Sunday, November 24, 2013

TTC Hillcrest Shops Tour 2013

On a brisk December afternoon, the Toronto Transit Commission opened the doors of probably the most important (and taypayer-friendly) facilities in their system: the Hillcrest Shops. This is where the heavy lifting (literally), refurbishing, repairing, repainting, reverse-engineering and restoration of the TTCs surface fleet takes place.

It's amazing how much actually has to be built from scratch at this place. From obsolete streetcar doors, to ventilation systems, to manual track switchers, the behind-the-scenes members of the TTC toil to keep the rolling stock rolling, without having to prematurely replace a bus, or in the case of streetcars, retirement.

The star of the show was the new low-floor, articulated behemoth of a streetcar, which is guaranteed to cause nightmares in the mayor's office. This thing is HUGE. There are plenty of chairs, some facing each other, which should be an interesting experience for the average above-ground straphanger. Also plenty of doors for entry and exit, which in theory should keep things moving along more quickly. Lots of LED lighting along the sides of the doors which flash to alert potentially-passing drivers of their open status. The thing is, you won't be able to pass these things. Unless you're driving a dragster and have an open curb lane for at least 1000 ft., that is. They also had a NovaBus articulated bus on display, which should be entering service in the near future.

For heritage sake, they had the PCCs, a Peter Witt, and a lonely ALRV out in the yard for people to walk through, and reminisce over.

Photos taken at the TTC Hillcrest Shops on Bathurst Street in Toronto, Ontario on November 23, 2013.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Arrowhead Provincial Park

Fall colours bursting at Arrowhead Provincial Park, just north of Huntsville, Ontario on October 11, 2013.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - July 11, 2013

In support of their latest series-of-recorded-songs-which-may-or-may-not-be-on-a-traditional-record, Liverpool's Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark hit the Danforth Music Hall's stage for the beginning of an ill-fated leg of English Electric tour. Ill-fated in the sense that the following Friday, at the same venue, drummer Malcolm Holmes collapsed on stage toward the end of the gig, and landed in hospital for exhaustion for the following week. Unfortunately, this also ended any form of touring for the band for the remainder of the year. UPDATE: It turns out that Malcolm had suffered a cardiac arrest and needed a defibrillator to be revived! A full statement on the OMD website can be found here.

This concert, however, went off without a (visible) hitch. Problems earlier in the day delayed OMD's sound check, and completely cancelled openers Diamond Rings' sound check. Despite these, both the opening and headline acts provided energetic sets, with OMD playing songs from each of their albums, even ones where "OMD" included only singer/bassist/co-founder Andy McCluskey.

They played plenty of English Electric, as well as their comeback disc from 2010, History of Modern, along with several of the songs the equally-aged audience came to hear, including the 1986 mega-hit "If You Leave". Hopefully, the fab foursome will have found their return satisfactory enough to continue producing quality electro-pop, and providing their fans with further opportunities to witness performances full of electricity, and "Electricity".

Photos taken at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Ontario on July 11, 2013.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Portage Flyer

Tucked away behind the Huntsville Centennial Arena Canada Summit Centre (home for media types who had to truck themselves up to Muskoka for the 2010 G8 Summit) is Huntsville Heritage Place, a re-creation of ye olden dayes of Muskoka. On the site is your standard museum, pioneer village, and most excitingly, the Portage Flyer.

The Portage Flyer is a steam-powered locomotive which re-creates a portage route (albeit not using the same portage route used in days of yore) between Huntsville and Fairy Lake. The former portage extended as far as Peninsula Lake, but this short-turn gives you an idea of the terrain it had to traverse as you travel along the Muskoka River. The steam locomotive usually only operates during the summer months, given the effort (and costs) required to get it started and operational. During the shoulder seasons, a diesel locomotive does the job, but on this visit, the Flyer was full steam ahead. And back. More info on Muskoka Heritage Place can be found here.

Photos taken on July 13, 2013 on or near Camp Kitchen Road in Huntsville, Ontario.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Toronto Railway Museum - Doors Open 2013

Photos taken on May 26, 2013 at Roundhouse Park on Bremner Blvd, Toronto, Ontario.

Photos from a visit to Roundhouse Park in 2011 can be viewed here.