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Fun, Family, Community! October 2022 Edition
By Joy Chatfield
That’s what it was all about as the sun shined brightly over the Scarborough Bluffs Community Association’s 2nd Annual Scarborough Arts, Trades & Family Festival held on Saturday, September 10.
In partnership with Scarborough Arts and Birchmount Community Centre, over 60+ vendors from the communities of Birch Cliff, Cliffside and Cliffcrest joined our indoor marketplace, which highlighted many of our local Bluffs community organizations, businesses, artisans, and Scarborough Arts artists!
Meanwhile, the outdoors were abuzz with excitement and enthusiasm as activities included arts and crafts, face painting, bouncy castles, and wonderful performances from DeSantos Premiere Martial Arts, Jay9 Dance Centre and So Dance Studio. Local food vendors from Art of BBQ and Big Brother’s Gourmet Pizza were also there to satisfy the palate. Both kids and adults alike were thrilled to meet Princesses Elsa and Anna, and were amazed by the tricks and wonder that Magic Ian had up his sleeves!
We learned about fire safety and how to operate a firetruck, we tasted the sweetest homemade pies, we played all the games in the Family Festival area for some great prizes, AND….to help us learn about pollinators, we picked up free pollinator plants along with a “Keepers of the Bluffs” colouring book, animated and developed by Wes Tyrell, the SBCA, Cliffcrest Butterflyway, and PollinateTO.
The SBCA would also like to thank Feed Scarborough for organizing the vaccine clinic, and special thanks to all the volunteers, especially our students, who joined us and worked tirelessly on the event.
Most of all we want to thank YOU, our incredible community, for continually supporting our events that help to bring us all together! We certainly do live in the best little pocket of the city!
If you would like to receive a copy of the “Keepers of the Bluffs” colouring book please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we invite all our local teachers to reach out for copies that they can distribute in their classes. To learn more about the Scarborough Bluffs Community Association go to www.scarboroughbluffs.ca
Bluffscapes Residential Front Yard Garden Contest
By Valerie Bibb
In its 4th year of success and in partnership with the Birchcliff Garden Club, the Scarborough Bluffs Community Association (SBCA), presented a “Fun and Friendly” Residential Front Yard Garden Contest. The contest was open to all residents of Birchcliff, Cliffside and Cliffcrest.
This contest is a wonderful opportunity to allow avid gardeners to showcase their gardens and the hard work they’ve been putting in this summer!
Gardens were reviewed in early August by members of the SBCA and the Garden Club and the submitted gardens were magical! You didn’t need to be an expert to enter – all levels of experience were welcomed.
We are delighted to announce this year’s 2022 Winners!
Roadside visible gardens –
1st – Dragan Stojanovic – 68 Valhalla Blvd.
2nd – Cora and Gary Kofoed – 68 Undercliff Drive
3rd – Barb Price – 50 Fenwood Heights
David Henderson – 16 Cudia Crescent
Residential Garden Winner: Dragon Stojanovic
“The garden is my Zen place. It took ten years of experimenting with this space before I created my perfect vision, and I loved every minute of it “.
Judge Gail Marmoreo said it best:
“On behalf of the judges, I would like to thank everyone for being part of the Bluffscapes garden contest. Each garden had a different approach to plant choices, colour, water features and design. It was very difficult to pick the winners! The pollinator gardens were full of bees and butterflies confirming the need for natives in every garden.
Congratulations to the winners. “
The SBCA thanks all 24 participants who entered gardens in the contest. Without you we would not be able to bring the community together to celebrate our own little pocket of the Bluffs. We are proud to be able to offer these events in Scarborough Southwest and look forward to hosting more community building events!
We would be remiss if we did not thank our Community and Prize sponsors for their continued support.
SBCA Community Sponsors: Drape Master; Bluffs Chiropractic; Top Roofers; Team Tony Mauro; Jatujak; Bibbcon Landscape Construction Inc.; Lifestyle Custom Homes; Resistance Fitness; and Rizuan Rahman Law.
