Southern Ohio – October 2020 – Views from Above

Todays Drone Tour starts out along the Ohio River at Portsmouth. The first view shows the flood wall covered in murals (later posting revisiting the murals).

The sun was just rising in the east, giving the U.S. Grant Bridge and the Ohio River some interesting lighting.

The Carl Perkins Bridge across the Ohio River, where the Scioto River enters.

The hills in Kentucky with the clouds reflected in the river.

Spartan Stadium was home to the NFL’s Portsmouth Spartans from 1928 until 1933, when the NFL had teams in relatively small cities. The Spartans moved to Detroit and live on to this day as the Detroit Lions.

An overview of the city of Portsmouth. The town has for decades lost population, dropping from a high of 43,000 in 1930 to the current population of 20,000.

The view east

Norfolk Southern Railroad has a large yard along the river in east Portsmouth.

Lake White State Park near Waverly.

The next stop was the city of Chillicothe. This view is of a large paper mill.

The same neighborhood has this large grain elevator. Unfortunately at this time the rain came and the drone became grounded.

Portsmouth, Ohio – October 2020 – Floodwall Murals

Portsmouth easily has one of the best collection of murals in the country. They have taken a massive, ugly concrete flood wall and created almost 1/2 mile of murals celebrating the towns history.

The drone view give an idea of how large they are – this is just a small portion.

The theme of the walls was 2000 years of history in 2000 feet of flood walls. They were created by a team lead by Robert Dafford, a famed mural painter.

Most sections of the wall are 40′ wide x 20′ high. Some, such as the view of Portsmouth in 1903, take up multiple sections.

Some aren’t even on the flood wall, including this mural on the side of the local Kroger Grocery store.

The floodwall not only runs along the river but in places goes inland. One of the inland sections celebrates sports, including the ‘Tour of the Scioto River Valley’, an annual bicycling event that goes the 100 miles from Columbus to Portsmouth, then back.

Another section of the inland wall includes a tribute to the local labor unions.

Another includes Portsmouth’s rich baseball history.

The original U.S Grant bridge is featured on this panel.

For a short time there was an amusement park located in Portsmouth, but it was badly damaged in the 1913 flood.

The shoe industry was one of the major employers in Portsmouth.

Streetcars provided transportation from the late 1800s until 1939.

Government Square was the center of the city in the early 1900s.

The murals are done with fantastic depth.

One of the original NFL teams, the Portsmouth Spartans.

Portsmouth has had a few devastating floods, including 1937.

Chillicothe Street has always been the main commercial street in town.

Industry in Portsmouth.

A close up of the detail of the right panel for industry.

A 3 panel education mural shows various periods.

Situated in southernmost Ohio, the railroads have always been an important part of Portsmouth’s industry.

The Portsmouth Motorcycle Club is the oldest in the world, having been founded in 1893. Obviously it had to be founded as a bicycle club first since the first motorcycle was not invented until 1898.

It was known as the Portsmouth Cycling Club from 1893 until 1913.

This western view would be the actual view if the flood wall was not in the way.

Much like the European settlers later, the Native Americans utilized trails that went through the area. One originated on Lake Erie near Sandusky and went south along the Scioto River to Portsmouth.

The original village was known as Alexandria, but was abandoned due to frequent flooding.

The first European settlers arrived in larger numbers in the early 1800s.

The completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal was a boom to the area.

Built in 1901 this rail station served both Norfolk and Western as well as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroads. It was used until 1931 when an art deco station was completed.

A close up of the Chillicothe Street mural.

The Riverfront in 1903.

The Portsmouth Murals are one of the most impressive art installations in Ohio – well worth a trip.

Central Ohio – September 2020 – Views from Above Part 2

Part 2 of the Drone Views of Central focus more on structures.

Up first is the Perkins Observatory near the city of Delaware, Ohio. Completed in the 1920s it once had the 3rd largest telescope in the world, but they discovered Ohio’s cloudy weather, and light pollution from Columbus made it impractical.

The Delaware tour continues with the football stadium for the small college called Ohio Wesleyan. It too dates from the 1920s – with the claim to fame that all 9000 seats are between the 15 yard lines.

The Delaware County Fairgrounds is home to one of the largest harness races in the country with the Little Brown Jug. The race will occur this year, without spectators.

