Tag Archives: Public Service Announcement

How to Drive to Toronto without the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton

This weekend’s great question for every American tourist heading for the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto is, “How to drive to Toronto without the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton”? The Toronto-bound side of the Burlington Skyway Bridge was damaged on July 31, 2014. But you want to play mas at Caribana (as it used to be known). How can you get from Niagara Falls to Toronto without that bridge?

"Heading to Hamilton ONT from the USA" image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Heading to Hamilton ONT from the USA” image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

Driving to Toronto via Hamilton

Whether you crossed the US/Canada border at Buffalo, New York; at Niagara Falls; or the I190/405 crossing south of Lewiston and Queenston: you’re planning to drive the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) to Toronto, Ontario. The obvious route takes you across the Burlington Skyway Bridge.

A dump truck crashed into the Toronto-bound Burlington Skyway Bridge on Thursday. It’s closed. The red ‘X’ and dot marks the spot.

What are your alternative routes to get to Toronto for the Caribbean Carnival or any of the other 2014 Civic Holiday festivals in Toronto?

"Lift Bridge Detour past the Burlington Skyway Bridge" image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Lift Bridge Detour past the Burlington Skyway Bridge” image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

You Won’t Get a Lift from the Lift Bridge

The obvious route is to take the Burlington Lift Bridge. You can’t tell the difference in routes from the above map; the bridges are very close to each other.

All in favour will say:

  • This is the shortest alternate route.
  • The detours are clearly marked. Just follow everyone else.

Those opposed will argue:

  • There is a massive backup of vehicles trying to cross the lift bridge.
  • Beach Blvd has fewer lanes and a lower speed limit than the QEW, any 400-series highway, or any provincial (2-digit) highway.
  • The lift bridge lifts out of service every hour or so, to allow ships in and out of Hamilton Harbour.
  • The most obvious detour will have the most tourists, so it will be more crowded and congested than the others.
"Drive through Hamilton to avoid the Skyway Bridge" image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Drive through Hamilton to avoid the Skyway Bridge” image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

Drive through Hamilton to Avoid the Burlington Skyway Bridge

The next shortest routes go through the city of Hamilton to avoid the Burlington Skyway Bridge.

Please note that the milermeter / gmap-pedometer web site supports runners and cyclists to plan routes. It seems smart enough to avoid some restricted access highways, if it can find a longer alternative route. If I spent the time to map each alternative for drivers, the bridge would be repaired and open for business before this public service announcement would be online.

Exit from the QEW to Hwy 20, the Centennial Parkway; or to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Or, if you miss those exits, take the very obvious Burlington St. East exit and stay on Burlington St.

Burlington eventually takes you to Bay St. Turn south (left), then east (right) onto Cannon St. West. Merge onto York Blvd to drive around Burlington Bay. Eventually you should find ramps to Hwy 403.

If you exited the QEW earlier, onto Red Hill Valley Parkway, you would be swept onto the Lincoln M Alexander Parkway (“the Linc”) and then toward Hwy 403 without those bothersome inner-city Hamilton streets.

Had you taken Hwy 20 south, you should take minor highway 8, Queenston Road, east. You could then leap onto Red Hill Valley Parkway south to “the Linc”, or continue east. Hwy 8 jiggles a bit to become Main St. and King St.; they later recombine. If you get a glimpse at MacMaster University, you’ve missed the on-ramp to Hwy 403. Sorry.

The advantages of Hamilton Routes include:

  • You may find food or shelter on your journey.
  • More routes means fewer tourists per route.
  • The parkway routes should be fairly quick, especially compared to the actual city streets.

The only real disadvantage is that each route is longer than the lift bridge detour. But none of these roads are closed on an hourly basis to let commercial shipping cross.

Heading to Toronto after Hamilton

Once you’re past Hamilton on Hwy 403, it will merge with the QEW, right where you would have been if you had been able to drive over the Burlington Skyway Bridge. To do this, you must avoid Hwy 407, the toll highway, which takes you north to Hwy 401.

Looking for More Festivals in Toronto Canada?

