Friday, May 28, 2010

FSO Home Town Heroes

Heroes come in many guises. Some wear uniforms and drive large trucks. And put their lives at stake for the sake of others

Some come out on weekends and make the community a richer place through the donation of their time.

Some are the Chief of Police for the City of Toronto who come to help us celebrate our new Police Station.

Some staff hot dog stands on days of community festivales

Some take time out of busy and dangerous lives to help the community celebrate.

And to allow us a peek into their lives.

Others (like Trooper Larry Rudd, the latest Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan) pay the final sacrifice in distant lands and are saluted as they pass by our community for the final time with dignity and honour.

Others give their time on a regular basis with no reward to make our community a better place to live work and play.

They are all our heroes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FSO--At the Zoo

The Toronto Zoo has over 5,000 animals representing over 500 species.

There are over 10 km (six miles) of walking trails, and at one time or another, Linda and I have explored them all.

Over 287 hectares (710 acres) in size, it is one of the largest zoos in the world.

The Zoo is divided into six zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Eurasia and the Canadian Domain. Animals are displayed indoors in tropical pavilions and outdoors in naturalistic environments, with viewing at many levels

The Zellers Discovery Zone features the Kids Zoo, a dynamic, interactive children's wildlife experience, Splash Island, an exciting two-acre water play area and the Waterside Theatre, home of exciting family entertainment

Among the most unique exhibits are the incredible 10-acre Tundra Trek featuring an amazing 5-acre Polar bear habitat complete with underwater viewing area, the Gorilla Rainforest home to our Western Lowland Gorilla troop and newest addition Nassir, the Great Barrier Reef.

The 2010 Special Exhibit features Sharks at Stingray Bay - A Touching Experience. This unique and interactive exhibit runs from May 22, 2010 to October 11, 2010

On a more personal note both our daughters worked their way through University by working at the Zoo, which is located not far from our home. My oldest daughter's Mother-In-Law still works there and it was during a visit to the zoo that Kathy told us she was expecting a new baby, Hailey (now 2).

Friday, May 14, 2010

FSO The Dark Side Of Town

It looks a pretty place. Six acres of natural woodland cut through with several walking trails. Take a stroll through on a Sunday afternoon and say "hello" to the families out for a walk with their children and their dogs.

Just don't step off the beaten pathway, or you'll find yourself in the darkest side of our town, where residents in low rise and subsidized apartments have, for decades, discarded garbage too inconvenient to put out for the collectors.

And where the piles have grown into an unsightly and dangerous mess.

Barry and his friend Karl brought this to the attention of our city counsellor and over a couple of weeks of hard work city crews removed the years of neglect. But, within a few weeks, it began to make a reappearance. Obviously something more fundamental needs to be done.


For those of you unaware of the downturn in Barry's health, and interested in an update, please click HERE

Friday, May 7, 2010

FSO Things You Love To Touch

How do you touch a Province? A geographic area 354,341.8 sq mi in size, with 250,000 lakes and over 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) of rivers? Even if you love it, how do you embrace it?

It can only be done symbolically. And it can only be done in the spring.

Because it is only in the spring that the trillium, the symbol of Ontario blooms, and then only briefly.

While it is a popular belief that it is illegal to pick the common Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium) in Ontario, in reality they are only protected in provincial parks and land owned by conservation authorities. However, the rare Trillium flexipes (drooping trillium) is protected by law in Ontario, because of its very small Canadian population.

Trillium is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants. At maturity, the base and core of the trillium ovary turns soft and spongy. Trillium seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants extract the seeds from the decaying ovary and take them to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes and put the seeds in their garbage, where they germinate in a rich growing medium.

Of course there are other wild flowers, and there are rocks and grasses and trees, but it is only by reaching out and touching the soft delicate petals of the trillium that you truly touch the soul of a Province