Assembling New Maid of the Mist Tour Boat in Niagara Falls Canada.

Without too much fanfare, Hornblower Canada’s new Maid of the Mist tour boat arrived at the Niagara chasm in mid January 2014. It new tour boat, maid of mist, Niagara fallscame in pieces. The vessel was shipped here by truck and had to be assembled on shore. This is the latest and most state- of -the- art example of a prefabricated water vessel that can be built on site and thereby eliminate more expensive sailing and towing expenses. Plus the spectacle of building such a large vessel on shore in the shadow of a frozen waterfall in the background has perhaps added to the news bubble surrounding the birth of this new local tour company.

The Niagara Region enjoys approx 14 million tourists per year and that makes this area one of Canada’s busiest tourist destination wherein there is a single tourist attraction commanding the public’s attention.

Assembling New Maid of the Mist Tour Boat in Niagara Falls Canada.

Assembling the new Maid of the Mist Tour Boat in Niagara Falls Canada. The prefabricated hull and pilot house and various other nautical bits arrived by trucks which were unloaded in January in the Niagara River chasm, beside the frozen water system, in the middle of the first polar vortex of 2014.

In the photo above you can see the men wrestling to get the pilot house locked into place. They are following a plan set by the boat’s manufacturer and followed by the foreman who came up from the factory to oversee the assembly. The Pilot house component of the craft would be very sensitive as its where the Captain of the ship and the river pilot sit and navigate the craft.  As this vessel is far more technically sophisticated than previous boats, one can only assume that this metal pilot house box will be stuffed full of sensitive electronics and other nautical instrumentation.

Fishfinder Sonar for Smartphones Amazes Anglers at Hunting and Fishing Shows

Its official. The FishHunter portable sonar fish finder which uses Bluetooth wireless technology to broadcast its own submarine survey straight to your smartphone is finally available for sale on the internet.  Get one delivered for $229, plus tax and shipping, and that’s a bargain price considering a lot of smart people spent thousands of hours making this rig work…  Read more about the science behind the sonar chips in FishHunter on Fuel Ghoul.

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Its a little known fact that fishermen don’t actually use fishfinders to find fish, they use sonar to study lake bottoms or riverbeds looking for suitable structure preferred by the species of fish they hope to catch. More advanced anglers select hard-to-hook game fish and go looking for the underwater terrain they know these creatures habituate.

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Fishhunter becomes their whistling eyes (and ears) under the water. Ever wondered what lies below the muddy reflections of your favourite fishing hole?  Now you can find out as you survey the lands below the surface of the lake and that makes fishing even more interesting, if perhaps a little less relaxing…

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FishHunter comes complete with the industry’s best fishing app that has an onboard Fish Species Database which details the preferred living conditions of over 150 different types of fish alongside bait suggestions and tips for catching them.

One thing I’m definitely going to pay more attention to is the Moon Cycles app that charts nine different phases of the moon, dates to show proper times for Solunar Fishing. This is a very interesting theory that’s almost 100 years old now and hasn’t been disproved yet – the logic states that when there’s a full moon you’ll catch more fish. I’ve always wanted to test that theory, and now this app makes it real easy.  Next time I’m catching lots of fish I intend to check the moon phases and see if its a new moon or a full moon.

Got Maps? FishHunter is an interactive Fishing Atlas. Users can harness GPS systems to pinpoint their catches on marine maps loaded with memory and social sharing features, as they log details for their own continuous improvement.  Also be sure and check out the FishHunter photo contests for exclusive access to great prizes and emerging community events.

These portable sonar devices for smartphones will change the sport of fishing!

Here are pictures of the sonar in action at the Outdoorsmens’ trade show in Denver Colorado

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The device was warmly received by the primarily American audience of hunters and anglers, and a great many units were sold here… but in general the media has been slow to cover this cool innovation.

One story that introduces Fish Hunter sonar for smartphone is on Tumblr, and from a popular Son of a Beekeeper who uses some of the same pics as this post. Also there’s a lovely article on Quazen about FishHunter sonar for smartphones, and how they’re sure to make fishing more of a spectator sport.  That piece postulates that this portable sonar device will be the hottest toy at the cottage in 2014, and I wouldn’t doubt what its true. The set-up sure stopped a lot of people at this recent trade show.

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Do you live in Ontario? You can add your two cents to this discussion about portable fish finders on Ontario Outdoor Magazine.

