The end has come! (part 2)

Posted on January 4th, 2011 2 great comments. Room for one more!

…continued from previous part.

And here we are, the year 2010 summed up in just 5 measly posts. The best of the best, baby! Bust out the caviar.


White Night 2010

Nuit Blanche is one of those events that may be getting just a bit too big for its britches. I make it a point never to head out before midnight, and this year even that might’ve been too early.

The exhibits are different every year so I like the fact that I don’t have to wander far. Despite vowing to do so every single time.

The submission process for this year ended in early December, 2010 – some artists are contacted by the curators and commissioned, some can apply for an honorarium, and there are a bunch of open slots available for people who want to do their own thing. This year they might move the application process up on the calendar. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a behemoth!

I think it would make for an interesting documentary to see someone attempt to visit every exhibit during the overnight event. It could be called “Race through the Night” or something, and it could be part tongue-in-cheek and part busted lip. The last time I did the calculations, it should be possible if every exhibit was experienced for roughly 30 seconds. Then quick quick travel.

This is one to toast with a couple of energy drinks.


Bastard Greeks

Not a place for kids. Learned that lesson quick and hard.

Oh, you can bring ‘em, but there ain’t a whole lot for them to do after their second Gyro. I took one of my nephews through a “haunted house”, a claustrophobic 15-second walk pushing your way through an inflated house with an occasional shifty-looking Greek popping out of hidden folds yelling, “Boo!”

Then you’re out and you can’t even imagine a worse way to have blown $3.

For the adults, though, it’s a nice, gut-busting weekend. The prices are often set at sample-level, starting at $3 kinda thing, and a sample is often pretty filling. Most of these are, after all, 90% meat, as required by Greek tradition.

Now that I think of it, you might want to leave your vegetarian friends at home too. I vaguely recall maybe seeing a roasted corn stand but I couldn’t make it out clearly in the haze of barbequing meat.

I’m a bit worried about the intrusion of foreign elements into the Taste; it seems to be losing a bit of its character. Hopefully, though, it’s just a momentary blip.


Pride Parade 2010

Here’s another ballbuster of an event; Caribana and Nuit Blanche run in the same league. Pride, however, seems to happen on the sweatiest day of the summer each year, and I’m sure it’s for good reason too.

There were numerous ass-less chaps and much exposed skin. On the porn meter, I’d put it up there near a tame version of Citytv’s Baby Blues. Still wouldn’t bring younguns to it, but otherwise pretty harmless; ‘cept the heat and the sun and the crowds – yikes.

And in three years (if the city doesn’t bust its seams by then), they’re planning to step it up: WorldPride 2014

To be blunt, if gay people offend you, Toronto might not be the best city to find yourself in. But if you can cope, the rest of the time they just use all their nervous energy to make their Church-Wellesley-area neighbourhood really nice. In the summer, they freak out and throw a parade. Maybe I’m misreading it and it could just a matter of civic pride.


Goodbye summer, we hardly knew ye

One day you’re watching the snows melt, the next you’re eating deep-fried butter in a desperate attempt to squeeze one last drop out of summer.

The C.N.E. is one of those things that I hope the city never loses. It seems to have the crowds so I’m looking forward to going again many times. And that deep-fried butter – dang, it’s actually really good.

It’s been a rite of passage for how many generations now? You know, The Ex closes and back to school with the lotta ya little buggers! Hahaha!!

I don’t do the rides anymore, though I always urge thrill seekers to most definitely do so. It’s not that they’re thrilling in and of themselves, it’s their age, questionable operators, and lingering memories of past accidents that make them truly scary.

I remember there being more animals at the Exhibition but maybe I’m getting it confused with the Royal Winter Fair. Ah, the damn place is just so filled with memories!


Weekend of weekends

Possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, this was. I mean, *sniff*, when will I ever get to photograph this many cops, together, from all parts of Canada, united to beat your ass if you step out of line. *sniff*

I still maintain a pretty hard line against many of the protesters. It’s why I had to stick my proboscis between them and the police, right at the front lines, just to see who was being the bigger loser.

Yeah, I’m sure some of the cops stepped out of line too – I’m not naive. I was told a few times by local bike police to “watch out for those Montreal cops”. Seems that ever since the October Crisis, they’ve just been on edge. And after the event the hordes got shipped back to wherever they came from; local law? Screw it – prosecution for only the few local cops who could be identified (and that takes some doing).

Whatever local law is anyways, because no one from the Chief of Police on down seemed to know what laws were being invoked, and then how to properly invoke them. For the Chief to basically just shrug his shoulders at that moment was a bit disgraceful. It wasn’t that the law was “secret”, to paraphrase the start of his blubbering, “we just didn’t tell anyone about it.” “Oh, and did I say five meters outside the fence? I meant inside!”

And so on.

The whole event shook up some people. For many, I’m sure it was a reaffirmation of their belief that cops aren’t human. Sometimes that belief was the cause, not the effect; a fact that some people still refuse to see.

I had my own run-in with the cops prior to the event so I had my fair share of jadedness – it could’ve gone either way. At the same time I was kept on the razor’s edge by some of the idiocy being lobbed out by the other side.

But by the end of the day, having been there for almost the whole thing, in my mind the cops fared better than the “protesters”. The ones carrying the placards and marching peacefully weren’t the ones who threw the bricks or set the fires, and like many people, I wish the cops had beat the latter group’s asses as they looted Yonge Street.

The other problems that followed were a real simple equation: cops tense from the previous days, imported trouble-makers who don’t give a flying fuck, plus people who feel a sudden need to demonstrate that they’re “free”.

The cops swooped in, some genuine trouble makers were conked on the head, some ignorant goofs were too, along with suddenly socially aware media whores, and at the end of the day I’m pretty satisfied that most of the people who sat on their asses in those cells probably deserved to be there. And guess what? Police can stop and detain you for up to 24 hours without a warrant, G20 or not, so people for whom this is a genuine concern can continue to express their outrage the other 51 weekends out of the year. I haven’t seen much evidence of this.

I learned a whole lot that weekend and the weeks leading up to it. It wasn’t always easy to watch, but we got through it and, I think, we’re a little wiser for the experience.

Although it’s almost 6 months later now, conduct is being questioned and people are making apologies. Well, the cops are anyways. I really wasn’t sure what to think going in, but it’s exactly why I had to be there.

When the clouds finally lifted, the boards were removed with shiny new glass underneath, and the graffiti had been scrubbed off, I ended up feeling pretty optimistic about Toronto.

Definitely the biggest story of my year.

2 Comments on “ The end has come! (part 2) ”

  • richarie
    January 5th, 2011 7:25 am

    i love all these picture. thanks for share it patrick ;)

    Read more from richarie at:
  • Patrick
    January 9th, 2011 6:04 am

    My pleasure, Richarie.

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