Tag Archives: willowdale

Slow Down Look Closer x640

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/

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Signs don’t equal Safety – Don’t support the All Way Stop at Ellerslie & Tamworth

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

The lyrics of Signs by Five Man Electrical Band always pop into my head when someone starts talking signs for safety: be they  speed limit signs, stop signs, or shoes required signs.  I do not support signs, and the neighbourhood is currently petitioning to get some new stop signs installed down the street, to convert a two-way stop to an All-Way stop, so here is my argument against this instance.  As a “long haired freaky people“, it seems to be the minority view, but I think with a little bit of consideration and research, you may change your mind.

First off, we are not traffic engineers.  I don’t necessarily put faith in ‘experts’, but if you want to play the role of considering traffic flow, then consider traffic flow in the entire neighbourhood, not just at a single intersection.  Changing an intersection will have impacts many intersections away in a variety of ways.  What if your support for a change at this intersection, resulted in an accident nearby?  NIMBY is a slippery slope to go down.  All-way stops are put in place to assist with negotiating right of way, when the intersection has near-equal traffic in all directions.  This intersection as one of its four directions is a dead end, you can assume right off the bat that it will not have equal traffic in all directions.  Studies have also shown that drivers will increase their speed between intersections to make up for their ‘lost time’ of having stopped.  Whoops?

I don’t like pollution.  Asking the majority of motorists approaching this intersection to increase their emissions and noise produced are two forms of pollution I’d rather keep out of the neighbourhood, not to mention the increased fuel consumption compounding over the next few decades that the sign would be there.  Oil doesn’t grow on trees (anymore).  If this isn’t obvious, when you accelerate from a stop, you use a lot more fuel, your engine is louder doing so, and when you are idle at the stop, and when  you are accelerating there are many more emissions in the area.

Risk compensation is a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected.  Pedestrians and cyclists at the intersection could end up crossing in a more risky fashion, assuming the competition at the intersection will be stopping.   Shared Space in urban design pushes this edge considerably and I lean towards this when ever I discuss traffic signs and road conditions with people.

The attention this has gotten in the neighbourhood shouldn’t be ignored, but let’s not knee-jerk our support for the All-Way stop, but rather channel the concerns into  looking at the larger issue of how can we make our community a better one for people traveling with-in it, and through it, on a larger scale.

Please also consider how well you are perceiving the ‘danger’ here.  Risk Perception is a funny thing.

Some more traffic related links if you’d like:

SpikanunkCatapultLg

Homeschooler Catapult Exhibition, June 2014

The kids & I thought it would be fun to revive the catapult exhibitions we attended a few years ago, when they were too little to build any themselves.  So, here we go:

Catapult Exhibition
June 11, 2014 11AM
Location: TBA green space near North York Centre
Participants: Children educated at home in and around the Greater Toronto Area
Comment here or send me a message (iam at this domain) and I’ll build a roster of participants

Catapults go by many names: ballistae, trebuchets, onagers, hsuan feng, mangonels, petraries, scorpions, tormenta, and others.  What we’re looking for here is a ballistic device used to launch a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices.  Put your thinking caps on, get your tools out, work out the maths and angles, and build away.

We are thinking of setting up a system to measure the distance the objects are thrown, and also an accuracy/target course.  Two categories: kid made only, and then the models which the adults helped with.  Ammo wise, plan to use something similar to an orange — we’ll update this after we’ve had a chance to test a few things out.   Depending on numbers we will either give everyone a chance to talk about their build in front of the group, or a set time where spectators can go from build to build and ask questions about it.

Ideally the space we pick in addition to the missile range will have some playground equipment for families with younger siblings, area to picnic for lunch, and generally hang out to make a day of it for those so inclined.  I have a great spot in mind, I just want to test out the range of our builds to get a sense of how much space we’ll need before I settle on it.  Don’t want any windows broken or near by roadways interfered with.

catapult-DIY-easy-kid-actvity-marshmallowNot everyone is as handy with tools and building as they once were, so I hope to see some collaborations between different groups, maybe even some teaming up to share resources and expertise, or some grandparents pitching in.  It could be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for to try a maker project?  Alternatively you might want to start small and build a simple one out of craft sticks, or marshmallows.

Toronto Tool Library logoA place you might want to check out in the course of your project is the Toronto Tool Library, they have a variety of tools available, and at their East End location a makerspace.  Another makerspace in town that has woodworking capability is Site3 co-laboratory.  Let me know if you are aware of others.  Maybe we’ll see some 3D printed designs, in which case maybe check out the Digital Innovation Hub at the Toronto Reference Library?

A site we like is DIY.org, and they have a Catapult or Trebuchet challenge you can submit your project to, or review some of the devices other kids have made.

