Posts Tagged ‘building’

traffic signs at an intersection, at Lakeshore Blvd East, two one way signs pointing in the opposite directions, an elevated expressway also in the picture

“There’s more than one way” describes the above picture quite nicely but it’s probably a stretch to say that it’s  relevant to this blog post at all.   Not that that’s ever stopped me!  The other day I stood at this intersection (Lakeshore and Sherbourne I think) trying to decide which way to go.  I went straight ahead because that’s what the traffic signal told me to do.  I obeyed.  “When in doubt, go with the green light”, is one of my ‘rules’ when I’m walking.

below: The artistry of hydro towers and wires framed by the Lakeshore and the Gardiner.

a view between the Gardiner and Lakeshore with the roads framing the top and bottom of the picture. Hydro towers and wires are the main part of the image

below: Shattered glass

shattered glass still in place

below: Part of “Site Specific” by Scott Eunson & Marianne Lovink, on Sumach Street at Eastern Ave.

rusted metal cut out, part of a public art installation, cut outs look like houses, polished steel cutouts below the rusty ones.

below: The view inside the streetcar.  A new 514 Cherry car was wrapped in a light blue ad.
I have no idea what it was advertising.

looking into the window of a streetcar, people sitting,

below: There are a number of this “eye” balls in the playground part of Sherbourne Common.

a large white sphere with a black circle in the middle, on a metal pole. Background is out of focus

below: Changing the billboard.  The image is printed on a large piece of vinyl (plastic? something similar?) and held to the frame by ropes.   Or at least that’s what it looked like.  It was quite a distance up so it was difficult to see exactly what they were doing.

two men are changing the ad on a very large billboard. One man is below and the other is above and he is passing a long rope to man below.

below:  Graffiti.  Two words.  In yellow.

in yellow paint, graffiti, words fuck trump written on a metal box on a sidewalk

below: Chairs.   Blue chairs.  Three blue chairs plus one reflection.

three old blue plastic chairs with metal rusty legs sit on the concrete porch of a commercial building. Windows behind them. one of the chairs is reflected in the window

below: A drab door on a drab wall.

drab double glass doors on a drab light brown brick building with a sign that says public parking with arrows pointing to the door, The sign is above the door.

below:  An entrance to a different parking lot.

looking through a parking garage to a lighted entrance with people carrying bags and returning to their cars

below: Numbers on the concrete.

close up of the side of a concrete structure on a ramp of an expressway, there are two number sequences there. In stencil it says R42-78 and in stickers, AJ48

below: More numbers.  Another code that I can’t crack.

black and orange construction cone site beside a kerb on which numbers have been spray painted in orange

below: Stonework details on an old bank building.

architectural details on an old bank building, a fancy column top (ionic?), some carvings in the stone work.

below: Another old building – now that the north building of the St. Lawrence market has been demolished, the rear of the St. Lawrence Hall has been exposed.  It’s quite a pretty building.

the rear of the old St. Lawrence Hall building, with a bright blue wood hoarding fence in front of it. a woman is walking past

below: Interior, St. Lawrence market

the interior of the St. Lawrence market, looking towards the north entrance, with the large arched window over the doorway

below: And when you’re in front of the St. Lawrence market, isn’t it obligatory to take a picture of the Gooderham building?   A Toronto iconic view.

the Gooderham building, built in the flatiron style, with glass towers behind it, downtown Toronto

below: Another icon, the CN Tower, as seen through the Distillery District from Cherry Street.
That’s a fabulous orange door!

Cherry street entrance to the distrillery district, looking west towwards the CN tower, brick road, overhead lights, bright orange door in the background,

below: Postage stamp art at 234 Adelaide East by Joanne Tod and Jon Reed.  The whole installation includes 12 images including a 1930 painting by Lawren Harris (2nd on the left) which was issued in 1967.   To the right of it is a stamp honouring the Alouette 2 research satellite.  In between those stamps is Queen Elizabeth, a fixture on Canadian stamps for so many years.   The old post office which was built in 1834 is nearby.

public art in front of a condo building that is a ribbon made of metal, flat, etched with a series of vintage Canadian postage stamps images

below: Walls.  Shored up walls of the construction hole in front of a wall of glass.

a blue crane inside a hole that is a construction site for a new condo, with many glass tower condos in the background.

below: Last, symmetrical? steps in the buildings.

a building under construction in front of another building

 

May all your lights be green!

