Posts Tagged ‘U of T’

Yikes!  Preparations are already underway in the Distillery District for their annual Christmas market.

men on a blue lift crane at the distillery district, old brick building

At least their sign that counts down the number of days until Christmas is not hung yet.  I am not ready to think about Christmas yet!

 

leaning against the side of a building, on its side on the ground, the sign at the distillery district that says how many days left until Christmas

I was hoping for some sun as I walked the other day but October seems to have ended with clouds and rain.  November is here and it is notorious for being grey and depressing.   The clouds on these hoardings seemed appropriate.  They are around a construction site on Lower Sherbourne street, at the southeast corner of Lower Sherbourne and Front.

a woman walks past hoardings on Sherbourne street that are shiny and have pictures of clouds on them

below: This is the hole behind the hoardings.

construction site at Sherbourne and Front

That intersection, (LS & F), has construction sites at both the southeast and northwest corners.  At a third corner, the northeast, there is a development notice sign.

an Esso gas station at the northeast corner of Front and Sherbourne, also a Tim Hortons and a convenience store

Yet another developer wants to build yet another 37 storey building here.  At least one person has voiced their displeasure.

blue and white city of Toronto development notice on the northeast corner of Front and Sherbourne, now an Esso gas station, but developers want to put a 37 storey building there

And other signs of discontent nearby….

in blue marker, graffiti that says Doug Ford kills

time and space condo hoardings where someone has written the word no in front of space, so you have time and no space condos

below: Looking west on King Street East at Jarvis.

King street east,, looking west from Jarvis Street towards steeple of St. James Cathedral and the trees in front of it in autumn colours

below: St. James Park gets new walkways

chainlink fence around parts of St. James park as new walkways are constructed

below: In the Sculpture Garden across the street from St. James Cathedral is a collection of wood poles with small speakers attached to the top of them.  This is an art installation by Lou Sheppard called Dawn Chorus/Evensong 2019.  It is part of the Toronto Biennial of Art that is on now (until late in December).  It “interrupts the denaturalized landscape with music created through the transposition of spectrograms of birdsong…”

in a garden, on flat space, grass, wood poles with small speakers attached to the top of them

below: ‘Haunted City’.  One of a few Halloween decorations along Queen West.

a skeleton wrapped in black hood and cape in a window, with reflections of stores and street on Queen West

below: While walking up Spadina this bike caught my attention because

bike decorated with many used tea bags parked beside a tree on Spadina

below: … it’s decorated with many, many used tea bags. On closer inspection, there seem to be quite a few different brands. My guess is that this is one of a kind…. or at least I hope so!

close up of bike decorated with many used tea bags

a black and red motorbike is parked by a mural in Chinatown of a person carrying babies in baskets.

below: I’m not sure just what these added words mean.  Is now real?  Can we be sure?

orange fence around a tree, tree protection area, someone has written on the sign: Now is the only thing real

below: A few remaining campaign signs from the federal election back in October.  The Liberals won every Toronto seat.

side of a building in Chinatown, stores and restaurant, bike parked there, also three large Adam Vaughan election signs.

looking across Spadina to a store in Chinatown

two women standing on a sidewalk, talking to each other,

skeleton graffiti on a metal street box

below: Discarded and left in a pile in an alley, JFK and Bobby Kennedy rugs.  Not one but four? or five?

small blue carpets in a pile on the ground, about 4 of them, with pictures of John F Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, a brown eagle, and some words

below: Uber5000 birdies riding in tandem, along with an old banana seat bike affixed to the wall.

an UBer5000 mural of two yellow birdies on a tandem bike. An old bike is affixed to the wall beside the mural

below: A grumpy sign?  Or just a sign with fangs?

at the entrance to an alley, a red and white do not enter sign has been altered, a face has been drawn it in black sharpie

part of a tuquoise painted house beside an alley with fall foilage, a truck and man in the distance

below: Van Gogh can still be found on Huron Street

a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh on an exterior wall, street art mural

below: This is part of the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) building at College & Huron Streets.  There might be a certain charm in the concrete buildings of this era… when it comes time to renovate them or tear them down, will there be an effort made to save them?

tree with a few remaining yellow leaves in front of a concrete building with long vertical recessed windows

below: Nearby, this “artwork” on the exterior of 215 Huron Street, is from the same time period.

a black metal bench, outside, sits in front of a wall with an artwork on it made from different colours of concrete and pebbles

below: Reflections in a window on the University of Toronto campus.

reflections in a set of windows

below: U of T playing fields on Hoskin Ave with the black/darker brick Trinity College behind.

