Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

Ontario has announced that they are moving to step 3 in their reopening this Friday. This is in view of the fact that the vaccine rollout has been going very well, with Ontario standing at 69% first shot, and 49% both doses. The only comment that I can make is that we shall see if this is a good idea.

If we look at the US, their average vaccination rates are 56/48 first shot/second which is somewhat less than Canada, and they have fully opened up since at least July 1. The case numbers are trending up now, with the data for places like Florida being particularly troubling.

In terms of total doses of vaccine delivered per capita, we passed the US some time ago.

And our vaccination rate is quite high compared to many others although it has been trending downwards recently.

There has been a significant shift in the vaccination strategy over the past month or so with the priority given to second doses, which you can see in this graph.

As a result, the trend for Ontario looks like this:

From the FT website, the per day per capita rate for first and second doses for Canada are 0.12% and 1.1%, which means that by the middle of August, the above two curves would be on top of each other. It would seem that the priority needs to shift back to prioritizing first doses at least as much as second doses. At the same time, during the next 30 days it will be much clearer to what degree vaccine hesitancy will be affecting the data.

With Canada’s vaccination statistics being somewhat similar to the UK, one hopes that we will not see the same rise in cases in the next two months. Of course one can argue that their restrictions have been looser for a while, and that they have many fewer people vaccinated at younger age brackets, but we certainly don’t want to be in their current situation, with almost all restrictions being lifted at the end of this week, and the numbers showing that they are fully into a fourth wave.

One positive for the Toronto area is that in terms of demographics, it appears that the 18-24 age group has been very proactive in getting themselves vaccinated.

The other thing is that Toronto is running ahead of the provincial average in terms of vaccinations, and that the case numbers are continuing to trend downwards.

Fingers crossed for the fall.

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ManDem CC announced their third ride of season 2 on Instagram. I had ridden with them once last year, and was so impressed by the diversity of this community. I was not able to join them again, so I was determined to show up this time. The meeting place was Prince’s Gate at the east end of the CNE grounds.

There was a crowd of about a hundred riders, and as I observed last year, Chris was circulating around greeting everyone. What shocked me is that he remembered me by name, even though I only showed up once before.

He made some short announcements before we got rolling. He said that this group was not a political statement, but thought it was appropriate to give a land acknowledgement in view of the recent news about the residential schools.

And we’re off, with Chris in the lead.

At Bathurst, approaching Queen’s Quay.

It was a bit chaotic along Queen’s Quay as there were many people about. Our group ended up taking the lane, as well as using the MUP. Unfortunately this led to one rider crashing on the streetcar tracks and breaking his arm.

A planned stop at Underpass Park. There was a bit of a delay as Chris had circled back to check on the reports that a rider was down.

A very cool dog and his rider.

We’re on the move again at the foot of River St. I’m not sure about the timing of this picture, but it looks like it was just as a rider failed to unclip and then fell onto Chris’ bike.

Along the MUP on the north side of Lakeshore.

Taking advantage of the closure of Lakeshore East.

Riding along the waterfront trail in the Beach, I had to stop to chat briefly with the bike piano guy.

We arrive at our destination: the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant. It’s my first time here. It is a stunning setting.

Word filters through the crowd that Chris’ bike got a bent wheel during the incident on River St. He arrives with bike on shoulder.

Even with all that has happened this evening, Chris still radiates positivity.

Just as I bid him adieu, he insists that we get a picture. Thanks to the person who took this for me.

Riding back part of the way with Dave of @TorontoCycleChic. I’m sure he will be posting much better pictures of this ride.

It’s a lovely, peaceful night for a bike ride. This is Queen and Carlaw.

Paying my respects at the Douglas Crosbie ghost bike.

Thanks to Chris and all the other people that I met tonight for a wonderful experience. Looking forward to riding with this group again.