Right now, the section of Sheppard Avenue East between Yonge and Leslie streets is a mix of old, middle aged and new – a hodge podge of sizes, styles and uses.   It’s neither ugly nor pretty.  It’s not sure if it’s city or  suburban.

below: The intersection of Bayview and Sheppard from the southwest.

main road with traffic, coming to an intersection, with a tall building in the background

You’ll probably never hear anyone say, “Hey, let’s go for a walk along Sheppard”.  So why was I there?   I’ve driven along this stretch many times but I have never walked it.  Have I been missing something?

below: A short distance west of Bayview is the modern brick St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church, or ÁrpádHázi Szt. Erzsébet Római Katolikus Templom according to their sign.  Sunday mass is in Hungarian.   If you are driving past on Sheppard Ave, it’s easy to miss the simple steeple and cross that marks this building as a church.

steeple of St. Elizabeth of HUngary RC church, modern brick building with simple cross on the top

below: A large mosaic adorns one of the exterior walls.

mosaic on the exterior brick wall of St. Elizabeth of Hungary RC Church showing St. Elizabeth and two people kneeling beside her.

below: A small shrine is in front of the church.

small picture of Mary and baby Jesus in bright colours, on a small shrine in front of a church

below: The south entrance to Bayview subway station.  There are no escalators at this entrance  – instead, there is an elevator and a LOT of stairs.

south entrance to Bayview subway station with tall residential buildings behind and a construction site beside

below: The artwork at Bayview station is by Panya Clark Espinal, titled ‘From Here Right Now’.  Half an apple lies on the platform.

art on a subway platform, a line drawing of a very large apple that has been cut in half, on the wall and floor of the station

below: A salt or pepper shaker on the wall.  I’ve only shown two of the images in the series.  There are 24 in total and they are scattered throughout the  station.

art on a subway platform wall, a salt or pepper shaker in black on white tiles

below: There is a small park behind the south entrance to Bayview subway station, Kenaston Garden Parkette where I saw this tree in bud.   The first signs of spring are always wonderful to see.   Today it’s -12C outside so I hope the tree is okay.

pussy willow buds on a tree

below: This little park was designed by Wilk Associates Landscape Architecture and it incorporates a large number of rocks including a glacial boulder found on the site.   A bronze sculpture of a tree clinging to a rock  by Reinhard Reitzenstein is one of the features of the park.

small sculpture in a park of a sapling on a rock with its roots growing over the surface of the rock

below: If you stand in the park and look east,  you can’t miss the construction.

small sculpture in a park of a sapling on a rock with its roots growing over the surface of the rock - crane and construction site in the background

a convex mirror beside a black and yellow caution sign, condos are reflected in the mirror

the front and side of a large truck is in the foreground, right side, with a construction site beyond

Construction is everywhere on Sheppard Avenue.

below: All of the houses on Cusack Court are now gone.  Only the ‘No Exit’ sign remains.

a construction site where the houses on a a whole street have been demolished. The no exit sign for the street still remains., the site is behind a chainlink fence

a banner of the Canadian flag has fallen over and is lying on the ground behind a chainlink fence

below: The single family homes on the south side of Sheppard are slowly being demolished to make way for condo developments.  At the corner of Sheppard Ave East and Greenbriar  the proposed development of 184 residential units is the subject of an OMB prehearing on the 8 May 2017  (case number PL161113).

a boarded up house, split level, built in the 1950s, is in the foreground, condos and apartment buildings are behind it

below: Five houses are empty and waiting to be demolished to make way for two buildings, 11 and 6 storeys, mixed use (i.e. retail at street level) and incorporating a few townhouses.  In other words, the same old same old.

a boarded up house, split level, built in the 1950s, is in the foreground, condos and apartment buildings are behind it

below:  I said “same old same old” above because these types of buildings are popping up all over  many major roads that are outside the downtown core.  I suspect that Sheppard Avenue will be lined with structures like this one that’s already been built on the north side of Sheppard.

across the street is a 10 storey residential building, cars on the street, small trees in the foreground

Many people make the argument that there isn’t the density to support a subway along Sheppard.  I am of the opinion that if they’re not wrong now, they soon will be.   Development and public transit are dependent on each other, a symbiotic relationship if you will.   If you are affected by the construction along Eglinton for the new Crosstown line, you might agree that waiting for density only increases the problems and inconvenience (and cost?) of building new subway lines.   Also, have you seen photos of what the area around Davisville or Finch (and others) stations looked like when the subway opened there?   What is the required density?  Why do we want to funnel even more people towards the overcrowded Yonge line anyhow?   Is there an end to the questions we can ask?

