Friday Two Cents: Pan Am Games With George: Part 4 Follow-up


 

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Well I made it to the Pan Am gold medal game for woman’s football between Brazil and Columbia in one piece and I returned. As mentioned before I anticipated a lot of traffic so I left early and I was not wrong, but it wasn’t too bad.

The worst part of the drive to Hamilton was leaving home and getting onto the highway. You see I leave near High Park and they had a Bike Road race event on that day. They closed off High Park and the surrounding streets for the event. I knew about these closures from all the signs in the area, therefore that is why I left a bit early. It took me a while but I eventually made it onto the highway. There were a few slowdowns on the highway but nothing more that what I expected.

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Road Race at High Park

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Road Race at High Park

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Arriving at the Stadium

I drive into Hamilton and I had to go to McMaster University for the parking that I arranged. Getting in was fine and they also had shuttle buses for people to the event. They were school buses, which are fine but on a hot day, and you may know that they are very bouncy when going over bumps. Yet I arrived well in advance to the game and enjoyed walking around the new facilities.

The game itself was very one sided with the Brazilian women taking an early lead at the 7’ mark and then dominating the game after that. There were a few intense moments with yellow cards issued and one scary moment when a Brazilian player crashed into the Columbian keeper. They were both down for quite a while but the keeper did get up from it and continued until the half. Though the backup keeper replaced her at the start of the second half.

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In The nosebleeds

The Columbians were not that active in the second half either. They were being out played and the Brazilians were just too skilled for them. In the end they gave up a second goal and then the wheels fell of the cart, so to speak. The Columbians then gave up two more goals on easy save opportunities, hence the Brazilians won 4 – 0 and captured the gold medal.

The medal ceremony was something that I wanted to see and to my surprise many people left before the game officially ended. The other surprise was that the Premier on Ontario, Kathleen Wynne handed out the medals to the athletes. After the ceremony I made my way back to the shuttle buses and my car and home.

Overall I have to say I really enjoyed my experience. The drive to Hamilton, the venue, the game and the ceremony were experiences I will not forget.   The experience was something I wanted to do, to see the game but also to observe the reactions of the people within the stadium. Of course many were there to support the two teams, but many, like myself had no allegiance to either team and just wanted to enjoy the game. I even had the opportunity to talk to different people about the game and other things surrounding the games. I guess its true about people wanting and craving shared experiences.

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Friday Two Cents: Vacationing In Ontario With George Part 3: A Day With My Niece


 

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On the adventure side of this summer vacation, this week has been a very quiet and relaxing one. I didn’t go do anything exciting or mind-blowing. I just stayed around the house cleaning and trying to do a massive purge. My father has kept ‘things’ since before I was born and hasn’t thrown away anything so its time to purge, organize and clean out the garage and tool area. To say that it is a mind numbing, tedious and disheartening task would be understating the obvious. Yet midst this chore I had a moment of comfort and to my surprise, a small adventure.

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Mufasa, Charlie and George

One day I had a couple of little visitors; my nieces came over for the day. I adore my nieces and look forward to any opportunity to play or just spend time with them. This day they came over and amidst their playing they discovered George and some of the other puppets and stuffed animals I have for me class. They know that George helps me teach my students and one of my nieces wanted to play with him. The other niece got attached to my little Simba from the Lion King (I have a large Mufasa Puppet to go with it).   I told them that they can play with them but they have to be gentle and play nice with George and Simba. Seeing them play with them was entertaining and surprisingly fun. I too got involved with Mufasa and we all had fun.

We were going out for lunch at their favourite place, McDonald’s, and they wanted to take George and Simba. I sad yes and we left. The lunch was as enjoyable as any when you “try” to eat lunch out with a couple of kids. After the lunch the little one was going to sleep and I took the opportunity to take the older niece to the park for some fun. I asked her and she wanted to and of course George came with us.