Somewhat of a continuation of the posting from earlier this year of Columbus Sports Venues is this birds eye view of a few of them, starting with the vacant and partially torn down former Cooper baseball stadium.

From above it is easy to see the outline of the field. The stands continued around the first base side – but were torn down years ago.

Not far away is the new stadium, Huntington Park.

The Ohio State Fairgrounds is home to Mapre Stadium – the Columbus Crew soccer stadium.

The new stadium is under construction just down the street from Huntington Park.

All over town you see ‘brown field in fills’, taking either vacant in town property or tearing down existing structures to build new apartments and condos.

Another brown field redevelopment near Grandview Heights.

Even suburban Dublin, Ohio has gotten into this, with this large new area called Bridge Park replacing a car dealership and shopping center.

A park in Dublin is home to Chief Leatherlips, who was a renown leader of the local Wyandot. This interesting sculpture of him goes down the side of a hill.

O’Saughnessy Dam and Bridge – This is one of my favorite of the recent drone photos.

In this part of Ohio we grow plastic houses in our fields.

The confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers. Clearly low water season.

From Bicentennial Park. The building on the left of the river is Center of Science and Industry (AKA – COSI).

The drone does provide some nice views of the bridges and buildings.

German Village is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in town – but tough to shoot with the drone because of all of the trees.

I will recreate later in fall after the leaves drop.

We end up in suburbia – with the distant view of the skyline of downtown along the horizon.

Columbus – July 2020 – Sports Venues Past and Present

Today we take a look at the extensive history of sports venues in Columbus. While many are associated with Ohio State University, the city has a long history of professional sports.

 

Baseball

For more than 150 years they have played professional baseball in Columbus – all at the minor league level.

The first true stadium in the city was one of the first in the country to be constructed of concrete and steel. Previously many were built of wood, and often burnt down.

The stadium was called Neil Park.  It was located on Cleveland Avenue just north of downtown.

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This stadium was the home to professional baseball until the 1930s. Today there is no sign of any history of the venue, now being a facility for Abbott Labs

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The next stadium was built on the near west side of the city, along Mound Street. It was originally named Redbirds Stadium, as the team was a farm team for the St Louis Cardinals, and were called the Columbus Redbirds.

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The stadium served the city until 2008, although it changed names a few times, usually when the team changed names. From 1955 until 1970 they were the Columbus Jets

 

 

Finally it was named after a county commissioner who was able to secure a team in the 1970s after a 6 year absence, Harold Cooper.

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Today it sits vacant, partially torn down. It has been the subject of numerous schemes for redevelopment over the years, but nothing has come of it.

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2020 07 05 89 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

 

The current stadium is called Huntington Park (the naming rights were sold to a local bank). It is located much closer to downtown, in the middle of a large area of gentrification.

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2009 09 06 47 Columbus Huntington Park

 

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Professional Football

The National Football League generates the most revenue of any sports league in the world, with it’s 32 teams scattered across the United States. But the NFL did not start out that way – they started in an assortment of cities and towns scattered around the Great Lakes, including Columbus.

For 12 years their headquarters was in  the historic New Hayden Building.

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The Columbus team was comprised mostly of railroad workers who worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Panhandle Division. So named because it traversed the Northern West Virginia panhandle, the railroad had a large yard on the south side of the city.

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While most of the teams in the league were made up of former college players, the Panhandles were tough railroad workers who quickly became known for their physical play. Their logo was reflective of the Pennsylvania Railroad Logo

 

Because they worked for the railroad, and had free travel on the trains, they played most of their games in other cities. Their home field in Columbus was at Indianola Park, an amusement park located just north of the city.

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Today the former Amusement Park and NFL home is a strip mall and church.

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College Football

What Columbus lacks in professional football it makes up in college football. Ohio State  football. The budget for athletics at Ohio State is over $200m a year, with the football program generating much of that revenue. But it wasn’t always that way.

The first team was fielded in 1890, with 22 players making the trip to the nearby town of Delaware, Ohio for a game again Ohio Wesleyan College.

2020 07 11 29 Delaware Ohio Historic Markers

 

Later that year they had their first home game. It occurred a few miles away from campus at a field in German Village – now home to a grocery store.

 

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Football quickly became popular and the university built their own stadium – Ohio Field. This field was located on North High Street – near 17th Avenue.

Most people sat around the field until 1907 when the first stands were built. As college football continued to be very popular and by the time the stadium was abandoned in 1921 it has seating for 14,000.