And that’s another reason for my walk here…. to make note of the construction that is occurring whether we agree with it or not and to document some of  the changes.

below:  Two low rise apartment buildings.

two three storey brick apartment buildings with balconie in the front, taken from across the street

below: Once upon a time there were a lot of these little houses along Sheppard (even more so on the west side of Yonge Street).  At least one of these is still used as a family home but most are now offices or businesses.

a few small brick houses on the south side of Sheppard Ave

below: The north entrance to Bessarion station

looking across the street to the small north entrance to Bessarion subway station, with a small two storey plaza beside it

below: Looking east from Bessarion.  You can see as far as the condos on Don Mills Road.

looking west from Bessarion subway station towards Leslie Street and beyond,

   There is a reason that you haven’t seen many people in these pictures and it’s not because I waited for people to get out of the way.   Sheppard Avenue is a “major arterial road” under Toronto’s road classification system and traffic movement is its major function.  20,000+ cars are expected to use it every day.

I don’t like to say it, but why would you be walking along Sheppard anyhow?

below: Bayview Village parking lot at the NE corner of Bayview and Sheppard.

parking lot of a mall, Bayview village with surrounding buildings in the background.

As you might know, scroll down to the next blog post to see some pictures of Bessarion station!

 

I thought that I would see if I could find door pictures today.  When I first stepped outside, I wasn’t sure what that meant.   I just knew that it was a beautiful day and that I would find an answer to my doorish quest.   “Que sera sera” as Doris Day once sang.

Well, what is a door?

door: nounA hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room, or vehicle, or in the framework of a cupboard.

doorway: noun. An entrance to a room or building through a door.

Well duh, I think most of us know what a door is, at least in the literal sense.   As an image just a door on its own is often blah, B O R I N G.   There are exceptions of course, but if that was all I was looking for today, I wouldn’t be taking many pictures.

an ornate double door with windows in both doors, red brick house, stairs to the doors. closed.

I also think that most of us realize that “door” is so much more.   We find them intriguing. Door metaphors abound.  Open doors are opportunities and invitations, think “My door is always open”, or  “When one door closes, another one opens”.  Closed doors are mysteries, obstacles, or dead ends.   We talk about not knowing what goes on behind closed doors.

below: Closed for good. No mystery here, just a dead end.
With a smile for being upside down.

the front door of a small apartment complex that is about to be demolished. There is a blue metal fence in front of it with a danger due to demolition sign on it. The sign is upside down.

A closing door has a slightly different imagery – “slam the door in his face”, or “show someone the door”, or “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”.   Can you picture the scene in a movie where the hero walks into a strange room only to have the door close behind him.  Can you see the look on his face when he hears it being locked from the other side?

Doors, and their cousins gates, are both entrances and exits.    Entrances to buildings and rooms.  Entrances to other worlds such as “at death’s door”.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to illustrate ‘entrances to other worlds’.  

below: But maybe this entranceway leads to something exotic?    That’s a better explanation than ‘someone went to Home Depot and bought lots of cheap corrugated plastic’.   It juts out like a sore thumb from an otherwise well maintained, nice looking house.

an old brick house painted turquoise with green trim. wrought iron fence in front. A corrugated plastic covering has been made to cover the entrance to the basement door. the covering comes out from the house to beyond the fence, all the way to the sidewalk

Doors are associated with privacy, protection, and control.   We feel more secure when we lock our doors.   Closed doors, especially locked ones, can keep things in or keep things out.  Closed doors separate, open doors connect.

below: Waiting at the door.   I can’t decide if he’s patient or impatient.  Perhaps bored?

a white metal door on a white concrete wall. A bright ornage line drawing of a man standing in front of the door with his arms crossed.