For more information on the SBCA visit www.scarboroughbluffscommunityassociation.ca or join the Facebook page www.Facebook.ca/scarboroughbluffscommunityassociation
For more information on the Birchcliff Garden Club visit www.birchcliffgardenclub.com
If you’d like to become an SBCA Community sponsor, please email email@example.com
Curtain Rises on Summer Theatre Festival Season
By Catherine Bacque
“All the world’s a stage, and most of us are desperately under-rehearsed.”- Sean O’Casey.
Summer’s here, and repertory theatre companies are definitely well rehearsed with something for everyone, as audiences return with a pent-up appetite for live theatre. Here’s a round-up of what’s on at the Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Stratford Festival, and at our own Guild Festival Theatre.
This year’s Shaw musical is perfect for baseball fans. Imagine that the “Washington Senators” are our own Blue Jays and cheer as they battle those Damn Yankees! Hum along with “you’ve gotta have Heart”, root, root, root for the hero, and boo the devil (yes, he’s actually in the play). Fun for all ages and interests!
Other familiar favourites at Shaw this year include The Importance of Being Earnest and Cyrano de Bergerac. Oscar Wilde’s Earnest is ridiculously funny—imagine Downton Abbey ‘ad absurdum’ and you’ll get the picture. Cyrano makes you laugh and cry for the lovelorn poet/hero afflicted with a protuberant honker, unable to reveal himself to the lovely Roxanne.
As for the requisite Shaw entries, The Doctor’s Dilemma skewers the quackery and greed of medical practices in a surprisingly relevant satire, given the proliferation of questionable online medical information and products today. Too True To Be Good features a talking microbe (depicted on the promotional material as a coronavirus!) and an unlikely trio who fake a robbery to escape to a fantastical tropical island, where they attempt to relieve their restless dissatisfaction with life—an interesting allegory for our pandemic times.
Go to www.shawfest.com for more information and to see the full schedule, which includes six other productions, from Chitra, based on a Sanskrit epic, to Gaslight, a new adaptation of a chilling Victorian thriller, to This Is How We Got Here, a powerful Canadian drama co-produced with Native Earth Performing Arts.
Hamlet is definitely ‘to be’ at Stratford this season, with a modern-dress (and attitude1) staging of the Shakespeare original, plus a new play—Hamlet 911. Celebrated Canadian playwright Ann-Marie Macdonald’s play features a young actor preparing for the title role, and a teenager struggling with his own existential dilemma online. Macdonald’s previous take on Shakespeare—Good Night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet—was hilarious and topical, and this play promises to be equally smart and relevant. This year, Hamlet fans are in for a treat!
Richard III is a disarmingly wry anti-hero, as inhabited by Stratford legend Colm Feore, accompanied by a constellation of notables, including Lucy Peacock, Michael Blake, and Seana McKenna. The play headlines at the gorgeous Tom Patterson Theatre, Stratford’s new eco-friendly jewel on the Avon. In honour of the opening, and its’ 70th anniversary season, Stratford is remounting Richard III and All’s Well That Ends Well, the first productions at Stratford in 1953. Festival founder Tom Patterson would be very proud. At the Festival Theatre mainstage, Chicago is pure “Razzle Dazzle” under the deft hand of Donna Feore, with effervescent leads and sparkling showstopper dance numbers.
The remaining Stratford roster includes Little Women, adapted from the popular Louisa May Alcott novels, The Miser, Moliere’s witty tale of a skinflint patriarch who disapproves of his children’s impoverished lovers, plus Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, which dramatises an historical event in colonial Nigeria, reflecting the intersection of African and European cultures then and now. Finally, Sunny Drake’s Every Little Nookie (winner of the Playwrights Guild of Canada national comedy award) is a randy romp whose title says it all! Boomers and millenials mingle at a rainbow-hued swingers’ party in this premiere production. See www.stratfordfestival.ca for more information and tickets.
Local theatre fans will be thrilled by the 2022 Guild Festival Theatre Season. It includes their signature mix of family-oriented programming and full stage productions at the outdoor Greek Theatre in the Guild Park & Gardens. ‘Family Fest’ includes performances and workshops by Puppetmongers, The Grand Salto Theatre, Odin Quartet, and Metis fiddler Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk, among others. Settle in for story time with Eliza Martin or Fay and Fluffy, make a puppet, or learn Japanese drumming and circus tricks! Get your tickets soon though, as this is a short season, compared to the bigger festivals. Passes for ‘Family Fest’ (July 6-10) allow you to choose your own program of events, and are a steal at $5 suggested donation.
