer and icebreaker: energizer has a debrief. advanced energizer links what is learnt to an activity.

Asking questions

Never tell learners something which you can draw out of them through questioning.

Change is the only thing that’s constant in teaching

Words of wisdom for teachers

  • Engage learners: Teaching is Sales
  • Nothing is ever AWESOME
  • Your Audience Wants You to Succeed
  • Ego - put it aside when co-facilitating
  • People are different and so is the way we learn.

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My Toronto Includes

My Toronto Album 

"A happy city is a social city, living close to your natural environment and having good relationships with neighbours is what it's all about"

Run to your local Toronto Public Library and renew your library card today. 

Then get online and dig into a treasure trove of books, video, research materials, programs, classes, exhibits including hidden gems like a free subscription to over 6,000 courses in Business, Technology and Creative Skills taught by industry experts at

What's On

An explosion of colour and translucent light that was the exhibition at the ROM by, an American glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly #CHIHULYTO 

Neighbourhood Finds

" F
ewer things, exquisitely executed, are better than many things ordinarily executed"

Bill Mockler

Around town, a no-logo canvas carry-all hauls groceries, bread and everyday necessities such as a clip-on LED bike light.  A membership to Mountain Equipment Co-op gets you the goods that gets you outside and on your bike for a few more days before winter finally hits and you have to give up the bike till early spring.

O M G Shoes

GetOutside offers the classics: Converse, Clarks, Doc Martins, Havajianas. Close by at 365 Queen Street West, CSquared, provides more lady-like options with European alternatives like FLY for edgy mary janes and flat, rubber-soled boots from Camper

Paper, pencils, utility bags, exquisite purses
On my usual visit to this Yorkville stationery shop, I'm picking up FABER CASTELL 2B grip, three-sided pencils.

Pens, office accessories and organizers are packed in with italian and eco-friendly laptop bags that may cost as much as 3,990.00. Laywines is tucked in at 24 Bellair Street, opposite Uncle Otis and the newly renovated Sassrafraz Restaurant.

Of course moleskin is there alongside other brands you won't find anywhere else in town.

Built to last
Uncomplicated, impeccable tailoring, unexpected colours in leather, contemporary and weather-aware fabrics. There are no risks here at M0851. Only buttery soft leather, sophisticated basics and the best utility bags to last a lifetime.

Shop Local: Tea towels handcrafted in Canada by Jenna Rose and 100% Canadian organic beeswax candles from Gammy's

The One Of A Kind Show is on twice a year in Toronto and this smaller spring show in April makes it easy to get up close to the 450 artisans showing handmade items including bodycare, ceramics, furniture, textiles and fashion.

Glass by Toronto artist E. J. Davey

Zit Designs from Montreal uses recycled rubber to create really useful items like this card holder. Buy one for each family member to keep items like health card, library card, doctor's appointment card all in one place.
Lawrence Tucker of Ottawa scouts for special pieces of wood and turns them into magnificent, functional items like these pens.
Another top pick this year are the Original Pheylonian Survival Candles of 100% pure capping beeswaxmostly virgin beeswax freshly produced by the bees each year when they are gathering nectar, that last for 80-100 hours. If you burn candles, make sure they're beeswax which produce negative ions, cleansing the air of dust, odours, toxins, pollen, mold, dust mite feces, chemtrail residues and viruses.

Everyday Summer style. Left:  Boss by Hugo Boss suit at Harry Rosen, White Shirt by, shoes Blundstone at Australian Boot Company on Yonge. Right: Reversible Jacket with pewter skull buttons online at Betabrand, shorts Club Monaco, long sleeve tee Banana Republic Bloor West, sandals Birkenstock at Circle Shoes.

Splendid Gifts

A little salt does the body good and a real treat for Women only at Body Blitz Spa.

Ana's Housekeeping Services Who doesn't need a little extra help once in a while? We'll take any day, anytime.

Reflexology dates back 5,000 years and are few things more pleasurable than a soothing, energizing foot massage at Bakerwood Massage Clinic

I'll take UBER, Beck or Royal Taxi over having to get behind the wheel in Toronto traffic. You can actually give the gift of UBER

Wildbird. Birdseed and more! Canadian-made home and personal wellness products.

A breakfast for Mother's Day - Peter prepares Oatmeal with cream, brown sugar and walnuts; Montreal-style all dressed bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion slices and capers.

Let's Eat

Super summer salad
Crunchy Spinach Salad at the Pickle Barrel Yonge and Eglinton is a bunch of baby spinach leaves topped mandarins, red onions, almonds, crunchy rice noodles and other stuff is a filling meal on a hot night just before a movie at SilverCity. 

