Ward’s Island- Toronto’s Arctic Wonderland
Polar vortex or not, sometimes you just need to go exploring. My wife, Anastasia and I, along with our iPhones, took a trip in February to the Wards Island (the best of the Toronto Islands), maybe our city’s most underrated destination. We visit the Island all through out the summer, but strangely this was our first time in the winter. We were immediately rewarded.
The Old Normal
Recently winters in Toronto have been on the warm side. Winter 2012/2013 seemingly had the first major snow that any 4 year old child had seen in the city. This year however has been a bit closer to what I remember as a kid. For those not in the area, we had a serious ice storm right before the December holidays, which was followed by sub zero temperatures and plenty of snow, for over 2 months now.
The Great Frozen Lakes
This year the Great Lakes nearly all froze over, reaching a rate not seen since the early 90s. However, and contradictory to what we saw out on the water, Lake Ontario has very remained rather unfrozen. While Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie have all frozen nearly 95% of their surface (and Michigan 80%) Lake Ontario has only hit 40%. The best guess to why this is has to do with the depth of Lake Ontario, which holds on to heat better than shallower bodies of water.
- Image 1: What it looked like to leave Toronto. We adventured with the idea of talking photos of the winter wonderland that is Ward’s Island. Turns out the snow was a bit too heavy for us. It did however give off the air of an early Arctic journey, or a voyage to an unknown island. Very spooky. Very awesome.
- Image 3: One of the coolest parts of our trip was seeing Lake Ontario in all her icy glory. In parts, the ice gives the dangerous impression that you could walk across it. In fact I overheard one of the sailors in conversation with a skier that he saw someone ski across the lake over the holidays. Here we are in the icy wake of an emergency response boat. This is one of my favourite captures from our adventure.
- Image 7: Taking the ferry to the Island is more like taking a jet to the Arctic- you lose all sense that you’re in a major metropolis, and instead feel like you’re lost in an icy wasteland. It’s a really remarkable feeling. The Island is so much more than just a summer getaway.
- Image 10: A view of Toronto through the snow. Even with many trips by the ferries from the City and the Island, the ice freezes quickly. In between the plates a thin film of ice forms that looks like plastic wrap across the surface.
- Make sure to check out a few of the photos I took this summer here, Get outside with photography: Merging technology with nature.
- Anastasia, a real life proper photographer, took some stellar shots. Make sure to give them a look HERE!
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: March 1st, 2014.
The Summer Club Public Art Project
Through a series of fortunate events this summer, our Museum’s camp, Summer Club, got an awesome opportunity to try their hand at public art.
With our roof under repaired, large amounts of scaffolding was put in place, creating beautiful blank canvases for our kids to paint. 4 groups, ages 8 to 14, inspired by our collections and our city, painted away over the course of the summer, replacing bland walls with pops of colour, content and creativity. The roof was supposed to be finished on the fall, but luckily for us it stayed up right through the winter.
Today, with our brand new roof, our art came down, but the memories remain from perhaps the most accessible art project our camp has ever had the privilege to create.
You can see more images from the summer under #summerclub2013.
Zoe’s Top 5 Museum Animals!
Family Day Weekend is approaching and the ROM is talking about animals! I have many favourite animals and they can all be found right here at the ROM, so come and check them out!
- Snow leopards are not only beautiful and endangered but they can also be found 3500 meters above sea level and their scientific name is Uncia Uncia.
- Panda’s are simply just awesome and can up to 14 kilograms of bamboo a day. The dark eyespot of a panda cub is shaped as a circle but as the cub grows the circle becomes a teardrop shape. The name of the Panda originated from the Nepalese word poonya, which translates into “bamboo-eating animal.”
- There’s no doubt that you’ll miss the striking white rhino in the Schad Gallery at the ROM. The White Rhino is one of the workd’s largest land mammals. White Rhinoceros’ can be found in Africa’s grassy plains or wallowing in mud.
- Without doubt the Zebra’s one of my favourite animals! It’s one of the only animals that start with the letter “z” like my name. The famous zebra stripes are a defense mechanism that makes it harder for predators to pick out which zebra to chase. Zebra’s are also very social animals and they can run up to 56 kilometers per hour.
- My final favourite animal is Toronto’s night-time mascot, that is notorious for snooping through our garbage at night. Raccoons are very vocals and have a large variety of calls to communicate with. The raccoon’s scientific name is Procyon lotor, which translates into “washer dog.”
If you’re nearby, stop at the ROM during Family Day Weekend and find out more about my favourite animals. What’s your favourite animal?
I don’t normally take a selfie, but when I do, it’s a #museumselfie.
Are you at a museum, near a museum, work in a museum? Do you like selfies? Do you not like selfies but want to get involved in an awesome international event? Then take a #museumselfie!
Learn more HERE and check out these other awesome submissions!
— Alyssa McLeod (@alyssa_a_mcleod)January 22, 2014
— April Hawkins (@aprilsMuseum)October 1, 2013
— B Millen (@B_Millen)January 22, 2014
Have you shared your #museumselfie yet? Stats 12:30 GMT 1,485 Photos 1 Videos 10,017 Tweets 5,199 Contributors— Mar (@MarDixon)January 22, 2014
— W. Ryan Dodge (@wrdodger)January 22, 2014
— Engaging Educator (@TheEngagingEd)January 22, 2014
- "Clever girl." Talkin’ Jurassic Park with Deinonychus.
- Obviously had to take a #MuseumSelfie with our Martian meteorites.
- Me with our latest addition, the 1 million dollar golden coin!
- Holla at my dude, Futalognkosaurus.
- Close encounter with Quetzalcoatlus.
- Me and former Toronto Zoo rhinoceros, Bull.
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: January 22nd, 2014.
Zoe’s First Blog!
My name’s Zoe and I’m thrilled to be writing my first ever blog (and even more excited that it’s for the ROM). The ROM is well known for its intricate exterior architecture showing the contrast of the original 1914 building and the striking Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, which was made an addition in 2007. The structure of the ROM is really dramatic and very much appealed to me to start volunteering.
During ROM for the Holidays 2012/13 I volunteered at the ROM and worked with ROM educators at the Ice Age touch table. I worked with real and reproduction of artefacts and had the pleasure to explain to people walking by their significance in evolution and more specifically, the Ice Age. I enjoyed volunteering at the ROM so much that I applied further for more volunteer opportunities, which I was fortunate enough to get. Now, lets back to volunteering at ROM for the Holidays; after that great experience at the touch table I wanted to work in the anthropology industry. I almost felt intoxicated with information and I was excited that I found a new passion. Afterwards I began reading articles and watching videos that were based on anthropological finds and evolutionary studies.
During March of 2013 my school asked us to fill in a course selection sheet, I knew from then on that I wanted to work at the ROM, so I begged the co-op teacher at my school to let me do co-op at the ROM and I would not take a no for an answer. Despite many conflicts sorting it out, I finally was able to say “I will be doing co-op at the ROM.”
I was so thankful that I was able to work at the ROM studio because I love working with children and beings crafty. Even though I’m not fully doing stuff relating to anthropology I am still exposed to it every time I walk up and down the staircases and work with the programs.
It’s a dream come true to be working at the Royal Ontario Museum and I hope that I can keep working here in the future!
Rawrrr! T-Rex with smaller T-Rex and Triceratops skulls. Shot this earlier this evening at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Love the dinosaur room at the ROM.
This photo does a great job of conveying the hugeness that is a Tyrannosaurus rex skull.
Thanks for coming!