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Tonight was the 9th annual Ride of Silence in Toronto, one of 390 such rides worldwide, held to remember all cyclists who have been killed while riding.

Here we gather at Matt Cohen Park.

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There were about 45 of us lined up at the start of the ride.

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East on Bloor St.

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Now south on Yonge.

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Many sections of Yonge were down to one lane due to condo construction.

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Approaching the Peace Garden at City Hall.

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Ready for reading of names of cyclists who have died in Toronto since 2010.

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(photo credit Cycle Toronto)

Then a minute of silence for the fallen.

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(photo credit Geoffrey Bercarich)

Afterwards, most of the cyclists volunteered to lie down to represent just a fraction of the number of pedestrians and cyclists who die annually on the streets of Toronto.

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Since the last ride of silence, five cyclists have died in Toronto, including one on the morning of today’s ride. Additionally, at least 15 pedestrians have been killed so far this calendar year (excluding those killed in the North York attack).

They will not be forgotten.

Today’s list:

March 2018   Dalibor Kovac

Dec 2017     Daryl Craig

Oct 2017     David Delos Santos

July 2017    Gary Sim

June 2017    Xavier Morgan

Oct 2016     Donn Woods

July 2016    David Victor Pierce

June 2016    Steve Hancock

Oct 2015       Hardeep Singh Patra

Aug 2015       Luke Mazzocca

June 2015         Adam Excell

June 2015                Peter Kang 

May 2015                Roger duToit  

Oct 2014                Edouard Le Blanc

Aug  2014                Immanuel Sinnadurai

Nov 2013              Adrian Dudzicki 

Oct  2013            Carla Warrilow

Sept  2013            Sue Trainor

April  2013            Henry Mejia

Nov 2012             Tom Samson

Nov 2012                Mike Rankin

Sept 2012               Pete Cram

Aug 6 2012          Joe Mavec

Nov 7 2011          Jenna Morrison

Aug-11                 Jack Roper

Nov 2010             Vicente Sering 

Sep-10                 Nigel Gough

A fuller list is available at the ARC website.

Update:
Joey Schwartz’s video
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjoeys1%2Fvideos%2F10157369643319046%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Toronto Star: Nearly two years since Toronto announced Vision Zero, pedestrian and cyclist deaths are not declining

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Over the past week, the local media has started to stir up anticipation for the bloom of sakura in High Park. The blooms are much later than usual. Those that braved traffic over the weekend were probably underwhelmed as the trees were perhaps between 10-25% in bloom. However, a few days of warm weather can do wonders. This morning, I did a little scouting on the way into work and I say that the blooms still looked to be only about 50%.

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Today was the day that we decided to try to get our annual family photo with the sakura. This evening, we biked into the park as per usual. It was very crowded for a weekday.

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Traffic jam. Also loads of pedestrians which I guess is progress of a sort.

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The nominal family picture.

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Turning the camera 180°, this is what the scene looked like. Crazy for a Tuesday.

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Lucy says “Can we go home now, Dad?”

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Leaving the park. In and out in about 15 minutes. Biking is best as usual.

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I’ll have to go back when it’s a bit more peaceful. Tomorrow should be good, but there is rain in the forecast for Thursday and Saturday.

If you want to see a fuller, less crowded display, check out the south west side of Robarts Library.

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This is Jane’s walk weekend (to celebrate the birthday of patron saint Jane Jacobs) where volunteers lead tours all around the city to point out various things of historical interest. My Facebook feed flagged a Jane’s walk on bikes that advertised an 18km loop in the heart of the city that was almost completely on off road trails, and some of them were unfamiliar to me, so it was a golden opportunity to explore more of downtown by bike.

The ride started at Ben Nobleman Park, which was highly appropriate since it was located at the southern terminus of the Allen Expressway: the stub that was supposed to continue downtown as the Spadina Expressway. Jane Jacobs led the fight to quash the expressway. Here we gather in the shadow of the many cranes that are building a station for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

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Just before we started, a community group called the Ben Nobleman Community Orchard was wrapping up a fundraiser, and one of them was able to tell us a little more about the history of this spot. The very long picnic table was made from reclaimed wood that had been part of a dock in the harbour. It also more or less marked the line where the province under Premier Bill Davis had a narrow strip of provincial land leased to the city  for 99 years as part of a strategy to ensure that an expressway would not extend further south than Eglinton Ave.

