Friday, August 29, 2008

Hazel McCallion Mayor of Mississauga at Rhododedron Gardens in Port Credit

Shortly after 9 a.m. today, Mayor Hazel McCallion came to visit Mississauga's Rhododendron Gardens in Port Credit, Ontario, to see for herself the new section of the Waterfront Trail that now passes through the Gardens. While the contractor still has work to do, the broad strokes are in place, and it's looking good, Vern!

Mayor McCallion, David Culham and Rose Garden Rob
'Rose Garden Rob' and former City of Mississauga councillor David Culham -- two of the many tireless volunteers who work alongside Mississauga Parks master gardener Para and staff -- show the mayor their plans for future flower beds. This summer, Rob designed, laid out and planted the new Rose Garden with some 600 rose bushes. While not much to look at this summer, the roses promise to be a fabulous summer sequel to the rhodos spring show.

Christine Brueckner, David Culham, Mayor Hazel at Brueckner Plaque
Christine Brueckner, daughter of the late Dr. Brueckner, whose rhodos now have a home in these Gardens, the mayor and Culham oblige local media with photos.

New Bridge for Waterfront Trail at Lake Ontario shoreline
Mayor McCallion walked with members of the Gardens committee to the site of the new bridge. Stone columns are in place; the new bridge should be installed soon. In this view, I am looking east to the new paved trail that joins Godfrey's Lane.

New Trail section Rhododendron Gardens
Coming north and west from the bridge above, the paved trail branches: The old section continues up the hill to the left; the new section veers to the right, along the small creek that cuts through the Gardens. At this spot, you are just a few steps from Lake Ontario. Park staff and volunteers have been busy clearing out overgrown underbrush and raising tree canopies in this area, offering vignette views of the waterfront.

Waterfront Trail at Shawnmarr and Lakeshore Roads
The heavy machinery moved out about a week ago, new sod has been laid, the tangle of old wild rose bushes and tree-choking wild grape vines that run along the creek to the left of the trail are being cleared out, and new light poles just need the light fixtures.

To see what it looked like a month ago, see this blog post.

Come have a look for yourself! Bring a picnic lunch and stay a while. Just be sure to make good use of the garbage and recycle bins, or you may find yourself being chastised by some of the locals.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Centennial Park Etobicoke Ukraine National Day Celebrations

Fabulous sunny skies and a cooling breeze were the order of the day for Ukraine Independence Day August 24 celebrations at Centennial Park in Etobicoke, Ontario. Etobicoke (pronounced ee-TOE-bee-ko) is the west part of Toronto bordering Mississauga.

Ukraine Flag atop Centennial Park Hill
Here's the picture taken of a Ukraine flag that had been planted at the top of one of the ski hill runs. I did walk up to the top to take in the 360 views of Toronto and Mississauga. The morning fog had mostly cleared by early afternoon, but a haze obscured views of the surrounding cities and Lake Ontario. Views of the CN Tower and downtown Toronto were blocked by the highrise condos, but to the west I could see Mississauga City Centre, and to the north, the control tower at Pearson Airport.

Ukraine TV booth with a ski hill view
Various vendors and businesses catering to the Ukraine population had set up shop. I seemed to be the only one who did not speak Ukrainian, though I did meet a young fellow -- late teens? - who spoke no English, only Ukrainian. I have to assume he's only visiting Canada for the summer.

Looking northwest towards Pearson Airport
More vendors and a beer garden plus a main stage area (black building middle left). A food court offered typical Ukrainian foods -- perogies (perohe, verenky), cabbage rolls (holubchi), and something billed 'meat on a stick' -- a juicy bit of battered pork fried on a skewer. The borscht (beet, vegetable soup served with sour cream garnish) proved to be hot beet juice, not a veggie in sight! Served in a small styrofoam coffee cup, no spoon, it was an insult to good borscht everywhere!

Sumo wrestlers and pony rides
Kids were having a great time in the padded sumo suits, and on the pony rides, too. Nearby, four canvas gazebos covered many tables set up for chess .
View from Halfway up Centennial Park Hill
From the bottom, the hill seemed a daunting climb, but I kept to the shade along the south side, and took my time. Here, the view at the bottom shows the vendors stalls and food court area.

Typical Ukrainian pattern on Vases
Many vendors were selling Ukraine team sportswear, and blouses, shirts and scarves embroidered in traditional colours (as shown on the vases). Two stalls offered honey, including buckwheat.