You can find more annual events and festivals in Toronto Ontario, through my web site. I track many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, listing many fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship with the Caribbean Carnival, tourist agencies nor highway departments. I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and my Fitness and Weight Control blog. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Did this article help you drive to Toronto by avoiding the Burlington Skyway Bridge in Hamilton? Let me know by clicking one of the “Like” buttons in the left margin or sharing with your friends. Thanks for reading, and have a good trip.

Make Time for 2014 Daylight Savings Time in Canada

Most of Canada and the USA switch between Daylight Savings Time and Standard Time on the same Sundays of each year. When do we “spring ahead” in 2014?

"Three Clocks Care Not for Daylight Savings Time"
"Three Clocks Care Not for Daylight Savings Time"

Spring Ahead by Setting Your Clock Ahead from 2am to 3am

In 2014, Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday March 9, at 2am in both Canada and the USA. (Some provinces or states may ignore DST; check the reference link below).

The phrase “spring ahead” helps remind us to move our clocks ahead one hour.

When Will Canada and the USA Return to Standard Time in 2014?

Just wait until Sunday Nov. 2, when we “fall back” by one hour.

What Else Should We Do When “Setting Our Clocks”?

(Added March 7, 2014): Add “change the battery in your smoke detector” as a semi-annual ritual, right beside “set the clock forward or back”. I was just reminded by a spokesman for the Toronto fire department, speaking to a news reporter after a fatal apartment fire.

If you’re planning ahead, I just checked Amazon.ca versus a couple of major Canadian hardware retail store chains. At this moment, their price for a 4-pack of Duracell 9 volt batteries is $12.47 in Canadian loonies. One neighbourhood retail store would charge $17.98 for two 4-packs; another retail chain lists a single 9v battery “from $8.79”, so $35 for four. Those prices are before HST (sales tax) or any Amazon shipping fees; retail prices may vary across Canada or over time.

Americans would find the Amazon.com price for a 4-pack of Duracell 9 volt batteries is $10.99 in $USD, at this time. (Just be sure to click the “Unit Count: 4” rather than “8” for your price comparison).

Anyway, change those batteries twice a year when you set the clocks. If you live without Daylight Savings Time, just pick a pair of memorable dates.

Do Other Countries Switch to Daylight Savings Time?

Some other countries also switch between Standard and Daylight Savings Time, although many do not. For example:

  • The United Kingdom’s DST and Standard dates are March 30 and Oct. 26.
  • Australia goes to Standard on April 6 and DST on Oct. 5.
  • New Zealand also switches to Standard on April 6, but hurries back to DST on Sept. 30.
  • Check the reference link below for any other country, and for regional exceptions.

Why do Australia and New Zealand change in the “opposite” direction from Canada, the USA and the UK? Since autumn is the next season in the southern hemisphere, Australia and New Zealand will indeed “fall back” on April 6. They actually follow the same pattern, since the switch between DST and Standard time is based on summer and winter hours of daylight… not the months.

References for Daylight Savings Time

I trust “Daylight Saving Time Around the World 2014” as my reference link.

Last year I’d noted some other facts and tidbits about DST in “Launch Daylight Savings Time 2013 in Canada and in the USA“.

Annual Toronto Events or Public Service Announcements?

The switch between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time is an one example of an annual public service announcement.

Many of the articles in this blog focus on annual events in Toronto, especially the free or frugal Toronto events that deserve more publicity than they can afford to advertise.

DeHaan Services also writes web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, and some of its sister sites. That’s why DeHaan Services sometimes highlights these online articles on this site.

Thanks for reading about Daylight Savings Time in 2014.

2 Signs of the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Here’s a quick public service announcement about the upcoming 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, one of Toronto’s most important annual autumn events.

Drivers should watch for two kinds of signs warning of road closures and parking restrictions: both the old and the new.

"Old Toronto Road Closure Sign for Waterfront Marathon" image by Mike DeHaan
“Old Toronto Road Closure Sign for Waterfront Marathon” image by Mike DeHaan

The Classic Black-on-Orange Road Closed Sign in Toronto

Here we have the classic Toronto black-on-orange sign warning that the road will be closed. It’s very good at the bare facts: what street will be closed; from where to where; date and time.

It fails miserably to indicate the reason for the road closure.

Perhaps they want the colour scheme to evoke a Hallowe’en fright.

