Tag Archives: toronto

Work is underway at Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre

Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre has been shut down the past month, and will remain so until at least December, but I was pleased to see work has finally started on the ‘state of good repairs’.  I’m trying to bite my tongue as to why it was closed for a month before the work commenced though.

Joe Pace & Sons Contracting is doing the work.

They’ve erected a safety fence around the pool itself, since it’s empty you don’t want anyone falling in.

There are two of these lifter trucks on deck, I assume to get up to the ceiling to do the lights and ducts.

Oh, and it turns out I was wrong in my previous post when I said the sauna would not be fixed.  Councillor Filion‘s recent column in the North York Post stated that they were able to be ‘creative’ with the budget and it will return operational (until someone throws water on it again I suppose).

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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.

Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre Shut Down Sept-Dec 2012

Our local city swimming pool, Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre, here in North York is shutting down for “state of good repairs” maintenance work.  We’ve known about the work for months now, but it’s still a shock to the routine we had the last 5 years.  In case you’re landing here trying to find info about the closure let’s see if I can summarize for you.

UPDATE: Jan 2 — The pool has not reopened as scheduled.  “Soon” is the time-frame given.

The pool itself has been open since 1985 and hasn’t had any major work done.  They have their twice yearly multi- week shutdown for cleaning and what not, but the larger systems need their up-keep too.  The work was first approved in the city budget back in 2004, so it’s my feeling that even some of the regular upkeep was not done with as much gusto as it could have been, knowing that the big project was eminent (in government timing anyway).

The official list of work being done is as follows:

State-of-good repair and renovation work. replacement of window seals, flashing and caulking; barrier-free upgrades to stairs and ramps in pool and recreation areas; barrier-free upgrades to reception millwork; replacement of exterior doors and hardware; replacement of acoustic panels in pool area; repair of water damage at pool area skylights; refurbishment of existing air-handling unit and controls; replacement of lighting in pool area, reception area and at exterior perimeter of building; upgrades to firm alarm and emergency lighting systems; safety equipment upgrades at filter room; removal of existing gas chlorine tanks and replacement with a liquid chlorine tank system with required sensors and exhaust.

The above is estimated to cost just a little over $1,000,000. I couldn’t find an estimate on how much revenue will be lost in the months of closure. Some of the regular pool patrons really hoped the sauna would get upgraded, but their petition to do so hasn’t seemed to change the 8-year-old budget. My big wish would be removal of the hair dryers in the change room. The decibels they pump out, not to mention the tremendous energy usage, is upsetting.

From what I’ve heard from staff, pool management will relocate to near-by offices for the interim (space available in North York Civic Centre and nearby Edithvale CC), while guard staff is left to fend for themselves.  Many have been hoping to hear from other pools in the city which require staff level adjustments but it seems most, if not none, have not heard about those positions.  I’m told they are guaranteed their positions come January, but how many people can go four months unemployed waiting for a layoff to end?  I should have inquired as to their EI eligibility.  It was unclear which category the recreation assistants fell into.  Pool maintenance staff is expected to stay involved in the repairs with the contractors.

Near by pools are:

  • Antibes CC – Located near Bathurst & Finch.  Lane swim, Senior Swim, and Lessons
  • Cummer Park CC – Located on Leslie at Cummer.  Lane swim, Preschool Swim, Aquafit, and Lessons
  • North Toronto Memorial Community Center – Located on Eglinton Ave. between Yonge & Avenue Road (probably the best option for subway user).  Lane swim, Aquafit, and Lessons.
  • Northview Heights SS – Located at Bathurst & Finch.  Lessons only.
  • North York YMCA – Located at Bayview and Sheppard.  If you want to go outside of the City’s system, this could be an option for you.

Note: People asked why I didn’t include the swimming pool at the Bathurst JCC/Prosserman Centre.  That’s because it was torn down and not rebuilt yet.

If you’re looking for the fitness classes that ran in the Multi-purpose room upstairs, they will be taking place at the Willowdale Lawn Bowling Club, across the street (west over Beecroft) and just south of the Cemetery.

All this info is from personal experience.  Always check with the city (Carol Bain) if you’re unsure of any thing and we’ll all cross our fingers they’ll stay on schedule and it won’t be April 2013 when we get back in to our favourite pool.

Personally, we’re going to try out the ‘Family Swim’ way out at Wallace Emerson CC as it’ll coincide with a homeschooler friendly drop-in program.  60mins transit vs 10minute walk is not something I look forward to.

Toronto Buskerfest 2012 Diary

Yesterday I took the kids down to the Toronto Buskerfest . What worked for us last year as well as this, is to arrive just before it opens so we can get the lay of the land and avoid most of the crowds.  I can’t imagine how busy it’d be on a Friday night or weekend because it felt very well visited yesterday afternoon.  We situate ourselves near the kids area and the CTV/CP24 Stage giving us access to a big stage, the shaded kids area, and some bathrooms if we need them (note the business we choose to make use of their facilities does post a sign asking for patrons only — I have no clue where official washrooms are).

