Showing posts from 2010

Marilyn Monroe’s concrete body now finished


Marilyn Monroe’s concrete body now finished

December 03, 2010
Stephen Weir

Special to the Toronto Star
Posted on the Star's site

Hazel McCallion believes that the “topping-off” of the 56-storey Absolute condominium is a giant step in making Mississauga a “Global City.”
The completion of the new 428-unit curvy cement and glass building is the making of an iconic attraction that will bring more boldly designed high-rises to the city and create a tourist attraction, Mississauga’s mayor says.
“This building has already set a new standard for design in Mississauga,” McCallion told a happy crowd of construction workers last week at a top-off party for the recently completed building.
The mayor, sharing a stage with the officials of Fernbrook Homes, Cityzen Development Group, Dominus Group and the Beijing based MAD Architects, urged the consortium to build again in her city and as soon as possible. Calling the Absolute tower, also known as the Marilyn Monroe building because of its…

Jill Heinreth: A Canadian life where blue is anything but

Jill Heinreth: A Canadian life where blue is anything but
By Stephen Weir

It's like going next door to borrow a cuppa sugar and coming back with filet mignon. It is not what you wanted, but who is going to complain. Whenever Jill Heinreth speaks at a Niagara Falls wreck diving symposium, you can pretty well count on her talking about anything other than Great Lake shipwrecks - but, that is okay, the audiences adore her!
Earlier this year she was the headline speaker at the 16th annual Niagara Divers' Association Shipwreck Festival in Welland, Ontario. While people like wreck hunter Dave Trotter and Georgann and Mike Wachter showed film from their latest fresh water discovies, Jill got up on stage and talked about why divers die using rebreathers! A few years before at the same wreck-heavy conference Jill wowed the audiences with stories and pictures of her dives in Mexican caves and Antarctic iceberg fissures!
The audience in Welland, Ontario love her. She has spoken twice and p…

Sidebar: Jill Heinreth


Sidebar to the Diver Magazine feature
By Stephen Weir

Jill Heinreth Milestones

Heinreth’s numerous milestones include induction to the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame and being named a living legend by Sport Diving Magazine. She was named Canadian Technical Diver of the Year, and holds various pioneering diving records. She won the STAND Award for Environmental Photography in 2008. Among her many documentary film making awards are the Cine Golden Eagle and a Redemptive Film Festival Storyteller award. Jill is consistently among the top winners of many prestigious photography competitions and salons.


Technical Rebreather Instructor, Cave & Mixed Gas Instructor - International Association of Nitrox and Tech Divers (IANTD)
Extended Range Cave Diving Instructor - National Speleological Society (NSS)
Master Instructor - Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)

Marilyn Monroe’s concrete body now finished and fireworks lit the sky in Mississauga Top-Off ceremony


This is a follow-up story to the large How Is It Built Feature published by the Toronto Star earlier this fall.

Mississauga mayor says it is only the beginning
By Stephen Weir

Hazel McCallion believes that the "topping-off" of the 56-storey Marilyn Monroe condominium is a giant step in making Mississauga a “Global City”. The mayor says the completion of the new 428-unit curvy cement and glass building is the making of an iconic attraction that will bring more boldly designed high-rises to the city and create a tourist attraction!
“ This building has already set a new standard for design in Mississauga!” Mayor Hazel McCallion told a happy crowd o…

Canada's Capital Region hangs out the Christmas lights


Visitors to Ottawa have plenty of choice this winter whether they want to stay inside or outside. This December, the Ottawa region will be energized by the lights of Christmas, outdoor skating, the Nutcracker and, of course, hockey! And if you book your hotel or getaway package before March 31, 2011 , you can enjoy a 3rd night free at participating hotels. Visit for full details on this as well as the other special offers and packages available.
Over the coming weeks, Ottawa will play host to Christmas Lights Across Canada; performances of The Nutcracker and Nativity: a Coyote’s Christmas at the National Arts Centre, The Bell Capital Cup hockey tournament and the 41st skating season on the Rideau Canal Skateway where visitors can skate, for free, on the world’s largest outdoor rink.
For the past 25 years, Ottawa has had a Christmas lights festival to brighten the O…

Maori elders greeted the dawn and then rubbed our noses in it!


A few minutes into the official opening of Whales | Tohora, a Maori elder told the invited audience that at one time her people were fierce hunters of whales. But, she said, the Maori have changed their ways and are helping the scientific community in New Zealand study the world's largest creatures.

