Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Night of the Sunflower!

Saganaki, I Love You

Ah, the fun one can have with Photoshop...

As is becoming usual, I spent Thursday night roaming around the city, just a trio this time. This week's trek started in Cabbagetown, wandering back and forth along the side streets east of Parliament. Beautiful homes with a wide range of lanscaping styles, from waterfalls to elephants.

Cabbagetown Flag
Cabbagetown is one of the few, possibly only, neighbourhoods in Toronto with its own flag - a green variant of the Canadian flag, with a cabbage instead of a leaf (it also reminds me of the Foodland Ontario flags that flew by 401 in Woodstock).

The man-eating sunflower? We're not telling...but we hung around long enough to show off its scale compared to mere mortals.

After Cabbagetown (and a very yippy dog in Wellesley Park), we headed towards the Danforth. A sudden craving for saganaki came over us. Cheese and flames - how can you resist? The sound of "OPA!" has long been a piece of North American Greek restaurant schtick. I mostly associate it with Greektown in Detroit, one of the few areas of downtown that went through little-to-no decay. Oddly, the only time I had ever had flaming cheese was a Mexican version, a massive slab of goo drowning in booze. Yummy, but probably a good thing there weren't any RIDE checks in LaSalle that night.

We wound up at Astoria. The saganaki caught us by surprise, as none of us had our cameras primed. I came closest, but as you can see from the pic up top, just missed the flames (yeah, I know it's spelled wrong...but it's part-in-parcel with low-budget late 60s-early 70s explotation docs/cheap novels).

Slicing the Saganaki Saganaki, Up Close and Personal
It was cheese. It flamed. We got an "OPA!" It disappeared in a hurry. We were happy.

More on this walk at Squiddity. - JB

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the best place to sit while the art gallery of ontario undergoes renovations

New Seating?

Toronto's most exclusive new place to relax - the Art Gallery of Ontario construction site! The chairs may not be Frank Gehry-designed, but they are classic institutional stock!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

1972 summer olympics on cbc

Vintage Ad #65 - The 1972 Summer Olympics
The Summer Olympic Games. It's good for Canada!...It's good for you! With a tag like that, all that seems to be missing is a tie-in to Participaction, which was getting off the ground at the time...but then the ad would have to be red and blue, instead of the classic 70s green spot colour used.

How good was it for the Canucks? We went home with five medals (two silver, three bronze), putting us on par with the Netherlands and North Korea. The Soviet Union led the gold count with 50, followed by the US (33), East Germany (20), host West Germany (13) and Japan (13).

Interesting to note which cities were among the finalists for these games: Montreal (who landed the next Summer Olympics), Madrid and Detroit. The Prelinger Collection contains a 1965 film promoting Motown as an Olympic site. Keep in mind that Detroit was only two years away from the '67 Riots when this was filmed.

Viewers and listeners would receive more than tales of the thrill of victory and agony of defeat from Munich, with the kidnapping of 11 Israeli athletes and a rescue attempt that failed.

Note that several of the channels listed for Ontario are currently not affiliated with CBC (CKVR, CFPL and CKNX now being part of the A-Channel system, etc).

CBC Archive Clips
* From 1966, a radio clip on Montreal's bid for the '72 Games.
* From 1972, an excerpt from coverage of the attempted rescue of the Israeli athletes.
* From 1984, Don Wittman recalls a close encounter with one of the hostage-takers.

Bonus feature: CBC's ID from the early 70s, before the "exploding pizza".

Source: Maclean's, August 1972 - JB

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Last week, different locale, different cast of characters. From Jane station, we followed the Humber south to the lake, winding through several parks and cliff-hugging paths.

Down, Down, Down We Go Comets Attack The Humber!
We entered the parklands along the river via the stairs on the left, off of Bloor. We followed a dirt path along the edge of a cliff, the walker in front clearing away spider webs for the others. We noticed a weird green-lit building along the river that reminded me of the Donald Sutherland version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Turned out to be the Humber Yacht Club, home to a row of boats with patios next to them. As you can see from the picture on the right, comets were also attracted to these vessels.

Good Vibrations
If this picture was less murky, you could make out a donut-shaped object found on the Humber path by the water treatment plant on Queensway. Attached to a set of locked washrooms, the echoes and reverb produced near the hole had us hand-clapping for several minutes.

Drive Slowly
I suspect the injured/dead kid signs found at town limits in Quebec are far more effective.

Checking The Last Photo Lake Ontario By Moonlight (1)
Down by Queensway, we found the perfect picture: two birds, possibly herons, perched side-by-side on a branch in the middle of the river. The birds taunted us by sitting just far enough for none of our cameras to capture the moment.

The full moon had illuminated most of our walk. We looked in awe as it shone over the lake, the light reflected in the waves. At this moment, I finally figured out how to use my long-exposure setting. I was as happy as a little girl.

Overpowering smell at the junction of the Humber and Lake Ontario: fresh-baked cookies, possibly chocolate, from the Christie plant on Lakeshore.

Sitting Waiting For A Streetcar Shadows Waiting For A Streetcar
By now, a few hours had passed and our feet were wearing down. We wandered over to Queensway and Ellis to catch the Queen car, shooting our shadows.

More pics by Defenest8tor, plus a closeup of mushrooms we found under the Gardiner at Squiddity. - JB

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


A couple of outings with Toronto Psychogeography to catch up on...

The trek two weeks ago started at Dundas West station, wound down Roncesvalles, through Parkdale to the CNE.

Hats Galore Everyday Low Homburg Pricing Fidelity Bank Can I Get Smoked Herring and a Falafel to Go?

As Dundas wound towards the bend at Roncesvalles, we noticed a store that appeared to be in a time warp: baby carriages advertised on the sign, old man clothing at ridiculously low prices in the window. The next storefront was equally out of time. Then we saw the sandwich boards and the gig was up: location filming for Hairspray was starting the following week. Most of the storefronts on Dundas for the next few blocks were redesigned to match the early 60s, with some fronts requiring less work than others (Macks' Gym, a travel agency that added a period map, etc).

What is Hefty Hiding?
Some fronts weren't quite finished, or else the Parkdale-High Park provincial by-election was also run in 1962 Baltimore. There's a better picture of Hefty Hideaway (still standing as of last night) over at Torontoist.

Food! Nighthawks at the Carny Game Tiny Tom Donuts Tiny Toms Rollin' Down The Assembly Line
We crossed over to the CNE from the lake. I hadn't been to the Ex in a few years, memories of the incompatibility of chicken rotis, amusement rides and my body from my last visit (and yeah, I'll join the chorus that it ain't what it used to be). It was nearly closing time and nobody was around to collect admission. The buildings and many of the stalls had closed for the day. One tradition was open: Tiny Tom Donuts. Weird ingredient high on the list: defatted soy flour. All but one of us grabbed a bag. As for the other...

Bungee Trampoline Time
...he took the bungee trampoline for a test drive.

Another report on this walk is on the TPS site.

NEXT: Last week's trek down the Humber. - JB