Posted in Community, Daddy, events, family, Life, news, The Urban Daddy

Happy Pi Day! (March 14th, 2020)


Today, March 14th, 2020 is Pi Day. It is a day to celebrate the mathematical constant pi (π). Some people feel today is the day to also eat lots of pie, however, I think in light of the recent school closures due to COVID-19, today should celebrate Pi and washing our hands while keeping a social distance from everyone.

Pi day is my second favourite day of the year after May 4th, (Star Wars day – May the Force Be With You). Living with teenagers also means they include April 20th as a day of mention and thankfully there is no 69th day of any month (although the 69th day is this year would have been March the 9th, 2020.

Anyways…

National Pi Day not only commemorates a very special number, but also celebrates the birthday of the great scientist and mathematician Albert Einstein. 

Pi Facts

Pi was first calculated by Archimedes of Syracuse (287–212 BC), one of the greatest mathematicians of the ancient world.

The National Pi Day Animal? The Pi-Thon

Can you recite pi? Some say, 3.1415… I say, apple, blueberry, boston creme, cherry…

What percentage of sailors are pi-rates? 3.14%

The math teacher announced that “Pi r squared”, and baker replies, “No, pies are round. Cakes are square.”

What do you get when you take the sun and divide its circumference by its diameter? You get Pi in the sky, of course.

Mama said never talk to strangers. Mummy said never talk to pi. He’ll go on forever.

What do teachers from Georgia like to eat for dessert? Peach pi.

Finally, if you ask a scientist what pi is, they will tell you it equals 3.14159.

If you ask a mathematician, they will tell you that pi equals the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. 

If you ask an engineer, they will say “Pi? Well, it’s just barely over 3, but we’ll call it 4 just to be safe.”

If you ask a very young child, they will ask if they can have ice cream with it.

If you ask my children, they will tell you that Pi can be calculated to 31.4 trillion digits as of 2019. They will then see which one can recite the most digits.

Posted in Canada, Community, events, health, news, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Cancelled


Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in partnership with Credit
Valley Conservation (CVC), regrettably announce the cancellation of its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to proactively protect its staff, visitors, and all who would be in attendance, from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19.

The cancellation is in line with the recent announcement from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health recommending the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of more than 250 people, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, as well as recommendations by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

TRCA and CVC conducted a risk assessment and decided to cancel its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to ensure the public safety of all involved.

The 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break activities cancellation effects the following locations and dates:
Kortright Centre for Conservation – from March 14 – April 12
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area – from March 14 – April 12, including March Break (March 16 – 20) and Good Friday (April 10)
Terra Cotta Conservation Area – weekends (March 14 – April 5) and March Break (March 16 – 20)
Island Lake Conservation Area – March 20, 21 & 28
Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break – March 16 – 22

For further information, please visit maplesyrupfest.com and blackcreek.ca.

Posted in Canada, Daddy, family, Happy Boy, Life, Linus, news, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Spring is Coming! Not because a Groundhog said so but because MLB’s Spring Training is starting soon!


I join the throngs of other people who scoff at the notion that a groundhog – a giant rodent – determines whether we are having an early spring or if there is 6 more weeks of winter.

Sure, groundhog day is fun for the kids – most kids, any way – mine just wondered how seeing a shadow influenced global weather patterns, but I don’t waste time explaining that to the kids – they’re old enough now, they tell me the truth about Groundhog Day.

Apparently, according to my eldest, farmers used the Groundhog to determine if there was going to be an early spring because the Groundhog likes to get a jump on the mating season, so they would cease hibernating and come out of their holes to find a mate so that when it starts to get warm, the babies will survive.

“Nothing to do with shadows, Dad. Groundhog day is about sex!”

Well, at least that makes more sense that the shadow thing.

But, being The Urban Daddy, I have to remind my children that the real telltale sign of spring is Spring Training for baseball, which is set to begin on February 21st this year when the first games are played.

