Memories of Toronto
Toronto, the Capital city of Ontario Province, is Canada's largest city with a population of over 2.5 million people (although if you take the Greater Toronto area into account, that number rises to over 8 million). To be honest I was actually quite surprised that this was the largest and most populated city in Canada. Compared to most European cities it has a very sparse population, and is very quiet and - even on a weekday if you wander around the harbour front at Lake Ontario, there's hardly a whisker in sight. It's also a very clean city- well that statement applies to the vast majority of the country. Again that comparison to Europe comes to mind- Europe is no where cleaner than Canada. But above all else its the people that make the difference. Toronto is a multicultural metropolis, and a thriving hotpot for immigrants- though the numbers are not as high as the Canadian government would want them to be. Everyone lives side by side in harmony with each other’s cultures. In a way it i kind of like the "Singapore" of the west. There are parts of Toronto that are known as "China Town (although most of the inhabitants are not Chinese but Vietnamese), Little India, Greek Town and so on. Altogether there are people from over 200 countries living in Toronto.
In Canada, it doesn't matter if you are a newly arrived immigrant from, say, Zambia for example, or a native white Canadian that has resided in this city for your whole life- in the end the most common thing is that you are classed as a Canadian. In actual fact everyone residing in Canada is an immigrant if you think about it because the real indigenous Canadians are the "Native Indians" (just like in America, New Zealand and Australia).
After Hong Kong and New York, Toronto probably has the most striking skyline in the world. The best photos are available from "Snake Island" across on the main Toronto Island in Lake Ontario where the whole city can be seen, including the Roger's Stadium Dome situated next to the famed CN Tower. The best time to take the photos are in the afternoon/early evening or early morning, when the water in the harbour is bit calm. This calmness of the water enables the best reflections to be gained- nicely blending in all the lovely colours of the lights from the buildings, but also of the beautiful deep blend of pink and dark blue of the sky. Because of the clean air, the sky is amazingly beautiful no matter what time of the day it is. Here are some photos I have taken of this beautiful city during my latest press trip. Enjoy!
Glimpses of Guangzhou
Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province in the south eastern region of China, is going to be hosting the 2010 Asian Games in November this year. This will be the first time that China has hosted the games, and the first time that such a large scale sporting global event is going to be witnessed in Guangzhou. The city is known for its rich Cantonese (or Guangdong) culture, delicious Cantonese food (you can eat whatever you like- seriously!), Cantonese Opera and the history that is as old as the grassroots of the north of China. Here are some photos which I have taken on my recent visit earlier this year to this amazing city. Enjoy!
More than 2,000 people took to the streets of downtown Toronto on Saturday the 6th of March — two days ahead of International Women's Day on March 8. Toronto Journo, Jen Palisoc was there to bring the latest LIVE to Toronto's 3 million residents.
One is a British mother from the town of Dagenham (Essex), and the other is a former construction worker from Holland. Both are young, hugely talented singers and full of energy, as well as having sheer determination to succeed and prove their critics (if they have any!) wrong. I have to confess, however, that I have only watched X-Factor once when I was in the UK, and I have never watched Popstars. I love all kinds of music from all parts of the world, but these days I seldom have time to watch any television (maybe just on a plane or a hotel when I am travelling). I suppose I can get away with not watching Popstars because that’s more of a mainland European competition. It must take a certain person to stand up and have the courage to sing (and act) in front of millions of people around the world- and to keep them continually entertained.
Despite my great love for all kinds of music from all around the world, I am, to the disappointment of many, no big fan of X-factor. In the few moments I spoke to Stacey Solomon for, who is a proud Jew, I found her to be a very polite and nice person- and I suppose an inspiration for many. It must be very challenging for her to be under all that limelight, while looking after a young child AND studying at the same time. I admire people like that. To go from the rough streets of a town like Dagenham (from my experience, the town is an example of a typical working class area- sorry but its factual information), and rise to fame with such talent takes a certain person, and hats off to this lady for doing that! My Canon 500D was neatly packed away, so I had to do with the IXUS 801S- the photo does have slight grains in it.
On this press trip to Amsterdam, I met with another equally inspirational personality- this one was from mainland Europe. By sheer chance, or call it just pure coincidence, I somehow managed to bump into a large crowd of singers and dancers in the middle of Dam Square, Amsterdam. A few dozen people were standing in a semi circle surrounding a young chap who was singing in Dutch. Clapping their hands in rhythm to his song, the troupe seemed to be part of the Television show, Popstars, which is the European version of Britain’s X-Factor. The young chap singing and dancing in the middle of the crowd was Wesley Klein, the winner of the Popstars competition. I later found out that he has had an amazing transformation in his life too. For someone who worked as a construction worker (builder), nothing could have been more than a distant dream than going onto win the largest singing competition on mainland Europe. He seemed to enjoy every word, every move of the songs he was singing, and the attention he was getting from the crowds. Below are photos of both of these remarkable people.
'Free' hugs for Haiti? Really?!
Toronto's university students divided into teams and staked-out intersections harassing pedestrians for donations to give the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti in return for free hugs (now you see the catch in their posters). When quizzed as to where donations would go they had no idea. They couldn't say how much would go to 'the people' -- in fact one of them even joked and even had no idea where Haiti was. Another girl asked me where I came from. When I told her China, she said 'China needs plenty of donations too'... that's when I walked-on.
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