Category Archives: Activities

Mitchell Field Outdoor Swimming Pool Modified Schedule Week of June 24-28

The outdoor swimming pools in Toronto are open!  It is that time of year, when many of the outdoor swimming pools in Toronto are opening for the summer.  It is also that confusing week when it is hard to know when the pools are actually open, since they operate under a ‘modified schedule‘.  Why’s that?  Well, most of the staff for the pools come from students who aren’t yet available for a regular work schedule and/or their expected clientele are otherwise occupied in-doors in said schools.

That said, I thought I’d share the schedule for Mitchell Field Community Centre pool since the website listing is incorrect (has it has been the last two years), and the city has not been helpful in the past to post the correct one online.

Monday June 24, Tuesday June 25, Wed June 26, Thursday June 27, and Friday June 28 the pool will be open daily for 4pm to 6:55pm.  That’s right folks, no break from 4:30 to 5 which is our fav time to swim!

After this week, so starting on the 29th of June, the pool will run on its regular schedule — which I believe to be 12-4:25pm and 5pm-6:55pm on weekdays.  The website is saying it is from 11am, and not 12, and on weekends it is staying it doesn’t open until 1pm but we’ll have to wait until next week to actually get that confirmed I think.

If you are unfamiliar with Mitchell Field’s pool here in Willowdale, North York (address 89 Church St – enter through the CC, not the Arena), it is a small pool, with a very gradual incline and a maximum depth of 1.2meters (4ft 6″) or so, this makes it a great choice for the smaller kids as many of the older kids in the neighbourhood will make the trek up to Goulding Park, or if they want to pay the couple bucks and be super crowded they’ll do the afternoon swim at Douglas Snow (of note: this week it is closed and will re-open after Canada Day I believe).  Be warned, later in the season the 5-7 swim can get a tad chilly as the pool itself is in the shade that time of day.

Koch Snowflakes

Came across Sal‘s discussion of the Koch Snowflake (on wikipedia) yesterday.

Got a little obsessed and wanted to draw it programmatic like I did 20+ years ago when I first saw the Sierpinski Gasket on a NOVA tv show (which I re-did using Khan’s software a few months ago).  After a few failed attempts (and a failing to recognizing my usage of sine and cosine), today I went and looked for someone else’s code just to get me through it (oh the aging brain!) and found N-Wing’s code over at everything2.

Here it is: Koch Snowflake Fractal (Doh, WordPress isn’t allowing me to embed the program right here in the blog).

Vi Hart shows them in her Triangle Party Doodling too if you like her style (who doesn’t?).

Cirque Sublime performs the 15th Annual Wishes and Dreams Fundraiser

Last night Cirque Sublime performed at the Starlight Children Foundation‘s 15th Annual Wishes and Dreams Fundraiser in the Allen Lambert Galleria of Brookfield Place.   The Starlight Children’s Foundation celebrated receiving nearly $2 million in donations from Brookfield Place’s tenants and suppliers.

Opening the show and performing the Holiday Lighting Ceremony was Ariana Shaw (my silks coach!) as the Starlight Princess.

Les Vitaminés (Cbastien Tardif and Vincent Dubé) next did a funny and skillful clowning static trapeze act.

Amy Neumann, in her first professional performance as an aerial artist, wowed the crowd with her aerial silks skills.

Jean-Francois Martel was next on stage where the large man entered a very large Cyr Wheel.

Next up, Les Vitamines returned to the stage for their Balloon Ballet.  (No video as my hands were full of kids instead of a camera).

And to conclude the acrobatics for the evening Duo Voltart (Damien Boudreau and Geneviere Cliche) do some astounding Hand to Hand (not my video as again, I was holding a kid instead of a camera).

Toronto is a great place for seeing Circus Arts!  If you’re interested in trying it out recreationally, check out the Toronto School of Circus Arts.

You can have YouTube play all the above videos for you together using the playlist.

Our adventures this week in pictures and video 2012-45

We started the week with some slightly crazed kids thanks to Halloween.

We also hadn’t gotten a lot of good video and me in my freaky tall blue creature halloween costume so we spent some time on the weekend putting it back on and trying things out.

Our circus school was closed last week so we missed our regular classes.  It didn’t stop my son, as I found these videos he took of himself practicing the silks.

We stepped in to Kimberly Jackson on Queen Monday after our drop-in and we saw some really nice handcrafted wooden tables that they are having a sale on atm.

Tuesday I was trying to get the kids out of the house to play, but they just seemed to want to stay in.  We ended up building some bridges out of Kapla blocks (beam and cantilever), and then put it into practice as I became a human beam bridge, and my daughter was the load.

They got some exercise by playing on their homemade trapeze they have in their bedroom.

We did get out of the house in the afternoon though and started raking our leaves — mostly to have a pile to jump in, and a few to add to our compost.  Poor tree not getting fresh soil.

We discovered Richard Wiseman‘s Quirkology feed on Youtube and we proceeded to duplicate some of his puzzles and challenges.

Game wise we’ve been playing a lot of Mastermind.

Thursday we headed down to The 90th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.  We started out in the Spirit of the Horse area and watched the Toronto Police Mounted Unit, Elaine Ward demonstrate Western Style Dressage with her horse Maverick, and a Thoroughbred horse too.

We continued the horse theme as we ate our lunch in the Horse Palace watching some of the competitors for the horse jumping warm up.  My son spotted a horse he liked the look of and we followed them into the Ricoh Coliseum to see them compete.  It was Onisha and her driver, Olympian, Reed Kessler as they were competing in the Brickenden Trophy International Jumper Class.