“Yes, we know, Dad. You tell us every year. We hate baseball. The games are long and boring, the stadiums are empty, the players make too much money and half the league cheats.”

Ouch.

Nonetheless, while Groundhog day might come and go, and the fate of the seasons hinges on whether that silly groundhog sees it’s shadow or doesn’t see it’s shadow, the buzz of baseball is the true sign that the seasons are changing.

Batter up!

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Life, money, news, Parenting, politics, school, Toronto

Ontario Teachers Working to Rule and Strikes. Some Facts: Does this make sense to you?


I’m not going to lie, but I’m on the side of the government in this dispute.

Fact: The Conservative government was elected in the province of Ontario.

Fact: The teachers unions were not elected.

Fact: The government of Ontario makes the laws and policies for the province.

Fact: Teachers unions do NOT make laws or policies. Their mandate is to look after the interests of their membership.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look a bit closer at my bias against unions – I don’t hate unions – I just don’t feel that unions have their place in every single field of employment. Considering that unions were created to give workers a collective voice against employers, I’m not sure today’s employees are so hard done by that they need a collective voice. Especially in light of the pattern or wage increase after wage increase.

That being said… Do the teachers unions, and their actions of rotating strikes benefit their members?

Fact: No.

Let me explain.

Many moons ago, I worked for a federal government agency which went on strike 3 times in the 10 plus years that I was there. In each case it was because we did not have a contract. That never concerned me because I had a job, I was being paid, and for the most part, enjoyed my job.

After living through a couple of strikes, I came to realize that striking was more than just walking off the job and forcing the government to give us a raise. I had never walked a picket line, why would I?

That was until the 3rd strike, when I started to do some math.

I realized this:

Our union wanted a 1 1/2 percent wage increase. The government wanted to hold salaries at the same level because times were tough.

We walked off the job for the week. I checked in at the picket line to receive my $50/day “strike pay”. After a week the government and union reached an agreement and we received 1%.

But…

We lost more than 1% while on strike.

So we walked the picket line and lost money.

That doesn’t make sense, now does it…

So let’s look at the Ontario teachers and use some very round figures.

Fact: The average teacher salary in Ontario is $92,000 per year.

Fact: The average teacher makes $1,769.23 per week before taxes.

Fact: The average teacher makes $353.85 per day, before taxes.

Fact: If the union accepted the 1% pay increase, Ontario teachers would have received a raise of $920 per year.

That means if the Ontario teachers are off the job more than 3 times ($353.85 x 3 = $1,061.55), then they will lose money once the new agreement is signed, even if you add in the $50 strike pay per day.

That’s crazy, right?

Unions forcing their teachers to walk the picket line in order to lose money. The Ontario government should thank them.

But beyond the lack of fiscal responsibility, comes the issues of government funding, special needs funding, class sizes and online courses.

Let’s briefly look at those:

  1. Government funding. Fact: The Ontario Conservative party has spent more money on the public education system than the previous Liberal government. Based on the fact that teacher salaries increase every year, the government would have to cut a lot in order to spend less. But they have not. It’s akin to the Democrats in the US telling media sources that they were going to impeach the President of the US before the President had even taken office, the rhetoric began to fly in Ontario before the government even announced how much the education budget was going to be. Interesting bargaining / foreshadowing
  2. The Conservative government has spent more money on special needs education than any party before them. Listen to the unions and special interest groups and you would be led to believe otherwise. When presented with facts, such as total dollars spent, these groups just state that the information is not accurate. That’s a convenient argument.
  3. Class sizes. So this is a tough one because there are no studies which state a specific class size is the perfect class size. It’s up to the Minister of Education to determine and not the unions. Dare I be skeptical here and say that of course class sizes are too big for unions. That means more work. It would be so much better – possibly – if it were a 1-to-1 ratio, because that means more teachers and more teachers means more union dues, which means a more powerful union. It also means more money that unions can spend on ads attacking the government rather than on education which they claim to care so much about.
  4. Online courses. I understand why the unions are all over this one. It means at the outset, less teachers, which means less dues-paying members, which means less power for the union. It doesn’t have to be that way, but with teachers salaries always increasing, it’s not like they’re going to suddenly give themselves pay cuts, right?The fact here is that Ontario was spent into massive debt and deficit amounts thanks to the Liberal government. Everyone who elected the Conservatives did so knowing that they were going to have to tighten their belts. (This over-spending must be a Liberal strategy to ensure that they get re-elected). Apparently the teachers and unions are exempt from this, and forgetting that these are our tax dollars being spent on their wages. I don’t even have children in the public education system anymore, but I’m paying for their salaries.

