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On the brink, into the Brank ...

15 March 2022

... some.

I had been wanting to go to the Great Whales exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum for awhile now, but never quite made the logistics work out until this past Sunday morning. My wife and youngest daughter needed to be at the airport relatively early to head east to check out Dalhousie University as a potential choice for post-secondary education, so I took the "free Sunday" and made it my own in the heart of Toronto.

Since I had two hours between airport dropoff and the museum opening, I naturally found a new pool (#510), the LA Fitness in The Junction neighborhood of Toronto ...

... which featured a rarity on LA LA Fitness land: an actual pace clock. If you squint really hard you can see it on a table at the end of the pool. But, before you all get your $19.99 initiation fees ready to be spent, know that it was just about the smallest clock ever and situated so that only the person in the middle lane could see it. So, I was glad that I had my trusty Pace Clock app running inside a waterproof case.

The whale exhibit was both awe-inspiring and gut-wrenching. The life-size setups of the skeletons situated at ground level brought me face-to-face with how massive these creatures are. The video screens and sound installations showing and telling their majestic movements and highly varied language brought them to life. The statistics, though, showed how we are contributing to their demise. The plight of the right whales is especially challenging here in Canada. As I understood it, at least in part, climate change has caused many of them to migrate (seeking food) from the comparatively safe Bay of Fundy to the very busy Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they often lose their lives being struck by shipping vessels or getting caught in commercial fishing nets. I didn't walk away with a lot of specific actions I can take to tackle that specific problem, but, as a lover of all things aquatic, it did inspire me to spend more time researching how I can contribute to healthier oceans.

After the emotional weight of the whale exhibit, I spent the afternoon catching up on work at various spots around downtown before heading over to Branksome Hall ...

... an elite private girls school that opens their beautiful pool for a few hours each weekend for community swims. They are still operating on fairly strict COVID protocols with reservations required and one swimmer per lane, so it was an exquisite experience.

There was only one thing just a little off about this pool ... see if you see it ...

It can't make up its mind if it wants to be a 4 lane or a 5 lane pool. As you can see:

  • There are 5 starting blocks and 5 lanes in the first picture, but ...

  • ... they've got this funky thing going on the bottom of the pool where they have 4 "traditional" lane lines with Ts at each end and those 4 lanes line up with the 4 crosses on the walls.

  • And they have these 5 dashed-line lane lines on the bottom that line up with the starting blocks and the lane ropes.

I was in a bit of a rush to head back home after my swim, so I didn't get a chance to ask anyone to explain the pool markings, but I'll chalk that up as a variation I've never seen before in over 500 pools.


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