Mainstage productions at the Guild include The Red Priest by Canadian playwright Mieko Ouchi (July 28 – Aug 7) and Chekhov’s Shorts (Aug 18-28), a collection of Anton Chekhov’s best-known short comic plays, all of them referred to by Chekhov as ‘vaudevilles’. “I don’t much care for theatre,” he wrote at the time, “but I do enjoy vaudevilles.” It’s certain that audiences will too. The Red Priest imagines Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi tutoring the wife of a French nobleman who has bet Louis XV, King of France, that he can teach her to play the violin in six weeks, just in time for a royal concert. High strung high stakes indeed!
Bring a lawn chair or a blanket, and fingers crossed for clear skies on performance days! For more information and tickets, go to www.guildfestivaltheatre.ca
Scarborough Camera Club – Creating Amazing Images Since 1961 June 2022 Edition
By Carol Ufford
Founded in 1961, the Scarborough Camera Club welcomes photographers of all skill levels and interests. The founding members came together because of their love of photography, and the desire to share their passion and to learn from each other. That spirit continues to this day as the club provides a place to learn, share, make new friends and grow as photographers.
The club programme provides workshops, demos, speakers, and outings that are designed to inspire, educate, and entertain members. Members have the opportunity to learn new skills and practice their photography, in a welcoming, friendly environment.
Meetings start at 7:30 pm and are held on two or three Tuesday evenings a month from September to May, in the Warden and Finch area.
Past club meetings included:
- A portraiture workshop where members had the opportunity to try their hand at this style. Backdrops, lighting, and models were available, and members moved freely from area to area trying new skills.
- A presentation from a travel photographer who highlighted his trip to Africa. His talk included how to plan and prepare for a photography trip, including what to consider when deciding on what gear will be needed.
- Members sharing their skills at meetings, speaking on macro photography, Astrophotography, what to look for in a camera bag, and extreme photo editing.
Several times a year the club holds a members’ night–an opportunity to share images with each other in an informal, relaxed setting.
On club outings, members can interact with each other to learn, socialize, and enjoy the hobby. The club organizes two outings a month. Outings can be topic based, such as a recent sunrise shoot at Rouge Beach, where members practised the specific skills needed for shooting in low light. Or, an outing might focus on downtown Toronto architecture, animals at the Toronto Zoo, or winter ice formations. The choices are only limited by the members’ imaginations! On all outings, members share their experience and advice, helping each other get the most of the experience.
Four times a year outside experts are invited to evaluate member photos, giving constructive feedback on how to create a better image. Submitting photos for evaluation is optional, but all members are welcome to see the images and hear the feedback after the evaluation night.
What is a club without a little food? Twice a year, the club holds social events for members to eat, chat, and get to know each other a little better.
There are many exciting events planned for the upcoming yea: learning events such as camera basics and macro photography, outings including the popular scavenger hunt, plus several expert speakers on a variety of topics of interest to photographers new and old.
New members are always welcome. Membership dues are $85/year, or $135 for two adults at the same address. Potential members are allowed to attend one or two events before joining for a nominal fee. If you decide to join, that fee is deducted from the membership dues.
Share your passion for photography and check us out!
Scarborough Bluffs Eastern Beaches are in Peril June 2022 Edition
By Roy Wright
Stewardship along the eastern shoreline of Scarborough Bluffs has been my interest for over 40 years. The 3 km corridor of coastline from Guildwood beach to East Point Park is an eco-sensitive wildlife treasure that has remained untouched since the ice age.
The narrow ribbon of sandy beach coastline supports a plethora of fauna and flora detailed in the 2012 environmental study (Terrestrial Biological Inventory Assessment) commissioned by the TRCA. The assessment recommends conserving the area as is and that public usage should be managed. From my waterfront home, I have access to the beach where I can remove cans, bottles and plastics that wash up along the shore. All year long, hikers and fat wheel bicycles enjoy the unique wild in the city waterfront beach trail. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the beach except for police patrols on their ATV’s.
