Posted 04/Feb/2007 17:00:00
"Drake, you ho, this is all your fault."
Spraypainted on the front of the Starbucks at Queen West and
Dovercourt, it was an epithet for all to see. The once grotty,
run-down and cheap strip of Queen West was getting swankified. Just
wait, they all predicted, the next thing you know, they'll be kicking
out artists and putting up condos they can't afford.
Well, yes and no. Last week the Ontario Municipal Board approved a
development at 48 Abell Street that would see the current building
torn down, forcing the artists who currently reside there to find
other accommodations, at least temporarily. This has created an
uproar within the West Queen West community, because the predictions
all seem to be coming true.
Continue reading: » 48 Abell
Posted 10/Jan/2007 01:00:00
Ah, January. The traditional time of year for Torontonians to take
one look at their post-holiday credit card bills and the piles of
snow outside, and then hibernate until the first warm day in April.
Some local businesses with small numbers of employees, such as
galleries, wisely shut their doors for the month and head south.
Restaurants, however, are often hard hit during this slow month, and
many have jumped at the chance to join a city-promoted restaurant
week to encourage people to head out and have a good meal...
Continue reading: » Winterlicious
Posted 26/Dec/2006 17:20:00
Yonge Street is by far my favourite display of the Cavalcade of
Lights, and was also the toughest to shoot. The display in Dundas
Square features gorgeous overhead light bursts that change colour,
and lines of lights along the north canopy also flash in sequence.
The tree-like structure made up of a variety of globe-like shapes is
the most striking as it modulates from white to light blue and then a
very dark blue and back to white again.
Over the street, light swags of shades of blue and purple run from
Dundas down to Queen Street West where the Hudson's Bay Company,
although not part of the official event, become a important part of
the display as enormous light grids on the corners of the building
flash video images of snow flakes, holiday messages and the Bay logo
down onto the street.
If you're a holiday curmudgeon still looking for your Christmas
spirit, may I suggest a walk along Yonge Street with a cup of hot
chocolate and some carefully chosen holiday tunes on the ol' MP3
player? Despite the nearby Eaton Centre and the incentive to get all
crazy consumer, it just might be where the Christmas spirit finally
catches up with you.
Posted 15/Dec/2006 02:45:00
Toronto's Greek community always does things in a big way and the
Greek Town Cavalcade of Lights display is no different. While some
neighbourhoods are content to simply affix some festive lights to
their lampposts, the Danforth gets some special treatment at a
community meeting place.
While the lights that hang over the main thoroughfare along Danforth
Avenue feature blue and white lights made to look like olive
branches, it's the fountain in Alexander the Great parkette at the
corner of Logan and Danforth that is the hilight of the display.
Covered in energy-efficient blue LED lights, the fountain, which by
day is a great location to sip a coffee or people watch, looks as if
it is flowing, and the surrounding trees are decorated with blue and
white lights in a longer shape that look like leaves.
This is truly one of the most striking displays of the whole festival
and definitely worth a visit if you're in Greek Town enjoying a nice dinner.
Posted 04/Dec/2006 13:20:00
It's Christmastime in Toronto and the city is lit up like, well, a Christmas tree.
For forty years, lights have been strung and a giant tree erected in Nathan Phillips Square, in front of Toronto City Hall.
Over the years the event has grown - now more than 50,000 people attend the tree lighting and fireworks ceremony, and a variety of neighbourhoods throughout the city take part as well.
With the city of Toronto setting an example in energy conservation, Nathan Phillips Square is decorated entirely in blue and white LED lights. Which is a good move, considering there are over 100,000 lights in the display.
The opening ceremonies featured a light projection show called "Immersion" where images were projected onto Old City Hall, and every Saturday night until New Year's Eve will also feature fireworks and concerts.
Throughout December I'll be featuring different neighbourhoods throughout the city and their respective displays for the Cavalcade of Lights.
Posted 01/Dec/2006 11:20:00
The first time, we found it by accident. Torontonians, like most urban people, I suspect, don't actually spend a lot of time at their local city hall. It's a place you go for specific things such as licenses, or perhaps to pay your property tax bill, but the residents of the city just don't hang out there.
We popped in because we knew there was a bank machine in the main rotunda, and we were low on cash. Who knew that there would be a whole multicultural festival going on inside?
Continue reading: » Christmas Around the World
Posted 29/Nov/2006 01:30:00
The term "gourmet" can be a noun, referring to either a person who enjoys good food and drink, or an adjective meaning fancy, exotic or specialized meals. So when I recently attended Toronto's Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, I sort of expected there to be a bit more stuff that might fall into the fancy and exotic category.
First off, it should be noted that I know very little about wine, and the focus of the show really was on the beverages. Taking up about two-thirds of the exhibitors' area, wines from around the world were very much the stars of the event. There was food there, but not very much of it qualified as what I'd consider "gourmet". Or maybe it's just the fact that no matter how delicious and beautiful a dish is, once you put in on a steam tray or a chaffing dish, it loses some of its allure...
Continue reading: » Toronto Food and Wine Expo Recap
Posted 23/Nov/2006 00:25:00
A trip to Kensington Market is a must for any visitor to Toronto. Heck, it's a must for locals as well. This little corner of the city, for all of its weird smells and funny music, is really the jewel of Toronto...
Continue reading: » Kensington Market - The Multicultural Heart of Toronto
Posted 27/Oct/2006 04:14:00
In the thirteen years that I've lived in my neighbourhood, I've seen lots of businesses come and go. People too. Parkdale, in Toronto's west end, has a certain charm if you're open to it, but for many, it's a place they work hard to get away from. Created originally at the turn of the 20th century as an upscale neighbourhood, it's now a mix of low-income apartments, beautiful but neglected old houses split into crumbling flats, and a new wave of folks intent on renovating the place back to its former glory.
There's a certain grittiness to the area that scares a lot of people away; the mix of artists, new immigrants, low-income families and gentrified homeowners make for a colourful mix. You can pass a crack-addicted hooker, a hundred-thousand dollar SUV full of interior decorators, and a Tibetan family in full traditional dress, all in the same block.
Oddly, we all seem to get along and live together without too much culture shock, bound by our shared fear of the spreading condo boom pushing us all out. More hip bars, boutique hotels and swank stores are opening every month and the older neighbourhood hangouts are beginning to disappear.
One holdout appears to be the Rhino Bar and Grill. Located at the east end of the strip, it's one of the first places the hipsters encounter once they're brave enough to make it past the psychological barrier of the train bridge that defines the edge of the neighbourhood...
Continue reading: » Toronto Restaurant Rhino