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Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Google Parent Company Alphabet to Build Smart City in Toronto

The tech-savvy traveler will want to put this one on their bucket list; Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is officially building a futuristic mini-city along a 12-acre section of Toronto’s eastern waterfront. This is absolutely huge – for the city, for the country, and for the California-based tech giant in its quest to develop high-tech “smart cities” around the world.

As expected, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs has partnered with Waterfront Toronto to develop a new waterfront community called “Quayside.”
This will mark the biggest project tackled by Sidewalk Labs to date, according to Reuters, and the citizens of Toronto are here for it.
Sidewalk Labs describes itself as a company that “imagines, designs, tests, and builds urban innovations to help cities meet their biggest challenges.”

The more than $1 billion development will see the creation of new public spaces, residential and commercial buildings, and advanced infrastructure for Toronto’s thriving tech industry.

“The district will become a place for tens of thousands of people to live, work, learn, and play,” reads a press release announcing the project in Toronto. “It will also reflect the cultural diversity and openness of Toronto, and help connect all Torontonians to waterfront beaches, parks, and communities.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report on the rumored closure of this deal earlier in October, the smart city will span 3 million square feet in total.

That’s roughly the size of the Empire State Building.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

A Different Winter Commute

The Rideau Canal connects the Canadian cities of Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario. Rideau is French for “curtain” and the canal was named for its curtain like appearance where the Rideau River’s twin waterfalls join the Ottawa River.

The Canal passes through the Ottawa city center and every winter it is turned into a giant public ice skating rink – many of the skaters are daily commuters who use the canal was a way to travel to work. Preparations include partially draining the canal and facilities such as shelters chalets and access ramps for maintenance vehicles are created.

Twice-daily updates are provided by Ottawa so skaters can safely make their commute or merely enjoy the popular winter time activity: http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/rideau-canal-skateway/#home

The canal was originally built in case of war in 1832, but has become a symbol of peace and prosperity over the years as its use is primarily used for pleasure boating and of course skating. The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jody Victor


Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Thanksgiving: Outside the United States

Although Thanksgiving is a quintessential American holiday whose folklore or history, depending on your perspective, is well known by every American school child, harvest time holidays are common throughout the world whose themes don’t stray far from giving thanks for what one has. However the specific harvest time festival of Thanksgiving is celebrated in several places outside the United States.

One society who celebrates Thanksgiving is our neighbor to the north, Canada. While the exact origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are unknown scholars have several thoughts. Some attribute it to Martin Frobisher who put on a celebration to give thanks for he and his crews survival of the long passage from England – on the way they encountered dangers such as storms and icebergs. Some credited the settlers of New France who came over with explorer Samuel d Champlain who gave thanks for a successful harvest.

As various settlers began arriving from Europe and New England they brought the harvest traditions of their homeland to Canada.

Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Liberia, the only African country created by American colonization. American freed slaves settled the colony in the 1820s. These freed slaves brought the traditional American Thanksgiving with them to Liberia. However, since turkey and pumpkin aren’t indigenous food stuffs they have been replaced with things like roast chicken and mashed cassavas – both much spicier than the food average Americans eat. Their celebrations also included church services, music, song and dance.

Norfolk Island, a territory of Australia, originally established by the mutineers of the HMS Bounty and their Tahitian captives, celebrates a version of Thanksgiving brought over by American Whaling ships.

Between 1609 and 1620 some Pilgrims who would later settle at Plymouth Plantation first come to the Netherlands. Because many had recorded marriages, births and deaths there there is a non-denominational celebration every year in honor of the Pilgrims who escaped religious persecution.

The German Erntedankfest – a Christian celebration – is a Thanksgiving-like holiday that while mostly religious in nature includes large harvest dinners.

In Japan, in November, there is a Labor Thanksgiving Holiday (roughly translated) in which people give thanks to each other and celebrate hard work. Though created during the American occupation after WWII the celebration has its roots in an ancient festival also celebrating hard work.

All over the world, whether the fruit on an American root or not, during harvest time many people take time out of their busy lives to spend with family to remember to reflect on on what they have been given.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving

Jody Victor

Posted by Victor Crew on

Jody Goes to Niagara Falls

If you have never been to Niagara Falls, you should try it. It’s a wonderful trip for a couple, family, or group. The Niagara Falls is the most powerful waterfalls in North America. They were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciations (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment on route to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty, as a valuable source of hydroelectric power, and of course tourism. From the Canadian side, floodlights illuminate both sides of the falls for several hours after dark (until midnight). You will need a current passport to go to the Canadian side. The falls are 17 miles north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles sout-southeast of Toronto, Ontario, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

From the U.S. side, the American Falls can be viewed from walkways along Prospect Point Park, which also features the Prospect Point Park observation tower and a boat dock for the Maid of the Mist. The Maid of the Mist boat cruise, the oldest and best known tourist attraction at Niagara Falls, is named for an ancient Ongiara Indian mythical character. Cruise boats operate from boat docks on both sides of the falls and have carried passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls since 1846.

Goat Island offers more views of the falls and is accessible by foot and automobile traffic by bridge above the American Falls. From Goat Island, the Cave of the Winds is accessible by elevator and leads hikers to a point beneath Bridal Veil Falls. Also on Goat Island are the Three Sisters Islands, the Power Portal where a huge statue of Nikola Tesla can be seen, and a walking path which enables views of the rapids, the Niagara River, the gorge, and all of the falls. Most of these attractions lie within the Niagara Falls State Park.

The Niagara Scenic Trolley offers guided trips along the American Falls and around Goat Island. Panoramic and aerial views of the falls can also be viewed from the Flight of Angels helium balloon ride, or by helicopter. The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center showcases the natural and local history of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge. If you like to gamble, a casino and luxury hotel was opened in Niagara Falls, New York, by the Seneca Indian tribe. And there are many more hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions in the area – something for everyone.