Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Falcon and the Duck

The Falcon and the Duck

(A Blackfoot Legend, originally posted on: http://www.native-languages.org/blackfootstory.htm

Reprinted with permission)

The wintry winds had already begun to whistle and the waves to rise when the Drake and his mate gathered their half- grown brood together on the shore of their far northern lake. 

"Wife," said he, "it is now time to take the children southward, to the Warm Countries which they have never yet seen!" 

Very early the next morning they set out on their long journey, forming a great "V" against the sky in their flight. The mother led her flock and the father brought up the rear, keeping a sharp lookout for stragglers.

All day they flew high in the keen air, over wide prairies and great forests of northern pine, until toward evening they saw below them a chain of lakes, glittering like a string of dark-blue stones. 

Swinging round in a half circle, they dropped lower and lower, ready to alight and rest upon the smooth surface of the nearest lake. Suddenly their leader heard a whizzing sound like that of a bullet as it cuts the air, and she quickly gave the waning: "Honk! honk! Danger, danger!"

All descended in dizzy spirals, but as the great Falcon swooped toward them with upraised wing, the ducklings scattered wildly hither and thither. The old Drake came last, and it was he who was struck! 

"Honk, honk!" cried all the Ducks in terror, and for a minute the air was full of soft downy feathers like flakes of snow. But the force of the blow was lost upon the well-cushioned body of the Drake, he soon got over his fright and went on his way southward with his family, while the Falcon dropped heavily to the water's edge with a broken wing.

There he stayed and hunted mice as best he could from day to day, sleeping at night in a hollow log to be out of the way of the Fox and the Weasel. All the wit he had was not too much whereby to keep himself alive through the long, hard winter. 

Toward spring, however, the Falcon's wing had healed and he could fly a little, though feebly. The sun rose higher and higher in the blue heavens, and the Ducks began to return to their cool northern home. Every day a flock or two flew over the lake; but the Falcon dared not charge upon the flocks, much as he wished to do so. He was weak with hunger, and afraid to trust to the strength of the broken wing. 

One fine day a chattering flock of Mallards alighted quite near him, cooling their glossy breasts upon the gently rippling wave. "Here, children,” boasted an old Drake, “ is the very spot where your father was charged upon last autumn by a cruel Falcon! I can tell you that it took all my skill and quickness in dodging to save my life. Best of all, our fierce enemy dropped to the ground with a broken wing! Doubtless he is long since dead of starvation, or else a Fox or a Mink has made a meal of the wicked creature!" 

By these words the Falcon knew his old enemy, and his courage returned. "Nevertheless, I am still here!" he exclaimed, and darted like a flash upon the unsuspecting old Drake, who was resting and telling of his exploit and narrow escape with the greatest pride and satisfaction. "Honk! honk!“Screamed all the Ducks and they scattered and whirled upward like the dead leaves in autumn; but the Falcon with sure aim selected the old Drake and gave swift chase. 

Round and round in dizzy spirals they swung together, till with a quick spurt the Falcon struck the shining, outstretched neck of the other, and snapped it with one powerful blow of his reunited wing. 

Do not exult too soon; nor is it wise to tell of your brave deeds within the hearing of your enemy.

The End

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Structures- The Absolute Towers

Structures- The Absolute Towers

There are two interesting buildings, located in the heart of Mississauga only steps from Square One Shopping Center, that begs the question what do they represent? Some, including me, compared it to a pair of crushed bottles…especially when it had a red rim on top. Since then red rim had been repainted silver.

Nicknamed the Marilyn Monroe’ Towers, but officially called The Absolute Towers, it is admittedly a unique structure that is worthy of being hailed as one of the world’s best new skyscrapers.

Built by Fernbrook homes, the two Mississauga buildings, 50 storeys and 56 storeys each, were part of a five-building development at Hurontario St. and Burnhamthorpe Rd. The larger of the two towers twists 209 degrees from the base to the top.

The structural design was done by Sigmund Soudack & Associates Inc, a Toronto-based structural engineering firm. Should you also be wondering; the design of undulating shape is the genius creation of a young Beijing-based architect, Ma Yansong, and his firm, MAD Architects. Ma had entered an international design competition hosted by the tower’s developers Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen, and was awarded the project in 2006.

According to engineer Yuri Gelman , “The building represented constant challenges. In most towers, all but two of the floors are exactly the same, whereas, in this building, none of them were. This created the most challenging project of his almost 40-year career – and one of the most exciting.”

The Absolute Towers were awarded the prize of Best Tall Buildings in Americas on June 14, 2012 by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), a non-profit group of architects and engineers. Since then it has influenced and emboldened other architects to stray from the safe and typical confines of design: the rectangle boxes. Skylines of these high-rises are as a result bit more interesting now with many creative forms.

Here are some images of the famed Absolute Towers:


Monday, 7 September 2015

The Annual Summer’s End Tradition – The CNE

The Annual Summer’s End Tradition  


The Canadian National Exhibition is a great Annual tradition in Toronto. For 18 days leading up to and including Labor Day, it marks the end of summer, a ritual that is embraced by many generations.

Founded in 1879, it was then called the Toronto Industrial Exhibition as it fostered the development of agriculture, industry and the arts. 



cne visitors_with_psychic_1910s

By 1912, the fairgrounds had expanded to 350 acres and included amusement parks as well as permanent exhibition facilities. The name changed to the Canadian National Exhibition, as it had by then become a showcase of the nation, where people congregated to experience the newest and the best innovations not only in agriculture but also in technology and commercial products, saying nothing of the entertainment. 

















Warriors Day Parade, 1937

Enriched by the diversity, the CNE has gone on to becoming Canada’s largest community event as well as one of the top 10 agricultural fairs in North America. In the CNE there is always something for everyone, since it features a wide variety of visceral and sensory experiences that transcend language, gender and age. Here’s but a few samples: There is the Veteran’s Parade, the Mardi Gras Parade and the Rib-fest. The Band shell provides free performances by many celebrities. The varied cuisine of the Food Building is also there to satisfy all palates and, for those seeking excitement, there is the CNE midway with its thrilling rides, games and side shows. 

With approximately 1.4 million and more people visiting the CNE, many corporate sponsors, Canadian and international businesses and exhibitors, participate in the CNE. It always offered companies an excellent venue in which to sell their products and connect with people on a one to one basis.

In 2014 the findings of Economic Impact Assessment, conducted by Enigma Research Corporation, reported that the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) generates an estimated $69.3 million for Greater Toronto Area and more than $102.3 million for the province of Ontario each year.

Nevertheless, with the land being situated on a highly prized piece of real estate, the future of CNE may be in jeopardy. Already several structures and parcels of land have been leased by the entertainment industry or taken over by corporations intent on building hotels and other such development.

Here’s the latest development: “In April 2013, the CNEA became organizationally independent from Exhibition Place and the City of Toronto. In the years ranging from 1983 to March 2013, the CNEA maintained its status as an Agricultural Society and was also a program of Exhibition Place, a board of management of the City of Toronto. During this time, all CNEA surpluses and deficits were absorbed by Exhibition Place and the City of Toronto. The CNEA is financially stable and is not dependent on government subsidy. The Association’s new independent status enables it to retain the revenues it generates and to reinvest them in the Canadian National Exhibition.”

One only hopes this great tradition of CNE persists and continues to enrich the lives of future generations at its original site.

CNE in 2015

Hope you all had a great summer!