The purpose of my previous article “Rediscovering Guildwood Beach” was to inform the readers of the Bluffs Monitor that this little-known Scarborough Bluffs treasure is a rare asset where the public can enjoy safe access to the lake.
These beaches are the result of an agreement between the TRCA and private waterfront owners. It was agreed that armourstone headlands would be the preferred method of shoreline protection allowing sustained sandy beaches to be saved and protected along the waterfront.
Five armourstone headland constructions now protect the toe of the cliff from erosion. The headlands designed by coastal engineers serve to collect and sustain the sandy beaches enjoyed by the public today.
An armourstone wall and waterfront service road, a TRCA erosion control project, extends west from Bluffers Park eastward to where the Guildwood beach starts. This wall provides a protective coastline berm that allows talus to form and vegetation to grow. The once bare-faced cliffs are now mostly covered in green.
The concern now is the two government agencies responsible for protecting Ontario’s waterfront environment. The TRCA has optioned to sacrifice the beach in favour of a waterfront road development thereby reneging on their earlier agreement and rendering the beaches in peril. The lake filling option to pave over the eastern shoreline beach has been approved by the MECP (Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks) contrary to overwhelming public opposition. Scarborough represents 30% of Toronto’s waterfront with access to only two public beaches, the Bluffers Park Beach, and the eastern shoreline beach. Recent correspondence with the corporate developer assured me that demolition of the first 700 meters of sustained beaches along the Guildwood and Grey Abbey Park waterfront would not proceed for several years.
Please take advantage of this time limited opportunity to discover and experience a shoreline hike or enjoy a day of sun and fun in the water along the eastern beaches of Scarborough Bluffs.
An informed public could save our precious beaches from unnecessary corporate development if political pressure was applied. Our waterfront city councilors (Ainslie, Crawford and McKelvie) remain silent, some serve as Board members for the TRCA developer.
Roy Wright Waterfront Resident of Guildwood
Rediscovering the Sandy Beaches of Guildwood April 2022
By Roy Wright
As a waterfront resident of Guildwood Village, every day I see locals, dog walkers, and hikers enjoying the shoreline experience. This eastern sector of the Scarborough Bluffs coastline serves a bird sanctuary and an eco-friendly wildlife corridor. The Guildwood beaches have become a popular summer destination for the public, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak.
One of Toronto’s greatest assets is its public beaches where people can enjoy access to the fresh waters of Lake Ontario. Sandy beaches provide safe recreational opportunities for sun seekers, surfers, hiking, swimming, and small craft boating.
The unique cliffs of Scarborough Bluffs, a 12,000 year-old remnant of the ice age, are the source of all Toronto sandy beaches. The westward flow of currents carrying silt and sand formed the Toronto islands and are still the dynamic source supplying sand to Woodbine beach, Bluffers Park beach, and the beaches of Guildwood and East Point Park.
This 3 km stretch of the eastern Scarborough Bluffs coastline is rugged and ungroomed, with driftwood scattered along the tree-lined foot of the bluffs. A panoramic view reveals an expansive sky over the uninterrupted blue horizon of lake water. No nuclear plant, industrial sites, commercial buildings, nor power lines are in sight to spoil the waterfront experience.
If hiking from the East Point Park parking lot located at the foot of Beechgrove Drive it will take over an hour to reach the Guildwood beach. To access Guildwood beach from Guildwood Parkway, visitors and residents must enter at the service road parking lot located at the foot of Galloway Road. A steep walk down the paved service road brings you to the armour stone waterfront wall and a path that terminates at the sandy beach of Guildwood.
The busiest and deepest sandy beaches are from Guildwood to Grey Abbey Park where four sandy bays are sustained by five armour stone headlands. Spoiler alert: if you continue walking east of Grey Abbey Park beach toward East Point, you enter a remote area of beach well known for nudists.
For those venturing a day at the Guildwood beaches for the first time, keep in mind that the eco-sensitive shoreline is a habitat supporting a variety of animals, reptiles, migratory birds, and fish spawning. In recent times, the public has acted responsibly by placing their garbage and recyclables in the bins provided by the Parks Department.