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There was an annular solar eclipse that was partially visible from Toronto at sunrise this morning. I decided to get up early to see if I could get a photo. Here I am headed down to the lake.

On the way, I passed a couple that was also headed to Humber Bay shores to do the same thing. Actually, the wife was going to do one better by swimming during the eclipse.

Set up at lookout point.

This was the view through the camera.

After some discussion with someone who was already there, I decided that since the sun was likely to come up just where the tree was, I decided to move to the point that is visible in the foreground.

Lots of people here.

Got some nice pre sunrise pictures.

However, as soon as the sun actually rose into view, I was not able to get a good photo since I couldn’t get the sun into the exposure range of my camera.

Ironically, the best photo I got was from my iPhone, where you can see the crescent shape of the sun in a lens flare internal reflection.

On the way back I was chatting with a CityTV cameraman, and he kindly lent me a pair of plastic eclipse glasses. This is what a photo looks like with the glasses in front of the lens.

Next time I’ll try to be better prepared. The next big one that will be visible locally will be in 2024.

and as per the comment below, I can hardly complain about a nice early morning bike ride in glorious weather.

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Black creek trail

On my last couple of rides that passed through Downsview park, I kept seeing some signage pointing to the Black Creek Trail. This past week I decided to ride up there to specifically check it out. Here is my route, starting from Runnymede and Annette. You can download it here.

The first part of the route is very similar to the ride that I did up to Downsview Park, going up the Humber River trail a little past Lawrence, and then cutting over on Church/Maple Leaf to cross the Black Creek expressway, and then up Jane to cross the 401. Jane is still one of the safer ways to cross the 401 since there isn’t a highway interchange.

Here I am approaching Langhorn Drive where there is signage telling me to turn left to get to the trail.

Trail entrance at the end of the street. There is a downhill section into the valley.

Once you are down in the valley, this section of the “trail” is actually a roadway through parkland.

Here is the crossing at Sheppard.

A little further north, the road ends in a parking lot, and you should take the path off to the left.

This becomes a MUP through groomed parkland.

Then finally you go into the woods and things are more interesting. This section between Sheppard and Finch where you are biking beside the creek was my favourite part of the ride.

Approaching Finch.

Normally you could cross Finch and the trail would continue a little off to the east. However, with the Finch LRT construction I ended up having to ride the sidewalk east to Sentinel, and then back on the other side.

Now you can see the trail that continues to the north.

The left branch of this fork leads to the Finch Hydro Corridor trail. I stayed to the right.

The trail ends at this point, which is a service entrance to Black Creek Pioneer Village.

I decided to ride back south through the York U campus, and down Sentinel to avoid the construction that I had passed on the way up. Just south of Finch, you turn right on Derrydown Road, and there is an entrance to the trail off to the right opposite Conamore Crescent. (note that is is a deviation from the route that I posted in ridewithgps).

Doesn’t look like much.

A steep section of gravel. However, it is very short.

Turn left after the bridge and you are headed south on the trail again.

Back south of Sheppard, make sure you turn left at this parking lot to continue on the trail.

This leads to the climb out of the valley that leads to Langholm Drive.

The other thing I decided to do on the way back was to take a little detour through Giovanni Caboto Park. Here is the unmarked entrance off Exbury Rd.

This was another pleasant surprise: a quiet ravine ride that was downhill all the way.

Crossing the 401 on Jane southbound was not as much fun. In retrospect what I would recommend is to use the Black Creek Trail northbound as yet another way to connect to the Finch Hydro Corridor. One can even imagine a short loop that would incorporate the Black Creek Trail, the Finch corridor, and a ride through Downsview Park.

Something like this 23 km loop. Note that it crosses Finch at Sentinel to avoid construction, and that it should be run counterclockwise so that you go down the steep trail off of Derrydown Road.

It is amazing to explore more of these ravines that run all the way through different neighbourhoods.