Rooftop Patio
The patio at the Queen Mother Café on Queen Street West, not visible from the street, you must venture underground to get back up to the backyard patio, more like Aunt Marge's than the Queen but you can't beat the Pad Thai noodles after 20 years in the city.

JulesBistro is a cozy, unpretentious restaurant that serves the ultimate Toronto lunch at the east side of Spadina between Queen and Richmond.

Frank Restaurant at the AGO is a relaxed and delightful date for lunch and an afternoon gallery browse. Ten percent off meals is just one of the perks of an Art Gallery of Ontario membership. Named in honour of the gallery's restoration architect, Frank Gehry.

The breakfast of champions consists of multi-grain pancakes with Canadian maple syrup, two over-easy eggs, peameal bacon, cranberry juice. The takeout sandwich version may substitute a Montreal-style Bagel House bagel instead of pancakes.

Fresh Produce just around the corner at Mt Pleasant and Davisville - Ken Cho Food Market supplies the Mt. Pleasant and Davisville neighbourhood and it's many restaurants on the block for over 20 years. Dress up your table with fine linens from Jacaranda Tree, pick up a fresh baguette at Jules Bakery and lunch is ready.

Green Space

The Kay Gardiner Beltline Trail runs from west of Allen Road and south just west of the Don Valley is a great city escape for cyclists and walkers.

Evergreen community naturalization programs is a collective effort that includes people from all walks of life in the revitalization of their schools, community and in making cities our more livable. Spread the green.
Take a video tour or just get there on Saturday for the Farmers' market. The Evergreen Foundation is our blazing star forging ahead to raise $55 million to transform this heritage site into a sustainable urban green space.

As part of the Don River watershed and City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, this urban oasis helps to protect wildlife and habitat.

A splendid hike through The Central Ravines and Beltline is part of the urban forest pathway leading to the Evergreen Brickworks conservation area where Saturday morning is buzzing with a Farmers Market and family activities.

Trees make our city livableOne of the most valuable resources in our city are our 10.2 million trees.

Allen Gardens is set in one of Toronto’s oldest parks and transports you into a warm, humid horticultural feast of six themed greenhouses featuring a mature forest of Palms, Succulents, Bamboo, Orchids, Hibiscus and Bromeliads.

Allen Garden is a botanical oasis offering welcome sanctuary among beautiful plants from around the world often finding some privacy from unwelcome stares under the centre piece historic, cast-iron and glass domed “Palm House”, built in 1910.

Early morning at Rosehill Reservoir: a glorious park to enjoy at 75 Rosehill Ave. just two blocks south east of St. Clair Ave. and Yonge St.

City Hall's  best kept secret: The Podium Green Garden is an expanse of underused public garden at the pod level at City Hall which may not be visible from the street but a sweet space to get away from the crowds at Queen St. and Bay.

Just go for a walk!. My friends travel all over the world only to discover that Toronto is a natural wonder with 600 km of trails and more than 1,600 parks like this one, midtown in the Village of Yorkville.

Garden West
Going out of town in search of something Victorian then an afternoon at the Royal Botanical Gardens on the border of Burlington and Hamilton, is divine.  If you take the your bike on the go train, you get off at Aldershot and it's probably a less than 15 minute ride down to the lake at your at the Gardens. Visit the tea room in the gardens for lunch.

A new bride joins her wedding party for a ferry ride to Ward's Island and Wedding Reception.

photo: Cole kicks it @ NTSC North Toronto Soccer Club

Wildflower Farms is a favourite website about native plants and you can buy stock too!.

Star Gazing
If you love looking up at the stars, the David Dunlap Observatory offers public viewing nights held most Saturday nights throughout the summer months and early fall. The DDO is an educational facility located in Richmond Hill, Ontario and is operated by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Ontario Walks celebrates the joys of walking.

GreenShift Supplies cups and other products made from sugarcane, corn or natural paper fibres with special certified, biodegradable coatings.

Becoming a Toronto Environmental Volunteer. Twenty hours of training and a certificate, 40 hours of community work (or more), a diploma, a T-shirt and hat, ... ah, and free entrance to different shows such as the Green Living Show and Canada Blooms.

Bluffers Park is 14 kilometres of waterfront, public, open, day-use park with long sandy beach, picnic areas, swimming, scenic trails, volleyball court, launching facilities for recreational boaters, as well as private yacht clubs with the backdrop of the majestic Cathedral Bluffs rising more than 90 metres above Lake Ontario.

Getting Around

On New Year's Eve you can ride the TTC for free. Party without getting behind the wheel of your car. Toronto Transit Commission.

Toronto City Bicycling Map

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