Whales | Tohora is a new travelling exhibition that just rolled into Toronto. Opening at the Ontario Science Centre, the whale show includes two enormous, fully-articulated sperm whale skeletons, life-sized reproductions and a crawl-through model of a whale heart.
Objects in this 750 square metre exhibition include rare specimens from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa's whale collection, one of the largest in the world. In addition to the science and biology of whales, Whales | Tohora explores the cultural and historical significance of these creatures to the Maori and Pakeha (non-Maori) cultur…

Wildlife Artist George Mclean signs Andy Donato's copy of his new book, 'George McLean: The Living Landscape'



Toronto Sun photographer Andy Donato (right) chats to artist George McLean (left) at the Toronto launch of George McLean: The Living Landscape. The book, written by Virginia Eichhorn, Tom Smart and Adam Duncan Harris, was launched at the Ben McNally Bookstore in downtown Toronto.

McLean is one of Canada’s finest wildlife artist. His technical prowess, his affinity for his subject matter, and his densely layered depictions of the natural world emerge directly from his intense interest in wildlife.
Now in his seventies, his passion for the creatures and the habitat that surrounds him is as intense as it ever was, as is his desire to share his passion with others through his art.
In this new book, Tom Thomson Gallery curator Virginia Eichhorn, examines the development of McLean’s art and trace his varied influences, casting his work in the light of early 20th-century artists Carl Rungius , Bruno Liljefors, and Andr…

Get your '50s kicks for FREE ...

On New Hampshire's Retro Route # 3
(from New Hampshire's Maple Gazette)

Who says you can't turn back the hands of time? It can if you take a motor trip to New Hampshire. The State's Route 3 Retro Tour shows you how to drive back in time.
The 133 miles of gorgeous byways between Tilton and Pittsburg contain a treasure chest of affordable, 1950's and 1960's-era, owner-operated motels, motor courts and attractions.Route 3 is situated between Lake Winnipesaukee and the northern border of New Hampshire. This was the main north-south travel route for vacation and business travellers alike during the 1950's and 1960's. Attractions still abound along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, in both Weirs Beach and Meredith's abundant shopping areas, where New Hampshire's Route 3 Retro Tour begins.
It is surprising how much of the 50s has survived. The 104 Diner -- the last Worcester (railroad) Lunch Car to be built in America -- is a must stop. So is Chutters (a…

Vampire Rules In Toronto Condos - Candidates Have To Be Asked In

Leaving the Vampire Rules Behind
Will Condo Owners Flex their electoral muscle this October?

Edited Version Of This Story To Appear In Torontoist October 25

By Stephen Weir

When it comes to talking politics in most condo buildings, Vampire rules are in effect … no politician can cross the threshold unless invited in and best that they come after dark. Hundreds of thousands of voters in the GTA keep their crypts in condominiums – is this the October that a stake is driven through the heart of the condo group apathy towards all things political, and this block of voters takes its rightful place in the sunlight?
Some high profile city candidates including both mayoral and city council seat seekers, wonder and worry whether 2010 is the year that condo owners exercise their franchise. A fledging condo association has flagged civic issues that condo owners should take an interest in, and a veteran NDP MPP has once again introduced a private member’s bill that, in effect, will create a charter…

Do Toronto Condo Dwellers Vote In Civic Elections?

Sidebar: Voting by the numbers.

Councillor Mihevcfeels that condo residents tend to not take as much of interest in local politics as people who live in houses and apartment buildings. MPP Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina) agrees that Toronto’s condo culture works against residents – owners and renters alike – to get involved in civic politics, but feels that it is changing.
“This is one of the things that come out of that culture of living in a condo, it was sold as ‘you live in your unit, you go away for a holiday, and here is your key’. You lock the door and you are gone, you don’t have to worry about a thing. The point of a condo living in the beginning of the boom was that you don’t have to talk to anyone. You don’t have to be part of a community, “explained Marchese. “The culture of it was based on the idea that you have got things you want to do in life and your condominium offers you an opportunity to do just that, and it gives you the privacy you are looking for. That is ch…

Background for Nassau Article - Log Books

Photos of Stephen Weir by Janine, Halifax underwater shark wrangler and photographer at Stuart Cove, Nassau

Dive #1
Wreck of the port royal and bacardii reef
Stuart cove
Depth 109 ft
Buddy – some guy from texas
In; 3,100 LBS 32% NITROX OUT 100 lbs
Stops 4 minutes computer on setting for air and it NEVER went into decompression

Worst dive since the time maria got lost in the dam in peterborough. Lost my camera, flooded. O-rings. I was stressed. Checked out a wreck. Govt gun ship, now an artificial reef. Covered in small fish. Quite a colony of groupers there. Lion fish abound. Stuart Cover says he has a licence to trap the lionfish but he says he has lost the battle. Got the resident photographer to take a picture of me inside the wreck with a lion fish.
Lost my buddy. Instructor from texas. He was wearing earphones and listening to music. Found him as he was going over to the wall. It started at 100 feet. \he said let’s take a look but since \i only had 1,000 lbs by this pt, …

