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I am sure you find some of the minuita in this blog helpful in your visit to Toronto.

March 2, 2006
Why pay when it’s free in Toronto!
Four major attractions to visit for free.

Regardless of your economic circumstance if you can get something for free while others are paying it makes you feel good. If you travel to Toronto this summer there are many things that others pay for but you don’t have to thanks to Crave Canada informing you.

Take the Royal Ontario Museum affectionately called the ROM. Pronounced like you would the sound of a car when you rev it. Explore the world at the ROM with almost six million objects in its collections, the ROM is Canada’s leading international museum. Located in the heart of Toronto, the ROM’s collections span both world cultures and natural history. Cost for an adult $15. Your cost is $0. Why, because once a week they allow the public in for free because of the ROM’s belief that it should be accessible to all of the public as part of the mandate. You just have to know when. Here’s the scoop. The time is every Friday, from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. when you can roam the halls. You can explore more information at www.rom.on.ca

Not to be outdone the Art Gallery of Ontario also know by the three letters each pronounced separately as A.G.O. As one of Canada’s most distinguished art museums, the AGO organizes and hosts a wide spectrum of major exhibitions. The AGO currently has more than 40,000 works in its collection, spanning 100 AD to present day.  They also have an evening sans charge, when adults are usually charged  $8 however every Wednesday evening it is free from 6 to 9 pm (Surcharged exhibitions and ticketed events such as Catherine the Great excepted.) You’ll love the Henry Moore collection. Want to paint the picture fuller? Then go to the ROM web site at www.ago.net

Here’s one that is not be overlook the Bata Shoe Museum. Sounds pretty dull with no soul. Soul it has and hundreds of soles it has as well. Discover the treasures of North America's unique shoe museum. Over 10,000 shoes are housed in architect Raymond Moriyama's award-winning four-storey structure. The Museum celebrates the style and function of footwear in four impressive galleries. Artifacts on exhibit range from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut crushing clogs and glamourous platforms. Over 4,500 years of history and a collection of 20th century celebrity shoes are reflected in the semi-permanent exhibition, All About Shoes. Three other galleries feature special exhibitions. If you want to put your foot down and pay the charge it is $8. If you want to hop, skip and jump pass the admission door then show up any Thursday evening when it is free from 5 to 8 p.m. Let your fingers do the walking and check out further details at www.batashoemuseum.ca

Toronto’s Casa Loma is a step back in time to a period of European elegance and splendour. The former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Canada's foremost castle is complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens. To take a tour your cost would be $12. However half a loaf is better then none so here’s a way to visit part of Casa Loma for free. If you like to tip toe through the tulips and other flowers then you may enjoy a tour of the five acre estate Gardens of Casa Loma. Pardon the pun, but you would have to be a blooming idiot not to enjoy the flora in this supreme location. During the summer Casa Loma wants you to see our fabulous gardens and by telling you about it here you will have the opportunity to do so for free. The dates you can smell the roses are from May through October: Every Tuesday evening from 4:00 p.m. to dusk: May through October. Six Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11 and October 2. Free access to gardens, does not include entrance to the Estate buildings. If you want to smell out further details then check out their web site at www.castleloma.org

March 3, 2006

When dancing for a washroom in Toronto.

 

When traveling, often you will want to urgently find a washroom. In Toronto we have no city owned washrooms except on land owned by the city so you want think ahead when you first have that feeling. This was a result of a lawsuit that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century when the City of Toronto had washrooms. You entered these facilities at the street level and headed down a staircase to these underground washrooms. One of these washrooms was located at a major intersection and the business on that corner claimed that the value of their real estate was depreciated as a result. They sued the city. The resulting legal action finally ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada. The City lost and had to pay out $9,000 of the taxpayer’s dollars. As a result the city closed all city owned washrooms other than those located on land owned by the city.

 

Usually the term "washroom" is used to denote a public, commercial, or industrial personal hygiene facility designed for high throughput, whereas a similar term "bathroom" is used to denote a smaller, often residential facility for lesser throughput (i.e., often for only one person at a time to use). In Toronto a facility to go about your business is usually called a washroom or toilet. However other euphemisms exist and you might find your way there quicker by asking for a John, bathroom, restroom, powder room, little girl’s/boy’s room, water closet or lavatory.

 

However if you are a tourist in Toronto and find yourself dancing in discomfort looking urgently for a washroom here are some places where you can find comfort.

