Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
When George Gardiner began collecting ceramics in 1976, he was only interested in decorating his home. But soon his passion for pottery and porcelain grew, and, rather than build a second home entirely from teapots, he co-founded the Gardiner Museum in 1984 with his wife, Helen. Today, the museum's collection has ballooned to include more than 3,000 pieces, encompassing everything from Japanese sake pots and Canadian ceramic sculptures to Italian Renaissance maiolica plates.
Objects from the core collection share space in the museum with special exhibitions. One of these is the annual 12 Trees of Christmas, a display of holiday trees. The museum supplements its showings with events such as lectures and ceramics-inspired meals, as well as clay classes for budding adult and child ceramicists. Visitors can even take home pieces from the Gardiner Shop, which sells Canadian ceramics, as well as international jewelry, scarves, and glasswork.
The sixth annual Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival celebrates the history of Canadian aviation with showcases, exhibits, and live demonstrations on the grounds of Downsview Park and Airport, Canada’s first urban national park. Tickets grant entrance to Hangar Bay 1's exhibitions and aircraft displays, access to outdoor display grounds and runways, free Canadian Air & Space Museum admission, and a tour of the newborn helicopter nursery. Wings events showcase classic aircraft from the world's oldest flying DHC-1 Chipmunk to brand-new cloud ticklers such as the gargantuan C-130J Super Hercules. In-between browsing fields of professionally manufactured and home-built aircraft, guests watch pilots fly swiftly into the airport compound.
Toronto Zoo's 710-acre grounds and five indoor pavilions house more than 5,000 animals representing more than 500 species in recreated habitats. More than 10 kilometres of walking trails wind through fall colours and seven geographical zones designed for year-round exhibition, bringing wanderers up close to fauna from far away places such as Africa, Australia, and James Cameron's subconscious. Recently moved in to a 6,000-square-foot exhibit, endangered african penguins make funny faces at visitors in an underwater viewing area, where the tuxedoed tykes dive and swim. Western lowland gorillas headline the rainforest exhibits, and a stroll through the Tundra Trek unveils a five-acre polar bear habitat and a reindeer flight-training camp. Upcoming events include the Oasis ZooRun, Remembrance Day, Boo at the Zoo, and the Christmas Treats Walk. Visitors are welcome to pack their own lunch or opt for on-site food options, which span cafés, restaurants, and snack bars, enabling grab-and-go or sit-and-ponder-existence refueling.
A non-profit design centre and museum, Design Exchange educates guests in all realms of design with unique lectures, programs, exhibitions, tours of its historic building and collection, and youth activities. A family/dual membership grants pairs and families unlimited exhibition entrances, as well as free admission or discounts to lectures, movie nights, workshops, and gladiatorial paintbrush matches. Members may also enter a raffle drawing for two tickets to the November DX Awards, a celebration of excellence and creative mind bending in Canadian design. Membership also proffers discounts for children's enrolment in design camps and a 15 per cent discount off items from the DX Shop, a gallery of designer publications, apparel, household goods, and decor. Visitors may expect impromptu sightings of the industry's most creative and untamed minds, as well as peeks at upcoming design trends.
The eZone entices players of all ages with more than 30,000 square feet of space for energetic group games. The majestic sport of WhirlyBall combines the tenets of bumper cars, hockey, and lacrosse in a brilliant amalgamation that was carelessly overlooked by Mother Nature. WhirlyBallers in the heat of combat must steer their WhirlyBug cars with one hand while simultaneously using a plastic scoop to fling a wiffle ball at an elevated goal. Groups of up to 10 people can zoom around the court for 30 minutes or can use two Groupons for a full hour of fast frenzy. First-time players might be surprised by the intensity and speed of the game, which thuds and whizzes its strapped-in participants on an electronic court. Each car sports a special steering mechanism that enables the driver to steer in any direction, maximizes control, and makes it easier to parallel park in absolute darkness.