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TTC Harvey Shop Tour

At the end of November, Dad and I went on a tour of the TTC's Harvey Shop. As promised, here's my blog about it.

At Harvey Shop they maintain the TTC streetcars and buses. They also manufacture parts that they can't get any where else. We got to go on a tour because they had an open house to benefit the United Way.

I think these are parts of the streetcar motors.

We got to see how they engrave metal.

The TTC has their own blacksmith and he makes custom parts and tools.

I got to try hammering a piece of metal. It's harder than it looks!

Here is the wheel assembly. They can even work from underneath.

 They have a platform that moves along rails so they can move streetcars and buses to the various bays.

They use a tractor to move the vehicles around the shop.

Here is a picture of a Nova bus that needed some metal repair. You don't see them as often as other buses.

Here are some of the custom wooden parts that they make. I was surprised that the floors of the buses are mostly wooden.

They were fixing a bus that was in a big accident.

Here is a picture of a PCC Streetcar. (PCC stands for Presidents' Conference Committee.)

This CLRV needed some body work. (CLRV means Canadian Light Rail Vehicle.)

This bus was just painted and it is under heat lamps so the paint will dry quickly.

These vehicles have been taped up so they can be painted.

I got to see the new streetcar. They call it the Flexity Outlook.

I got to sit in the cab. There is a PCC in front, a Peter Witt on the left and in the rear view mirror you can see the side of the new streetcar.

The new streetcars are wheelchair accessible. :-)

I tried out some of the passenger seats.

 This is a Command Bus. It's like a mobile office.

I also got to go inside a new articulated bus.

Here's me in the driver's seat.

 It was a fun day out!

Gin Lane at Mackenzie House's Hogmanay Celebrations

Last night we went to Hogmanay at Mackenzie House. I almost didn't go because my cat scratched me and I wasn't very happy. But, I really wanted to go to have haggis and listen to Gin Lane perform.
I've always loved haggis and it turns out that they got theirs from But'N'Ben which supplies the place where we normally get ours!

Gin Lane does music from the 18th and 19th centuries and it was the first time I got to see them in person. They are really funny and you can tell that they are completely comfortable performing in front of people.

The first thing we did when we got to Mackenzie House was operate the printing press. I put the letters in my slider backwards but Bruce Beaton fixed it before we went to print.

Here's how it came out.

After we printed my souvenir, we went downstairs to listen to Gin Lane play.
They were amazing!

Here's a video from last night.

We had lots of haggis.

And we also had oat cakes with jams and marmalade, mince tarts, ginger cookies, some gingerbread loaf and tea. They also had trifle, but it had alcohol in it.

We especially loved loved their apple cider!

Mackenzie House was decorated for the holidays and it looked very festive.

They really put a lot of effort into everything!

After we ate we went back downstairs to listen to Gin Lane play some more songs.
They were so nice. They signed my CD and they posed for a picture with me. :-)

Thank you to the staff of Mackenzie House and to Gin Lane for a wonderful evening!!!

About my cat - The good news is that my scratches are already healing. I don't have any sign of a fever and I've already forgiven him. It is the first time he's ever scratched me and I know it was an accident. He's an indoor cat but Mom says we're still going to look out for any signs of fever or infection for the next few weeks.
I'm so glad that I didn't let the scratches stop me from enjoying last night.

Happy New Year everybody!


My Nutcracker Performances so far....

Today I did my second Nutcracker performance for the season.
Both of the performances I was in were sold out. There were so many people there!

Today there were two extra special people there to see me!
My Grandma and Auntie (Annie) came. 

Dad and I had to leave extra early to get to the Four Seasons Centre. There was an Ice Storm Saturday night and we had no light. We wanted to make sure that we were there on time since there might have been delays on the way there. We wanted to make sure we got there early.

I was very nervous for my first performance but this time I wasn't. I was happy to know that Grandma and Annie were in the audience to watch me. This is the first time they have been to the ballet in Canada! 

The performance was great!

Grandma especially loved the music. We have that in common. She says that her mother would have enjoyed it.

When I first started ballet, I didn't think that Grandma would like it but now I can see that she is happy for me to dance.