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Our ride leader, Burns from the Cycle Toronto Midtown group, shows us the newspaper account of the cancellation of the Spadina Expressway.

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Then it was a short ride up to the starting point of our ride: the western end of the Beltline Trail at Allen Expressway. (I do realize that the belt line extends further west). The sign had a lot of interesting information. The Beltline trail marks the path of the northern part of a railway loop that ran for a scant 28 months before it went bankrupt. The northern section of the rail line continued to be used for freight as far east as Mt. Pleasant, but then in 1990 it was converted over to a rail trail.

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Here where the Beltline crosses Bathurst, there are no road markings. After a lot of lobbying, the city has agreed to put in a small refugee island and some signage at this crossing. This is due to go in sometime this year.

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A brief stop under the bridge where Eglinton crosses the Beltline. Burns tells us that we have Eglinton above us, and below we have a buried storm sewer that was Yellow Creek, as well as the Eglinton Crosstown.

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The first of several obstacles that mother nature provided us from yesterday’s wind storm.

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Here is the crossing at Avenue Rd, which was the most improved of all the major crossing. Heavy lobbying by the Cycle TO Midtown group was crucial in making this happen.

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They are less pleased with what the city did at Oriole Parkway, with this island in the middle, and no road markings.

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What a beautiful day to be riding the Beltline.

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Across Yonge lies Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. Here you can see another downed tree.

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At Mt. Pleasant Ave, we enter the cemetery and head towards Moore Park Ravine.

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Moore Park Ravine.

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Another downed tree.

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We stop briefly near the spot where there was the Moore Park train station.

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Riding down the hill, we end up at the bottom of where the City is making a new switchback trail to connect the Beltline to Chorley Park. This trail had significant opposition from local residents.

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Now onto towards the Brickworks.

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Now climbing back up the Park Drive Reservation trail.

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A very unfriendly crossing of Mt. Pleasant to get to David Balfour Park.

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Up another ravine that I’ve never seen before.

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After about a km or so on city streets, we are back on the west side of Yonge St. We pause briefly at Poplar Plains where we are told that the bike lane there was the first in the city it was installed in 1979. Note the newspaper article visible in the binder.

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“Bike Lanes have drivers up in arms”. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

At this point, I had to cut off from the group who were headed back up Nordheimer and Cedarvale to the starting point.

Thanks to Burns from Cycle TO Midtown for leading the ride and teaching us things, as well as to Ken, also from the Midtown group, for providing supplemental information.

If you are so inclined, this ride is running again on Sunday, and it has also been offered several years so you might be able to join next year.

 

 

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The blooming of the sakura around town looks to be much later than usual due to the spells of lingering cold that we’ve had this spring. The earliest harbinger of blooming that I know of is a small stand of trees on Shanly St. that get a lot of reflected sun from the building immediately behind them. Last year they went straight to leaf, but this year looks a bit more promising. Here’s a photo from yesterday.

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The other trees that bloom early are on the southwest side of Robarts Library. They looked like this on Monday:

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This morning, some of the trees at Robarts were close to full bloom.

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It is amazing what a few days of warm weather can do. They should be pretty nice this weekend, and all of next week if the weather is decent.

Unfortunately, the path bordered by sakura is partially blocked off due to construction.

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High Park is not quite so far along, and I would say that they will start to bloom during the upcoming week. Here is a picture of one of the trees by the soccer field, taken this morning (Friday).

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Here are a couple of shots of the trees closest to the Grenadier Restaurant, on the path leading down to the pond.

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Porta potties and extra garbage cans have all been laid out. Mother’s Day weekend will be madness. Just the usual reminder to come by bike or transit if at all possible.

 

 

 

 

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So I’ve been collecting some more tiles with Veloviewer and it is definitely addictive. For example, this morning, my rides looked like this:

and you can see the annoying little gap in South Etobicoke. Thus, with a little more time on hand this afternoon, I took a somewhat circuitous route home.

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(normal route purple, this afternoon, blue).

Now my tiles look like this:

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and to add to the fun, I got to discover some new territory like this bridge.