If you plan a day in the sun along the Guildwood beach with your coolers, cabanas, or inflatable kayaks, be aware that there are no washroom facilities available.
Be sure to get out and enjoy a day of safe recreational access to the water along the beaches of Guildwood before Toronto City Council approves the budget for TRCA’s proposed option to sacrifice these public beaches to construct a waterfront service road. This once protected area of natural shoreline is no longer considered a conservational or environmental priority.
Roy Wright Waterfront Resident of Guildwood
Have You Considered Getting a Heat Pump? April 2022
By Janet & Nick Nanaos
Soon, Toronto will mandate that all new buildings must have green heating and cooling systems. Vancouver and Quebec recently banned certain kinds of fossil fuel-based heating in new home construction and similar bans are happening around the world, from Norway to New York City.
Last November we installed a heat pump in our home replacing our aging furnace and making our home fossil-fuel free. We’d heard about heat pumps at the Toronto East End Climate Collective and learned about its many benefits. We wanted to change our heating system from a greenhouse gas emitting oil furnace to a practically zero emissions electric heat pump.
Instead of burning fuel, a heat pump works by transferring heat energy between an indoor and an outdoor air handler. In winter it extracts heat energy from outside air transferring the heat into your house. Even at minus 30 degrees, there is still enough heat energy in the air allowing the compressed refrigerant to raise the temperature and pipe it into your home. In summer, the same unit reverses and works like a standard air conditioner using refrigerant to absorb heat in your home transferring it outside. This website will explain heating and cooling with a heat pump. See the section “How Does an Air-Source Heat Pump Work?” for a diagram:
We save an impressive 6 tonnes of carbon emissions per year–about the same as driving an SUV for a year. The heat pump system is very economical to run and costs approximately the same as natural gas. Our house is more comfortable and the air is healthier since we are not burning a fossil fuel inside. The heat pump saves space because it takes up less room in the basement.
Installing a heat pump is more expensive than replacing it with a gas, oil or electric furnace, but there are rebates to partially offset this cost. We bought a Cold Climate Mitsubishi Zuba heat pump system that uses our existing ducts for $19,900 (ductless systems are also an option). The federal government rebate for this is $5000, making our cost less than $15,000. By contrast, the average cost of a new gas furnace is $5-7000 and an air conditioner averages around $4-7000, but with its increased efficiency and adding insulation, a heat pump will pay for itself over a few years. By switching from oil we are saving over $2000 a year and our heat pump will last about the same length of time as a conventional furnace.
We were lucky that we did not have to replace our furnace in mid-winter. It was still warm enough to arrange the energy audit, order and wait for the unit, and then keep warm for the 2 days the installation took. Switching to a heat pump requires planning.
We would advise updating the insulation in your house before installing a heat pump. If you have gas, Enbridge has grants for insulation and window upgrades. Apply for those first, then the Greener Homes grant for the heat pump.
The current patchwork of government and Enbridge rebates and city loans is cumbersome and needs to be improved. This is the link for more details on how to begin applying for the Greener Homes grant:
Be careful of out-of-date information–our oil tank inspector told us that a heat pump will not work all year round and a heat pump will stop functioning below minus twenty degrees Celsius. This may have been true in the past but technologies are being upgraded. Our Cold Climate heat pump has worked well in this winter’s ice and snow with minus twenty-two-degree weather, and we have not needed a backup system. Our Cold Climate system is rated to minus thirty degrees Celsius.
The oil technician also informed us that his company sells heat pumps but they do not have people to install or service them. There is not enough supply or trained people to install and service them. This problem requires a national retrofit plan to provide information to consumers, create jobs, train technicians and provide the services required to promote and install green systems nation-wide. In Toronto buildings account for about 57% of greenhouse gas emissions, the largest source of emissions in Toronto, so this is an important issue.
It is worth the effort to work your way through the current rebate and loan system. The best time to start is before your furnace has come to the end of its life, so you are not locked into another fossil fuel burning system for the next 15 to 20 years. Think about it and start planning for a greener future!