Ceder Fair, owner of roller coaster Mecca Cedar Point, bought my town's local theme park (and my former employer) Canada's Wonderland from the notoriously stingy Paramount Parks a couple of years ago. Ever since, roller coaster fans have been waiting with bated breath to see what big new rides the company would put in. The park has always had a nice assortment of rides and roller coasters, however the penny-pinchers at Paramount never would drop the kind of dough it takes to build a really big, marque ride. Well the wait is almost over now as Wonderland has just completed construction and testing of the park's first hypercoaster, the awkwardly named "Behemoth". The press were invited to the park the other day for the big unveiling.
Wonderland is pretty much the only place you can go in Toronto to ride roller coasters these days. The C.N.E. used to have The Flyer and Doppel Looping (or Double Looper as most people mistakenly called it) however they've been gone now for years. Since Wonderland is actually in the suburb of Maple, technically speaking Toronto no longer has any roller coasters today. As my dad likes to point out to me, there was a time when the Toronto lake shore was a lot more interesting than it is now. Before the Gardiner Expressway was built in the 50's, Sunnyside Beach Park sat just two blocks from the house I'm now living in. All that is left today is Sunnyside Pool and the Palais Royale. Thanks to the highway, roads, trains and streetcars, the spot the park once stood now has the distinction of being "The noisiest location in Ontario" according to Wikipedia.
In researching this story, I can't seem to find a definitive answer as to what the roller coaster at the Sunnyside amusement park was called, or what happened to it. Some articles indicate that it was called "The Flyer" and was moved to the C.N.E. after the park was closed down. The Toronto Star seems to think that it was called "The Rocket" and was simply torn down. They also claim that the C.N.E.'s Flyer was "built at the CNE for $200,000 in 1953 by Patty Conklin", which seems to imply it was not related to the Sunnyside Flyer in any way. This article provides the most detailed explanation of the history of Sunnyside's coaster, however it still left me confused as to how many "Flyer" coasters there were exactly. I get the impression that there may have in fact been three completely different Flyers built in the first half of the last century in Toronto. It seems like amusement park operators had just as hard a time coming up with decent names for their roller coasters back then as they do today.
UPDATE: Thanks to Donna Douglas for the following info about the CNE's Flyer:
The "Flyer", was designed by Joe McKee of New York and built, maintained and operated by Bill Davis of Conklin's Canada Shows. Constructed at a cost of $200,000
See more details in the comments.
So for several months now I've been hard at work building new local news websites for CTV affiliates across Canada. Our small team at CTV.ca has released in quick succession CTVBC.ca, CTVEdmonton.ca, CTVOttawa.ca and CTVWinnipeg.ca. To promote its new site, CTV BC is running a crazy ad campaign which you can see here, here and here. Today, finally, we re-launched CTV Toronto's website at CTVToronto.ca (formerly toronto.ctv.ca) using the new design. Please come by and check it out! I don't think CTV Toronto has any plans to make ads like the ones for BC, but they'll probably at least mention the new site on the news tomorrow night.
There's an article on Spacing about TTC plans for renovating subway stations on the Bloor-Danforth line, and how a local font-obsessed citizen, Joe Clark, is up-in-arms about it. I'm more inclined to support preserving the heritage of local McDonald's restaurants over subway stations, so I can't really get on board with Joe's crusade against "fake helvetica" signage on the TTC.
Joe points out an interesting aspect of the station design along the Bloor-Danforth line that, despite my near daily trips from one end of it to the other, I had never noticed before. Station tile colors for stations east and west of downtown match up with each other starting from the center of the line (St. George and Bay stations) all the way to Kennedy and Kipling stations respectively. You can check out this handy chart for an explanation of what stations match one another. I guess it would be kind of a shame to break-up the uniformity of this design, but then again the stations are still pretty ugly on this line and in need of work. I guess either way is fine with me. What would be neat though would be if they added chimes to stations like they do in Tokyo.
I found a bunch of Aomori train related videos on You Tube that perhaps only I would find interesting. For what it's worth, here they are...
This one apears to be some sort of low-budget music video featuring Aomori train station. I think it's called "Many Lover Aomori Station"
There's also lots of fun techno music videos about the trains of Aomori. Here's some of my favorites...
Seikan Tunnel Trains
My personal favorite Aomori train, the Heat 789.
Who needs Maid Cafes when there are train cafes?
One thing I miss about my job in Japan is the omiyage table. Whenever Japanese workers go away on a trip somewhere they are expected to return to the office with snacks for their co-workers. Train stations in Japan always have omiyage boxes for sale, packed with individually wrapped snacks specific to that region. In Tokyo, the snack of choice is Tokyo Banana... a kind of banana flavored Twinkie. In Hokkaido its usually Shiroi Koibito cookies or mellon flavored something or other.
Anyway... a few weeks ago the grocery stores here in Toronto started to put bags of Halloween candy on sale. I realized that this was my chance to finally break out the internationalization skillz I learned on JET and put them to use. I went across the street to No-Frills and bought a ton of candy and dumped it on an unused desk. The CTV.ca Candy Corner was born. Maybe Halloween candy and omiyage aren't exactly identical, however the end results are... namely more tasty candy in my belly and happier, sugar loaded co-workers. I wasn't sure if the idea would fly or not, however I'm happy to report that folks have really taken to it. I soon became worried that our candy supplies would dry up in no time, however people have been good to contribute as much as they take. When The Verdict returned from hiatus last week I became somewhat concerned that our beloved candy corner would be pillaged by the show's staff. To my pleasant surprise they have instead contributed more than their fair share of candy, and host Paula Todd has been particularily generous. Thanks Verdict crew, and long live the Candy Corner!
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