Monday, August 22, 2011

Canada Is Poorer Today

Jack Layton 1950 - 2011

Jack Layton, leader of the opposition, died today. He was an amazing politician.

Here is a letter Mr. Layton wrote to Canadians dated Saturday, August 20th. It is full of inspiration for others, a testament to the selflessness of this man.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Toronto Island Fun

Boys playing at a Hanlon Point beach. It’s fun to kick your shoes off and skip pebbles across the water.

Yesterday we took the boys to the Toronto Islands. I loved this place as a kid. They are the only islands in this part of Lake Ontario, and they provide Torontonians with a quiet spot away from the city (no cars allowed). It’s hard to believe you are still in Toronto. And the best part, you get a fantastic view of the city from the Islands, and also from the ferry.

There are 3 parts to Toronto Islands. Hanlans Point, Centre Island, and Wards Island. We took the ferry to Hanlans Point, and walked the entire Island to Wards Island to get the ferry back to the city. It took us 5 hours, but we weren’t in a hurry.

We also took Sophie (our Schnauzer) with us. We weren’t sure how she was going to react to the noises of the city and the ferry ride (she was ok on the ferry), but she loved the Islands. A nice lady on a bike with a couple of dogs threw her a dog biscuit. By the time she got home last night she was exhausted.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's That Time Of Year Again!

Photo: NOAA National Hurricane Center. Latest track of Tropical Storm Emily.

From June 1st to November 1st it’s hurricane season in Florida.

Up until end of July, hurricanes tend to cross the Atlantic and swerve out to sea, or hit the east coast of Florida or the Carolinas. From August onwards hurricanes tend to go to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hot water is very conducive to hurricane formation. The late summer hurricanes are more powerful since they are fuelled by hot water in the Atlantic and, more particularly, the Gulf of Mexico. By August the Gulf is particularly hot.

As former west coast of Florida residents, August to October are the months when we would watch and wait to see if we would be hit this year. Floridians become weather experts, and we spend a lot of time watching for weather updates.

This map shows the current formation of Hurricane Emily. Florida is in the cone, so now we turn to the National Hurricane Center at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). There are regular updates every hours, and every Floridian knows exactly when to check in for the latest updates.

I always think of the Caribbean as a buffer zone for storms. Like a pinball machine, where the storm hits as it passes through the Caribbean will determine whether or not it will be a Gulf storm that could hit the west coast of Florida, or an Atlantic storm, hitting the East coast of Florida.

Currently at Tropical Storm status, with current wind speeds at 40 mph (64 kph). Best outlook, Emily does not strengthen and brings much needed rain to the area.