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Today a parking garage and campus buildings occupy the site.

2020 07 05 44 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

 

With much debate and fanfare the university opened Ohio Stadium in 1922, with an astounding 62,000 seats. Many thought they would never fill it, but by the last game of the year again Michigan they did.

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Today it seats over 105,000.

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2017 03 05 49 Ohio State University

 

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2015 04 12 124 Ohio State University Tour

 

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2015 01 24 1 Ohio State Championship Celebration

 

 

Ohio State football is such a big deal they have this airplane hangar sized indoor practice facility, complete with a statue of legendary coach Woody Hayes out front.

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Arenas

Columbus is home to a number of arenas that have served the city and university over the years.

The State Fairgrounds Coliseum (aka – Taft Coliseum) was built in 1918 with 5000 permanent seats. It has hosted everything from Ohio State basketball to minor league hockey games to horse shows, and one of the venues for ‘The Arnold’.

2020 07 05 56 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

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St Johns Arena

The Fairgrounds Coliseum served as the home to Ohio State basketball until the 1950s when St Johns Arena was completed on campus.

It was opened in 1956, named for a former basketball coach and athletic director. The 13,276 seats are very cool old school wood.

Once Scottenstein Center was completed, the arena has been relegated to secondary sports like gymnastics and volleyball.

2020 07 05 30 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

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2015 04 12 139 Ohio State University Tour

 

 

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Nationwide Arena

The only major league team in town, the Columbus Blue Jackets, play their home games at Nationwide Arena. Completed in 2000 for the expansion Blue Jackets it is typical of the arena’s built in the last 25 years – with a large number of luxury suites, and quirky designs including an ear piercing cannon that they shoot off when they score.

2020 07 05 76 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

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2017 03 11 25 Columbus OHSAA Hockey Championships

 

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Schottenstein Center – Value City Arena

This 20,000 seat arena opened just a couple of years before Nationwide Arena, so the city has 2 very large indoor venues.

When they were planning both arenas the city wanted the site to be downtown, whereas the university wanted it on campus – 3 miles north. When the university didn’t get what they wanted they ‘took their ball and went home’.

2020 07 05 20 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

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Soccer

Mapfre Stadium

When the MLS started in the 1990s all of the teams played in stadiums built for American football. The Columbus Crew was no different, playing in the 105,000 seat Ohio Stadium.

In 1999 they became the first MLS team to build a soccer specific stadium. This 20,000 seat stadium sits on part of the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Ironically they sometimes played high school football here as well.

In 2015 they sold the naming rights to an insurance company, hence ‘Mapfre Stadium’.

2020 07 05 49 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

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After shaking down the city and state with a threat to move to Austin, Texas the Crew has received 1/2 of the $200m required to build a new stadium downtown.

2020 07 05 81 Columbus Sports Venues Past and Present

 

The artist renderings show what a difference it will be.

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Jesse Owens Stadium

Our last venue is on the Ohio State campus, Jesse Owens Stadium. This facility is home to track and field, as well as soccer.

In front is a statue and Ohio Historical Marker detailing the amazing feats of Jesse in the 1936 Olympics.

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2015 04 12 24 Ohio State University Tour

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago – History Through Maps and Photographs – Part 1 The World Fairs

As we continue to be restricted to any travel the ‘virtual travel’ series is continuing with some history. This posting will detail the history of Chicago through maps and photographs, and take a look at what it looks like now.

 

In 1840 when New York City already had over 300,000 people, Chicago was just starting as a town with just a few thousand. By 1860 is was in the top 10 with over 100,000, and just 30 years later there was 1.1 million people and Chicago was ‘The Second City’, doubling in population from 1880 to 1890.

 

Celebrating Chicago through World’s Fairs

It was around this time that Chicago decided to make it’s presence known on the world stage by hosting a World’s Fair. Local leaders lobbied hard to land the right to host this fair with the federal government, winning out over New York, Washington and St Louis.

The site chosen, Jackson Park, provided the 600 acres required. The lead architect was the famed Daniel Burnham, who was a proponent of the ‘City Beautiful’ movement.

While most of the buildings were designed and built to be temporary, there are a few that remain to this day.

With all of the buildings built in a neo-classical design and painted the same color, it became known as The White City.

