Parkbus, Your Ride to the Great Outdoors!: Let’s Check out Killbear Provincial Park!

It is the last days of summer and I decided to make the most of it before I head back to graduate school next week and full time work. Getting out of the city is always on my mind. If you don’t have a car and want to leave the driving to someone else after a busy week – Parkbus can help!

With that goal in mind, I chose the Killbear Provincial Park with Active Days and Parkbus ( trip. Active Days encourages folks to try something new, expand their comfort zone and/or engage in something they already love. I went for it and joined their group hike to Killbear Provincial Park!

I met the Active Days crew at 34 Asquith in Toronto which is located about 100 meters from Bloor-Yonge subway entrance (Yonge Street Entrance). They will drop you off at the same location. The group of hikers were a nice mix of young and old. Experienced and not so experienced hikers. There were even some wonderful newcomers to Canada who were willing to explore Killbear with the locals.


We were on our way by 7:30 a.m. heading towards Killbear Provincial Park. Killbear Provincial Park is located on Georgian Bay in the Parry Sound District of Ontario, near the town of Nobel. Killbear combines sandy beaches typical of the Great Lakes with the rock ridges and pines of the Canadian Shield.

The park is ecologically significant for its large and varied types of shoreline. As water levels in the Great Lakes fluctuate over a time span of decades, different wetland, meadow and shoreline vegetation types were created.

After picking up some passengers at the Major Mackenzie and Hwy 400 69873330_1102559723268520_7687641067818057728_nPark and Ride we were on our way to our first pit stop, the Honey Harbour General Store for snacks and a bathroom break. I made sure I packed a lot of snacks for my trip, a book, bananas, good hiking boots, a light day pack, a baseball hat, water and bug repellant.

When we arrived at Killbear Provincial Park, we dropped off some passengers at the Visitors Centre. I nipped out and visited the Nature Shoppe to grab a Ontario Parks Crest. As part of Ontario Parks OP125 celebrations last year, they designed a set of 84 park crests for their parks ( Each crest has its own design, reflecting the park’s identity. I grabbed the Killbear Provincial Park crest.

When we arrived at the drop off to start hiking we were ready! The hike took place on the traditional territories of the Ojibway and specifically the Wasauksen First Nation. The terrain was easy to hike and we were able to cover a lot of ground very quickly. The Lookout Point Trail was a nice trail to get warmed up with. Our guides Marlon and Caitlin made sure they chatted us up and took care of us on the hike.


The neat thing about Active Day hikes is you can be social if you want or not. I like to be a bit of both. I naturally gravitate to people who are in tough careers and need a break outside of the city. As we chat, we share similar narratives and hiking helps in soothing out our stress.

A hot tip, be sure to check out “Sunset Rocks”, “The Tree” and “Harold Point Rocks”. They provide wonderful views for Instagram pictures as well as some light up hill hiking. You can even get pretty close to the water for a swim or a dive.

There was a cautionary sign when we entered the park that there was an active bear on the grounds and to avoid eating and dropping food in the parks. We luckily didn’t run into the black bear. 🙂


In terms of food options there isn’t a lot to buy on the grounds. My suggestion is to pack a few sandwiches for your trip. You can fill up your water on the grounds from a few drinking water pumping stations.

After a long day of hiking, sitting on the beach, climbing rocks, watching waves, feeling the sun on our skin and enjoying good company, we were on our way back to Toronto. We had a great time saying goodbye to summer with Active Days and Parkbus. They are a few hikes still available going into the Fall. Be sure to check them out.