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I’ve added a few rides from the last couple of years to my Strava account, and now if I zoom out on my personal heat map, the tiles look like this.

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Most of my riding is downtown, and some of the rides further afield are with TBN. You can clearly see one or two rides starting from Finch station going north that are not connected to downtown. Sadly, the longer rides that come from downtown are all ghost bike rides from the past year or two.

One more note: I’ve given up on the Strava phone app. Many people were reporting problems with iPhones not recording properly from about the middle of February. I’ve switched back to tracking rides with the Cyclemeter App, and then uploading to my free Strava account, which seems to work out fine. I’ll be tracking rides with my Garmin as well when I get back to doing those longer rides.

 

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One of the landmarks on my commute in to work every day has been Honest Ed’s, a Toronto institution that has been in the process of being demolished. Back in December, I started taking a series of pictures, mostly from Bloor and Markham, where I would pull over briefly, just off the bike lane.

Here is the first picture from December 3, 2017, where most of the building south of the Bloor St. Facade was already gone.

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Dec 8

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Dec 12

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Dec 27

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January 4

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Jan 10jan10

Jan 13

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Jan 30

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January 30, from Bloor and Bathurst

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February 5

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At this point, I had to go out of town for a few days, and I didn’t manage to get the last pictures of the corner, but you can see an Instagram video here:

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Feb 9: just as last bits of the corner entrance are demolished.

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Feb12: From this panorama, you can see that all that’s left of the ground floor is a little section off Bathurst.

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Feb 15

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Feb 27. Even some of the hoarding along Bathurst has come down, and now you can see across to some of the properties on Markham St. that have yet to come down.

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Feb 28: Oh yes, there is a small block of stores on Bathurst that refused to sell, and so they have been left alone.

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There is also a second block of stores at the corner just south of here. According to this rendering, these buildings area part of the final design.

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(image source)

 

 

 

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Round about the middle of January, I started recording my rides in parallel on Cyclemeter and Strava. The reason was that Strava seemed to have a pretty active ecosystem, and I was particularly interested in the features offered by Veloviewer. Veloviewer offers many of the features of Strava Premium, but at minimal cost. For example, it can plot fun infographics like this:

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It can also provide a personal heat map.  Here you can easily see that my riding is dominated by my regular commute from High Park to downtown.

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In addition, there is a subculture of  veloviewer riders that collect tiles, which are squares about a mile on a side, that are a measure of how much area you have covered with your riding. It is a clever incentive to vary your riding so that you explore different areas around your home. It certainly works for me. This past weekend, I took advantage of a little more leisure time than usual to add to my tile collection. On Saturday I rode with Scarborough Cycles, and collected about six tiles in the east end of the city. They are shaded on the map below.

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You can see that there are gaps in the pattern of my riding, so today I decided to take a really long detour on my way into work to fill in some of the gaps.

First up: adding a little riding on the southwest corner. Here you can see that the Humber Bay Bridge is now clear of ice, unlike last weekend.

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Heading east on the MGT, I check out the ghost bike for Xavier Morgan.

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Next up: checking out Trillium Park and the William Davis trail on the east side of the Ontario Place lands. One nice surprise is that the gate to the rest of Ontario Place is open, letting me get this picture of a really scenic smoking area.

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On the way back to the MGT, you can see the city from a new vantage point.

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Here’s a good shot of the fixed choke point on the MGT. It took several years and the cooperation of all three levels of government to get a small triangular area of pavement installed so that the sidewalk is separated from the multi use trail.

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The waterfront proper had a series of art installations called Icebreakers. The easternmost installation was a giant percussion instrument.

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Video

The second was this giant gummy bear. It was covered in a lot of pink pile fabric.

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The third one, Winter Fanfare, actually looked better in person than in photos.

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A driftwood sign with the inevitable hashtag.

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This piece was called Black Bamboo.

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The final piece is a cabin made of tree roots. What was sad was the traces of clothing indicating that this was used as a makeshift homeless shelter.

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Now working my way further east, I see these crazy balconies on the side of this condo; they look like diving boards.

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Now that’s a pothole (Unwin Ave)

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After my little ride, I see that I’ve filled in seven more tiles

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and Veloviewer also tracks how many tiles I collected this weekend.

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It’s a fun incentive to ride more, and to explore the city at the same time.

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