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Getting to the Fair

With the incredible growth of the city from the end of the Civil War to 1890, Chicago’s transit struggled to keep up. Initially private companies had built horse drawn trolleys downtown. In 1892 the first of the famed El’s was completed from 39th Street (Pershing Road) to the Loop. The next year the Chicago and South Side Elevated Railway extended this to the fair site at Jackson Park.

The map below dates from the 1930s but clearly shows the line going south before turning left towards the lake, ending at Jackson Park. (Red Lines denote the El). This company failed not long after the fair ended because there was not enough ridership to maintain financial stability, being sold under foreclosure.

Of note this line was originally not electrified, the coaches were pulled by an engine.

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The Chicago History Center has one of the original cars on display.

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Green Line Train today

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Also note the Midway Plaisance connecting Washington Park and Jackson Park (Green strip on map between the parks). This area was the Entertainment section of the park (more on this below).

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Today the Green Line takes a very similar route, although the spur towards the lake only goes to Cottage Grove Avenue, and the southernmost branch is gone.

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As noted in the photo description this is the entrance at the Midway Plaisance.

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The map detail shows some of the highlights of this area, including the famed Ferris Wheel. While there had been a wooden wheel built in Atlantic City in 1891, but it burned down the next year.

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Ferris’s wheel was to be Chicago’s answer to Paris’s Eiffel Tower. It was massive – 264 feet high, with a capacity of 2,160 passengers. So renown was this feature that for many years Ferris Wheel’s were known as ‘Chicago Wheels’

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Today Chicago’s Navy Pier has one that, while impressive, is shorter than the original.

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The Midway Plaisance today serves as a park area next to the University of Chicago. There are a few reminders of the fair.

 

 

The grounds and buildings were magnificent.

 

 

The Palace of Fine Arts was one of the few buildings built to remain after the fair.

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It serves today as the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

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The Statue of the Republic Was the Centerpiece of the Basin.

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While no longer surrounded by water it is one of the few remaining structures from the fair.

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But Chicago had a second chance at a World’s Fair just 40 years later, when they hosted the Century of Progress, which ran from May 1933 until October 1934, taking the winter off.

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But the city, and world, has had significant change since 1893.

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The Auto Club sponsored ‘Routes’ with fair themed names for automobile travelers to come to the city. In addition they sponsored ‘Motor Villages’, campgrounds and motels on the outskirts of town,.

 

 

Despite the introduction of the automobile, train travel was still the primary way to get to Chicago.

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This Conoco map shows an Illinois Central Railway Station at the entrance to the fair.

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In addition to the station at the fairgrounds entrance, there were another 6 train stations downtown, including the commuter rail stations.

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Today there are 3, two for the commuter rail and Union Station, and even that station is just a portion of what it was.

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Union Station is still very nice, but this grand space above was torn down in 1969.

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2019 02 14 17 Chicago Union Station

 

 

Once you were in town the El or streetcar network would take you to where you needed to go.

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El to Fair

 

Including directly to the Fair.

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Welcome to the Century of Progress World’s Fair entrance.

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The skyride took passengers from the main entrance on Columbus Drive to the lake shore. In this photo the Field Museum and the skyline of downtown is clearly visible.

One of the features of the 1933 fair compared to 1893’s is that it was essentially downtown, whereas the Columbian Exposition was a couple of miles south of downtown.

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The 1930s was the height of the Art Deco movement (a favorite of mine), and the advertising for the fair highlighted this.

 

 

The industrialists of the day had major exhibits. GM even built an assembly line.

 

You could see the homes of tomorrow.

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After the fair an investor purchased the homes and moved them by barge to nearby Indiana, and placed them along the lake shore as an attraction to the community he was building.

Time was tough on the homes, but over the last 20 years or so the state of Indiana has sponsored a program where you can lease them for $1 with the stipulation you fix them up (which costs $1m +). The results are fantastic.

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Many Chicago landmarks were part of the fair including Adler Planetarium

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as well as the Field Museum and Soldier Field.

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Chicago has always used their lake shore for the public’s enjoyment, never more so than during the two World’s Fairs. Part 2 of this series in a few days will focus more on the development of the transportation in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Alberta

 

Welcome to Alberta

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Where the prairies meet the mountains.

 

 

Calgary is the largest city in the province.

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Edmonton is nearly as large as Calgary. They have a strong hockey rivalry.