We saw the following acts

I had remembered some of the press from Ernest from last year so was looking forward to his show. It got off to a rough start due to technical difficulties (sound system wasn’t powered correctly and it took two technicians to get it going) but while we waited for him to start we got to watch an early preview of Dream State Circus as they performed for a noon-time TV news (which I think we probably we in shot for — anyone see us?), the stilt guys doing this hockey bit, and the creatures the kids really enjoyed were the Giant Seagull people! Ernest gave us lots of laughs (jump over a car on his pogo stick).  A few bits weren’t kid friendly, but it wasn’t the kids area so that could be expected.

We headed into the kids area next for Rob Torres.  He is a fantastic clown, who doesn’t speak at all during the performance (but does make noises), and he really fired up the imaginations of the crowd drawing us all into his world of play and fun.  His show felt completely original and did not have some of the repetition some of the others have (perhaps because he doesn’t need banter which seems to get re-used a lot).

We stopped in at Fancy Pants Kids booth next for the kids to do some dress-up.   Ms Meyer Odell remembered us which made the kids feel really welcome.  We left the tent with temporary tattoos for the kids and a recommendation to see Wolfe & Petersen’s Pocket Carnival.

Daniel Forlano soon tried to start his act, even if some tv-show marketers had invaded his stage and seemed oblivious to him as the performer (one father who was taking pictures of his kids with the licensed characters even complained when “the man with the ladder” walked in front of his shot *sigh*).  His laid back character performance was an interesting change from the usual exuberant buskers, and he tried his best to woo an audience member in his romantic comedy featuring juggling throw pillows, balancing on a ladder as well as standing on the top of a bottle.

We rushed over to catch the end of Dream State Circus’s show back in the kids area.  As they were doing their acro-balance I felt at home putting one kid on each shoulder so they could see over the crowd.  The kids weren’t too comfortable though so I was proud when they decided to squeeze through the people standing so they could get close enough to see for themselves.  One of their balances was like the foot balance my son & I do, which pleased him to see.  Their finale of her standing on his head while they both juggle fire clubs is pretty impressive, but I liked their pre-finale of her doing a handstand on his out-stretched arm the best.

checkerboard guy profile picThis was later than I had planned to stay already, but my son caught sight of The Checkerboard Guy setting up and asked if we could stay and watch.  I’m glad we did.  The only Canadian performer we saw, he was extremely friendly and kept the show at a perfect level for the kids.  Turns out he’s been performing for so long, that an audience member there with her kids remembered seeing him perform in her youth (I took a group photo of them all so got to over-ear the story).

Complaints about the kids area are similar to last years complaints.  Too many smokers — the local business people come out of the neighbouring buildings and use the square as their butt-ground and seem oblivious to the fact that it’s filled with kids for the event (probably not as much an issue on the weekend).  The candy giver awayers didn’t bother with any extra trash-bins so their single serving packaging blanketed the area with plastic.  The square itself isn’t too flat due to the stone layout which gives some of the performers an extra challenge.  Oh, and my usual complaint about the Buskerfest website (Flash ick) was alleviated a bit as I found an html version tucked away.

Afterwards we had a long walk up to Bloor from King St to surprise my wife as she finished her work-day.  I enjoy it when the kids impress me with their fitness.

A note I just sent to my city councilor

Councilor Filion,

A few complaints regarding city services.

The new garbage collection today… the recycling truck seems to be placing everyone’s bin on the road.  Taking it from their driveway, and returning it to the street.  Additionally, the green bins were all left on their side, not standing upright.

There is confusion over the hours of the swimming pool at Mitchell Field.  The city’s website said that the afternoon swim finishes at 4:35 (Update: I did this time from memory… the site at the moment says 4:25).  The sign on the door of the lifeguards office says 4:30. The flyer available at the community centre’s desk says 4:25.  The last time we were there we were asked by the lifeguard to leave at 4:20.  I wonder what their timesheets say?  Oh, and there was graffiti in the mens changeroom there as well.

Recently a contractor for the city drove their truck through Dempsey Park.  The morning after that big rain.  They sunk in the mud.  They tore up a large portion of the hill next to the kitchen garden, not to mention the compaction of the ground from the street through to the tree they were chopping.  The local gardener says there is nothing that can be done about it since it was a contractor which has no oversight and he doesn’t have anything in his budget to repair the damage.

Beecroft road is finally finished!?
The deck built as part of Canterbury Place Park overtop of the Creek exposure is shoddy (west side south of Churchill, north of Ellerslie).  Many of the pieces don’t line up, there are exposed edges that were never cut fully (i.e. waiting for something to snag on), and if you look underneath, one of the support beams does not connect — the cement pillar is there, and the wooden beam is there, but there is a 4 cm gap between the two.  Not to mention some trash from the construction (wood offcuts) that was thrown into the creek bed below.

Where’s the pride?

Chris ‘curmudgeon’ Nolan

Update: Here is the reply I received from John Filion on September 4.

Dear ‘Curmudgeon’ Chris,

Thanks for your comments, and sorry for the delay in responding to your e-mail. I share your sentiments and was, in fact, having a conversation on this point with a friend yesterday. Not that this makes the situation any better, but in my recent experience the same lack of pride in workmanship extends also to the private sector.

Please let my office know if the garbage situation has improved. The company that has the contract has been read the riot act by City staff and it is a changeover that we are watching closely.

Best wishes,

John