A New Sign of Hope to Celebrate the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

"New Scotiabank Toronto Waterfron Marathon Sign" image by Mike DeHaan
“New Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Sign” image by Mike DeHaan

Now let’s check the new sign, which might belong to the organizers of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, rather than to the City of Toronto.

It’s bright, with a cheerful background colour compared to the old sign. It carries almost the same information; my guess is that Queen westbound will be closed to Kingston Road but eastbound only from Woodbine. On the other hand, the URL at the bottom of the sign redirects to the main page of the official Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon web site, rather than to the “road closures” information page.

The best part is that it advertises the reason for the road closure.

Your Opinions for the Road Closure Signs for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Are the new signs an improvement? How could they do better? Their official home page encourages you to “join the conversation” on Facebook.

Other Notes for the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

I’m really pleased that both signs were posted as early as Oct. 9, when I took these pictures on Queen Street East. In some years, the signs only went up in the final week before the Toronto marathons, so anyone who only visits an area on Sunday would be completely unaware of the road closures.

Attend the Marathon Torch Ceremony for the Waterfront Marathon

Last year, my “Special Notes for the 2012 Toronto Waterfront Marathon” reported on the Marathon Torch ceremony. This year, the Marathon Flame ceremony returns to the Alexander the Greek park on Oct. 17, 2013 at 6:30pm. Join the mayor of Marathon, Greece, Iordanis Louizos, and his torch relay runners at Logan and Danforth.

When is the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon? What Roads are Closed?

As you noted from the photographs, the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will take place on Sunday Oct. 20. Major road closures include parts of Bay St. and University Ave. for the start; part of Bloor St. West and Bathurst; parts of Lake Shore Blvd; Queen’s Quay, Cherry St. and Commissioner’s Road in the Toronto Harbour region; Queen St. East, Eastern Avenue, and the southern end of Bayview; and Front Street. Use the above link to learn more about the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon, especially the details for the route. I didn’t try to name all the road closures; the site has the course map and a detailed list of affected roads.

Where Should I Watch the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon?

My best advice for spectators is to position yourself at the Queen Street East bridge where King branches away. The runners pass the 35Km marker at Broadview, then burn up another 5Km in a loop along Bayview before they get to Parliament Street. Usually the strain really shows on the runners between the 35 and 39Km locations; after that, they may begin to feel relief at nearing the finish line, at the end of their 42.2Km marathon.

The runners are a bit less tired on Queen St. East between Woodbine and Beech. You can cheer each runner twice, as they run east and then double back westbound.

Check the map for the official neighbourhood cheering stations. You could get involved with them, or volunteer to hand out water. Both are great ways to watch the runners and feel involved.

With the start at 8:45am, the winning male marathon runner should break the tape at Bay and Queen (near City Hall) by 10:55am or so. Last year, Betona Warga won in 2:10, and Mary Davies in just under 2:29. (A 2:06 pace would mean running at 20 kilometres per hour; as fast as the cycling speed limit on the Martin Goodman Trail!).

Or simply check the official map and head for your most convenient location.

Remember that road closures will cause TTC detours and delays as well as blocking cars. Cyclists should avoid the routes too; the organizers try hard to keep the streets clear for the runners.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

You can find more annual events for your vacation in Toronto Ontario; or for local residents wanting things to do in Toronto this weekend.

Ideas for a Toronto Vacation or Staycation

My blog reports on most of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, and provides ideas for fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto. I especially like to cover annual attractions and special events in Toronto Canada; but especially for Canadian holidays.

CityPASS offers discount tickets to Toronto attractions, including Metro Toronto Zoo coupons. You buy the voucher online, print it and take it to your first destination; let’s say it’s the zoo. They give you the coupon booklet but remove the Metro Toronto Zoo discount tickets. Visit the next four attractions, where helpful staff relieve your booklet of tickets but leave you with the rest of the information. You save over $40 by spending about $70. The voucher is good for almost two years, but you have to use all the discount admission tickets within nine days. This is terrific for tourists looking for multiple things to do in Toronto, or for a hometown stay-cation: use discount tickets to Casa Loma, the CN Tower, the Metro Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum in a nine day adventure. That’s five things to do while vacationing in Toronto Canada, and at a bargain price thanks to the discount coupons.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and my Fitness and Weight Control blog. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights these online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles on this topic. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the change in road signs for the upcoming 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.