Oil is the business of Edmonton, and is reflected in the hockey team’s name.  (photos of Edmonton from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Banff was Canada’s first national park, and remains a beautiful area.

2017 09 04 88 Banff Alberta

 

 

 

Lake Louise is renown for the turquoise water, and tourists.

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The Icefields Parkway is a 140 mile long road from Banff to Jasper, passing numerous glaciers and waterfalls. It is one of the best drives in the world.

2017 09 05 181 Columbia Icefields Alberta

 

 

 

Jasper is home to Athabasca Falls. Tomorrow is our final stop in Canada – British Columbia.

2017 09 05 212 Athabasca Falls Alberta

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Ontario

Welcome to Ontario – Canada’s largest province by population, and the center of the country’s media.

It is also home to more NHL hockey players than any other place in the world.

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Government/History

1931     1946     1948     1952     1955 – Parliment Buildings     1968     1970     1973    1996 – Yonge Street

 

 

 

 

Ottawa

The Canadian National Capital is in Ottawa. The collection of buildings are on what is known as Parliament Hill. They were built between 1859 and 1927.

The metro area is the 5th largest in the country with 1.3 million people.

2019 07 29 185 Ottawa

 

Many of the buildings are open for tours. The main assembly hall has started a 10 year reconstruction effort, so a new hall was built in what was previously an open space between buildings.

 

 

The city is located at the confluence of the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River.

 

 

During the summer the buildings are lit up in the evenings with an impressive light show.

 

 

 

 

Roads and Bridges

1957     1958     1959     1960     1962     1964     1965     1967    1986 – Ivy Lea Bridge    2010 – Highway 406 St Catharines

 

 

Toronto is by far the largest city in Canada, and one of the major cities in North America. It is also one of my favorite cities in the world.

2019 07 28 6 Toronto

 

 

The CN Tower was completed in 1973 as the worldest tallest freestanding structure, a record it held until 2007.

 

 

The railroads and the lakes built the city. Today the city still has long distance train travel, as well as an extensive subway and streetcar network.

 

 

The lakeshore was once an industrial area, but is now filled with luxury condos and apartments.

 

 

The entire downtown area is filled with great architecture.

 

 

 

 

Toronto is the center of the hockey universe, including the Hockey Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

Hamilton is located 50 miles from Toronto, but it is one continuous city. Once a steel town, it still has some industry, but has transition to a more diverse economy today.

It is also home to Tim Horton’s #1!!

2019 07 27 5 Hamilton ON

 

 

 

Windsor is across the river from downtown Detroit.

2017 06 17 116 Windsor ON

 

 

 

 

Countryside

1966     1974     1978     1980     1990 – Highway 17 – Wawa      1992 – Algonquin Provincial Park           2001 – Algonquin Provincial Park      2003 – Pancake Bay     2005 – Pancake Bay Provincial Park      2006 – Highway 118 Muskoka      2008 – Highway 141 – Muskoka     2014 – Highway 69 French River

 

 

Niagara Falls is shared with New York, but the Ontario side is much nicer.

2016 09 11 4 Niagara Falls

 

 

 

Scarborough is now part of the city of Toronto but was for many years a separate suburb. It is home to Guild Park – home of relics from down demolished buildings in downtown Toronto.

 

2019 07 29 38 Toronto Guild Park

 

 

It is also home to the RC Harris Water Treatment Facility AKA – Palace of Purification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Quebec

Bienvenue au Québec

 

 

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Quebec is 2 1/2 times the size of Texas, and nearly as large as Alaska, stretching from the USA border to past the Arctic Circle, with nearly all the people living within 100 miles of the American border.

With French being the primary language it truly feels like you have arrived in Europe, only it looks ‘North American’. I have always enjoyed visits to Quebec and look forward to going back.

 

Quebec City is the capital of the province. It is one of the oldest towns in North America, having been first settled in 1535, and founded as a town in 1608.

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Nearby is Montmorency Falls, one of the largest volume waterfalls on the continent.

2016 09 09 68 Montmorency Falls PQ

 

 

Canyon Saint Anne is another impressive natural setting, with a series of waterfalls dropping over 200′ through the canyon.

2016 09 09 49 Canyon Sainte Anne PQ

 

 

 

Pohenegamook is a small town on the Maine border, where some houses literally are sitting in both countries.

2016 09 09 27 Pohenegamook PQ