This is starting to look bad, isn’t it? Second Friday post that didn’t make it out until the weekend. But this time, dear reader, I want to assure you it was an absolute necessity. You see, an event took place this weekend that marks TCL’s first technical anniversary and I didn’t want to waste a post on something more mundane.
I say technical because if you look at the archives, TCL only goes back to January. But it’s really been online since November of last year.
Luckily the WayBack Machine has, as yet, no record of it.
At that time TCL had a mostly-black theme with content that induced hemorrhaging from the eyeballs and projectile vomiting. Pretty awful stuff. Back then I didn’t have the experience or the sphincteric relaxation to do anything interesting, really. Had anyone suggested I run a shocking exposé on what really happens at the annual Santa Claus Parade, I would’ve balked!
But in mid-November I attended Illuminite, the annual Christmas lighting of Yonge-Dundas Square. It was a cold and rainy November night, but the show went on anyway. Try as I might, I wasn’t able to muscle my way up to the front of the crowd, and it was in that soggy moment of inspiration that I remembered it was Toronto City Life. Most of these people were alive, so they qualified. I was getting all bent out of shape for nothing!
That epiphany, and the attitudinal adjustment that came with it, carried me through all the way around to this year’s event. Good thing too because there were a lot more people this time around:
Most of the show, consisting of fire, sparks, trampolines, and dancing, took place at the far end of the square. There was a lot of loud music that, more often than not, descended into a raucous noise that in no way said season’s greetings to me. Eventually, the same spooky music I remember from last year came on as the fire dancers wound their way across the square toward the stage I’d plunked myself behind:
The dancers paraded around on stage in wintry white and silver, twirling fiery objects and having pyrotechnics go off behind them as if to say, “here’s the last blast of warmth you’re getting for the next six months”:
The audience were close enough that one slip and the girl in the red hood got a face full of fire. Now if that’s not a reason to go see something live, I don’t know what is. The fireworks were pretty scary too:
Behind the dancers was the reason for the whole display, the tree.
Nostalgia aside, I want to go on record as saying it’s great that the city doesn’t use a live tree. But what they chose instead is … not quite there yet.
I mean, obviously they were going for a theme because someone went to the bother of creating some Christmas light bears. But while nice, they and the tree seem more appropriate on someone’s 80s-themed holiday lawn than in the Square.
I also remember these things not quite making it to Christmas last year before a chunk of the lights had been broken, stolen, or had burned out. They’re a great photo-op and ideal swine flu vector, but unfortunately they don’t last:
Don’t get me wrong, Illuminite will always hold a special place in my heart because of the sopping awakening it gave me. In a way, it lived up to its name. But with the number of people packed into the square this year, I think they’ll need to come up with something a little less centralized; performances in small pockets all over the square, that kind of thing. And do something about that tree while they’re at it. Next to the longest street in the world, it doesn’t look very impressive.
I’ll do the official whoop-up for TCL in January, but I’m still happy I managed to last a year. And wouldn’t you know it, someone completed the loop on Saturday night by asking me if I was a journalist. I’ve now been asked that same question in every season. The circle of life is complete. Hakuna matata!