Daily Archives: January 2, 2020

Review: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s “Messiah” with special guests the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Dec 20, 2019)


Photo credit:  Jag Gundu

Over the holidays I took some time with friends to enjoy the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah”.  It proved to be a restorative evening out with some delicious moments to reflect upon as the year drew to a close.

A quick snapshot, “Messiah” is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

We felt ourselves getting lost in “The Trumpet Shall Sound”, “Hallelujah!” and “Behold the Lamb of God” early on in the performance. Think epic, reflective and a perfect anecdote as we wrapped up the decade.

The talent on the evening included the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and four dazzling Canadian soloists. Alexander Shelley, Music Director, of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducts Handel’s Messiah with large doses of kindness and softness. Jane Archibald (soprano), Emily D’Angelo (mezzo-soprano), Isaiah Bell (tenor) and Russell Braun (baritone) blew the house down with emotion and verve. These talented individuals drew the audience together with rich hymns and high brow drama.  Close to the end of the performance, with programs in hand, the audience joined the soloists on songs that have truly lasted the test of time.

Jovial, thoughtful and purposeful was the tone felt in Roy Thomson Hall on the night. There were many times during the performance that I felt my mind thinking about my year and what brought me joy, what I have been forced to let go off and what has truly changed me. It’s funny how music can cement transformations and leave space for new growth.

Thank you to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Happy New Year! Looking forward to more performances in the year ahead.


Parkbus, Your Ride to the Great Outdoors!: Active Days Ontario – Trip to Hilton Falls

The holidays have come and gone in a pinch. I made sure to squeeze in a trip to Hilton Falls with Active Days Ontario and Parkbus so I could stretch my holidays out. If you don’t have a car and want to leave the driving to someone else after a busy week – Parkbus can help!

Active Days encourages folks to try something new, expand their comfort zone and/or engage in something they already love.  Walking or hiking in parks during the winter is great for your mind and body. It can be a wonderful way to reflect on your own about the year ahead. I made sure I took time for myself during the hike. But I also mingled with others who like me, needed time to reflect on where we were are at in the moment. Simple. Easy.

Here’s what we go up to!


9:45am – Pick-up MEC Toronto. 300 Queen St W

10:45 – Arrive at Hilton Falls

10:45 – 1:00pm – Hike to the waterfalls

1:00-pm – Lunch Trailside. Lunch was not provided

1:30pm – 2:15pm – Winter hike to feed chickadees, spot cool birds head back to the visitors centre

2:15 – 2:30 – Optional Hot Chocolate or Coffee

2:30pm – Depart Hilton Falls Conservation Area

3:45pm – Estimated Return to Toronto


Lunch – Pack some sandwiches, fruit and snacks. We stopped by a campfire and roasted a big bag of marshmallows.

Tea (optional). You can even bring a thermos of water if you feel so inclined.


Weather appropriate clothing. We layered up because it’s better to be safe than sorry out on foot in the woods. Winter boots, a hat, a scarf and mittens are essential.

Camera – to take a lot of shots for social media.

After a long day of hiking, climbing rocks, watching waterfalls and enjoying good company, we were on our way back to Toronto. We had a great time with Active Days and Parkbus. Check out their winter hikes – they are going quickly.

A heartfelt thank you to Parkbus. Tell them I sent you and have fun! @ParksCanada @Parkbus @mec @environmentca @OntarioParks @TourismeOntario #OurNature #goodtimesoutside #parkbusgotmehere

Have fun! Looking forward to my next trip with Parkbus!