 

Back doors are private, hidden from view.  The expression “through the back door” suggests sneaking around.  Front doors are part of the face that we show the world.   They can be welcoming or not, a lot like the people who live behind them. 

below: Or they can just be a long way up.  How are your knees feeling today?

a small narrow one storey house. Many steps to get up the hill to the front door. The incline has been covered with patio stones.

side yard and side entrance to a wood clapboard house with one window on the side at ground level.

below: A bright red chair brightens the picture.   I wonder who usually sits there?

a bright red chair sits on the sidewalk beside the entrance to a building. The door has a large window which is covered by a curtain on the inside

below: Another bit of cheerful red.

a small house painted blue with white trim, a bright red door.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.”

crooked concrete steps and metal railing lead to a front door.

below: Another closed door waiting for demolition.
How many people have passed through those doors since 1913?

blog_blue_church_door_1913

below: I’ve always been fascinated by the sign above this door.

an older woman in a bright red jacket stands on a corner waiting for a green light. On the other side of the street is the Emerald Isle Seniors Society

below: This door seemed to be out of place on the Danforth… it’s an entrance to the apartment above, not to the hair salon on the left.   I like to think that she keeps watch over the doorway.

blog_etched_glass_beauty_salon

below: These two doors (especially the green one) caught my eye as I walked along the Danforth.   On my first pass I had the wrong lens on my camera.  After changing lenses, I doubled back.   Just as I was getting ready to take a picture of the two doors together, the one on the right opened.  Dilemma – to shoot or not to shoot.  I’m not brazen enough to shoot someone in the face so to speak; this over the shoulder and hope it works shot is only second rate (or third!).   I only include here so I can briefly go off on a tangent and mention my #1 problem with door shots.  People.   Pointing my camera at someone’s house often makes me feel uncomfortable and I have no desire to have any kind of confrontation, even a friendly one.

two doors, one faded green and one greyish black . a man with a rather large stomach is standing in front of the latter.

below: What to do with leftover tiles.

a door with 1242 on it, brownish colour, green door frame, the wall on one side is covered with small mosaic tiles in squares

below: A contrast in colours.  The door is in the picture but it’s become just an element in the composition.

a green door is beside a large store window. The interior wall is painted yellow, the sun is shining in the window and the blinds are partially open and partially down

below: This is the last of the Danforth door photos that I took today.   Again, the doors are just elements; the mailboxes provide the focus and the interest.

three black mailboxes with mail in them, between a white door and a black door.

below: Doors are part of a building.   What you can do with a door is often limited by the structure of the house.

a small white house with a large tree in front of it, winter, but no snow

Having said that,  if you walk around the city there is a lot of variety.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through all the permutations and combinations that I saw today!  I’ll limit myself to a few (sometimes I can do that!).

below: A few stone steps lead to a simple white entrance.

a red brick house with a white rectangular doorway. driveway beside the house leads to a garage with a white door.

below: A study in compare and contrast – the wonderful result of semis where next door neighbours with dissimilar tastes, habits, and decorating ideas share a common wall.

a semi divided house, on the left, a bright yellow door. On the right, an open porch with lots of clutter.

Many steps and many hours later I find myself nearing the end of this post.  It’s been a bit of a ramble, both in the route that I walked today and in the thought processes that helped create this post.    I hope that I have entertained you at least a little bit.    And with one final photo I will close the door on this post.    Last one out turns out the lights.  Adios.

looking down a street to an T-intersection. Two houses across the intersection with a large truck parked in front of them. A man is sitting in the truck and looking at the camera

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”  John Barrymore

Peperonata Lane runs north from Harbord Street.    Most of the garage doors in the alley have been painted.  Some were painted as part of a Wallnoize project in 2013.

a lane running parallel to a park with garages on the other side, a line of large trees by the garages. Most of the garage doors are covered with street art

below: Take a seat… and see what kind of street art there is here.

a wooden chair is tied to a tree, autumn leaves on the ground, a row of garages in the background, a number of large trees,

below: A woman feeds the chickens.

mural on a garage door of a woman feeding some chickens in a yard with colourful laundry hanging out to dry, houses in the background, mural on a garage door.

below: This mural, done in 2009, is one of the older ones in the lane.

blog_mural_simple_houses_garage

below: A deer and a hawk

mural on a garage door, a deer and a hawk

below: Elicser people and a text painting by poise.

street art on a garage and fence by elicser and poise in a lane,

below: Split face on a fence, by fiya

blog_face_gate_halves_split

below: A poser bunny

a poser bunny and tag on a garage door in an alley

below: Multicoloured grumpy cat by shalak and clandestinos.

shalak and clandestinos painting of a colourful cat face and paw with claws, on a garage door and fence in a lane

below: Wrinkled man with fish in hand, by smoky

painting by street artist smoky of a wrinkled old man holding an ugly fish in his hand.

below: A garage door painted by miles.

street artist miles tag and colourful street art on a garage door

garage doors in a lane alleyway that have been painted with street art

 