A heartfelt thank you to Parkbus, they are gifting my readers with a 5% discount using the referral code, 1039euiwod. Tell them I sent you and have fun! @ParksCanada @Parkbus @mec @environmentca @OntarioParks @TourismeOntario #OurNature #goodtimesoutside #parkbusgotmehere @ @KillbearPP @ontarioparksNE

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

New York Travel: The New York Botanical Garden – Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx (Saturday, June 8, 2019 – Sunday, September 29, 2019)

The New York Botanical Garden is a botanical garden located at Bronx Park in the Bronx, New York City. The 250-acre site’s verdant landscape supports over one million living plants in extensive collections. The garden has a diversity of tropical, temperate, and desert flora, as well as programming that ranges from exhibitions in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to festivals on Daffodil Hill. As of 2016, over a million people visit the New York Botanical Garden annually.
If you are planning on being in New York in the next month, be sure to check out the Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx exhibit. Roberto Burle Marx (1909–94) was a force of nature in Brazil—through his bold landscapes, vibrant art, and passionate commitment to plant conservation. His powerful modernist vision produced thousands of gardens and landscapes, including the famous curving mosaic walkways at Copacabana Beach in Rio and the beautiful rooftop garden at Banco Safra in São Paulo. Feel his artistic energy and love of plants during our Garden-wide exhibition of lush gardens; paintings, drawings, and textiles; and the sights and sounds of Brazil that inspired his life and work.

Hot Tips:
You can get to the NYBG by using public transit quite easily. It is a good 20 minute walk from the train station to the gardens. There are quite a few signs leading you to the gardens, so you can feel quite confident getting there in one piece. The neighbourhood is also safe. You can also get to the gardens using Metro North Rail.
Before you make your way around the NYBG, grab the NYBG tram which runs around the perimeter of the gardens. You can get a feel for the sights and then make decisions on which areas you would like to explore. The gardens cover a huge space; if you have time check out all the gardens has to offer. Make a note, the earlier in the day you visit the gardens, the easier it will be to access to tram en route.
First stop, the Mitsubishi Wild Wetland Trail which offers a chance to get a closer look at natural wetland habitats from swamp to marsh to pond. Here you can learn about the important role of wetlands—natural water filters that remove debris from the water supply. Enjoy views of common reed cattails and keep an eye out for ducks, turtles, and other animals as you make your way along the boardwalk. Many birds, including red-winged blackbirds, can be spotted here.
I always love getting lost in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. It is a stunning example of Victorian-style glasshouse artistry, and a New York City Landmark. It is home to A World of Plants, which showcases the wonders of the Garden’s living collections in lush tropical rain forests, cactus-filled deserts, curated displays of palms from around the world, aquatic and carnivorous plants, and much more. From early summer through fall, the Courtyards come alive with vibrant hardy and tropical water lilies and graceful lotus.
Check out the Conservatory courtyard pools which houses water lilies and lotus in brilliant yellow, pink, purple, and even blue float serenely next to waving grasses and reeds. Dominating the tropical pool is the Victoria amazonica, the world’s largest water lily, whose leaves can span seven-feet across.
I always make sure that when I visit the NYBG that I bring a baseball hat, water, granola bars, good sneakers and bug spray. If you are going to be out in the sun, be sure to protect yourself from heat stroke.
Lastly, I also visited the old-growth Forest which will show you some Native American hunting trails, marks left by glaciers and trees dating back to the American Revolution. The Forest remains a magnificent reminder of the beauty and resilience of nature in the face of complex human-caused disturbances. To preserve the Forest for future generations the Garden manages invasive species, plants native plants, and performs research.
Make sure you make time for the NYBG the next time you are in NY and the Bronx!

New York Travel: Whitney Museum of American Art – The Whitney Biennial (May 17–Sep 22, 2019)

The Whitney Museum of American Art, known informally as the “Whitney”, is an art museum in Manhattan. It was founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a wealthy and prominent American socialite and art patron after whom it is named.
The Whitney Biennial is an unmissable event for anyone interested in finding out what’s happening in art today. Curators Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley have been visiting artists over the past year in search of the most important and relevant work. Featuring seventy-five artists and collectives working in painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, performance, and sound, the 2019 Biennial takes the pulse of the contemporary artistic moment. Introduced by the Museum’s founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Biennial is the longest-running exhibition in the country to chart the latest developments in American art.
Check out, Iman Issa’s series Heritage Studies. It is based on objects the artist has encountered in museums around the world, typically those devoted to archaeology and ethnography. Made of materials such as painted wood, copper, and brass, the resulting works typically do not resemble the objects that inspired them; instead they take on new forms that probe the contemporary resonance of their sources. The sculptures are accompanied by didactic texts that draw on the conventions of museum labels while further highlighting the relevance of the historical objects to the present.