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As part of a city program to encourage outdoor activity while remaining socially distanced, the city relaunched ActiveTO. However, the original proposal did not include Lakeshore West. The reason was that there was going to be construction at the intersection of Roncesvalles and Queen/King, and there were some concerns about closing the eastbound lanes of Lakeshore. However, after a huge volume of citizen input at a city council meeting, the city announced that it would open Lakeshore West on select weekends after all. This was the first such weekend.

Here is a picture of traffic moving smoothly through the construction site at Roncesvalles and Queen. No apparent traffic jam.

Lots of bikes headed down to the lake on Ellis Ave this morning.

People riding by the Xavier Morgan ghost bike. This coming Monday (Victoria Day) will be the four year anniversary of his death. The fence along this sloped section of Lakeshore was installed as a result of his death.

I don’t think there is any doubt that this closure is highly popular. Note that you can see the eastbound Gardiner jammed with traffic off to the right, but this is because there was an accident just a little east of this point.

This doggo was keeping a very close eye on what I was going.

Nice to see so many people, including families with small children, out enjoying a bike ride along the lake.

There are plans to add a closure of the Allen Expressway starting on June 6 as part of ActiveTO. I’ll definitely have to check that out, as the Allen is the northernmost section of what was supposed to become the Spadina Expressway.

Apparently Black Creek is also under consideration. It is great to see the city considering road closures spread out over more of the city.

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Joey Schwartz posted a nice 68 km route on Facebook last week, and I decided to try it out today.

Looking at the map, what I particularly liked about it was that it covered a lot of the same ground as the big loop, but it avoided the north west corner where you end up having to cross the 400 Hwy at either Finch or Steeles. I modified the route a bit, making the start point Runnymede and Bloor, and going north on Scarlett Rd to bypass both Etienne Brule Park (which is currently closed) and the busiest parts of the Humber River Trail.

Just where Scarlett Rd crosses the Humber, I see that some of the concrete barriers were moved. To add insult to injury, this is exactly the point there the city should have put a curb cut to make the connection to the off road multiuser trail easier. This bike dad had to spend some time hauling the trailer over the curb.

The route also crosses the 401 at Jane, which is one of the safer ways to do it. The route also avoids the busy on ramps, but you do have to go a short distance on Jane to cross under the highway.

Riding through Downsview Park for the first time was a treat. There was a brand new pavilion at the south west corner of the park.

I guess federal money gives you really nice and wide multiuse trails. Also several artificial hills were an interesting feature. It will be interesting to see how this will all look in ten years or so.

The aviation theme is evident in this piece of artwork.

Great day to be going east on the Finch corridor, with the wind at my back.

Riding back through the Don trails was uneventful. The lower part of Bayview was blocked off for Active TO. I chose to exit the valley at River St, which is one of the easiest climbs.

When I was biking south on Bayview, a cyclist going the other way shouted out “nice bag”. I can only assume that it was another local owner of the Route Werks bag.

66 km makes the longest ride of the year for me so far. A nice way to kick off the month of May.

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Since one of the categories for errandonee 2021 was “history lesson”, I thought that I would visit some of the ghost bikes in the area.

Here is the ghost bike for Jonas Mitchell (June 2018) on Lakeshore at Colborne Lodge. It has been nicely maintained.

It should be noted that Nigel Gough (Sept 2010) was also killed at the same intersection.

Xavier Morgan’s ghost bike (May 2017) is on Lakeshore near the top of the hill at the Canadian Legion.

The fence along this section was installed because of his death.

Alex Amaro (Dec 2020) was killed on Dufferin, just by the south end of Dufferin Mall.

Florist Lisa Duncan of Fuscia Designs was responsible for the cascade of flowers that were recently added to this memorial.

Just a stone’s throw away is the reflexology path in Dufferin Grove that is a memorial to Jenna Morrison (Nov 2011)

Nice to see people having biked there and enjoying it.