I'm glad that I could share this with her and my Auntie. :-) 

I have one more performance coming up on Thursday, January 2nd at 7pm. 
You can get more information and tickets at:


Nelson Mandela

I wanted to do a blog post about Nelson Mandela. I was looking for a video that I could share with you and I found this video of Botlhale Boikanyo doing a poem about Nelson Mandela in the 2012 South Africa's Got Talent competition.

My cousin, Imani was lucky enough to meet Nelson Mandela when she was in South Africa for the Miss World Pageant in 1995.

I hope that I will be as brave as Nelson Mandela when it comes to standing up for what I think is right.



Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Cécile McLorin Salvant

Dad and I went to Massey Hall yesterday to see Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and vocals by Cécile McLorin Salvant. It was their Big Band Holiday Performance.

Here is a list of what they performed:

White Christmas
We Three Kings
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Sleigh Ride
Good Morning Blues
Nutcracker Suite (
arranged by Duke Ellington)

Good King Wenceslas
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
What Child Is This
Blame The Weather
Christmas Song
Jingle Bells

Little Drummer Boy

This was my first real jazz concert.
Jazz is different from classical music because they change up the way they play things when they perform and they sometimes use the instruments and mutes differently. Even when the musicians weren't playing they were tapping their feet or nodding their heads and still getting into the music.

The sax players had 2 or 3 saxophones each and one of them had a saxophone that went from his mouth to the ground when he was sitting!

Of the songs that they played my favourites were We Three KingsI Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Jingle Bells.

We Three Kings had a very different introduction by the rhythm section. I also liked the sax solo. The pianist stuck his hand inside the piano while he was playing - I wonder if he was muting the strings or if he was plucking them?
Here is a link to them performing the same song but it was slightly different from how they performed it yesterday.

The vocalist, Cécile McLorin Salvant's voice reminded me of recordings of Billie Holiday. Her voice was smooth and it makes you feel warm all over. She was excellent!

I really like jazz and I hope to go to more concerts in the future. (Hint, Hint Dad!)
Thanks Dad for taking me to my first Jazz concert!


TSO's "A Christmas Carol"

This afternoon we went to the TSO's "A Christmas Carol". John Morris Russell conducted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Canadian Children's Opera Company.
Other performers were The Holiday Dancers, Scott Coopwood (Narrator for A Christmas Carol), and Alan Anderson (Actor). Vivienne Elborne was the Stage Director.

There were a lot of kids at this concert! I was a little upset that I didn't get my own program. The usher said that they were running out so we only got one for the three of us. I wasn't interested in the children's activity book.

I liked almost all of the songs that they performed. My favourites were A Winter Musical which was arranged for the Cincinnati Pops (it's a mixture of Vivaldi's Winter and Hannukah Oh Hannukah) arranged by Tim Berens; Prokofiev's Troika from Lieutenant Kijé; and Bizet's Farandole from L'Arlésienne Suite No. 2.

I liked the Kids' Christmas Medley. It was nice to see the children from the Canadian Children's Opera Company performing so well and they looked like they were having a lot of fun too.

My absolute favourite part of the concert was the performance of "A Christmas Carol". Scott Coopwood is an excellent Narrator and Actor. He made it so believable! The actors were all dressed in Victorian style clothes and they had a very simple set. It was even funny in parts! I loved how they used the music in the background especially God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I also recognized Joy to the World and Greensleeves.

I think the percussionists must have had a lot of fun in this concert. They got to use all sorts of things that we don't normally see. They had sleigh bells, chimes, a rainmaker, a slapstick and a lot more! They even used chains when Marley's Ghost was on stage!

After the concert John Morris Russell signed autographs and he took a picture with me! :-)

The whole concert was a lot of fun and I hope to go again next time.


Nutcracker 2013 - 2014

I'm in the National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker again this year!
(Here's a link to my blog post about my first performance last season.)

This year I'm one of the Head Mice.

Yesterday, our parents got to see us rehearse. It was so cool!
It's always more fun when you have an audience!

Here's a picture of me in the rehearsal.
Of course, in the performance I'll be wearing a costume.

Even though this picture is blurry, I like it. My foot is moving so fast you can't even see it!

