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.

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.

Making A Christmas Market in Toronto Distillery District

making the atomic clock, reed switch, solar in the distillery district of TorontoA lot work went into making the 2011 Toronto Christmas Market happen inside the historic Distillery District complex at 55 Mill St near Cherry St and Lakeshore, which is perhaps the oldest part of the old ‘Muddy York’.

Distillery District, red brick, cobble, Toronto mortgage broker, reed switchFirst the construction crew had to install and decorate a 45 ft White Spruce Christmas Tree that was donated by Trees Ontario. The tree is an absolute spectacle with over twelve thousand reed switch component light bulbs and ornaments and is topped with a shiny silver star.

Next they had to fix and reinstall the old fashioned clock tower. It disappeared from the site after it was knocked over by a box truck earlier in the year. This majestic chronometer really steals the scene and is the subject of countless photos taken here at the distillery. The fifteen foot tall clock  is always on time and doubles as a light source at night.

preparing the distillery district, reed switch, Christmas tree, cobblestonesIs that a suction truck at the base of the clock? Yes. The Distillery is built on marshy land and not much higher than Lake Ontario. Today the water table is so darn high in the Distillery District that this truck is required to come and suck the water from the spongy ground before cement can be poured and foundations can be secured, even for such small things as old fashion clocks.

Next the construction crew had to assemble over fifty wooden box vendor huts from materials that were donated by Loews.

Also present on the list of achievements is the world class audio sound system that pipes holiday cheer through speakers hung throughout the complex, and the food vendors that serve delicious meals made fresh with organic ingredients and cultural delicacies imported from all over the world.

eleves make the santa maze , Distillery Lane, Toronto mortgage broker

Oh yes the building of Santa’s maze in which you can see here was accomplished by an army of yellow safety jacketed elves.

The 2011 Toronto Christmas Market exists in the shadow of the  half completed forty four story Gooderham condominium building in the background, and the extension of the development upwards into the sky. Toronto mortgage broker says the measured strength of the cultural scene on the streets and below developments helps leverage the true value of the real estate market above.

The Gooderham inside The Distillery District in TorontoThe shopping mall below the two towers, some of which will be completed by spring 2012 is reputed to include a Toronto dentist beside a business center hair salons and a Japanese Sushi bar, oh and a Mexican restaurant with state-of-the-art web karaoke machines.
Now in its second year, the 2011 Toronto Christmas Market at the historic Distillery has more street vendors, buskers and costumed performers, more live stage shows and the entire compound is licensed for alcohol. The Toronto Christmas Market is a European market style attraction that’s slowly evolving by continuous improvement into its own uniquely Canadian festival.  There’s nothing else quite like it anywhere else in Canada.

2011 Antique Bottles Show and Sale in Toronto

The history of the industrial age is written in glass. The ‘slug plates’ that make the embossed labels in Canadian whiskey, soda, dairy, liquor and medicine bottles, read like pages in a book.  The names of the merchants and the contents of the vessels are from a simpler time of men and machines.

There is no better place to study this history then at a large bottle show in an urban center. The area’s most valuable glass is on display and the dealers are storytellers with lots of rare and precious knowledge locked up in their heads.

The annual Toronto Bottle Show, was Sunday April 17th 2011.

Dwight Fryer, UK and European poisons at the bottle show

The annual Toronto Bottle Show event is produced by the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors, one of Canada’s oldest and most respected clubs.  On this wet and rainy Sunday afternoon, more than forty antiques dealers tables proffered over 5,000 glass bottles, crocks, jugs, cans, cards, comics and period advertising pieces on tables inside the Humber College gymnasium.

In the picture above you can see Dwight Fryer sitting behind a massive collection of pretty blue and green ‘window bottles’.  These are actually poison bottles and he’s one Canada’s foremost poison bottles experts – almost all of the very pretty cobalt blue and green and amber glass you see here was priced to sell quickly between $30 and $50 each, and Dwight was selling off these gorgeous glass bottles hand over fist. It was a moment in time.

If you study glass bottles you’ll find there’s no better place to see such a huge assembly of everything that’s decent and worthy of display in the antique glass bottle collecting discipline.  Here’s some of the great stuff.torpedo bottles and terry matz on display at 2011 Toronto Bottle Show

These are absolute treasures – look here at the aqua green and cobalt blue torpedo bottles in Terry Matz display case . These are all dated between 1855 -1885 and they are all super rare. The average price for any bottle in that display case is approx $1200.  The guy sitting behind all those pretty torpedo bottles is Terry Matz, and he’s an expert and very passionate storyteller.

Dumpdiggers like Newf have large collections of salt glazed stoneware

salt glazed stoneware 2 gallon jug - merchant J.Steele, Brantford Potterymetal signs at the 2011 Toronto Bottle Show, Ed LockeThere not making anymore of these salt glazed stoneware jugs.