Or you can register and join in this discussion about FishHunter sonar fishfinders on Fishing Fury forums.

Spinrite, Perfect Knit, Supplies for Knitting, Buy Yarn in Listowel Ontario

Thanks to internet shopping nobody has to drive seventy two miles west to Listowel Ontario when you can buy knitting supplies online but if you do happen to find yourself in the Queens Bush region of Ontario you could travel and shop at the Spinrite Factory Outlet Store which has all manner of coloured wool including button and bows and zippers and satin linings and hundreds of paper pattern books and thousands of balls of yarn for sale.  Here’s a nifty Urban Exploration discussion forum post offering a secret glimpse inside the Spinrite wool mill in Listowel Ontario.

dying wool at Perfect KnitListowel locals have been dying wool for half a century or more. Look here at the Victorian Era wool dying machines that occupied the buildings in the late 1800s.

Read about John Binning the Founding Father of Listowel Ontario on Dumpdiggers; he’s outlined along with mills on the Maitland river and the settlers of the Queens Bush.

West40, Toronto Movers Help Clean St Marys of the Virgin Church at 40 Westmoreland

Its a sign of the times that churches are now going condo all over downtown Toronto.  West40 is a loft conversion by Dog Day Developers in what was once St Marys the Virgin Church at 40 Westmoreland Ave.  This stunning example of Neo Gothic architecture stands out as being ultra unique in an age of steel and glass condominium towers. This is living in history.

Toronto movers at West40Architects Asen Vitko and W. A. Langton have combined history,  grand architecture and urban living into this unique project. West40 has been designed with attention to brick detailing, a stunning bold tower and Tudor-arched openings.who was recognized for his attention to brick detailing has clearly demonstrated his flare on this century-old church.

Other key elements include a stunningly bold tower and Tudor-arch openings all of which will be restored to its original glory.

The style was distinguished from the late 19th century Gothic Revival by its reduced scale and more restrained interpretation of design elements associated with early medieval English architecture.

Seventeen one-of-a-kind residences will be carved from the church, each one incorporating the beautiful interior details that include soaring cathedral ceiling with heights up to 21 feet

Toronto movers are clearing out the appliances found in the makeshift worker’s Kitchen as the property gets another overhaul by the sandblasters who are due to arrive

moving fridge, Toronto movers, automatic tailgate on truck

YELP Josephson Opticians is a neighbourhood optical shop ; buy glasses in Toronto

In the 1920s and early 1930s there was reknown Anglican ministers who made St. Mary’s Church popular with the people of the city. The church always had a rich Music Ministry, and was known for some measure of Liturgical Reform.

St Mary’s Parish remains at 130 Bathurst St, Toronto Ont.

Spray foam guys insulate upscale Toronto

What is it like to be a spray foam guy?  There is a good story on Bizcovering magazine with an inside look at life as a spray foam insulation guy in Toronto and the piece used some pictures seen below.  This is Tim, a spray tech, who is also the truck driver and generator operator.  He’s on site to meet me first thing in the morning, opening up the back of the company truck and getting ready to help his teammate, the prime applicator. The prime is the rock star spray foam applicator who has had lots of training in the fine art of insulating residential houses with polyurethane rigid foam insulation. The pictures below shows Rob Campbell’s ride along on Oct 22nd to document a Toronto spray foam insulation company at work insulating a new home construction in a posh Forest Hill neighbourhood.

Opening Sprayfoam truck , day in the life  of spray foam guy

Spray foam insulation is an excellent albeit more expensive choice for home insulation.  The cost is minimum $3 per square foot of wall and roof, and the price varies depending on whether its open cell or closed cell foam being installed. Spray foam comes in two varieties, open-cell and closed-cell composition, and both types have different properties which make them good for one thing or another.. i might explain. Of the two options, closed-cell foam is the better insulator. Once cured, it also becomes a vapor retarder (because the tiny cells are closed moisture cannot enter the foam). but its disadvantage is price and weight.  Its heavy and expensive and sometimes you dont need that much insulation , and sometimes its too much and open cell is better.  Open cell foam has open bubbles Open-cell foam has a lower R-value, and acts as more of an air temperature and acoustic barrier; open cell foam is not an effective vapor barrier. Open cell foam is lighter, less dense and cheaper (because less material is used as it expands larger) and is applied as interior wall home insulation in places where moisture isn’t a variable.

