One or Two Marathons in Toronto?

I continue to work on the “look and feel” for the site layout. Please click the ‘About‘ button on the top row if you want background information about this site.

Should there be one or two marathons* in Toronto?

This has been discussed in the informal running community for some years.

I don’t have ties to either organizer, but it always seemed clear that there was serious competition between the “upstart” Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the “longer-running” Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon.

My carefully-considered opinion comes down to two questions:

  1. If I had to choose to run only one or the other, which would I choose? The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon would be my choice, by a very narrow margin.
  2. Which marathon is better for Toronto? The winner by a landslide would be the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Why?

The Goodlife marathon has more elevation changes; it goes through different neighbourhoods; and the facilities are better (both at the start, Mel Lastman Square, and the end at Queen’s Park with the use of Hart House for a shower and change). It just feels more like a tour of Toronto.

Their site shows that the average runner has a faster time in the Goodlife marathon. Makes sense to me, because it is “net downhill”.

But the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is the race that Toronto needs. Consider the elite finishing times:

  • This is the fastest men’s marthon on Canadian soil. Finally, after more than 30 years, we’ve beaten the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
  • The world record for Men’s age 70-74, Men’s age 75-79, and Men’s age 90+, were set at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. (Thank you: Ed Whitlock of Milton, Ontario; Fauja Singh of London, England).
  • No other marathon on Canadian soil has the men’s winning finishing times comparable to Boston or New York. (Let’s admit that Boston’s route has significant hills, while the Waterfront marathon is carefully flat).

The reason – the Waterfront marathon organizers have arranged the funding to attract the better elite runners. That’s part of the competition between the two events – getting sponsorships and attracting talent.

So, if we must drop one and keep one, let’s keep the event that has attracted the fastest elite runners: the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

For the record: the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is held on the final Sunday of September. The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon is held in October, on the Sunday immediately following Canadian Thanksgiving Monday. (This normally means there is a 3-week gap between these events. But when Sept. 30 falls on a Sunday, then there is only a 2-week delay).

*For runners, a ‘marathon’ is exactly 26 miles + 385 yards; the metric distance is 42.2 Km. When anyone else talks about a “marathon effort”, they mean “a really big effort”. But in athletics, that’s the distance. How that came to be, is another story…

[This post was last updated 2010-02-03.]

WinterCity versus Winterlicious in Toronto

(Updated Jan. 11, 2013): My latest Winterlicious article is “Prepare to Savour 2013 Winterlicious in Toronto“; I’d also written the complementary “Summerlicious 2012 Hosted by Top Toronto Restaurants“.

(Updated Aug. 11, 2012): Apparently “WinterCity” was cut from Toronto’s budget for 2012; but Winterlicious continued.

Winter, of course, continues in the face of climate change; at least for the present time and in Ontario.

These mascots may have nothing to do with this article, but the snow speaks to me of winter; and they are at Toronto City Hall.

(End of update).

"Mascots at Toronto City Hall in Winter of 2010" image by happyworker
"Mascots at Toronto City Hall in Winter of 2010" image by happyworker

WinterCity versus Winterlicious in Toronto

Briefly:

WinterCity 2010 runs from January 29 to February 11, 2010.

It combines “culture, creativity and cuisine” (as noted in City Hall’s page: http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/wintercity/2010/ .

WinterCity includes shows and art installations at Nathan Phillips Square (which I usually read as “Toronto City Hall” – but it’s the square in front of city hall, at Queen and Bay streets). These events are:

  • Friday, Jan. 29  at  8 pm: ‘Time Is…‘: Chinese themes on a vertical stage
  • Cosmogonia‘: The Genesis creation in “cascading water and fire” on three dates:
    • Saturday, Jan. 30  at  8 pm
    • Sunday, Jan. 31  at  7 pm
    • Saturday, Feb. 6  at  8 pm
  • Friday, Feb. 5  at  8 pm: ‘Namastey‘: Bollywood themes on a vertical stage
  • Angel of the Apocalypse‘: An interactive and/or choreographed flaming art installation by the Flaming Lotus Girls:
    • Jan. 29 – 30  from  6 – 9:30 pm
    • Jan. 31 from 4 – 8pm
    • Feb. 1 – 4  from  6 – 10 pm
    • Feb. 5 – 6  from  6 – 9:30 pm
    • Feb. 7 from 4 – 8 pm

Toronto WinterCity includes events at other venues:

  • The National Film Board has screenings and workshops – visit their website NFB Mediatheque ; call (416) 973-3012 for information and to make reservations; and then trek to  150 John St. at Richmond.
  • The Guvernment hosts a family dance event on Jan. 30 from 2 – 5pm: call (647) 430-5599 and express your surprise that they really want to host the whole family at 132 Queen’s Quay (at Lower Jarvis St.).
  • Attend the multimedia performance, ‘Tumbling into Light‘, at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts on Jan. 31. In this case, they recommend translating “Young” into the phrase “12 and up”. Call (416) 866-8666.
  • Attend ‘Temples 2 Terabytes‘ at the Bread & Circus in Kensington Market (299 Augusta Ave.) on Feb. 5 – 7. Call (416) 925-8898 for reservations or to learn more about this South Asian music and dance performance. (As a spell-a-holic, I’m curious as to which spelling of the show’s name will actually be printed on the program. Please let me know!)
  • Interact with ‘A Midwinter Night’s Dream‘ in the Roof Salon at the Park Hyatt (4 Avenue Road) on Feb. 11 or 12. They want an “adult audience” for poetry, music, fortune-telling, and other entertainment. Call (416) 944-1101 to learn more.

Toronto’s Winterlicious 2010 runs from January 29 to February 11, 2010 – the exact same dates!

(As astute readers will note below, City Hall’s URL for Winterlicious hints that it is closely related to Winter City).

This is the part of the Winter City festival that covers cuisine. City Hall’s page: http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/wintercity/2010/culinary.htm lists 10 special events; but toronto.com’s page http://www.toronto.com/winterlicious lists all the participating restaurants.

Participating in what, did you ask?

The real deal is the meal: each restaurant offers a prix fixe menu, at a significant value. Look through toronto.com’s multiple pages of restaurants, phone them to make your reservations, and enjoy.

Unfortunately, that’s all the time I have for this initial post – I expect to update it later.

[This post was last updated 2012-08-11.]

Beginning the Blogging

This is the introduction to the introduction…

My main blog is the Toronto Events blog. Think of it as a timely guide for a tourist (or a resident who wants a quick look at what will happen soon). As of January 22 (2010), I’m a bit behind in my personal schedule, but I am in time to write my first Toronto event: WinterCity versus Winterlicious.

Writing for Clients; Annual Events in Toronto and the GTA