Posts Tagged ‘activities’

two young women holding signs that say, Love Open Streets, prove it. #openstreetsto

Open Streets – the second, and final, Open Streets for 2018 was held last Sunday.   Large sections of Bloor and Yonge Streets downtown were closed to traffic leaving lots of room for cyclists, pedestrians and a number of activities.

below: Axe Capoeira

a man is flipping upside down in front of an audience on the sidewalk

below: Mayada’s Belly Dance at Yonge & Bloor

the intersection of Yonge and Bloor at Open Streets, belly dancers performing for an audience, Nordstroms Rack store in the background

below: And other dancing in the street too – or rather, a very active fitness session!

four young people dancing in the street, two male and two female.

below: It looks like animals can dance too… this dog seems to be having a great time!

people in life size animal costumes including heads, dance along in a fitness session on Yonge street during Open Streets

below: Little drummer boy on a fancy Home Depot drum set!

a young boy uses wooden drum sticks to bang on upturned orange plastic buckets from Home Depot, outside, activity at Open Streets

looking east on Bloor past the Royal Ontario Museum, no traffic, for Open Streets, some cyclists, tall buildings in the background

below: Decorating bikes and scooters

close up of hands decorating a scooter with flowers and foam shapes

below: Sharing a hammock in the middle of Yonge Street.

a young couple share a hammock strung between two trees on a diving strip own the middle of Yonge Street, their bikes are parked beside the hammock

a woman with flowers in hair in profile

below: Trumpet lessons

a man teaches a boy to blow a trombone, outdoors, activity on the sidewalk during Open Streets

a couple cycles together up Yonge street, on rented Bixi bikes, holding hands

below: Yoga in the park

doing yoga on grass laid down on the street, Bloor Street, temporary park for Open Streets

below: And for those who were looking for something less active…

a man has fallen asleep on the grass beside the OPen Streets Park sign,

below:  Yonge Street was also on the route of the 2018 Toronto AIDS walk

a policeman on a bike leads an AIDS walk up Yonge Street, people holding a banner follow him and then many people wearing red T-shirts

people wearing red T-shirts and carrying signs, walking in a walk to raise funds and awareness for AIDS, on Yonge Street.

below: A Lamborghini.  0 to 60 in how many seconds?

turquoise Lamburghini bike locked along with other bikes

two women sitting on the steps of a building having a discussion, a yellow bike is in the foreground

two women walk with their young children, strollers, down Yonge Street during OPen Streets, downtown Toronto in the background

I am still trying to get caught up with the photos that I took at Science Rendezvous last weekend.  There was so much happening!  Lots of people were involved and engaged in the various activities that were available both at Yonge Dundas Square and on St. George street.

below: On the stage at Yonge Dundas square:  Start with three identical piles of building blocks and three teams, put ten minutes on the clock and see what towers result.   The challenge was to
build the strongest, tallest, or most awesome tower.

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together.

below: Teamwork!

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together.

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together.

below: How do you test the strength of a tower?
By giving one exuberant girl a big orange ball of course!

A young girl throws a large orange ball at a tower of polysyrene blocks in an attempt to knock it over, an activity at Science Rendezvous on the stage at Dundas Square.

below: At the end of the competition, all three teams came together to build the tallest tower that they could.  It didn’t quite reach the stage roof, but it was close!

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together to see how tall they can make the tower

… more great activities…..

below: Question: How long does it take the light from the Sun to travel to the Earth?
Answer: sunlight travels at the speed of light (rounded to 300,000 km/s) and it has to cover a distance of 150 million km on average to reach Earth.  With a bit of math, the answer is 500 seconds, or 8 minutes and 18 seconds.

A sign stands in the street with information about the sun on it. Behind it is a second sign, this time with information about Mercury. Behind that are people at Science Rendezvous on St. George street

below: making paper

a young girl is making paper. she is sponging the paper dry over a piece of mesh in a frame

below: robots

A group of students is sitting on a sidewalk. One of them has a laptop and he is controlling a robot machine with wheels that is moving around on the street.

below: How unique are you? Test yourself for various phenotypes (the product of your genes)… Can you curl your tongue? Can you smell freesias? Is your thumb bent?  From answers to these and five other questions you can determine if you are 1/10 (you share similarities to many people) or 1/1000 (you are more unique)… or something in between.  Apparently I’m 1/45 and if you’re curious, my thumb is straight, I can’t curl my tongue and I can smell freesias.

Two students are conducting a genetic phenotype test on a couple of volunteers. They are looking to see if they can smell fresias or taste coriander.

below: St. George street.

looking up St. George street on the downtown University of Toronto campus. A white tent is set up on the street and under the tent are students running science demonstrations.

below: A demonstration using acids, bases, and pH indicators.  Technically, pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions.  In practice, it indicates how acidic or basic a substance is.  Water, with a pH of 7 is neutral.  Acids have a pH less than 7 while bases have a pH greater than 7.  A pH indicator is a chemical that changes colour depending on the pH.

Three students behind a table doing a demonstration about acids and bases in chemistry. One of the women is adding a strong acid to a solution that is a strong base. The pH indicator is changing from yellolw to purple

below: How much energy is a gummi bear? Find out by heating a little bit of of potassium chlorate in a test tube.  Once it is liquid, add a gummi bear.  Smoke and flames ensue.  When the potassium chlorate is heated, it produces oxygen gas which ignites if there is combustible material, such as sugar, available.