I also enjoyed, Nicole Eisenman’s sculptural ensemble Procession. We view the downtrodden and how they carry on and move forward. For the artist this tension poses questions about what it looks like to be disenfranchised, but also part of a community, and about how to protest when protests feel like a constant cycle. Eisenman often combines traditional materials such as bronze and plaster with foam, sneakers, clothing, fog machines, and fountains that hint at bodily realities that sculpture has traditionally worked to transcend. Ultimately Eisenman seeks to pull the viewer into her mirrored view of the world, which she has created as a means of carefully examining our own.

Procession also features a live video feed of the Museum’s eighth-floor gallery where Gamma Delta (1959–60) by Morris Louis is on view as part of the exhibition Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s. The video presents a thermal mapping of the gallery overlaid with an animation. Museums and art institutions have often been characterized as secular temples dedicated to the vision of the historically male “genius.” In the video feed Eisenman subverts the sanctity of that space and questions the cultural framework that has been built up around such places.
Hot Tips: Try to get the museum first thing in the morning when it opens. The lines tend to get long and busy. After you visit walk along the High Line for some great shots of NYC and the Whitney from the outside.
I also enjoy starting at the top floor at the museum and working my way down using the stairs. You miss a lot of the crowds that way.
Don’t forget to check out the terrace and have a coffee in their café. These visits only add to the experience at the Whitney. Take your time, there is no rush. The Whitney is pretty epic!
Make sure you put the Whitney Museum of American Art on your schedule when you next visit New York.

New York Travel: Coney Island

Coney Island is a residential and commercial neighborhood and entertainment area in the southwestern part of the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. The neighborhood is bounded by Sea Gate to its west, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to its east, Lower New York Bay to the south, and Gravesend to the north. Coney Island was formerly the westernmost of the Outer Barrier islands on the southern shore of Long Island, but in the early 20th century it became a peninsula, connected to the rest of Long Island by land fill.
I took the train from Queens directly to Coney Island on a whim. It was not on my schedule on this recent trip. This was some great learning for me; sometimes we can overschedule ourselves on holiday. It’s worth going off schedule to push yourself a little bit and try out some new experiences.
The trip to Coney Island took close to an hour from Queens but it was a relatively easy journey. When I got to Coney Island, I checked out the Aquarium first (grab a reduced ticket from their website to use at anytime). I went to the Aquarium mid day and caught a few shows, took my time watching the fish and slowed my pace down. Keep in mind that the Aquarium closes by 5 p.m.. Leave yourself a lot of time to explore.
Once the sun was less intense, I left the Aquarium and took a stroll down the boardwalk, drunk in the cheesy rundown buildings, people watched and walked up to the pier to get a tad more sun drunk as the cool breeze washed over me. On my way back to the main strip, I popped into Ihop and had some waffles and hash browns. It was hardly memorable. But after a few too many lemonade and ice tea refills I grabbed the train back to Queens. It was a lovely day, soaking up the sun and going back in time to an old school beach experience.

