Random Life Updates, Toronto, Nature, Urban Parks

Sum-sum-summatime - Toronto Zoo and Rouge Park

Life just gets away from me these days and the weeks pass. I literally have 5 posts started and sitting there unfinished, unattended. Not that I've lost interest in them, I just don't seem to have time to sit down and think about things like 'designing for climate change' and 'pros and cons of architectural visualisation' so I'm defaulting to regular life events. Whee! 

At the end of July my cousin Amanda came to visit for a weekend and we went to the zoo. I wanna say I'm not a big zoo person, but in retrospect I've gone to the zoo of every place I've ever lived except Berlin. It was pretty decent, and a good day for it: not too hot but warm and sunny. We left early to get a good gander at the pandas. Later, Kat's BF Eric was like "Pandas cost too much money to subsidize and they are basically irrelevant and don't adapt." which is totally true. They cover their eyes with their paws when frightened and eat buttloads of bamboo, then poop and sleep.

PS, the above 2 photos are from Trinity Bellwoods Park, where we drank a lemonade a few weeks ago. I am just throwing them in there because they are pretty.

Anyways. Maybe if I would have spent more time reading up on the display boards with helpful information on the conservation/important-ness of Pandas instead of racing through to get a glimpse of Real Actual Panda, I might have been equipped to argue. But I lack the inclination and motivation to find out why we should be conserving such an obsolete species, besides that they are cute and it's sad when cute things go away.

/end glib

The rest of the zoo was very zoo-ey, in that the animals were there, we saw them, they were fun to look at and most of them were only there because they had some kind of defect that made them uncompetitive in their natural environment. So it wasn't like they were being robbed of a good life, just protected from certain natural death. Which is a good way to look at it? Toronto zoo seems to have a good relationship with many conservation organizations, which was nice to see. But after seeing all the African/Safari animals in their *real* environment, it was just pathetic to see them in enclosures, no matter how generous the size. 

Last weekend was August long weekend ("Simcoe Day" in Toronto, "British Columbia Day" in BC, "Heritage Day" in Alberta.... can we just call it "August Long" and have done with it?) We did nothing! Actually we did some gift shopping on Saturday. I found some furniture online and we spent Friday evening with a borrowed car picking up two IKEA Bekvam butcher's blocks and a rolling table. Coincidence: The guy we bought them from went to Dal's BEDS program and was just as disillusioned by it as we were. He was in the year below us so we never met him, having been on work term when he would have started. But it was cool to meet one other person who didn't like Dal, compared to the legions who still breathe heavily over how awesome it is. 

Saturday was Caribana. We didn't go, but I dragged Jed to the North of Toronto (i.e., north of St. Claire) to pick up an awesome chair. We had to take it on the bus home and all the Dufferin St. buses were packed full of people heading down to Lakeshore. We finally waited long enough to get on a relatively empty bus, whereafter people thought it would be HILARIOUS to sit in the chair we just bought. Uhhhh, not funny guys.

On Sunday, Jed was running 22km for his training and I biked part of the way. We took the Martin Goodman trail through Lakeshore to Etobicoke where we went through some little islands with a butterfly habitat and which strangely smelled like baking cookies. I ditched after the run was 1.5 hours in. We went climbing early and then attended a BBQ at Kat & Eric's place, recently 're-opened' after they had bad sewer flooding from the big storm a few weeks ago. It was nice! Like the old people we are, we left around 10. 

The holiday Monday was bright and sunny and we drove out with K&E to Rouge Park for a little hike. The trails were alright, the best part was splashing around the stream afterwards to cool our hot feet. Besides the company of course :)

Nicole came over for roti afterwards - she started her board exams for becoming a licensed MD on Wednesday this week and will be finishing them this afternoon. The exams are super intense and are curved so much, most people don't pass with much more than a 50!! While I commiserate with having such long, expensive, awful exams that basically judge you on your ability to memorize things, I'm also a bit jealous. Where are the architecture exams? I know they have them later, when you want to get licensed, but we should be learning enough stuff in school that merits actually writing an exam instead of just putting it off until internship. No wonder Docs & Lawyers can charge the big bucks, while us architects scrounge for a mere pittance of a design fee. I'm not saying you need to pass a test to be professional... or am I? I dunno. Testing must have some merits. At least it makes people respect you. 

This weekend I've discovered that I'm poor, so I'm dedicating the rest of the day to cleaning our apartment and doing laundry and getting ready for our trip next week. We leave early Friday morning for Vancouver!! I am super excited and I really hope that all our connections go well - we have to get on the sky train, take a bus and a ferry to get to Nanaimo, where dad is supposed to be picking us up. With that many connections and such a tight timeline I'm worried that something will go wrong, but it CAN'T! I MUST BE THERE FOR THE REHEARSAL!  I even have a word-document telling me where to stand, when to hand over the flowers, etc. I can't believe my big sister is getting married! EEK!

That's my life update! Happy weekend!