The Torch Bearer

At the base of the pylons is the Torch Bearer standing near a statue of a young dying soldier. The Torch Bearer has taken the torch from the figure of the Spirit of Sacrifice. He then takes up the fight, and strains up to the highest points on the twin white pylons toward the eight figures representing The Chorus [ed: Justice, Peace, Faith, Honour, Hope, Charity, Knowledge, and Truth]. This is a reference to one of the most famous poems of the First World War, ‘In Flanders Fields,’ by the Canadian Army Medical Corps officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

From the Vimy Memorial site


Cover photo from Veterans Affairs

"I have just met you, and I love you."

Well, I’ve had an enjoyable forty-ish hours. It started Friday night when we walked down to Front Street to see this year’s criterium. I have no real interest in cycling, but it’s fun to watch racing on a downtown street. Plus, it gave me a chance to test out our new camera: a Canon SX10 IS. We used to have an S3 but sold it when Nellie got her Nikon SLR. I still have a little Canon S230, which is fine for carrying around in my pocket if we’re out with friends, but it turns out there was too big a gap between that and the D40. This SX10 feels familiar (it’s basically just the update of the S3 we had before), is a pretty good mix of convenience and quality, and the 20x zoom will come in handy. For example:

These guys were way down Front Street when I took that. Anyway, we couldn’t stay long as we had dinner reservations at Canoe with Nellie’s mom, so home we went to get all gussied up. Canoe was magnificent, as one would expect, and lives so comfortably in their place atop the Toronto restaurant pile (according to Toronto Life, anyway). Nellie and her mom started with the chevre with rosemary brioche, I had the prawn & asparagus chowder with tarragon butter, and we shared a bottle of 2007 Fielding viognier. For our mains I had the caribou (which was amazing), Nellie and her mom had the prime ribeye and we took a 2006 a bottle of Domaine Gardies Mas Les Cabes. No dessert, just dessert wine for Nellie and I and a glass of white for her mom. Oh, and at some point the afore-mentioned mom took off her shoes and went for a stroll through the restaurant. Don’t ask.

The next day, after dropping Nellie’s mom off at the airport we went to see Up (imdb | rotten tomatoes) at Yonge & Dundas. I’m not a big animation fan, and while I did like the last two Pixar releases (Ratatouille and wall-e) I didn’t bother to see them in the theatre. However, a screaming 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and a lot of advance critical praise made this one my top movie theatre priority this weekend. And it was good. Really, really good. It was sweet, funny, entertaining and (of course) spectacularly animated. Fun story, too, like Raiders Of The Lost Ark if Indy were an octagenarian. In the end I think it might have actually been a mistake to see it in the theatre, since the kid and mother behind me who talked often — and loudly — occasionally “pulled me” out of the film. But I’m still glad I saw it yesterday.

The movies weren’t done there. We freed up a little more room on the PVR by watching Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park (imdb | rotten tomatoes), which I kind of liked (bizarre mismatched music notwithstanding) but I felt it would have made a better short film than feature. There were so many repeated scenes and long tracking shots that nine minutes likely would’ve done it.

We also finally got around to watching the pilot of Glee (fox | onion a.v. club), which I found fairly funny, but if the singing keeps up like this I may struggle to keep watching. I can only take so much Amy Winehouse and Journey. While we watched that a killer rainstorm passed over Toronto, followed quickly by a brilliant rainbow (and another faint cousin):

Also, at some point this weekend I finished reading The Blind Side (amazon) by Michael Lewis. Only about a quarter of the book was what I expected it to be — an historic and financial look at the left tackle position in football. Instead it focused on a kid named Michael Oher, and told a very engaging story about his life. There is, in fact, a movie being adapted from it but with Sandra Bullock cast as one of the leads I don’t hold out much hope for it not sucking.

With that book done I’ve taken the advice given to me over the years by several friends, including those who’d just finished with my copy, and begun reading The Long Walk To Freedom.

Unfortunately it’s a bit too chilly out today to enjoy the sun the way we’d like, but that gives us a good excuse to tackle yet another chunk of the PVR’s hard drive.

La Princesse

I’ll admit it, I’m not fond of spiders. I’m not scared of them, and would never squish one (I was often reminded by my farmer father that spiders kill all the ‘bad’ bugs, so I was conditioned not to kill them as a kid) but they make me uncomfortable. I prefer that they don’t crawl on me, and the big hairy ones like bird spiders freak me out a little.

However, this is pretty goddamn awesome:

Click on the link above to see all the pictures, and read the story of La Princesse arriving in Liverpool.

Final thoughts on Nuit Blanche

  • David Topping at Torontoist has an excellent list of recommendations for how to improve next year’s event, including my favourite “Somehow Ban Trashed, Annoying People from Participating.” Also, you can tell by the article’s permalink that the original title was “The Nights Who Say Nuit” but I’m guessing the editor pulled that for excessive levels of nerd. 🙂
  • Another of Topping’s suggestions — Ban Non-Pedestrian Traffic — was echoed by Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume. Pretty hard to argue with that, having seen a few people almost hit by cars and Queen Street ground to a halt anyway. Even leaving Richmond, Adelaide & Front open for cross-town traffic while closing off Wellington, Queen & King would help.
  • My Flickr traffic has gone through the roof in the last 24 hours, partly from native Flickr searches, and partly because Spacing Wire used one of my pictures.
  • Finally, while we could hear the rehearsals all week leading up to Nuit Blanche in the nearby park, and could also hear the early performances Saturday evening before we went out, we missed seeing Quixotic ourselves in St. James Park. It looked impressive too: how this performance at 5AM didn’t wake us up I’ll never know.

Well, there goes the neighbourhood

Torontoist is reporting that an Ikea (of sorts) is opening on King Street East, just around the corner. Actually, I can see it from here. Seriously, right from where I’m sitting.

King Street East is known for its high-end furniture retailers like Roche Bobois and UpCountry, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see the logo for everyone’s guilty pleasure, IKEA, on a classy King Street storefront.

Torontoist reader Sofi Papamarko asked us to investigate this mysterious downtown presence of the eco-conscious Swedish giant, suggesting that it could be an office furniture location or a boutique IKEA (similar to the Leon’s planned for the Roundhouse or the downscaled Brick store at College Park). The windows at 143 King Street tease a date of July 31, 2008—which curiously is the same day that IKEA releases their annual catalogue.

“It’s not a store,” a rep for the company told Torontoist, “but it is a place where customers can check out products from the 2009 catalogue.”

But will they have the cheap breakfasts?

Also up for betting: Sam Javanrouh bikes past there every day; how long before he posts a picture on Daily Dose of Imagery?

[tags]ikea, king street, sam javanrouh, daily dose of imagery[/tags]

Wagons west

Hello children. By the time this post is published, Nellie and I will be on our way to the airport, all sleepy-eyed and rumble-tummied. Barring anything interesting happening while waiting for our flight to take off, this will likely be the last substantial blog post for a while. The first four days of our trip will be spent just out of range of Bell’s wireless coverage, judging by their map. [pdf]

Hopefully when we reach Kamloops (on the 25th) we’ll have an internet connection and some time to sort through the hundreds of pics we’re sure to take around Field. Keep an eye on my Flickr photostream (or the RSS feed, if you have a reader) for the first few; when we get back to Toronto I’ll create a proper summary set like the one from the last trip.

Until then, stay tight, tigers. We’ll see you on the other side of the continental divide.

[tags]rockies, lake o’hara, field, kamloops, flickr[/tags]