The highlight of the Education Barn was the pig truck.  The kids watched, fascinated, as the dozen or so piglets nursed from their mother, and as the two, 6 week old (and much larger), pigs cuddled each other.

I’m always interested in the over-sized vegetables.  This year the corn-stalk was over 21 feet tall!

What did you do this week?

Toronto Circus Performances November 2012

If you’re interested in being entertained, surprised, and/or delighted this month in Toronto, check out the following options.

  • Cirque Eloize’s iD is in town this weekend only at the Sony Centre (Video Preview)
  • Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna finishes it’s Toronto run this weekend as well.  If you haven’t seen this superb show yet, see if you can still find a seat before it leaves town forever.  Viktor Kee’s Lizard, Lara Jacob’s Balance Goddess, and many other unforgettable acts await you.
  • Circus Orange will be lighting this up at Illuminite in a free show for the tree lighting at Yonge & Dundas Square on November 10.  The ‘Winterfest’ Downtown Yonge BIA will also be hosting many Buskers over the holiday shopping period as well.
  • Cirque Sublime will be doing a free show at the Brookfield Place (formerly BCE place – 181 Bay Street) in the Allen Lambert Galleria Nov 15 at 5pm-7pm in support of the Starlight Children’s Foundation Lighting Ceremony and Fundraiser.
  • Cirque Sublime (at least the Cube Act) will be performing again on Nov 17 at the Sony Centre as part of “It’s Always Something” in support of Gilda’s Club.

Howto Try Trihexaflexagon

We finally managed to get a hexaflexagon working!  Check out the video of my son demonstrating.

If you’re having trouble getting started too, here’s a recap of our journey.

We were introduced to them a few weeks ago thanks to vihart‘s great video (via my friend Kate), but stumbled around at first trying to figure them out.   We watched Danny Halvern’s Hexahexaflexagon movie and had some success putting them together with a compass and ruler but it was very time-consuming and we didn’t get many iterations before giving up.  We read over the hexaflexagon construction instructions but were still overwhelmed.  We found a page that talked about the different ways to flex it, but it was still too much to get us off the ground.  I went back to basics and read Martin Gardner‘s original Scientific American Book of Puzzles and Games which probably would have worked if I had taken the time doing it myself, but couldn’t work trying to get the kids to do them as well.  I found a template (and was confused by the having both sides on one side) but, didn’t have a colour printer available so was stumped again.  How were we ever going to get folding?!

And along came the Celebration of Mind Gathering for Gardner.  Their party organizer’s kit finally collected together a simple set of Trihexaflexagon templates in the same spot that we could work with.  We printed out numerous of their blank templates (note to self: modify this to include the numbers for the absolute newbs) and after a few attempts at numbering and colouring it for the kids we got one put together.  Woot!  My son has already modify it to include putting the pattern in the middle and watching it go to the outside and he wanted to do two more before bed, but there is plenty of time for it now.  Are hexahexaflexagon’s next?

Update: Day Two.  We’ve made a few more videos as we worked through our folds and more.  First up is me walking you through the tri and the hexa hexaflexagons.

‘I on the sky’ at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto

Young People's Theatre LogoDynamO Théâtre‘s I on the sky is currently playing at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto with tickets still available for this weekend’s performances.

My kids and I saw the show today (they perform twice a day for school groups as well as the ticketed weekend shows) thanks to a Toronto4Kids contest win, and it was excellent.  An acrobatic trampolining energetic costume filled play without words that is also touching and heartfelt, not to mention laughter inducing.  If you can find the time to squeeze in the 60minute show, I recommend you do, you won’t be disappointed.  Side fact for my circus followers — two of the actors are former Cirque du Soleil performers.

The program suggests it for an audience of 10 years and up, and YPT suggests grades 3 to 7, but my 3 & 5 year old were engrossed completely.  There is conflict, and bullyish behaviour from the ‘thugs’ as I named them, plus some violence near the end from the ‘soliders‘ but it didn’t seem to register on the kids.For an added bonus to your outing, after the show get a peameal bacon sandwich from St Lawrence Market and head a block south of the theatre to David Crombie Park and you can sit on a back to back green bench, almost like the ones in the show.  Minus the trampoline in the middle.

If you’re still not convinced, here is a video preview of the show.

Plus a special mention to ‘Jeff‘ for overruling the front of house staff’s aversion to my barefeet.

Playing at The Toy Box

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Thanks to Playground Studios and Theatre Passe Muraille for a great afternoon yesterday. The kids were “having too much fun to leave”. It’s running at City Hall Rotunda until Saturday, and then will be back for a few days in December (at Theatre Passe Muraille, not City Hall).   Thanks to Fancy Pants Kids for the recommendation.

An interesting observation I made: we were barefoot (as we have been for months now), but instead of getting strange looks from people, instead many people thought that they too should shed their shoes while playing.  Goes to show you what preconceptions can do.

LEGO Quest Kids Olympics: Swimming & Diving

The kids accepted the LEGO Quest Kids #51 Challenge: Olympic Event.LegoQuest Olympics Swimming & Diving photoAbove is a photo of their creation that we’ve submitted to the challenge.  And below is a video of them explaining it and some cute bits of them making it.

Sam runs the LEGO Quest once a month on her blog, and it’s open to all home educated families around the world. I’ll update here with the link to all the other entries once they get posted. Happy Building!

Update: the submissions have been posted!  Go and review the 140+ entries of amazing lego creations from kids from all over.