Thursday, April 26, 2007

pictures from an exhibition place

Too Late, Clients Saw It!
On the way over to walk through Exhibition Place, we saw this sign through a basement window in the Scholastic building. It appeared to be a storeroom...or was it? What secrets truly lay in this black sheep of a room?

Princes' Gates (1)
The Princes' Gates...or Piazza Prince's Gates, as the area surrounding it is now known.

Princes' Gates (4) Princes' Gates (3)
Left: a fountain detail. Right: the floor of the piazza is laid with provincial mottos and stones showing the official provincial flora. Sadly, the territories are not deemed worthy enough to have a motto.

We passed through the south end of the grounds, passing barracks and tugs, resting for a moment at seats left over from Exhibition Stadium. We then arrived at our main destination...

BMO Field Sign (1) BMO Field Sign (2)
Toronto's newest stadium, BMO Field is the home of Toronto FC. We joked that based on the sponsor's initials, it could easily gain the nickname "Bowel Movement". Somebody noticed a gate was open, so most of the group wandered in to take a look around. They roamed for a few minutes and later noticed others doing the same. Most noted the field felt weird.

Scadding's Door Press Building

After saying hi to security, we continued on through the grounds, ending up by the wind turbine and Toronto's oldest home, Scadding Cabin. Note the scale of the door on the left.

The full set of photos is over on Flickr.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

(trying to avoid a title that uses puns based on "seoul"

Seoul House Firing Up The Grill
Last weekend's second group dinner moved north, to Seoul House on Dufferin, just south of Yorkdale. The grill was eager for our arrival, even if it was feeling a little blue.

Pan Chan
Our selection of ban chans (Korean side dishes). Clockwise from top left: kimchee (mildercompared to other versions I've had, but still good), shredded radish, bean sprouts, sliced fish cake, peanuts and anchovies (most grazed on the peanuts and left the fishies alone - I like these crunchy little creatures) and marinated eggplant.

Steamed Dumplings Jap Chae
Left: steamed dumplings. We also ordered the fried version, both palate-pleasing.

Right: A large plate of jap chae (sweet potato noodles). Hard to pull apart sometimes, but one of my favourite Korean dishes. Not as gummy as other places I've been to.

Yang Nyum Gal Bi Grilling Kalbi
We ordered four batches of kalbi for the grill. All slices had been removed from the bones and nicely marinated. This was the action at my end of the table...

Mae Un Dea Ji Bul Go Gi Hae Mul Pa Jeon
...while the other end stirred away at a tabletop cooker with pepper-sauced Mae Un Dea Ji Bul Go Gi (pork bulgogi). We also shared an order of Hae Mul Pa Jeon (seafood pancake).

As the mound of kalbi shrank, the grill collected ash, drippings, etc. Things got a little smokey by the last few pieces, with small fires erupting across the grill. Our waitress threw one of our leftover lettuce leaves onto the biggest blaze, which did the trick. Later on, one diner chewed on the charred lettuce, declaring that it wasn't half-bad.

Lesson: never belittle the power of romaine!

When another table reached the same smokey state, the side doors were opened to let the haze dissipate.

Hitting the Panic Button Sliced Watermelon
Earlier, we noticed that the table was equipped with a "panic button" to call the waitress. Nobody tested it until late in the meal, when we needed more tea. You can see the trepidation in our designated button-pusher's hand. Tea came in an instant.

The meal wound down with a plate of artfully cut juicy watermelon.

Full photo sets on Flickr from here, here and here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

what's your pet peeve about shirts?

Vintage Ad #211 - What's Your Pet Peeve About Shirts?

1) It appears as if the collar wasn't the only part of the shirt that shrunk.

2) This picture was accidentally sent to the ad agency. The model intended to send it to Warner Brothers in hopes of landing roles in the latest gangster movies.

3) Yes, I stomp on my shirts daily while wearing loose suspenders to make sure my collars look straight. Doesn't every pure-blooded male make this part of their morning ritual?

4) Unfortunately, the Arrow HITT doesn't solve the accompanying problem of droopy eyelids, though our model may have lowered his lids to prevent any damage by the edges of his lady friend's hat. If that had happened, then he could have gone on to a career with Arrow rival Hathaway.

Source: Time, January 30, 1939

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

chowing at a churrasquiera

College St Bairrada Churrasqueira

At Bairrada Churrasquiera on College St, the space is divided in two and I accidentally went into the wrong, classier-looking one on the left. Turned out I wasn't the only one who did this, which might have been an omen.

Cabbage Soup Queijo Português
I started off with the soup of the day, a cabbage soup that resembled a bland minestrone, thanks to stray pasta and beans. We shared a couple of plates of Queijo Português ("Portugeuse Cheese"), a bland white cheese that resembled fresh Mexican versions. I didn't notice the slight goat-cheese aftertaste that others did.

Chouriço Assado (1)
The highlight of the evening arrived next: Chouriço Assado, which lived up to its English name, "Flaming Sausage". A giant sausage was lit and swirled around in a ceramic pig, with no verbal equivalent to "Opa!" The sausage itself was nicely seasoned and would have made a decent main pared with sides.