 

  • Public areas such as squares have washrooms.
  • Public buildings such as City Hall, Court Houses, Administrative buildings, Skating rinks.
  •  Most parks since they are owned by the city have washrooms. The difficulty is to find them and usually they are seasonal.
  • Go into a restaurant and ask to use the washroom. Often the answer is no. However buying something such as a cup of coffee or coke makes me a patron and therefore you are entitled to use their washroom.
  • Coffee shops such as Starbucks, Second Cup or Timothy’s. Often you can boldly walk in and use the facilities since the staff is busy serving a line of customers. However here again, often they require a key, so you might as well buy a coffee.
  • Find an office building and take the elevator to one of the floors and seek out a washroom. Unfortunately often these require a key as well.
  • Go to a mall and find one. Usually these are located near a food court. By law places where you eat in Toronto require a washroom.
  • Go into a hotel. They usually have public washrooms located near the reception area. If this is a five star hotel they are usually amongst the most pleasant of washrooms.
  • University buildings usually have a public washroom.
  • Public libraries.
  • Many stores, like super markets have a public washroom.
  • Nightclubs and bars. Usually you can just walk in and go directly to the washroom. The more assertive and self assured you are the less chance you may be challenged.

 Other cities like New York City even evaluate washrooms open to the public on the Internet. As I discovered Toronto has an evaluation site as well. http://www.tdc.ca/towashroom.htm After your visit to Toronto you might want to add your comments there.

 

Other cities experience clean modern washrooms and like Paris charge for them. Paying for a nice and clean public washroom when you badly need it is much better than having no city washrooms like Toronto. Why doesn’t the City of Toronto do the same? Suddenly they become socialists when it comes to urgent needs?

Play Sherlock Holmes

when you visit Toronto’s Chinatown

 

Toronto has the second largest Chinatown in North America and the largest when all six of its Chinatowns are grouped as one.The largest one is centred downtown around the intersection of Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue, and extends outward from this point along both streets. It has grown significantly over the years and has come to reflect a diverse set of Asian cultures through its shops and restaurants, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai.

 

Toronto’s Chinatowns all feature Chinese Apothecaries where Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is dispensed.  TCM was developed over 4,000 years ago in the Far East and is based on Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. It continues to evolve. Today over 2 billion people use it. When you vacation in Toronto a visit to a Chinatown Apothecary should prove an interesting adventure and possibly good for your health.

 

Your mission, not impossible according to Mr. Phelps, is to find out more about TCM. In TCM the whole idea is to achieve balance, which is called the Law of the Unity of Opposites. When opposites come together they create life. They converge and diverge in a dynamic oscillation. The less oscillation to the extreme the less illness occurs. When they separate entirely life ceases. Health is balance. These opposites are called Yin and Yang. Chinese herbs are used to treat this imbalance. They are selected and combined in formulas based on four or more herbs being used. Only a few herbs are used by themselves.

 

One way that British people can use to remember the designing of an herbal formula is to think of a monarchical form of government that they are familiar with. The King or Queen Herb is directed to and has the strongest effect on the most important imbalance /pathology. Minister Herb is directed at the main imbalance as well as the secondary imbalance/pathology. Assistant Herb, which either strengthens the King/Queen herb or reduces or eliminates the hash or toxic effects of the King/Queen and Minister herbs. Guide herb focuses actions of the other herbs on a particular organ, channel or region of the body. In order to remember this herbal formula recall an American radio station’s call letters KMAG. 

 

Here’s one herbal formula you can play Sherlock Holmes with in a Chinese Apothecary by trying and identify its four elements. The King/Queen Herb is Ma Huang / Ephedra. You can identify it as a jointed and nearly leafless desert shrub having reduced scale like leaves and reddish fleshy seeds. The Minister Herb is Gui Zhi or Cinnamon Twigs. You shouldn’t have trouble finding this. The Assistant Herb is Xing ren / apricot seed and the Guide Herb is Gan Cao or Licorice Root. If there is no signage then ask the proprietor to help identify each of these items. By the way this herbal formula is used to treat wind cold invasion, aversion to cold, no sweating, headache, body aches and sneezing. This imbalance often occurs in Canada the morning after when one has been drinking at a pub and lays down on the way home in a snow bank.

 

Hopefully your treasure hunt for these herbal items will prove elementary, as it didn’t for poor Watson. Enjoy your adventure in Chinatown and good luck, good hunting and good health.

 

Visit

Wing Shing

Herb Store

265 Spadina Ave

South of Dundas St W

416-979-0905

 

 

 

 

Bill Genova

Genova Tours
230 Rose Park Drive
Toronto, Canada, M4T1R5