I left just as the dancers and other performers were taking the stage. Since I hadn't staked a claim to a patch of lawn (nor brought along a lawn chair) to see the show, I missed my chance.

If there is a celebration here next year, I'll be more prepared. I'll tote my own chair, and bring my own picnic lunch, as did one group: Their picnic of kolbasa, cheese, bread, dill pickles, hard boiled eggs and wedges of fresh beefsteak tomatoes was infinitely more appealing than the food court offerings.

For info about the park, see Centennial Park City of Toronto.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Busker Festival on the Port Credit Lakeshore in Mississauga Ontario

  • update: August 21, 22, 23, 2009
  • BuskerFest 4 Aug 2009 Volunteers needed to run Information Tent at each of six Busker staging areas (see 2008 post below for locations). Volunteers may bring along a friend for company. Shifts are 3-4 hours beginning Friday 21 evening, Saturday 22 at 1:30 pm and 6pm, and Sunday 23 at 2pm. Contact Ellen Timms at info[at] Buskerfest times for general public are Friday 7-11 p.m., Saturday 2-11 p.m., and Sunday 2-7 p.m.
  • Sidewalk Sale and Hours for Buskerfest 4 Aug 2009
  • Port Credit shops will be celebrating Busker Fest 4 with a giant sidewalk sale Friday and Saturday, August 21, 22, with many stores open late Friday night.

The 2008 Third edition of the Port Credit Busker Fest is on this weekend in Mississauga. There are four main performance areas along Lakeshore Road (locations graph at bottom). After days of rain, Saturday proved a perfect day for being outdoors, and being entertained by the various buskers.

Matt James featuring didgeridoos

Australian Matt James, seen here performing at Memorial Park, will also perform at Toronto's Busker Fest next weekend (August 21-24 See

Kobbler Jay at Memorial Park

Still at Memorial Park along the Credit River, Kobbler Jay entertained a packed commons with various juggling tricks. In the above photo, he prepares to walk on glass shards in his bare feet, while juggling flaming torches. The Port Credit lighthouse is a good landmark if you're not sure just where it is located.

Sublimit at Village Square

Village Square is located on the south side of Lakeshore Road, west of Hurontario. Use TEN Restaurant and Wine Bar as a landmark. Sublimit (fellow in black hat and outfit) was juggling with help from an audience member. There are several patios here to stake your seat, or pull up a piece of the rolling lawns to see the Buskers here.

Dubbike at Memorial Park

Dubbike performs acrobatic style tricks on (what else?) his bike at Memorial Park. While many of his stunts bring to mind those performed by many teens a few years ago, when stunt bikes were all the rage, Dubbike's steady patter with the crowd makes his show particularly entertaining.

Performance Areas Sign : Elizabeth Street and Lakeshore

Elizabeth Street south of Lakeshore Road (No Frills corner) is closed as it becomes one of the four main performance areas shown in the picture. At the time I was here, stilt walkers were still setting up for their show.

The fourth performance area is at Elmwood and Lakeshore, several blocks east of Hurontario (Highway 10), with Elmwood closed as half performance venue and half parking lot.

Today (Sunday), busker performances at all venues begin at 2:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. (Note - the last show of the day at Memorial Park is Kobbler Jay at 5 p.m.)

After the 5:45 p.m. shows, all buskers move to the Elizabeth Street venue to take part in the 'Grandest Finale' at 6:30 p.m., with proceeds being donated to charity.

Buskers are performing for tips only, and are (necessarily) not shy about asking for them. Each of the venues has an information center where you can get a brochure and schedule outlining all the acts and locations, as well as get change to toss into the buskers' hats, guitar cases, etc.

A chalk artist is also scheduled, but with the wet weather we've had, likely this 'show' has been rained out.

Though the audiences were a good size, and appreciative, it appeared that a number of people must have forgotten their wallets at home :-) Remember these performers are NOT being paid -- they live by their tips and wits!

See this post on how to get to Port Credit by GO train from Union Station.

For a downloadable PDF of today's full schedule by time and venue, see Port Credit BIA .

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Passport Needed to Enter United States by Land, Water or Air Effective June 1 2009

The U. S. A will require a passport to enter the country by any mode of travel -- land, water, air -- effective June 1, 2009.

This applies not only to Canadians traveling to the U. S., but also to U.S. travellers returning TO the U.S. -- see U.S. Dept of State:
On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI. The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport, passport card, or WHTI-compliant document.
That's only 10 months from now, and those who do not already have passports and are over the age of 15 could find themselves caught up in a flurry of applications come next spring.