I got to take a picture with Miss Toto. She makes us practice a lot and it's always fun with her. She's really patient but she's strict too!

Here's a preview of the Nutcracker on the National Ballet of Canada's youtube channel.

The Nutcracker will run from December 14, 2013 to January 4, 2014

I will be performing on:
  • Sunday, December 15th at 5:30pm
  • Monday, December 23rd at 1:00pm
  • Thursday, January 2nd at 7:00pm
(My performance dates are 'subject to change'.)

You can buy tickets online on the National Ballet of Canada's website:

I can't wait to see you there!


Ballet Creole's Soulful Messiah

Today we went to Ballet Creole's Soulful Messiah.


I've never been to anything like it before!

Here is their preview on youtube.

The performance is even better than what they show you on the preview!
They use a modern, jazzy version of Handel's Messiah and their bodies move freely and they are happy. They use African-Caribbean, modern, jazz and tap dancing throughout the show. 

I took a couple pictures with a few of the dancers.

This first one is with Yuhala Muy Garcia who was born in Cuba.

This second picture is with Jamaican dancers Alistair Graphine and Benton Morris.

All of the dancers were amazing!

Here is a link to Ballet Creole's website:

Anniversary of Rosa Parks sitting on the bus!

On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in Alabama for a white person. It was at the start of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Here's a clip from Horrible Histories that tells us about it.


I've been sick....

I didn't even get the chance to blog about the Harvey Shop Tour on Saturday. I'll upload the pictures and do that soon.

Since I was sick, Mom and I read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
Today, I got to watch Oliver! directed by Carol Reed. It was different from the book but I enjoyed it.

I noticed that Horrible Histories borrowed the tune from "Food Glorious Food" for the song, "Work Terrible Work".

Here are clips of the two songs:
"Food Glorious Food" from Oliver!

"Work Terrible Work" from Horrible Histories

This song about Charles Dickens on Horrible Histories reminded my Mom of "This Charming Man" by The Smiths.

Charles Dickens song from Horrible Histories

"This Charming Man" by The Smiths


I also noticed that Horrible Histories borrowed the tune from "Empire State of Mind" by JAY Z and Alicia Keys for "It's A New World".

"Empire State of Mind" by JAY Z and Alicia Keys

"It's A New World" from Horrible Histories

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the USA!


The City of Toronto Museums

I've been to all of the museums run by the City of Toronto and blogged about them!

Colborne Lodge

Fort York

Gibson House

Mackenzie House

Montgomery's Inn

Scarborough Museum

Spadina Museum

Todmorden Mills

Oxbow Trail and Todmorden Mills

Today Dad and I went to Todmorden Mills and we also walked along the Oxbow Trail.

This is a view of the outside of the mill.
It's an art gallery and theatre now.

We walked along the Oxbow Trail first.
We got to see these views of the Don River.

It must be nice out here in the spring and summer when the flowers are blooming.

I liked the way this hollowed out tree trunk looked.

When they first settled the site it must have been convenient to have the river right here. They probably chose to settle here because of the river.

I don't know what this plant is. If you know could you please let me know in the comments section.

Here's a picture of a wooden bridge across a creek.

 This plaque tells a little bit about the history of the site.

 Here's another view of the mill.

We joined the tour when they were in this house.

It had a small, modest dining room.

This is the master bedroom.

They would cook over the open fire in the kitchen.

This is a view of the Helliwell House.
They had a brewery and distillery.

 Here's a view looking into the parlour.

This is a picture of Thomas Helliwell who owned the house and the brewery.
He sold beer to Fort York. He got it there by shallow bottom boat or by cart. It would take 8 hours to get it from Todmorden Mills to Fort York by cart!

They would keep the sugar loaf brought up from the West Indies in the window. Only the wealthy could afford sugar so they'd put it in the window to show off to their neighbours.

The black chairs were designed for women to sit down in their hoop skirts without letting their ankles show.

 I got to look in the stereo-scope. I think the picture I got to look at was taken in Japan.

They had rope beds in the bedroom.

They had this coal stove in the kitchen. It must have been much easier than cooking on an open fire.

They are in the process of refurbishing the historic houses of Todmorden Mills and it will probably be very different when I go back again.