Ontario, Toronto, June 25 and 26, 2008

30 07 2008
Mural in Cabbagetown

Mural in Cabbagetown

The first thing we did once we got to Toronto was have some brown rice and vegetables in Cabbagetown. The second thing we did was go to Jet Fuel Coffee for some really good coffee and WiFi. I enjoy the country but there’s just a few things a city does better.

Robin driving Julie and Sue

Robin driving Julie and Sue, but to where?

Since Sue and David were about to live abroad for a year, starting with a 1 month visit to her Dad’s (empty) house in Toronto, we were able to have an encore to our visit in Edmonton. The first night we were there they hosted a great BBQ with some other old friends and it was a good chance to visit a bunch of people at once (the Ontario portion of the trip was visiting dense, to be sure). After dinner we were able to go to the park and get a heated game of Pit in. Julie’s daughter Kira was funny and refreshing by assuming I would help her corner the market on corn instead of trying to corner the market myself (now that’s positive thinking!). She is obviously unfamiliar with my sincere competitive intent to win at games (an area in life where winning really doesn’t count).

Woman with Amazing Bubble Hair-do Visits the ROM

Woman with Amazing Bubble Hair-do Visits the ROM

I have visited Toronto many times but have so far managed to see almost none of the city, since my visits are always short, and this time was no different. Yes, I have spent one hour eating brown rice in Kensington Market, and gazed through the windows at the art in the closed Galleries of Queen Street. I have window shopped and never stopped to buy. We had one day to spend and wisely used about half of it at the Royal Ontario Museum. As well as the always popular dinosaur exhibits, there was a great (but small) exhibit of typewriters through the ages which was a highlight for me. Some past typewriter designs that didn’t stand the test of time were crazy contraptions with complicated daisy wheels which were reset for every letter and had no windows through which you could see the typing. The display made me nostalgic for typewriters, even though computers are infinitely more user friendly and make editing easy. (On a side note, I remember in high school “Typing Class” was so female dominated, but as soon as it became “Keyboarding” it became demographically gender equal. Men love electronic gadgets!)

Early Typewriter seen at the ROM

Early Typewriter seen at the ROM

Felix and Jason at the Digging Pit

Felix and Jason at the Digging Pit

After the ROM we went to Dufferin Grove Park to meet our old friend Jason and his family, stopping briefly at Greg’s Ice Cream on Bloor street near the ROM to sample their famous Roasted Marshmallow Ice Cream (tasty!). This was a most awesome park because instead of a sand box it has a gimungous sand pit to dig in with a water hose and real shovels hanging on the fence for kids to use. It also has a Farmer’s Market and a Cobb House they built because they needed to have a sink in order to comply with health regulations when serving food. Jason and Heather have two kids, Felix and Henry. They didn’t know about the cartoon “Henry” that all babies look like, which is a little odd because they collect ‘zines and that is closely connected to the world of comics. Heather said she didn’t mind the muggy humidity of Toronto in the summer because it feels like being in a warm bath.

 We needed to head to Queen Street for dinner because it was Thursday and we wanted to go to the famous karaoke at the Gladstone. The Gladstone is a refurbished boutique hotel with rooms designed by different artists (another time we were in Toronto we stayed in the Bruno Billio Room there). The Zeidler family, who own the Gladstone, are socially conscientious—when they renovated from Flea Bag to Fancy they didn’t want to disturb the community so they always kept a portion of the bar open so as not to lose the rummy regulars and some of the long term tenants still live there, and have jobs there such as elevator operator. (Other tenants were assisted in finding new accomodations). The Drake, a block away, is not as community minded and displaced the residents when renovating, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop them from being trendy. I really prefer the Gladstone and they deliver a mean breakfast.

Karaoke at the Gladstone

Frostitute Rocks Me

Frostitution Nation

On the way we noticed the G+ Gallery (on Gladstone) was having an opening so we went in. They had these great Frostitution  cupcakes and we bought a small print by Dave Sheppard that we liked.

Dave Sheppard Print

Dave Sheppard Print

Fresh: they serve good fresh vegetables, tofu and tempeh on brown rice.

For Karaoke we met up with Step’s friend Dave who we had last seen 2 years ago in Peterborough, when he cooked us up a fine steak barbecue. The last (and only other) time we had been to Gladstone Karaoke it was the Thursday before a Friday holiday so it was packed “like a sardine can”, and we only got to sing one song each. This time, it was Pride Week in Ontario. Oh, how I hope some day to visit on a regular Thursday. So they had some bands and the karaoke didn’t start until later. We like the regular host, Peter Styles; he does an amazing job and he knows his stuff; but today he had a gay co-host doing all the talking and insisting we all sing gay anthem songs.

Dave and Step at the Gladstone

ROCKIN'! with Peter Styles

ROCKIN'! with Peter Styles

He seemed like a nice enough fellow but his hosting wasn’t very pro. For one thing, it’s bad form to try to direct the choices of the Karaokers, and for another he wouldn’t announce the line up and so when it was your turn you would have no warning and then there was a lag waiting for people to get to the stage. That’s a waste of valuable karaoke time! Other than those things he did well though. Step and I had made our choices before the host came up and before we knew about the “gay” theme. Coincidentally, I had chosen “Fat Bottomed Girls” so that was sort of gay, and even though Step’s “Still Rock and Roll to Me” wasn’t at all gay he gives such good karaoke he still got applause, applause. Dave didn’t sing a song, not because he was shy to, just not in the mood.

Transit in Toronto is excellent. Even though it was 2am we got home with no waiting time.

A Toronto Classic

A Toronto Classic




One response

11 08 2008

Looking forward to your July and August posts. Looks like your having quite the adventure.

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