The U.S. requires passports before entry for air travellers (see earlier posts about passports to enter United States and U.S. passport update) and had kept moving back the date for land crossings.

Now the date has been set, and likely it will affect Canadians most of all, as many of us live close to the U.S. border -- Niagara Falls - Buffalo, Windsor - Detroit, Vancouver - Bellingham, among many others. We cross to go shopping, or take in an NFL or major league ball game, or head south as Snow Birds each winter.

Frequent border crossers can still use the NEXUS card (see Canadian Border Services Agency) as a travel document, and Canadians age 15 and under can still use a birth certificate or citizenship card as a valid travel document.

If you don't have a passport, and if you anticipate crossing by land, get one sooner than later to avoid the rush next spring. Canadians should refer to Passport Canada.

If you already have a passport, note the expiry date, as most customs and border crossings and entry points like to see passports valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry.

For tips on how to back up your travel documents, see my travel documents tips page.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

GO Train Toronto Union Station to Port Credit Mississauga and Back

Schedule Update Effective June 29, 2013
GO Union to Port Credit (Lakeshore West line)  every 30 minutes.

See GO Transit for details.

The easiest way to get from Toronto Union Station to Port Credit, especially if you do not know this area of Mississauga, may be by GO train. Port Credit parking can be a challenge, especially during summer festivals -- the Waterfront Festival, Port Credit in-water Boat Show, Canada Day, or the South Side Shuffle (jazz festival), etc.

Or maybe you're planning a Port Credit pub crawl along Lakeshore Road West; Using the GO train means you don't have to worry about a designated driver.

Port Credit GO Station
Here's the station in Port Credit. Trains run from Union Station in Toronto from 6 a.m. until quarter to one in the morning. (Use the Lakeshore West GO train and Bus schedule).

For example, on a Friday night, you could take the GO train at Union at 5:43 p.m., or 6:03, 6:43. or at 7:42 (trains leave Union hourly after the quarter to seven train.) and arrive in Port Credit station in about 25 minutes. The fare each way for an adult is $4.55 as of today's date. Return is $9.10.

On Saturday, Sunday or Holidays, GO trains leave Union hourly, at 43 minutes past the hour (roughly quarter to the hour).

Maybe you just want to stroll along the Port Credit section of the Waterfront Trail. The picture below shows what you see when you come out of the Port Credit GO station on Queen Street East (ie south side), looking down Helene Street North -- it's only a short walk to Lake Ontario (road end) and the Waterfront Trail.

View from south side Port Credit GO station
This intersection is about one block west of Hurontario (Highway 10) and three short blocks north of Lakeshore Road East (Highway 2).

If you don't know Port Credit, the easiest way to go into the village is down Helene Street to Lakeshore. All the pubs, restaurants, festival venues, etc., are along Lakeshore, or can be seen from Lakeshore.

The Credit River and the lighthouse are to the right along Lakeshore, about 4 blocks; Ten Restaurant and Wine Bar is to the left one block along Lakeshore, on the south side.

Using the Friday night pub crawl as an example, you can catch the GO train at Port Credit and head back to Union Station at 9:44 p.m., 10:44 p.m., and 11:44 p.m. (quarter to midnight; last train) (see GO schedule Port Credit).

But if you miss the last train into Union, you can take the Mississauga Transit (23 East) bus to Long Branch, then take the TTC from Long Branch to wherever you need to go in Toronto. The 23 East Lakeshore bus stops at Port Credit GO station as well as along Lakeshore Road East, and goes to Long Branch every 15-25 minutes (depending on weekday or weekend schedule) until roughly 1 a.m. Mind you, this will take a lot longer than the GO train, and cost more (two fares - Mississauga Transit and TTC).

Much faster to hop in a cab in Port Credit, and go to Long Branch -- it's about $15, depending on fare increases, and maybe 10 minutes driving time.

Here's a googlemap to help sort it all out: View Larger Map

I put the link in to the map page - I hope it works all right. When I just searched Port Credit GO station in googlemaps, it gave the view of all southern GTA. In the picture above, the GO station is 'B' and the lighthouse is 'C'.

TIP To search this blog for more Port Credit, Lakeshore, or GO transit posts, use the more accurate and satisfying google search box (not the 'search labels blogger feature, which misses most searches).

UPDATE March 14 2009
GO Transit increased fares by $.25 (25 cents) per ticket effective today.
GO Transit site will show correct fares.

Update New Year's Eve December 31, 2009
GO Transit Free tonight - see GO for information