Tag Archives: events

Slow Down, Look Closer Photography Exhibition

I have my very first solo photography exhibition running this month at the North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge St. entitled SLOW DOWN, LOOK CLOSER.  Please check it out if you’re in the area and see Willowdale from a “bee’s eye view”.

Details over at http://slowdownlookcloser.chrisnolan.ca/

NYCL Scratch Day Diary

We’ve been looking forward to Scratch Day for a couple of months now, and am happy to say it went off wonderfully.Facepainted 7 Year Old ready to lead his first Scratch DayIt was five months ago today that we checked out No Starch Press’s SUPER SCRATCH PROGRAMMING ADVENTURE from the library, and it was this past Saturday that Xander revealed Scratchy to 15 more kids, ages 7 to 12, as the culmination of his hard work.

After we shared his Scratchy themed birthday cake (he turned 7 in January) with the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT, I learned of ScratchEd (thanks @TwilightDreamWolf for the heads-up) and their role in helping to bring Scratch to more kids.  From their group, I learned of Scratch Day and looked into where we could go to meet other Scratchers in Toronto, only to find there wasn’t anything already organized.    Thinking about possibilities of organizing something to help foster his passion, I mentioned the idea to him and he said he’d love to teach kids to do it — which cinched it, this was going to happen if he was this keen about it.

There is an amazing technology vibe in Toronto, so I knew there would be many ways to go about the event.  Part of me wanted to see if people at UofT would want to be involved, to keep the university feel of Scratch, but I didn’t have any current contacts there to work.  Working the start-up vibe was another angle I considered, but was a bit wary of the sponsorship angles inherent with that culture.  When I was at an early Maker Series event at the Toronto Reference Library, in connection with their new Digital Innovation Hub, I saw they had the new version of the SUPER SCRATCH book in their collection (which isn’t available in the Library’s main collection). I inquired asked about the possibility of doing Scratch Day there, and they declined saying they didn’t have a kid friendly space.  This brought me to our local library, North York Central Library, which we have a good rapport with.

I introduced the idea to them, and they did some research to see if it might be a good fit.  We arranged to meet and Xander shared his enthusiasm for Scratch and we discussed some of the ideas for what the day could be.  We settled on a small introductory class for kids aged 8-12 accompanied by their parents as a trial run.  Coordination with the Learning Centre in the Teen Zone/Hub at the library, outside of the Children’s Department usual dealings and recruitment  within the Teen Department’s Youth Advisory Group to find volunteers to help mentor during the class was done.  Much thanks to Sharon Andic, and Kathryn Copeland for their work in preparing the program, and to Chantee, Charles, and Wendy for their work during the class helping the kids out.

We announced the class on a blog setup for the event at ScratchDayNYCL.tumblr.com and the library put it in their Spring Flyer of events.  Registration quickly filled up with positive comments from parents.  Xander practiced his instruction skills with a friend, going early to our Homeschool Group at the library for a few weeks.  We also arranged to tour the Learning Centre space to get a feeling of the room and what was available there and discuss the format and layout of the pairs.  Everything was set — I was more nervous than he was.

The biggest hurdle was going to get through introductions, as he was really struggling with that part in our practice session.  Kathryn agreed to introduce him which worked out great.

The class went very well.  We managed to squeeze in two extra groups who arrived morning of to see if anyone didn’t show-up.  Many smiles and much enthusiasm from the kids gathered (and a few handstands from the leader).  We made a NYCL Scratch Club Studio on the Scratch website to help encourage the kids to collaborate and build their skills together going forward.  We ran over our time estimates (of course) so we didn’t get to do the maze program he planned, and we didn’t get to show some of our ‘Connecting to the Physical World’ projects as we had hoped.  His response?  “We’ll just have to have another class.”

Naxder and his Dad leading Scratch DayNot only that, he came home and asked to start to write a book about Scratch, for his “55%”ers, those we know a bunch of scratch but want to do more advanced things.  When he started Scratch, he didn’t read and he learned so he could do more Scratch.  I guess it will also be his gateway to writing too!

A very proud Papa.

 

 

Busy few weekends

green eggs and ham storymobThe next few weekends have a lot of action going on.  Here are some of the things we’re doing, what is keeping you busy?

September 7 we’ll be meeting at the yet to be revealed location (Update! Cabbagetown Festival Another update — CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER) for our Green Eggs & Ham Storymob!  In the morning Jen will be helping out at the Ladies Learning Code Introduction to Drupal.

Toronto School of Circus Arts LogoSeptember 14 the kids and I will be returning to the Toronto School of Circus Arts for another exciting session of all things circus.

September 15 is the Ice Ride.  We’ll be participating in Toronto’s ride to help save the arctic.

September 21-22 is the Toronto Mini Maker Faire, and the Sunday has recently been announced as Family Day at the Faire, where families can go as a group and enjoy some activities as well as all the awesome makers and their creations (such as the ‘Mothra’ skis).

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

Six Year Old completes 25km Ride for Heart

Ride For HeartMy wife and six-year-old son today rode in the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Ride for Heart.  My wife’s father passed from a heart attack a long time ago.

Overall the organizing had more than 13,000 riders and raised over $5.5 million today.

Jen raised $235, and my son raised $130.  Thank you to our friends and family who supported them in this adventure (looks like the website is still taking pledges? hint hint)

My son had been looking forward to it for months and he exceeded our expectations in completing the trip in 2 hours 20 minutes (avg Speed 11km/h).  Route mapping done via the MotionX-GPS app.

Update for 2014: Here is their fundraising link for this year’s ride.

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.

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.

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.