University of Toronto playing fields, from the south, with Trinity College behind and then city buildings behind that

A few more “campus in autumn” photos

large tree in autumn colours on University of Toronto campus

orange plastic fence, orange and black cone, and autumn trees in a corner of U of T campus

yellow and orange leaves in front of a grey stone building

below: There were still lots of leaves on the trees at Queens Park too.

autumn trees in Queens Park

below: Some of the oak trees had multicoloured leaves.

oak leaves in greens, yellows, reds, and oranges

autumn trees in Queens Park including some pinkish coloured leaves

below: End.  Yes, this is the end.

large black letters make the word end on a red brick wall

It’s been a beautiful October to be walking around the city!  With lots of sunny days and above normal temperatures, it’s been a great autumn to be outside…. outside exploring or just sitting contentedly enjoying the sunshine.

below: Life size statue of Dr. Norman Bethune sitting outside the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Toronto (close to Queens Park Circle).   It is the work of Canadian artist David Pelletier.  Bethune is depicted writing in his journal.  Across the bottom of his apron these words are written:

I am content
I am doing what I want to do
Why shouldn’t I be happy – see what my riches
consist of.  First, I have important work that fully
occupies every minute of my time.  I am needed.

a statue of a man sitting is beside a rock and a light post, they are in front of a large tree and an old stone building, on the University of Toronto campus.

Norman Bethune was born in Gravenhurst in 1890.  He graduated from medical school at U of T in 1919, after taking some time off to serve in WW1.    He also served as a doctor during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and 1937.   The following year, 1938,  he went to China  help the Communist Eighth Route Army during the Second Sino-Japanese war.  It was here that he died of septicemia in November of 1939.   He is credited with helping to bring modern medicine to rural China during his brief stay in that country.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first three days of November have been wonderful – three beautiful warm sunny days, perfect fall weather.

 below: Taking advantage of the warm afternoon in front of Osgoode Hall.

A woman sits on a bench in front of Osgoode Hall, a stone building. Her back is to the camera. A tree with a few yellow leaves frames the picture.

below: On St. George Street in front of Sir Daniel Wilson residence, University College

college on St. George Street, front of the building with black wrought iron fence in front of it along with a few mature trees with some yellow and rust coloured leaves still on them. The clock tower is visible through the tree branches. There are people on the sidewalk in front of the building.

below: Looking across Kings College Circle towards University College

One small tree in the middle of the grass at Kings College circle in front of University College

below: Maple leaves still on the tree.

maple leaves in autumn colours, rust and orange leaves in the foreground, yellow leaves in the background.

below: Mary Pickford looks over University Avenue.

a bust of Mary Pickford, she is resting her head in one of her hands. In the background is a building along with some bushes and a tree with yellow and orange leaves.

There is an historical plaque beside this statue and it reads: “Born in 1893 in a house which stood near this site, Gladys Marie Smith appeared on stage in Toronto at the age of five. Her theatrical career took her to Broadway in 1907 where she adopted the name Mary Pickford. The actress’s earliest film, “Her First Biscuits”, was released by the Biograph Company in 1909 and she soon established herself as the international cinema’s first great star. Her golden curls and children’s roles endeared her to millions as “America’s Sweetheart”. She was instrumental in founding and directing a major film production company and starred in over fifty feature length films including “Hearts Adrift”, “Pollyanna” and “Coquette”. For the last named film, she received the 1929 Academy Award as the year’s best actress. “

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below: Two women outside Emmanuel College, Queens Park Circle

A blueish bronze statue of two overweight women standing facing each other beside a stone building on the University of Toronto campus. It is autumn and there are leaves on the ground. A group of girls is walking in the background.

below: Northrop Frye sits on a bench on the campus of Victoria College (U of T).

A statue of a man, Northrop Frye, sits on a bench with his legs crossed and an open book on his lap. Another book sits beside him on the bench.

This life sized statue was created by Darren Byers and Fred Harrison and was unveiled in October 2012.

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small purple aster flowers in a garden that is close to being covered with autumn leaves that have fallen off the nearby trees

The Sakura Project

The Sakura Project was started in the year 2000 with the objective of planting 3000 Japanese flowering cherry (Sakura) trees in Ontario as a symbol of Japan-Canada friendship.  By the time the project came to an end in the autumn of 2012, 3,082 trees had been planted at 58 locations across Ontario.  One of the locations was the St. George campus of the University of Toronto.  Here, at the corner of Harbord and Huron streets, 70 trees were planted in 2005.

Today, 4 May, the trees were in full bloom.  Perfect.   (Well, almost perfect – a little blue sky instead of the cloud cover would have been an added bonus)

 

rows of cherry trees in blossom in front of the Robarts library, a large concrete building

sakura, cherry blossoms, in full bloom - a branch laden with white flowers

sakura, cherry blossoms, in full bloom - a number of trees in a row.  A woman is using a smartphone to take photos of the blossoms.  she is just visible at the bottom of the picture

sakura, cherry blossoms, in full bloom - a pathway with a row of cherry trees on both sides.  The branches of the trees almost meet at the top to forma canopy of blossoms.

sakura, cherry blossoms, in full bloom  - close up of a cluster of blossoms

A couple sitting on a bench that is just behind a row of blossoming cherry trees.