Below Montana Mike puts on a full has-mat suit with respiratory system, boots and gloves, helmet and visor. Its intense.

put on suit for spray foam insulation application, back of truck,

Like any good chemical reaction there are some rather noxious chemicals produced as a bi-product of spray foam reaction between Isocyanates and the Walltite resin, both components are prepared by BASF and detailed on Fuel Ghoul blog about spray foam insulation in Toronto which outlines the process by which a Graco H40 component proportioner heats and pumps both liquids to the sprayer unit whereupon they combine at the nozzle tip of the gun.

mixing spray foam components together on job site with Graco H-40 Plural Component Reactor

The two substances must be hot when they combine to create the best chemical effect, and to make the best R-value rigid foam insulation. In the photo below, the tech tweaks a Graco H-40 Hydraulic Series Plural Component Reactor‘s front panel , adjusting temperature on the 12.0 kW heater in the machine. From residential foam insulation projects to high-volume commercial projects, Graco brand proportioners are a mainstay in the mobile spray foam industry. This rig alone, not including the truck and generator could cost about thirty five thousand dollars and comes with fifty foot of hose, and ten feet of heated whip and a Fusion AP  spray gun applicator.

Graco H-40 Hydraulic Series Plural Component Reactor With 20.4 kW Heater

Spray foam insulation is a bit of phenomenon especially here in Canada partly due to celebrity endorsements the home renovation TV shows that have propelled spokespeople to fame and fortune. These TV personalities have made deals with spray foam insulation manufacturers to endorse the product as being green and environmentally responsible, energy efficient, and 100 % cost effective – all of which is true.

spray foam tech basement wall headers in Forest Hill neighbourhood TorontoAll the same, spray foam insulation has been in the news lately and the people and processes have been called into question by a CBC Marketplace TV news doc that shows ‘how spray foam can go very wrong’ by examining the unlivable homes of unhappy customers.

The History Spray Foam Insulation

Otto Bayerm Germanchemieist who created polyurethane riigid foamWhat we know today as rigid foam insulation was invented in the 1950s by the German scientist Otto Bayer. He was trying to come up with something to replace rubber tires. He was eventually quite successful, but polyurethane wasn’t used to make wheels until the 1970s . Today the wheels under the folding metal steps of modern escalators are made of polyurethane, as are skateboard wheels.

Polyurethane has been around for about sixty years now – it has history stretching back to Germans scientists who pioneered many synthetics before World War II.  They were searching for synthetic textiles, rubber and silk. Twelve years after the war ended, in 1957 Otto Bayer and a German research team made advances with alkyd resins when they modified them with diisocyanates for the first time and made coatings and the first ever rigid foam products.  Today, anyone that has ever taken high school shop class, or refinished furniture, or stained a deck knows something about urethane wood finishes and the hard substance created when it hardens on the brush.

spray foam technician doing basement headers in Toronto Here is the crew starting work insulating the basement of a new home in Forest Hill.  They start at the bottom of the building doing the exterior wall ‘headers’. The team takes over the job site for a few hours each day and they often work lunches and late into the evening to be there when the other contractors are absent.  These guys are very careful not to expose any other tradespeople to the noxious gasses often created during the spray foam application process (I had to wear a breathing mask, visor and cover-alls as I followed the applicator around the basement).

Spray Foam in Toronto

Fuel Ghoul reports that the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA) estimates that spray foam insulation was installed in approx 350,000 homes in Canada last year, a number that has been growing by 33 percent every year over the last decade. Part of the product’s appeal is that, when properly installed, spray foam insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to fifty (50) per cent, according to the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA) and so this really is advanced chemistry at work.

Residential Basement Waterproofing After Summer of 2013 Flood Raises Toronto Real Estate Property Value

On weds Sept 9th 2013, a wet basement calls forth a couple of very experienced ‘Dry Guys’ who tackle the waterproofing project from inside the house!  They make it look easy because they’re very efficient, and full of handy DIY tips and tactics.  These guys are good people and I learned a lot while hanging out with them for an afternoon.  a couple of dry guys do wet basement waterproofing remedyScarborough Jack and Ian Boghagdan know that a good happy house has to have a warm and dry cellar, and they know that a house for sale has to advertise that is has a warm dry basement esp after it flooded in the July 2013 storm of the century.

