Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

The annual New Year's Eve bash was held at the London Regional Children's Museum Tuesday. Well attended as always, the balloons dropped at 12-noon to much cheering and tooting of horns and popping of balloons.

The museum, in a former public school in London, Ontario, has outgrown the building and is now on the market. On being sold, the museum will be looking for larger place to call home. The goal is move the museum to the core of the city, if possible.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

One maybe and one why

Garlic and tomato bought recently in London, Ontario.

When I was a boy growing up in Southwestern Ontario, this was farm country. We grew so much. Summers were a time of abundance with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables available in the stores and the farmers' stands that lined what were then known as the King's highways.

The King's highways have, for the most part, been handed off to the counties and townships. And much of the fruit and vegetable business is either gone, going or threatened.

In December I can understand tomatoes from Guatemala but garlic from China? Garlic producers in the province have been just about driven out of business by the cheap imported garlic from China.

Essex County, to the southwest of London, was once the home of the biggest ketchup making plant in possibly North America -- certainly Canada. A few weeks ago it was announced that that plant, owned by Heinz, was closing in the new year. Many tomato growers in the county are threatened.

In the fifties, folk in Ontario were far better at eating locally produced food. It can be done -- even in a country as far north as Canada. Sadly, we are paving over our farmland and if the time should come that we will want to return to growing our own food, it may be difficult.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ice storm hits Ont.; Misses London for most part

An ice storm has struck Southwestern, Ontario. A quarter of a million people in the Toronto area alone are without power. Some subway lines are closed. It is a mess. Supposedly it is the worst ice storm to ever hit Toronto.

There was concern in London, two hundred kilometers west of T.O., but London was not hard hit by the storm. By the time I took a picture, much of whatever ice there had been overnight had begun to melt. I was in such a hurry to get off a shot, I didn't use a tripod: A bad decision.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Corrigan School of Irish Dancing Christmas Show

4-year-old Fiona continues dancing as the afternoon comes to an end.

Nice shot but poor quality
Today was the annual Corrigan School of Irish Dancing Christmas Show. Nora Corrigan, the director, performed with Riverdance for five years. Touring and performing for hundreds of thousands around the globe.

Corrigan returned to her hometown of London, Ontario, to teach Irish dance and to pass on her skills to a new generations of Irish dancers.

The event is always well attended. The audience almost fills the Wolf Performance Hall in the Central Library located in downtown London.

The young dancers are amazingly professional.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

More pictures from the Santa Claus parade

Here are some more pictures taken at the annual Santa Claus parade held in northwest London. For a little community event, it is quite a lot of fun with lots of involvement by both kids and adults.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter has arrived

Snow sits deep on the bird bath in my backyard.
London, Ontario, is located in a long, narrow snow belt runs northwest from the to Lake Huron around Grand Bend and Bayfield. The snow squalls develop over the open water and then dump their snowy load on the London area. The Byron subdivision in the southwest of the city often gets the most snow of any place in town. A recent snow storm left just a few centimeters of snow at the London International Airport but it buried Byron under anywhere from 55 to 75cms of white flakes, depending upon where one lived in the subdivision.

On the upside, and there are lots of upsides to a snowfall, all that snow brings out the good neighbour spirit. The people living across the street dug out the older gentleman living in the home to the west of me. But, the snow was so deep that clearing it left the good Samaritans too tuckered to dig out their own driveway. I lent them my snow blower and soon they had their place completely dug out and mine too.

And the moment my granddaughter arrived, it was time to build a snowman.  She even brought a carrot to use for the snowman's nose.

I like living in the Byron snow belt where winter is a vibrant season filled with unique pleasures.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Santa visits London

Santa waves to children lining Gainsborough Rd. Saturday at the annual parade.
The annual Hyde Park Santa Claus Parade was well attended this year with the temperature climbing above the freezing mark for the Saturday morning event.

The parade, organized by the Hyde Park and District Lions Club and the NorWest Optimists, had some 55 entries this year. The Lion float may have been the crowd-pleasing favourite — not counting Santa, of course.

London has two Santa Claus parades, one is held at night in the core of the city and the other is held a few weeks later but during the day and in a northwest London suburb. Many people that I know prefer the suburban parade.

The event has a nice Christmas feel with a lot of local kids participating. Kids marched, kids played instruments, kids wore costumes and threw candy to other kids — the ones lining the parade route. This event has a great community feel and it is fun.

The Hyde Park Business Association collected winter boots; The NorWest Optimist Soccer Program collected toys. For the first time, canned good were collected, too. Like I said, this event has a community feel.

Many little kids seemed as much in awe of "Wendy" of fast food fame as of Santa Claus himself.

For more on the parade, check The London Free Press  coverage.

Hank Daniszewski, a reporter with years of experience, covered the event for the local paper, both shooting the picture and writing the story. There may be no paper Sunday, but the news story has already been posted to the Net where it can found right now.