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Art Gallery of Ontario

22 Sep

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a mesmerizing place to visit. Live the rich history of art through the stunning architecture, sculptures, paintings and artefacts at the AGO. The AGO focuses on works by Canadian artists as well as global artists and a diverse aware of cultures and contemporary artists.

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A gallery room at the AGO. Many of the rooms have benches to sit and relax while taking in the surrounding art pieces.

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The left and right objects are combs from France used around the 15th century. The middle object is a hair parter from Italy around the 14th century.

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Chinese Snuff Bottles. Historically, these were used to store tobacco powder.

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A replica of Rodin’s “The Thinker” statue.

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Chalices made of ostrich eggs.

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Chalice’s made of coconut shells.

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“Death Triumphant”, around 1690, Germany
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The AGO features Canadian artists including Emily Carr and the Group of Seven.

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Fashion History Museum

16 Aug

The Fashion History Museum is located in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. It is a cozy, classy, small museum featuring vintage clothes and accessories from many eras.

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Part of their “Made in France” exhibit.

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The exterior of the Fashion History Museum.

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Part of their “Made in France” exhibit.

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A copy of a Chanel suite.

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Shoe collection!

Halton County Radial Railway

18 May

Halton County Radial Railway is a family-friendly volunteer-run train park steeped in Toronto history. This is a museum that restores old trains, streetcars, and buses that use to be in operation in the region. It’s also possible to ride historically restored trains and streetcars!

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This is where restoration occurs.

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Rockwood Train Station

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Inside the Rockwood Train Station

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A computator located inside Rockwood Train Station.

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This restored train is in full operation and will take you from Rockwood Train Station to Meadowvale Train Station.

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Great photo spot!

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The inside of one of the restored streetcars.

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A few of the streetcars housed inside their viewing barn. You are allowed INSIDE many of the streetcars.

 

Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

22 Feb

Meet some butterflies, moths, bugs, birds, fish and turtles at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. There you will find a magical tropical forest with beautiful butterflies fluttering by you, and hear/see a gushing waterfall and goldfish pond complete with a suntanning turtle.  The butterflies and moths are very friendly and may even land on you. I consider this good luck if it happens. Here are some pictures of the conservatory!

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I believe this is a monarch butterfly.

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A path to walk along and explore.

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Cocoons and chrysalises.

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A tropical paradise.

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An owl butterfly (I think).

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A place to sit and watch some butterflies fluttering by.

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A turtle sunbathing by the pond.

Happy Holidays

25 Dec

HappyHolidaysHave a happy healthy holiday eating!

 

Pumpkins

31 Oct

Jack-O-Latern.

Happy pumpkin carving! Here’s a quick pumpkin carving food thought: instead of discarding all the pumpkin insides, keep the seeds and make a tasty pumpkin seed snack. Here’s how.

1. Clean the seeds thoroughly and remove any membrane.

2. Pat the seeds dry as much as possible.

3. Place in a single layer on a lined flat baking sheet.

4. Put into a preheated 375º degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. The length of time will depend on how well the seeds were dried.

5. When done, sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the pumpkin seeds and enjoy.

Happy Halloween!

Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Today is Valentine’s Day and over the past while, I have been researching the origins of this lovely day. Here is what I discovered.

Who was Saint Valentine? There are several saints named Valentine who were honoured on February 14 and hence no one definitive saint has been given this distinction. However, a popular candidate is Valentine of Rome who was a priest. The story goes that the ruling emperor at the time outlawed all engagements and marriages in Rome. At the time, the emperor was having trouble recruiting soldiers for his military and suspected it was because the men wanted to stay at home with their lovers.  Valentine married couples in secret and was punished with death (AD 269).

Reference: Curious Events in History by Michael Powell, 2007.

What are the origins of this day? Around the time of St. Valentine’s death (AD 269), packs of wolves were known to attack animal herds. In hopes of keeping their herds safe, shepherds dedicated an annual festival (called Lupecalia) held from February 13 to 15 to Lupercus, who is the Roman god of shepherds. As part of the festival’s rituals, young women’s names were put into a box and then drawn by the young men. These couples were paired off for the rest of the year. In AD 496, Lupecalia was renamed St. Valentine’s Day and February 14 chosen to mark the occasion.

References:  Curious Events in History by Michael Powell, 2007 and Wikipedia.

History behind Valentine’s cards: Valentine’s greetings date back to the Middle Ages when lovers sang or recited their valentines.  Written valentines began to appear around 1400 when they were often replaced with Valentine’s Day gifts.  Some were made of paper while others were made with lace and ribbon. The oldest valentine known to exist dates back to this time and is currently housed at the British Museum.  The production of valentines in factories began in the 1800s. Today, approximately one billion valentines are delivered around the world.

Reference: Greeting Card Museum 

Interesting Facts:

  • Venus is the Roman goddess of love. Her son is Cupid.
  • The red rose was Venus’ favourite type of flower.
  • Giving a Valentine’s gift to a pet is not uncommon.
  • Teachers receive the most valentines, followed by children, mothers, wives and sweethearts.
  • Hallmark Cards produced its first valentine in 1913.
  • Some consider Casanova the world’s greatest lover.
  • In the past, physicians advised their patients to eat chocolate in order to soothe their grief for a lost love.
  • Valentine’s Day is not an official holiday.

Valentine’s Day Humour: A friend of mine, who knew I was researching Valentine’s Day, sent this clever joke to me.

“Valentine’s Day is cancelled this year. Mathematical proof: 14 – 02 – 12 = 0.”

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!!