Some books we’ve found at the library that have designs and plans and ideas on how to get started are:

Toronto_Public_Library_logoSpeaking of the library, maybe you’ll join us at our Wednesday afternoon homeschooler group at North York Central library (1:30-3pm in the storyroom).  We plan to cover a few topics in the next couple of months applicable to catapults (levers & fulcrums for example is set for April 9th’s session for example).

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Want to be my neighbour? 5 Options on the block atm

Follow-up to previous post from last year, 5 options are on the market at the moment if you’d like to be my neighbour.

Many options on the block at the moment.  2 new builds, 2 existing homes and one for lease.  On Ellerslie Ave between Tamworth and Senlac (one is two houses the other side of Senlac).

From east to west:

  • New build 183 Ellerslie (MLS# C2775924) listing at $1,689,000
  • New build 188 Ellerslie Ave (MLS# C2783699) re-listed with new agents after months of not selling (MLS#C2639633).  New price $1,749,000
  • For Lease 197 Ellerslie Ave (MLS#C2769820) for $1,800 a month
  • 205 Ellerslie Ave (MLS#C2784832) listed yesterday for $975,000.  Lot is listed at 57’ feet, which if split in the future would in theory be less than the previously allowed split size.  Nice enough place it might stay to be lived in instead of destroyed like so many others on the street
  • On the other side of Senlac 274 Ellerslie (C2774630) listed last week and I believe reduced since then but not 100% sure, now $849,000
Pool looking North from the upper stretching area.

North York Central Homeschool Swim Lessons

I’m organizing swim lessons for homeschoolers.  The pool is Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre, the City’s large 50m pool in Willowdale at 5100 Yonge behind the North York Civic Centre, and next to North York Central Library at the North York Center Subway stop on the Yonge line.

Friday mornings starting Sept 27 2013, at 10:30 for a half hour lesson, and then I’ve arranged a half hour of leisure time immediately after from 11 to 11:30 so the kids can stay in the pool, and the adults and young siblings can join in too.  During the lessons the adults can observe from the upper level open gallery.  For the final lesson, they will probably open up the water slide for the kids to use too, but normally it won’t be available for use.

Pricing is the City’s standard lesson fee, which is $68 for a nine week session (about $7.50 a class) (might be more expensive if you aren’t a Toronto resident).  For the extra half hour, we pay a ‘Guard Fee’ which is $15/week for the group.

They are willing to accommodate a variety of ages and a variety of levels, with a maximum of 15 kids (which would be 3 groups of 5 kids each).  If you have taken the city’s lessons before, they have their system of “Ultra Levels” in their “Learn to Swim” program, so please let me know which level your child(ren) is in and the pool will try to spread them out so those in similar levels will be in a group, if we have multiple groups.  If there is too large of a gap between levels it might not work out (e.g. four kids at levels 3-5 and one at level 9, or 3 at levels 1-2 and one at level 5).  Caveat: Since it’s during the day, the instructor won’t have the extra “Deck Attendants” you might be familiar with from evening or weekend lessons.

The upstairs space is fine for eating lunch in, and the library is right next door so you can make a day of it if you are traveling for the lessons too.

We’d like to have numbers finalized by end of next week, September 13.  Contact me directly if you are interested or have more questions.

mitchell field community centre

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.

George Duckett

Remembering Mr. George Duckett

Today marks the one year ‘death day’ of my friend Mr. George Duckett (1930-2012).  I’d like to share with you a letter I wrote to his kind widow this past winter after I had learned of his passing.

Dear Mrs. Duckett,

My name is Chris Nolan.  You don’t know me, but I knew your husband from the Douglas Snow swimming pool.  I was very sorry to learn of his passing, and wanted to tell you I’ll miss him.

For the past six years I’ve been taking my children to the pre-school swim Wednesday mornings, which is the same time as the senior swim.  Mr. Duckett’s regular locker was across the aisle from ours, and we would chat as we were getting changed (the kids take a long time to get ready, and he was no speed demon himself).  I used to look forward to his stories he’d tell: of his youth near the coast, of his time working on boats, his travels around Australia, his siblings back home, your trip to Hawaii when your kids were small, your grand kids both near and far, and many more.   The elf and Santa craft he made for the kids one Christmas still sit on a shelf in their bedroom keeping watch over them.

I regret not making an effort to keep in touch when he took his break from swimming last year for his hip surgery, and then during the summer the senior swim doesn’t run, and then Douglas Snow was closed for renovations in the fall, only to re-open last month.   Some of the other gentlemen asked after him, and I tried to tell myself he just didn’t know the pool had reopened yet, but I finally braced myself and looked online only to learn of his death this past summer.

I didn’t want to reopen any wounds by sending such belated condolences, but I did want to tell you of our time together, and that I’ll be keeping “Papa Duck”‘s memory alive with my kids too.

If you are the operator of a motor vehicle, please remember it is a powerful machine that requires vigilance.