Inus’ ghost bike (Sept 2020) is on Dundas St W just south of Kensington Market.

Carla Warrilow was struck down (October 2013) on Spadina just south of Dundas.

Dalia Chako was killed (June 2018) at the intersection of St. George and Bloor. There is sewer work and road reconstruction being done here. When it is finished, this will be the first fully protected intersection in the city.

Adam Excell died at Avenue Rd and Davenport (June 2015).

Tom Samson was hit from behind on Davenport and Lansdowne (Nov 2012). Good to see the flowers being replaced periodically.

Galen Kuellmer died on Dupont at Dundas in May 2004. His ghost bike is long gone, but the mural incorporates an image from one of his photos. His image lies just underneath the West Toronto Railpath.

Eleven dear departed souls who will not be forgotten.

A map of the ghost bike locations in Toronto is here, although it has not been updated since 2018.

Yesterday was day 3, and I rode up to Clairville Reservoir, which is about as far to the northwest as I could go while not crossing into another region, as per the current provincial lockdown guidelines.

I had a nice chat with these fine gentlemen. Note the Mariposa wool jersey, and the spectacular matching bike.

I log this ride as “self care”. Four more errands to go.

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Lucy and I decided to check out the sakura in High Park this afternoon, by cargobike of course.

They are probably about a week shy of full bloom.

The city just announced that the park will be open during the bloom, unlike last year, but in the sort of compromise that will satisfy no one, they will fence off the largest groups of trees.

They should have just closed it down again, given that the number of COVID cases is above seven times higher than last spring.

If you are desperate to see the sakura up close, there are plenty of small displays around the city, such as this group by Robarts Library that I photographed on Monday. They should be in full bloom this weekend.

As per usual, the trees nearest the white concrete bloom first due to the reflected sunlight.

If you must see them up close, stay safe!

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A little over a week ago, I took some photos of the single track near the lighthouse in Tommy Thompson Park. I rode by today to see what the city had done. It was heartbreaking.

Everything has been bulldozed flat leaving a desolate moonscape, and somewhat of a road that will turn into a mud pit when it rains.

For some reason I was most upset by what happened towards the south end. There used to be a nice ridge of gravel that had a narrow path that had been worn smooth by footfall and cycle tracks. For some reason, they decided to rip up the ridge, leaving ugly mounds of gravel.

It’s almost as if what was left behind was deliberately made as unattractive as possible. Certainly there was no attempt to restore things to any kind of “natural state”.

The other thing I noticed was two new very ugly mirrors placed at two intersections.

It would be nice if the city put these where they were needed, for example at the intersection of Brock and Florence.

July 2021 update: enough riders have been passing through so that there is now a smooth path through what used to be the roughest gravel section.

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It was announced recently that the city is going to remove the built single track that is a little east of the lighthouse, starting Monday March 29. The stated reason is that there are some “hazardous structures” that could pose a danger to the public. Since it is going to rain on both Friday and Sunday, and the spit is a madhouse on Saturdays, I look a little time off this afternoon for one last ride.

Here is where you take the unassumed road that is the alternate route to the lighthouse.

Just before the road meets up with the main paved road, you go off to the left at this point.

Turn right at the shore, and here you go.

Lots of lovely little paths to choose from.

This feature is out of commission.

This is the south end of the trails. Beyond this point, there is a straight path along a gravel ridge.

Nice detail here.

Every jump has a detour around it.

Three kids were hanging out in this hut.

None of the people that I talked to were aware of the fact that these trails were scheduled for demolition on Monday. In fact, an older woman who had hiked in was so upset that it sounded like she was ready to lie down in front of the bulldozers next week. She said that the fellow that put this together had been working on it for over ten years, and that it was one of her favourite spots in the park.

Did I mention that it was a lovely day?

Thanks to the unnamed artisan who put all this together. Rest assured that your handiwork provided much joy to others over the years.

Update: coverage about the removal on Blog TO

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