With all of that being said, spend some time browsing the Internet for countries and cities who have push for more online courses and you will find educated, high-achieving communities taking advantage of technology and moving ahead of the pack.

Heck, I completed my MBA online, and would have benefited from having prior experience taking online courses. Every organization that I volunteer with requires me to take online courses. Why is this good for the rest of the world, but not good enough for Ontario? Because the teacher’s unions tell us it’s a bad thing???

None of that makes sense to me.

What does make sense is the fact that these unions have decided year-over-year to put their interests over those of the students that they claim to support. If they really felt that it was all about the students, then let them run for election under that platform and see how they do. If they win, great, give them a raise. If they lose, then no more putting self-serving interests over top of the students.

Just my two-cents worth.

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, events, family, Life, news, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy

Thomas the Tank Engine is Coming to Uxbridge, Ontario! August 9th to 11th AND 16th to 18th


Upon learning that Thomas the Tank Engine is coming to Uxbridge, Ontario for Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019, I could not help but get flooded with great memories of a fun event, with lots to do, and not just on the railway, but also in beautiful Uxbridge.

It’s a fun event, even if it’s really hot outside, and the kids are cranky, etc. It’s a train ride! It’s Thomas. There is music, games, food, activities and fun.

All aboard! 

Thomas the Tank Engine invites little engineers to go full steam ahead for a day of engaging activities and fun adventures at Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019. 

Thomas pulls into York-Durham Railway on August 9th-11th and 16th-18th.

It’s been a few years, mind you, but with 3 children we’ve had more than a few opportunities to come to Uxbridge and spend time with Thomas and friends. It’s always been an enjoyable event with lots to do, plenty of parking and the picture! Yes, the picture of your family in front of Thomas. We have them all over the house and we look back at these cute family photos fondly.

In addition to riding on the famous train, we met Sir Topham Hatt the Controller of the Railway and enjoyed a day of Thomas-themed activities including toy play, photo ops, and more.

What’s amazing is that this tour is now in its 24th year. Man, I feel old! In addition, the tour now makes 37 stops across the Canada and the US and is expected to welcome nearly one million passengers in 2019.

What do you get:

  • 25-minute (approximate) ride with a talking Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Meet & Greet with Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway
  • Thomas & Friends Imagination Station featuring a variety of activities
  • All-new “Ask an Engineer” booth, where several kids can talk to an engineer and learn about trains and working on the rails
  • A ‘Passport to Adventures’ booklet for children to track their journey at the event and receive a special prize upon completion.
  • Thomas & Friends-themed activities including toy play, photo ops, and more

 

TIME:       9am-3:45pm

WHERE:  York-Durham Heritage Railway

19 Railway Street Uxbridge, ON L9P 1E5

 

Tickets for Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019 are on sale now and available by calling Ticketweb toll-free at 866-468-7630, or by visiting www.dayoutwiththomas.com. Ticket prices are $28.65 plus tax for ages 2 and up (service charges and fee may apply).

 

For more information and directions, contact the railway here ydhr@ydhr.ca. or visit ydhr.ca/thomas

For more information about the wonderful world of Thomas & Friends please visit: www.thomasandfriends.comwww.facebook.com/thomasandfriends and for bonus material and exclusive content www.youtube.com/user/thomasandfriends.