The end has come! (part 1)

Posted on January 3rd, 2011 No comments. The post is really that bad, huh?

Those people with the end-of-the-world sandwich boards were eerily accurate now that I think of it; the end did indeed come! (this after being nigh for a whole year)

But do you notice how they never bother to mention the party that happens at the end, or how, really, the only thing that ends on New Year’s is sobriety?

I’d wanted to knock a few glasses during the countdown but my celebrations ended up being a bit more demure. Wait, no, non-existent is a lot more correct. Maybe it was the change in weather (the overcast, rainy evening), or maybe I’m just getting old, but I plunked my ass on the sofa at around nine in the evening intending to head out in a couple of hours, and I closed my eyes for just a few moments — just a few goddam moments! – and that was that.

I woke up on the first at around four-thirty in the morning with a Jersey Shore marathon doing laps in the background, Ollie spread-eagled in the middle of the living room, and everything so painfully over that there was really nothing left to do but turn it all off and get back to resting my eyes.

On the well-rested side, I slept comfortably in the knowledge that Nathan Phillips Square likely wouldn’t have been any different than it had been during the past few years: no-name entertainment, Citytv dignitaries, fireworks going off thrillingly close to City Hall, rain, cold, and the same old rigmarole.

Yup, Toronto City Life isn’t all glamour and glitz, despite what you might read around here. And what exactly is it about, then? Why, perhaps I could start off with the first picks in a top-ten list of my fave posts from 2010, to illustrate. (Hey, everyone’s doing it!)


Sweat and Spandex 2010

Definitely makes the cut because of relative ease of access, great location, great subjects, and almost guaranteed drama. I’m still a little surprised that this event isn’t more popular but I’m thanking my lucky stars at the same time — you can get just about anywhere around the track while enjoying fine beverages and meals along the way. It’s a classy sort of spectator sport in that way, and is quite a grueling workout for the commoners out there on their bicycles every year, grinding metal and bone against pavement for your amusement while you feast and imbibe. Can’t be beat!


The Projects project

Regent Park is a volatile place at the best of times. Just when police thought they had a hold on the violence in the area that erupted there a decade or so ago (if I’m not mistaken), it seems to be returning as of the end of 2010.

Gotta be honest, if it wasn’t for the graffiti, the place would look like a prison camp. Straight up. The buildings are squat, brutish, and not usually well cared for. Dumpsters sit prominently in front of each squat and it’s mostly nothing but pavement and brick of the same ilk in all directions.

It’s meant as the go-between place for people new to Toronto. At least, that seems to have been the idea since time immemorial. But some people are never able to make it out for one reason or another. Not sure why someone would choose to be stuck there, especially when you see the amount of hopeful / guiding / mournful / unifying / uplifting stuff that adorns neighbourhood’s walls.

And don’t mistake Regent Park as some dropping off point for criminals, although it seems to be a good place to engender some. There are people there from all over, many with kids, most just trying to do better. The city can just be a bitch sometimes.

All the best in the new year, Regent Park!


Honest Education

When old Ed Mirvish died a few years ago, among the eulogizing attendees at his funeral were the mayor (plus two former mayors) of Toronto, current and former Premieres of Ontario, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Ed was a big cheese.

That goes for every sense of the word too. When you enter into Ed’s store, the wacky tacky three-ring and block-wide circus of shopping, there’s absolutely no doubt that P.T. Barnum and Mirvish were cut from the same cloth. The amount (and I believe it’s growing), of memorabilia hanging from the walls is sometimes staggering.

My faves include old posters from the shows that Ed put on at his growing retinue of theatres, and the signed photos from the actors that appeared in them. Then there are the enlarged reproductions of Ed hob-knobbing it with the Brat Pack, the Queen of England, and famous people of all kinds – singers, actors, politicians; it just keeps going and going.

And just when you think there couldn’t possibly be more, you hit the basement where they sell very different stuff – a 19th century Thai shrine, for example; a cool $24,000. But it’s all sitting out on the floor just like the $2 socks on the level above. Come to think of it, the socks were more neatly arranged.

I still can’t believe they didn’t shoo me out of the store for whipping out my lens at every opportunity, and just for that I can continue to recommend Ed’s as a place to buy quality merchandise at cheapo prices. Those $10 blankets I bought during that visit are holding up well, and if you visit at around this time of year you might end up with a free turkey too.


Zombieology 2010

Brains. Braaains. Brains. Brns brns brns. Braaains. Brains. Brains brains, brains brains brains Brains brains? Haha! No effin’ brains. Brains brains brains braaaaaaains.

Brains brains brains – brains, and more brains – brains brains brns. BRAAAAAAAINS! I brained. Brain brain brain, brain brain? Brains! I brained a brain and brains brained the brain. After that, it was all just braaaaaaains and brains brains brain brain brains.

Brain the brains next year. BRAAAAAAAAINS 2010.



Tripping a Frozen Sunset

This wasn’t a series I liked because of its brains but because of its beauty.

One of the problems of living in Toronto is winter. It sucks outside the city all the more, but it can get just as cold and frozen here as anywhere else. About now is when that period begins.

And there are the short days too. You look outside at noon and you’d think it was the middle of the frickin’ afternoon! The sun hangs low in the south so if you’re blessed with a clear day, the only place to get good lighting during an early winter sunset is by the lake.

One of the cool things about living in Toronto is what the ice and snow do the city, especially by the water. You can get an eyeful there at the right time of day (or night). It’s the scale of the thing that I enjoy; a frozen lake of that size, illuminated by a glowing sunset or piercing city lights – that’s something to see.

Oooh! There you have the first 5 picks of 2010. And believe me when I tell you, I agonized over every post I’d written in the past year during the selection process. I mean, just picking out 10 random posts with photos would be cheap and meaningless, right? Hehe. *nervous laugh*

Continued in next part…

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