A real sweet spot for buying antique bottles,

Old advertising signs are growing harder to find and more valuable because they look great in modern offices and condominiums. The contrast between the new building and old signs is cool. The white walls need old paper posters, framed glass pictures and painted metal panels , and two or three colour wood or good condition cardboard advertisements. There are a lot of freshly painted white walls in our society that need embellishing with antique signs

People generally bring really rare, one-of-a-kind pieces to the bottle show.

The fellow named Ed Locke, seen in the photo to the right, brought in a Solnhofen Stone printing slab which was used in the early days of lithographic printing – $150 this piece shows an early advertisement for a Brandon Manitoba brewery which is also extremely rare.seen below

Solnhofen stone, lithographic printing, advertism,ent, Brandon, Manitoba, brewery

This is real early lithographic printing technology with a period  advertisement stamped on the surface of the limestone.  The piece stands as a reminder of how far we have come; there is a lot of water under the bridge in the evolution of this platform to the digitally replications done today. Our modern printable coupons have barcodes and expiry dates. To make such a system in the 1800s would mean hand carving a new stone for every coupon issued  Yet there are examples of the world’s first discount media buyers doing exactly that in the early 1900s. This exremely fine limestone block may only be obtained from one quary in Solnhofen Germany.

The history of pop bottles and beer bottles is another fascinating chapter in this Canadian history book. The screw cap is a very recent invention, and today’s most dominant closure method.

H. CHRISTIN stoneware ginger beer bottle, crackled glaze, OttawaThe closure mechanisms slowly evolved from simple corks to cod stoppers and complex ‘gravitating stoppers’, hinged plugs and Charles G. Hutchinson’s five bottle-stopper patents.

Here’s a cream and tan stoneware ginger beer bottle from a proprietor named H. Christin who was a brewer in Ottawa in the 1880s. This vessel was made by Brantford Pottery right here in Ontario, or  ‘Upper Canada’ as it was then known.

This bottle had a cork stopper and from this point forward there would be many different closures vying to be the dominant method. The crown cap became industry standard for this type of beverage in the 1920s.

Sharpen your eyes for cottage kitsch

Cottagers know that Kitcsh is King and the most simple furnishings and colourful trappings look great in cottages. The bottle show has lots of stuff with charm and character like some Mennonite furniture and folk art,

The chemistry of our culture dictates that cottages needs campy collectibles to feel cozy.

Modern muskoka cottage needs kitsch to look more like a cottageThe modern Muskoka cottage suffers from being too sophisticated, clean and culturally void of character

Each new domicile in the Muskoka Lakes needs large amounts of kitsch to look and feel more quaint. So many of the million dollar mansions that border Lake Muskoka are ultra modern constructions. They’re not made of pine or poplar anymore – they’re not timber frame houses at all, but rather insulated concrete forms , steel and glass monstrosities.  They lack the quaint charm of a cottage and often feel too sanitary. They dont have the charm of a family cottage, but rather feel like a house in the suburbs.

Things that look great in new cottages include,  utilitarian items like 1950’s 60s and 70s kitchenware and beer coolers, antique fishing lures, vintage boating equipment, art deco furniture and native crafts. These items find ready buyers in antique markets and in online auctions

I wrote a longer and more detailed account of the 2011 Toronto Bottle Show on Dumpdiggers blog; it’s about ten pages of text with over twenty pictures. The piece profiles 15 of the 35 dealers present at the show.

Expressive Arts Therapist Explores The Distillery District

Ruth Wilgress, a Toronto artist and expressive arts therapist has now officially taken over the reins of the Daily Distillery blog reporting on life  inside this historic complex. She’s busy doing updates, profiling the artists and their exhibitions, restaurants and theatres, coffee shops and bakeries, furniture stores and gift shops that make the district so uniquely special.

Tapesty, in bldg 58 at Distillery District, a not for profit Canadian Opera Development Company

Here she is hanging out with Amber and Anna from Tapestry, a not for profit Canadian opera development company that’s just absolutely cool!   Ruth writes about these people because she believes that anywhere artists can find support and get the proper resources to be creative in their disciplines must be celebrated, and promoted online.  These types of organizations, and the tireless passion of these people really helps make our culture more profound; as Canadian citizens their local works of music and dance makes us all richer – especially when they tell our stories. You can read Ruth’s article on Amber and Jenn from Tapesty on Daily Distillery, and maybe attend an upcoming event. Ruth encourages her readers to show your support by buying tickets.

