It’s nice being a tourist in a city that I once lived in. I love Toronto. The weather has been terrific, until today when it rained – better than snow though! Obviously I’m not a ‘good’ Canadian, I can live without the snow.
The city’s decked out for Christmas, the stores are crowded all the time, and people have a frantic look about them. Still, there are areas that seem unaffected by the pressure. I’ve spent a fair bit of time around Dundas and Spadina. It feels like being in another country. In the summer time I can close my eyes and think I’m in a market in Singapore in the mid 60s.
A few blocks away at Yonge and Dundas it’s electronic central, lights, video screens, music, ads, and people, people, people. There was an item in the paper last week saying that the city is going to install security cameras at the intersection. Only 4 so it isn’t the UK yet but it is the creeping hand, or eye, of big brother.
Yesterday my daughter and I did a do-it-yourself streetcar tour. It ended up being more walking than streetcar, I felt like my legs had worn off to my thighs. When we couldn’t walk another step it was nice to be able to hop on the streetcar and come home. In the course of the day we were in an Italian neighbourhood, a Portuguese neighbourhood, a Polish neighbourhood, and a ‘being gentrified’ neighbourhood.
On Wednesday evening I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Ansel Adams and Alfred Eisenstaedt exhibit. Surprisingly I liked the Eisenstaedt work a lot more than I liked the Adams’ work. Maybe because we’ve all seen so much of Adams’ work over the years and I had never heard of Eisenstaedt so it was fresh but I think it was because his images are more intimate. They’re on a smaller scale and there are a lot of images of people.
The best thing about the evening was completely unexpected. There’s an ongoing exhibition called In Your Face. It’s small portraits from ‘the general public’ i.e. AGO visitors. They’re all the same size and are mounted floor to ceiling so the walls are covered with these little – maybe 4 x 5 – images. There are pencil sketches, crayon drawings, pastels, watercolours, acrylics, quilted images, collages, some are mounted on boards, some are stick people, they’re wonderful. It’s like the biggest fridge you’ve ever seen.
There’s a Flickr set of images from my wanderings in Toronto