Looking up Marilyn Monroe's concrete skirt


Construction company using concrete, and lots of it, to give Marilyn Monroe curves that will stand the test of time.
Toronto Star September 18th feature story (Condo Section:
By Stephen Weir

Long after the world has forgotten Marilyn Monroe, two well endowed condos will still be twisting the years away in downtown Mississauga. Curvaceous. Shockingly new. Absolute Buildings 4 and 5 are being built to last for the next century and beyond.
While their growing shapes are unconventional (Absolute 4 been dubbed the Marilyn Monroe because of its curves while Absolute 5 will sport a masculine big butt profile) it is the traditional application of concrete, and lots of it, that will make these buildings an eye-catching monument in time.
The 50 and 56 story condominiums have been under construction for over three years. Now, as the structures begin to tower over the nearby City Hall and…

Factoids about the Marilyn Monroe Building and Absolute 5


Condo Trivia By Stephen Weir
Mississsauga's startling new condominium project. Story appeared in September 18, 2010 Toronto Star. Factoids only on website. Main feature appeared in print.


• Absolute 4 (Marilyn Monroe) has a rotation of 207 degrees from the base to the top.
• Absolute 5 has a rotation of 200 degrees from the base to the top.
• Absolute 4 (Marilyn Monroe) will reach 56 storeys. Each level has 9ft ceilings except the penthouse levels which will have 10ft ceilings
• Marilyn Monroe has 428 suites; her shorter companion will have more … 453 in total.
• Marilyn Monroe’s largest suite will be 3,500 sq feet, her smallest will be 545 sq ft
• Marilyn Monroe will have 6 penthouse units, 100 21/2 -bedroom suites, 217 2-bedroom suites and only 28 1-bedroom units. There will be no bachelor units.
• Amount of concrete that has been poured: 4400 cubic meters
• Amount of concrete still to be poured: 1500 cubic meters
• Absolute 4 and 5 share a common garage. There will be 954 parki…

Winnipeg sculptor donates pieces to the McMichael

The McMichael unveiled its plans to enhance the gallery grounds and build an outdoor Sculpture Garden featuring works by a well known Canadian artist Ivan Eyres at a media event early in September. Two of the large nine pieces that Ayres is donating have been cast and will soon be installed in Kleinburg. The remaining pieces will be cast over the next 18-months.
The McMichael previously received confirmation on March 12, 2010 that the Federal and Provincial governments will contribute $4.2 million through the Infrastructure Stimulus Funding program to complete this major project. This money will be used to enhance the grounds of the public gallery. A fund raising project has been launched to cover the costs of installing Mr. Ayres work.

CUTLINE: Upkar Arora, chair of the McMichael board of trustees, with from left, Michael Johnston, chair of the McMichael Foundation, Tom Smart, outgoing gallery executive director and board member David Loch. Three of nine maquettes created by Winnipeg…

Lucky Gord. Poor Hilly. Renfrew Tales

Renfrew. The luckiest town in the Ottawa Valley
The unfortunate love story of Lucky Gord and Hilly.
By Stephen Weir
a rare unpublished fiction short-story based on fact/family history

DeMoss, the hired hand who spent his winters in the lean-to barn at the end of our unpaved lane, said I was lucky that I lived in Renfrew. The clean Ottawa Valley air. The good huntin'. Best of all, an arena that let you play full contact hockey without havin' to wear sissy protective gear.
DeMoss never thought to talk to me about the women. Didn't say anything about the men either. He was blissfully unaware of Renfrew mating practices.
The young males and females in Renfrew had no trouble finding each other, but they were really lucky if they could find a place to be alone together. Priests. Neighbours. Fathers. Mothers. Noisy brothers and sisters. You know the drill.
My 17-year old sister Hilly and her 30-year old fiancée, Gord Ford, took to parking his Dodge (no kidding) in a field near our home …

Sublimnos - Muse for James Cameron



Sublimnos No Longer Out Of Sight
… And Definitely Not Out of Mind

By Stephen Weir

It will take a long long time for a piece of Canadian dive history to rust into dust. Given the hard feelings surrounding the historic Sublimnos Project, the deteriorating, remains of that underwater habitat could well be an above-water Lake Ontario eyesore for years until rust indeed becomes dust.
Back in the summer of 1969 Sublimnos was set down in the waters of Georgian Bay near Tobermory, Ontario the self-described "fresh water scuba diving capital of the world" .It was a bargain basement underwater research station. Constructed from a railroad tanker for just $10,000.00, Sublimnos became Canada’s first subsurface research laboratory.
From 1969 to 1971 the Sublimnos project, funded and spearhead by physician, author, explorer and frequent Diver Magazine contributor Dr. Joe McInnis, was headline news around the world. Built to accommodate up to four divers at a time, in its first two-years o…