Sunday, July 24, 2011

MuslimFest 2011

On Saturday, we headed to Celebration Square, Mississauga for MuslimFest, 2011.

There were various activities throughout the day, but there were two main highlights of the day.

First up ... as the trailer promised, there were camels.

Second, but before we could get to that, it started to rain. And boy, did it come pouring down!

However, the star of the evening, Pakistan's famous Junaid Jamshed, wasn't going to let a little thing like a torrential downpour stop him. Though his popstar days were behind him, the nasheed singer knew how to work the crowd.

Soon, people were singing to "Dil dil Pakistan" with him in the rain.

The rain stopped, and the sun then started to shine brightly on the crowd, which Junaid regaled with stories of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), interspersed with hamds and nasheeds in his praise.

It was great to see a lot of volunteers at this venue, helping run and coordinate a smooth event for the 10,000+ attendees over both days.

Other than the performances (such as comedy, free movies) and attractions (such as Reptile Exhibition), there's also the famous bazaar scene.

Over all, it's a great event, and best of all, this year it was FREE.

So next time you are in town during this time, do check out MuslimFest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Visit to the Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is a world class zoo located in the Scarborough area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. At 710 acres, the zoo (one of the largest in North America) is currently home to over 16,000 animals.

As you can see, admission is not cheap. A family of four can easily spend more than $100 (including parking) for a day's visit.

Here's a tip: the zoo is really, really big. And it involves a lot of walking from one area to another. Therefore, start early, preferably when the zoo opens (after all, morning's the best for photographs). We decided to follow the suggested trail, which leads one through all the different areas of the zoo, starting with the Australasian section.

A tree kangaroo

I was really surprised by the huge diversity of animals that were there in the zoo. From the fishes of the Great Barrier Reef ...

... to the jellyfish from deep in the Pacific Ocean ...

... to the ostriches from the African savannah ...

... the zoo had them all.

Here's another tip: check the feeding times of the animals from the zoo's website. Visiting an animal enclosure during feeding time allows one to see them in full activity, especially on really hot days when all they want to do is sleep.

Clearly the wrist band policy was in effect

Not a sight you want to see if you are just out for a stroll in the jungle

Er ... hi?

At an exhibit - can you spot the creature?

One exhibit I found surprising was "African Penguins" - I did not even know they had penguins in Africa!

The original cast of the 3 Idiots

It was a really hot day, and this bird was cooling off.

Here's another tip: do NOT visit the zoo on a hot day! It was 40 degrees yesterday with humid-ex, and most of the animals were lazing in the water rather than running around being active. I felt really sorry for the polar bear.

Can you read the Hindi script?

The giraffes were at ease with the heat - perhaps it reminded them of home.

The tiger was as majestic as promised (and we will ignore the fact that this was the Sumatran tiger, the Bengal tiger was fast asleep!).

Over all, on a nice cool day, if you have the whole day to spare, visit the Toronto Zoo. It's a bit pricey, but a full day's educational and fun activity rolled into one. You will be surprised at the huge number of animals they have there from all over the world, and for the shutterbug it's a time well spent.