Jacques Surveyer was recently profiled on Canada Blog Friends

webmaster and blogger Jacques Surveyer profiled on Canada Blog FriendsAfter almost three months without any updates, Canada Blog friends sprang to life again this week with an update on another great Canadian blogger. Jacques Surveyer from Cobourg Ontario is profiled on Canada Blog Friends and forever documented as a web business blogger and consultant with a penchant for photography. Jacques is quite skilled in the art of using photo finishing software to manufacture amazing images.

I was particularly moved by the story about – some thing that wasn’t mentioned in the article was that Jacques is giving free blog workshops in Cobourg to help spread the knowledge of what’s possible these days to help people in the rural community.

Bookmark and Share //

Broken Factories, Daily Distillery for Erp Software, Designer Swimwear and a Beauty School

art piece - broken stairway, un-productive system,
I walk past the bone chilling painting on the right quite often, yet I still cant remember the artist’s name… I dont look. Does anyone out there know? pls leave in comments.
When I think of Broken Factories, this is what I imagine. This image has planted itself in my mind’s eye. This decrepit stairway in an old homestead is a dreamlike vision of squalor. It serves to remind me how far I’ve come in my own journey toward organizing a productive life and being a better citizen contributing more and more thought provoking rich media dissecting the living conditions of the human race.
This fine art painting can be found hanging on a wall somewhere in the distillery… do you know where? Read Daily Distillery for more details.
management tool, profit margins, erp software tool, program Broken Factories is a photo contest on Lenzr that reflects Rudolf Arnheim’s idea of man-made elements always moving toward equilibrium which in the case of abandon industrial centers is the presence of rust and decay being the first stages of a return to nature.
Photographers and painters, image makers in general have a theory about entropy and so make action pictures out of static shots – cant you just see the paint peeling around that old staircase above? and can we use this ideological concept to suggest that static shots of crumbling manufacturing complexes and warehouses with broken windows and vandals are actually part of a larger more wholesome process of decay which in itself is the physics of life reorganizing its component parts into a wide spread chaos, which is be default its most effective layout, as per the laws of nature.
Submit your best photos of abandon industrial centers for your chance to win a Toshiba NB100 Netbook courtesy of an erp software company that specializes in making high quality command management systems to better organize business initiatives.

WHAT IS BEAUTY? That’s the questions, posed by a famous beauty school; artists and designers are not the only people who make this world more beautiful.

Making it Beautiful photo contest, beauty school Making it Beautiful is a photo challenge that pays tribute to people who make the world more tolerable, and so we’re talking about someone who creates or restores a cherished item or place. This contest allows mondo creative freedom, so think outside the confines of your everyday reality and try to image someone making something spectacularly beautiful, so pretty it cant help become the most popular choice for voters on the December 20th voting session. Submit your best photos of people making things beautiful for your chance to win $500 worth of luxurious hair products from Aveda, a company that has beauty schools across the country. Remember it doesn’t have to show a person’s face; a hand can be enough to get the message across.
Canadian Beaches our nation’s photographers will upload their best shots of the seascapes and sunny destinations all across the country. Let’s see Mercury Beach in Saskatchewan or Dynamite Beach in PEI. Have you ever been to Falcon Beach in Manitoba? Do you have any pictures? Have you ever been to Wasaga Beach on a long weekend in the summer. Its a very popular destination.
Canadian Beaches, Lenzr photo contest, designer swimwearSubmit your snaps for a chance to win three bathing suits from a Canadian designer swimwear company that makes fun, flirty vintage-inspired swim apparel that compliments a whole range of different body types and comes in a wide assortment of colours.
Note from the sponsors, when entering your photos in this contest, be sure to include the beach NAME and LOCATION in your submission.
All three December web challenges are open to all Canadian residents age 13 years or older, excluding those unfortunate people living in Quebec. * even though Lenzr ships there anyway !wink
The contest closes Jan. 1st, 2011 and voting begins December 20th. Good luck!

Mass Graves for Chinese Workers in 1880’s CN railway

Chinese workers building the CPR in 1878Twenty-four years ago I was walking down a dirt road near my childhood home in Northern Ontario with my father and his friend. As we approached a railway crossing, my father’s friend started talking about the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Of course, I was only five or six at the time and had little understanding of Canadian history. I remember my dad’s friend saying “You know, it’s a damn shame how many Chinese laborers lost their lives working on this railway in the 1870’s.”

I recall being both perplexed and saddened by the idea of people coming from such a faraway place just to build a railroad only to lose their lives in the end. Then the conversation shifted to the subject of a Chinese graveyard. According to this friend the graveyard was somewhere nearby.

I grew up in Kenora Ontario, and every summer I would search for the remains of that graveyard.

Today it remains one of my foremost challenges. Ancestry Guru will, among other things, document this personal endeavour.

Kyle Muir