New York Travels: MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1 is one of the largest art institutions in the United States dedicated solely to contemporary art. It is located in the Long Island City neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York City. In addition to its exhibitions, the institution organizes the Sunday Sessions performance series, the Warm Up summer music series, and the Young Architects Program with the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA PS1 has been affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art since January 2000 and, as of 2013, attracts about 200,000 visitors a year.
I enjoy visiting MoMA PS1 every time I am in New York. It always feels like the more accessible little sister to MoMA in Manhattan. It is easier to navigate and I appreciate how much love it shines out in maintaining the school house and the eccentric art that it holds.
Long-term installations at MoMA PS1 can be seen year-round. These site-specific installations range in scale and medium; some are obvious to the eye while others are more subtly placed. Many installations have remained on view since the 1970s, when MoMA PS1 was The Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc. Since MoMA PS1 is the largest non-collecting contemporary art institution in the world, these works belong to the artists. Be sure to check out the hallways, the floors, the stairwells and the brick work in the space. They hold beautiful nuances from artists perfectly hidden but always willing to tell a story to you.
On my recent visit I revelled in Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds “Surviving Active Shooter Custer (Through September 8) exhibit. For more than three decades, Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation, b. 1954) has worked as an artist, activist, and teacher. Based in Oklahoma City and on tribal land, where he has lived since 1981, Heap of Birds consistently creates works that confront repressed or unacknowledged histories of state and settler violence against Native communities in the United States. His work often draws parallels between historical violence and ongoing injustices today. By employing the contemporary term “active shooter” to characterize massacres committed by U.S. troops against Native Americans over a century ago, Heap of Birds reanimates the past in the language of the present. In so doing, he points to the violence of history itself: the power of a dominant culture to erase, forget, or otherwise obscure its own acts of oppression.
Across his drawings, prints, and spatial interventions—such as the steel parking signs that appear throughout the building, alluding to the forced relocation of Native communities, including those in New York, to Oklahoma in the 1830s as part of the Trail of Tears—Heap of Birds harnesses the power of familiar forms and expressions for political ends. In his recent installations of monoprints and their corresponding “ghost prints,” the artist culls poetic fragments from a wide range of sources, appropriating popular music, sayings taken from reservation social gatherings, written accounts of historical events, and political speeches, among others. By transforming vernacular language into monumental works of art resembling grids of protest posters, Heap of Birds blurs the boundaries between aesthetics, pedagogy, and activism, creating a body of work that opens new critical perspectives on American histories and cultures.

Hot Tip:  Go down to the basement and check out the boiler room! 🙂

Take your time at MoMA PS1. Enjoy a meal in their cafeteria and be ready to leave with an education.

New York Travel: Hot Tips (New York Yankee Tickets, How to Research and Where to Find Deals)

My key piece of advice when planning for your trip to New York is to do you research. I know, a headache but it will serve you well when you are on the ground.

I would suggest making a list of everything you would like to do and then map the ideas out by neighbourhood per day in a written schedule. I would pay attention to open and closing times of establishments. Make reservations where you can. Some establishments won’t take reservations as a side note.

I also like to follow social media sites for musuems, galleries, restaurants etc.. Sometimes you can get deals or special promotions if you keep an eye out in advance. Additionally set mobile alerts to these accounts. I liked the and TimeOut NY mobile alerts.


In terms of sports tickets, if you are travelling from overseas you may want to buy your tickets in advance. I lucked out and grabbed $12 USD Yankees tickets against the Blue Jays on the same day when I used my Mastercard. I simply walked up to the window at Yankee Stadium  and scored the deal. Now a bit of a risk but my pocket book thanked me.

In terms of planning out your day’s using the New York Subway, my suggestion would be to grab a subway map and pick a neighbourhood location that you are planning on visiting that day. Then walk around that neighbourhood and visit alternate points of interest. Take your time and visit local coffee and food establishments. Then get back on the train (or walk!) and visit the next closest neighbourhood in your itinerary. This way you can get to know neighbourhoods, their local arts and cultural spots and eateries. You can cover more ground and have a more through understanding of neighbourhoods. If you are in NYC for seven days grab a MetroCard with a 7 day unlimited window. After the 7 days has passed and if you are staying longer in NYC, top it up a few dollars everyday as necessary.



New York Travel: Roosevelt Island Tram

The entrance to Roosevelt tram is at 2nd Avenue and 60th Street. The aerial tramway resembles a ski gondola. Walk up and pay with your subway pass. If you have an Unlimited MetroCard, you pay nothing extra. The gondola / tram takes you to Roosevelt Island in four minutes. Roosevelt Island is a small island in the East River. It is a place where 16,000 people work and live. On Roosevelt Island you can take a wonderful (and quiet) walk. If you want to do this, then walk to the river and then left. There are many benches and a nice view of Manhattan. Perfect for relaxation. You can use the tram again on the way back, but there is also a subway station just behind the tram between the first apartment buildings. Another option is to take NYC Ferry. You can board on the east side of the island. It first stops at Long Island City and then continues to Manhattan.