We went to a park I have not visited for some time, High Park. It is in the west end of Toronto and a wonderful example of trying to bring a natural setting to an urban environment. It has a pond, soccer and baseball fields, a pool, tennis courts and a couple of playgrounds. They also have a nice nature trail but I was not able to go with my niece this time. She of course wanted to go to the playground and the wading pool. We had a wonderful time playing on the structures and digging in the sand together and so did George.

The day was great and I had a wonderful time, as did my niece. But I was pushing with my niece on a swing in the park; I realized that being on vacation doesn’t have to mean that you have to go away somewhere. Sometimes it means just enjoying friends and family in your own backyard. My niece and I (and George) had a wonderful time together just hanging out. Vacation means to have a time for some recreation. Well I had that with my niece and that was more fun than traveling to a distant destination any day.

Friday Two Cents: Visiting Local Communities in Ontario Part 6


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This summer I have been visiting different communities around my hometown, Toronto. Yet Toronto has a lot to offer for a vacation. From going to the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the Zoo and the shopping to the theatres with wonderful live performances and many more that I haven’t mentioned because of the time.

High Park Amphitheatre

High Park Amphitheatre

Yet I was able to partake in two that I truly enjoyed and would like to share with you. The first was a little known production called Shakespeare in the Park. It is located in High Park situated in the west end of the downtown core. For the past 32 years they have been performing Shakespearian plays in the park amphitheater. I have seen many wonderful plays there and this year is no exception. This year I saw As You Like It and Titus Andronicus, two wonder plays yet very different. As You Like It is a funny adventure into love and Titus Andronicus is Shakespeare’s most violent and bloody tragedy. Despite the contrasting themes of the plays they were both amazing to witness.

The second was the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). I have been going year after year to the Exhibition for most of my life. I enjoy going to see the art, craft and hobbies exhibits, the shows and of course sampling the different types of foods they have to offer. I even have a tradition of getting a corn dog once I enter the grounds. I know that it is not a healthy choice but once you enter the grounds healthy choices are thrown out the window. Besides, it is the only time during the year when I eat a corn dog.

This year I was able to see different shows such as the birds of prey show, the acrobatic show Mirage and performances in the International Pavilion. The one new thing I did this year was taking the walking tours. The first was in the afternoon with an Architectural Tour of the buildings of the CNE and the second was the more disturbing Ghost Tour of the CNE after dark. They were both great with a lot of historical information of the CNE grounds dating back to the war of 1812 when the grounds was the site of the Battle of York (the original name of Toronto).

These two wonderful events in the heart of Toronto are amazing every year. Unfortunately these two events are only available in the city for a limited time and as of the 1st of September they are gone for the year. That’s why I always have mixed feelings about the CNE. I love going but I know that once I leave the grounds it means summer is over and school will start soon. Oh well I guess I have to just wait and look forward to next year.

 

Friday Two Cents: In My Own Backyard


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This week I was fortunate to get re-acquainted with an old friend I have not seen in 10 years.  It was great to see her again and we had a wonderful afternoon talking about old times and what each of us have been doing all this time.  Yet as enjoyable as the get together was, it was enhanced with our stroll through a local park. 

If you are familiar with Toronto, you will be acquainted with a city park called High Park.  It is 161 hectares of urban forest near the core of the city.  I have been going to this park since I was a child and I even played little league baseball there.  However, in resent years I have not really walked through it or enjoyed what the park has to offer. 

My friend and I met at a Starbucks near the park where we talked for some time but then we continued our conversation with a walk or hike through High Park.  I had done this many times before, but I had forgotten how wonderful it is to have a piece of natural beauty in the city.  The plants, trees, swans and even the gardens and the zoo all were a wonderful sight to behold.  Many Inspired me to take pictures. 

 

Even the people and the children playing in the large playground were enjoyable.  My friend and I would walk and talk and just take in the environment around us.  We even stoped and shared a Poutine near the little league diamonds.  

After traversing the park we ended back at the front entrance were we said our goodbyes, reassuring one another that we will meet again for another adventure in the not so distant future.  Yet this excursion was one I will not forget, meeting and getting to know two old friends in one day.   My friend and colleague I haven’t seen in quit some time and High Park.  A part of my past I had almost forgotten about. 

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