345 Godsen Ave, wet basement

The Summer of 2013 will probably go down in history as being one of the wettest seasons on record. It rained for weeks at a time and one flash flood in late July dumped an entire month’s worth of rainwater onto the city in one night.  People who have never had a basement flood were suddenly deluged, and one such residential property was the house across the way… just fresh on the Toronto real estate market.

Myself and a nosy neighbor had the pleasure of watching a residential DryShield Waterproofing Solution Corp team tackle the job from inside the house. They were in and out of the space of a week, and they didn’t make a lot of noise about it.

taking out the trash1The first phase of the assignment was to remove the moldy drywall and wet insulation from the summer flood.

Six garbage bags of material were brought outside on the very first day, and a few more the next.  The wall was filled with old newspapers, fiberglass insulation and sawdust as the piece on Dumpdiggers blog illuminates no animals were seen or harmed.

The house is very clean at the moment, as the homeowner has moved out of the domicile on account of the flood.  The torrential rain drowned his prospects of a quick summer sale, but the waterproofing work is also fast and relatively painless. While I watched, the DryGuys went about clearing the wall under which the run-off entered the basement and they began cracking away the concrete under the wall to make an eight inch gully along which they ran a long length of perforated plastic pipe covered in a course silky hose . The trench slops down into a well in which there’s an electric sump pump.

shovel gravel in trench, waterproofing wet basementThe internal gutter remedies wet basement in Toronto story on Fuel Ghoul outlines the building supplies and gives more details alongside original pictures from my Typepad photo hosting account.  There is another story about how frost action cracks Victorian era brick walls on the Distillery District blog.

The wall of the basement is then affixed with a thick plastic membrane that has nipples and runnels to drain away any excess moisture down into the freshly dug gutter at the bottom of the wall.

Here is Scarborough Jack cutting the plastic waterproof membrane with a special blade; this stuff is hard to cut.

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Next it must be nailed to the wall.  Look how Bogdhon has maneuvered the piece to fold it over the joint between the wall and the floor.

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This is literally a ‘dry shield’ that covers the cement wall and forms a barrier between the wood and drywall and wet concrete.

Do you see how it overlaps? And how it ends over top of the eight inch gulley.  Wall panels will cover this trench with a special wainscoting or floorboards trim.

There is a Bizcovering article about waterproofing wet basement from inside the home which also outlines these procedures and has even more original pictures and DIY tips.

Snow Removal Service Uses Beetroot Juice as Natural Deicer

snow removal in Durham region Dan Shephard of The SnowmenDan Shephard operates a successful snow removal service in Durham region and is testing the water (literally) after trying a new natural deicer made from beetroot juice.

Geomelt is made here in Ontario.

Featured in a popular Bizcovering article, Snow Removal Service Uses Beetroot Juice as Natural Deicer, Dan was again chronicled in Fuel Ghoul blog about the green snow removal solution simply because he agreed to help test the beetroot snow melt product.

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Rock salt depositories – rock salt is very toxic substance and is harmful to the ecology of many sensitive freshwater systems. Any reduction in the use of this compound to keep highways safe for drivers is a step in the right direction for the environment.

ImageWhen red beet juice is added to rock salt water it lowers the mixture’s freezing temperature which keeps the cement wet on cold  weather days when the rest of the landscape is frozen solid. By making the salt more effective, contractors can use less.

Dan is among the few professionals selected by researchers to help advance the science by conducting real-world testing as a professional contractor. The GeoMelt product is being tried all across Canada and the US in several climates and ‘test counties’.

Drivers who live in test counties  where highway maintenance crews spray the beet juice compound on the roads should experience fewer delays behind snow plows and salt trucks.  Ideally, the deicer will be so effective that snow plows wont make second runs.

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Beetroot Juice is a Powerful Natural Deicer for Concrete Sidewalks, and Asphalt Roads

Applying a NaCl salt brine and beetroot mixture to paved surfaces will make them safer by melting slippery snow and ice, but the spring runoff should also be much safer for the environment.  Water quality tests will be performed by public and private agencies all winter and spring 2014.

How Does it Work? After a parking lot or street has been treated with beetroot juice and salt mixture, further precipitation should melt on contact with the ‘wet’ surface because the beetroot juice and salt doesnt freeze. .The frozen water particles are excited by the beet juice (and NaCl)  on an Atomic level, and do not freeze solid into ice.    Dan Shephard has committed The Snowmen to trying the beet juice deicer in the upcoming winter season,

Post by on Aug 31, 2013