A student is doing a chemistry experiment to show how much energy is in gummi bear candy. He has lit one on fire and burned it to show the release of energy. It was done in a test tube.

below: Design and construction with K’nex

Two young Asian boys are building small structures with the building toy k'nex.

below:  Tetris players

Three young man are playing a tetris game on a large computer board.

below: programmable Lego vehicles

Two kids are playing with a programmable Lego car.

below:  Watch out!  Scientists on the loose!

Two young kids have been dressed up as mad scientists and their father is taking their picture. They had rubber gloves on, eye protection and a lab coat. They both have pipettes.

below:  The little boxes used in this activity have a marble inside them.  When placed on an inclined surface, the boxes tumble to the bottom.  Sandpaper prevents the boxes from slipping.

A woman and a girl are racing objects that they made. Inside small rectangular boxes are marbles that make the boxes tumble down an incline.


below: Corn starch and water makes a wonderful substance.  It’s not liquid and it’s not solid.  If you are fast enough you run on top of it but if you stop moving, you sink into it!

A boy is running barefoot along a course that is filled with corn starch and water. Onlookers are cheering him on.

A girl is running barefoot along a course that is filled with corn starch and water. Onlookers are cheering him on.

An older man is running through corn starch and water with his arms held up

Did you know that we share 50% of our DNA with a banana?  Bananas don’t have DNA that codes for eye colour and we probably don’t any genes that produce yellow peels.   What we share is similar basic biochemistry, such things as DNA replication, cell metabolism, and regulation of cell growth, to name a few.  One thing that you can do with banana DNA is easily extract it.  We all know that cells are too small to see and that DNA is even smaller,  BUT if you mash a whole a banana, you can produce enough DNA to make a small clump.   That was one of the activities at Science Rendezvous this past Saturday.

Two young girls are performing an science experiment using beakers and a graduated cylinder. One of them is pouring liquid into the cylinder while the younger one watches.

Science Rendezvous is science outreach festival that occurs across Canada, a day when science hits the streets.  This year it was May 7th.  In Toronto, there were information booths, demonstrations, and activities by students from Ryerson (at Yonge Dundas Square) and students from U of T (St. George Street).

“There’s no place like GenHome” is a project by Ryerson students to break a Guinness World Record by building the longest DNA model.    DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid,  is a double helix.  Although it is a complex molecule, it can be broken down into components called nucleotides.  Nucleotides consist three parts – deoxyribose which is a sugar molecule, phosphate, and an organic base.  At the risk of being too simplistic (because the chemistry of DNA is way beyond the scope of this blog), the sugar and phosphate of the nucleotides form the backbone of the double helices.  The organic bases are in the space between the two backbones and if they are ordered properly, the bases hold the double helix together.

A couple more things you need to know about DNA.  First, there are four bases, adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).  And second, bases come in pairs and only certain pairs can exist if the double helix is to form properly.  Adenine has to pair with thymine and cytosine has to pair with guanine, i.e. A with T and C with G and nothing else.

How would you build a DNA model?  The Ryerson University students wanted to get people involved in the project and if you were at Science Rendezvous, you could have become part of their DNA model.

below: Bases need partners and so do you !  Find a partner and take a spin.
Are the two of you A & T or G & C?

A young woman is standing beside a spinner with AT and GC being the possible landing places. She is talking to a couple who have spun and landed on GC

below: Next, have your picture taken with your base letter.

A young woman has her picture taken with a large orange letter A on a blue square.

A few moments later your picture is printed and ready to attach to the DNA model.

below: My partner for the activity adds his G (toe to toe with my C).

People making a DNA model using photos that volunteers have had taken of themselves with one of the letter of DNA. The four letters are A, C, T, and G. They are the nucleosides that make up DNA

I don’t know how long the DNA model is at this point.  I was hoping that there would be some information online but nothing has shown up yet.

Also, If you want to try extracting the DNA from a banana, the instructions are online at numerous sites including Scientific American.  You will need a banana, water, salt, detergent, rubbing alcohol, and a coffee filter.  Have fun!


***  a little breather after all that molecular biology ***

below:  At Science Rendezvous they were walking together until she saw my camera and then she tried to get away.  Hmmm…. Mr. Scientist Creature (mutant science rodent?!), maybe she was embarrassed? 🙂

A person dressed in a costume that looks like an animal - squirrel? fox? that is wearing a lab coat. An Asian woman who was walking with him before the photo was taken is shyly turning away, she is also laughing










Open Streets,
Yonge and Bloor Streets,
Sunday 16th August 2015


looking south on Yonge St. from Bloor street on a morning when no cars allowed. There are people walking on the street. There are also two kids with pink balloons.

Two men wearing red T shirts are riding their bikes on Yonge street, passing a woman who is using chalk to draw a floor on the street

A young boy is playing with a hula hoop in front of a sign that says Give It a Try

below: Slow bike race

A man is riding his bike as slowly as possible and still stay within a narrow path as part of a slow bike race. Other people are standing beside their bikes and watching him

A man is skateboarding on the street

A group of adults and kids are doing the limbo with a long rope on the street on a day when the road is closed to traffic.

A couple is pushing a stroller up Yonge St. past some of the stores. No cars on the street

A few people walk on the streets, two bikes also, the bikes have pink balloons attached to them, they are on Yonge Street, just south of Bloor in front of the construction on the west side of Yonge, the lower storey of old brick stores is boarded up, the upper storeys are still visible

A young man is standing in a doorway beside a hair and nails shop on Yonge Street.

Two women are jogging, and other people are walking, on Yonge street on a Sunday morning at Open Streets Toronto so there is no traffic.