 


From City of Toronto documentation on the naming of Peperonata Lane, November 2012:

“The residents whose properties border on the lane have provided the following background information on the proposed name:”
” …throughout each year, the Galle family, who’ve lived at 441Montrose (the east side) since 1972, includes many Montrose residents in their annual celebration of making the “sugo” or tomato sauce, the roasted peppers and peperonata party, and the spirited soppressata contest, which they bring from their home country of Italy. Everyone learns the old world techniques and celebrates their new life in our Canadian context.
To commemorate how our lives have been enriched by the Galles welcoming and generous spirits, and in keeping with the traditions they’ve taught us and that we’ve now made our own, we propose the lane be named “Peperonata Lane” as a way of celebrating their unsung contribution to our neighbourhood”.

As you all know, the TTC is replacing their older streetcars with new longer Bombardier streetcars.   Or at least they are trying to 🙂  Because they are longer, they don’t fit into existing “garages”, hence the new Leslie Barns facility.  Located on Leslie St., south of Queen, it is the new streetcar “home”.  It is where streetcars are parked, maintained and repaired.  It has been in operation since Nov 2015 but the first chance the public got to peak inside the finished complex was at Doors Open on the 28th of May.

below: While waiting for a streetcar at the corner of Queen and Broadview on the way to visit the Leslie Barns, I saw this renovated TTC streetcar from the 1950’s.

An old restored TTC streetcar, maroon and yellow, on Queen St. East

below:  The streetcar tour involved riding a new streetcar through a maintenance bay in the building and then around the parking lot out back.

People at Doors Open in TOronto, at the TTC LEslie Barns streetcar facitlity, lining up for , or just getting off of, streetcar tours, riding the new streetcars around Leslie Barns

A group of people inside Leslie Barns streetcar facility, standing aside to make way for a new streetcar that is taking other people on a tour.

people riding in a new streetcar, photo taken from the outside, most of them are waving

A man in black T-shirt and black cap is taking a picture of people riding in the new streetcar, inside Leslie Barns at Doors Open

below: Exterior, parking space for at least 100 streetcars

the massive concrete parking lot for streetcars with all the overhead wires. The building that houses the workshops and cleaning and office for the ttc is in the background.

below: Special bays have been constructed with space for workers to access both the underneath and the top of the streetcars.  Because the cars have been designed to ride low, a lot of their workings such as the HVAC and propulsion systems are built into the roof of the car.

the back of a new streetcar as it passes through interior of Leslie Barns streetcar facility, a large, tall interior space with lots of pipes

A streetcar sits in a repair bay of the Leslie Barns, space underneath the streetcar for workers to go down and work on the underside of the streetcar.

below: It’s a big space!  …. 17,510 square metres (188,500 sq ft) in fact.

interior of Leslie Barns streetcar facility, a large, tall interior space with lots of pipes

below: A spic and span shiny paint room

interior of the paint room at Leslie Barns, where streetcars go to get painted.

below: A myriad of colour coded pipes

A myriad of pipes running up walls and across the ceiling, blue, pink, red, grey, all colour coded, interior, Leslie Barns

below: There were renovated vintage streetcars on display.  On the left is a 1921 Peter Witt streetcar and next to it is a PCC streetcar from the early 1950’s.

a number of people waiting to go inside old renovated vintage TTC streetcars

below: Interior of a refurbished Peter Witt streetcar with its wood trim.  The Witt cars were built for the newly formed TTC in 1921.  They entered service on Broadview in October of that year.  By 1923 they were operating on seven routes.  The last Witt streetcar was retired in 1963.

A young boy stands in the back of an old restored ttc streetcar. A black and white picture of an old street scene has been put across the back window to show you what the view out the window might have looked like at the time the streetcar was functional. Old ads on the upper part of the interior, wood trim

below: Looking out the window of a PCC streetcar built in 1951.  PCC stands for Presidents’ Conference Committee, which was a group of operators from the USA and Canada  who got together in 1938 to design a new electric railway car.  By the late 1950s, the TTC owned the largest fleet of PCC’s in the world.  The last one was retired in 1995.

A young boy wearing a hat looks out the window of an old restored streetcar while his father takes a picture out the window

below: Streetcar wire maintenance truck.

a special TTC truck sits outside Leslie Barns TTC facility on Doors Open day, the truck is designed to run on streetcar tracks and is used to repair tracks and wires. There are people looking at the truck

#DOT16 | #TTC

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