Sardinhas Grelhadas Codornizes
We were disappointed by most of the mains. The grilled sardines (pictured on the left) were the best item I tasted, followed by my order of quail (right), even if I didn't detect the wine marinade until I tore into the last one. Still, the meat was moist, which is more than can be said for the dry house specialty BBQ chicken. Other dishes, such as suckling pig and calamari, were on the cold side. Pictures of all of the mains can be found here.

Dessert Menu May Contain Milk Derivatives
Though none of us tested the dessert menu, we were amused by the use of "milk derivatives" as an ingredient. Points for honesty.

Overall, we weren't enthused by the food, but this was mitigated by the low prices - most entrees hovered around $10. Another review over at Phoenikia.

Monday, April 16, 2007

a 99 cent lie

Cheap Lies
Star Pizza has been out of business for years, but its signage lives on. Their special has gradually dropped letters - for a long time, they offered "Lice" for 99 cents, a deal that earned them a picture in the back of eye years ago. The lice and lies weren't cheap enough to draw crowds.

Glassy, Very Glassy
Glassy, very glassy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

vintage windsor movie theatres department

Vintage Ad #203 - What Windsor Was Watching (and Eating) in March of '77
While doing some research in the Toronto Reference Library last month, I went down to the newspaper collection in the basement and photocopied the front page of the Windsor Star from my sister's birthday, which I used to wrap one of her presents. While scrolling through the microfilm, I also took a look at what was playing on local screens the day she arrived.

(Her birth notice proved interesting, as a few babies down was one of my friends, who I didn't meet until nearly a quarter century later!)

Note the lengthy run of Silver Streak, a rarity at the multiplex these days. Also note the odd pairing at the Windsor Drive-In: a Led Zep doc and a road-race comedy. The movies at the bottom of the page also couldn't be more different: Voyage of the Damned was an oscar-nominated drama about Jews attempting to leave Germany in 1939, while Mako: The Jaws of Death was one of the first Jaws ripoffs.

As for the theatres in this ad:

* The Devonshire ran through the 90s, its space currently occupied by H&M. Cineplex Odeon built a modern multiplex during Devonshire Mall's most recent expansion in 2000.

* The Windsor Drive-In site sat vacant for years.

* Based on its location, I'm guessing that the Twin East was replaced by the Famous 4, which wound up being Windsor's last chain-operated drive-in. Its site is now the Legacy Park big box development.

* The Capitol has had several lives since closing as a first-run theatre, mostly as a live performance venue. It has recently run into financial troubles. International Metropolis has pictures of a March rally to save the venue.

As for the restaurants ads, I've always wondered if entrees like chicken in a basket (or my childhood fave, shrimp in a basket) were an Essex County thing, since I rarely saw them elsewhere. We usually had these "baskets" at the now-defunct Anderdon Tavern, where the fried chicken or shrimp sat on a bed of fries in a plastic basket. The kind of dish my stomach would revolt at now.

Source: The Windsor Star, March 18, 1977

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the bradburn-harrick team room

While subbing at Amherst about a month ago, Amy discovered that the old weight room by the gyms had been converted to a team room. Not just any team room...
The Bradburn-Harrick Team Room
My timing with these photos was interesting, as both honorees passed away six years ago last week. Not sure when the room was named, but it's a nice tribute to both.

Dad coached football and basketball for nearly two decades. Growing up, I usually tagged along, keeping score for his basketball squads from the middle of elementary school onwards. After my lacklustre football playing career (spent mostly on the can to relieve nerves before practice), I helped him as team manager. Both sports meant a lot of bustrips for us, which lead to a few memorable events:

* Watching basketball players learn it's not a good idea to taunt drunken fans with cries of "go back to the tomato field!" in Leamington - they'll try to topple your bus.

* "J'aime le poisson!", heard after taking in the stench in the dressing room of one county school whose identity will be protected (but guesses are welcome).

* Trips to Ann Arbor to play American high school football, though I missed the year half the team brought back freebie gifts they received when they signed up for JCPenney credit cards at Briarwood Mall.

* Nearly sinking into the mud while trying to hold the yard markers at Micmac Park in Windsor.

Team Room Interior Jeffrey the Bulldog
The inside of the room, complete with the school mascot, Jeffrey the Bulldog, on the floor. Jeffrey is named after the school's namesake, General Jeffery Amherst (yes, the spelling varies depending on the source).

Counting Awards On The Wall, That Don't Bother Me At All Interior Entrance
A selection of awards won over the years, plus the interior exit.

Names on the Floor (1) Names on the Floor (2)
The floor of the gym lobby is covered with tiles listing past coaches and athletes - quite a few of my teachers can be found among the names on the left. Naturally, Dad stands off on his own.

1993 Ontario Scholars 1993 Valedictorian
But Dad's not the only one in the family whose name is found in the building. Amy and I show up on several plaques, including this list of notable grads from 1993. That was the same year they decided to immortalize valedictorians with a wall featuring each one's grad shots. Dad thought I should have switched this lovely picture with my U of G grad shot. When you're an accidental valedictorian, like I was that year (a long story involving a trip to Quebec), I guess any picture will do.

Locker #1492 Keeping Our School Safe Depends On You!
Take a close look at the locker number on the left, which was where I crammed my junk around grade 9 or 10. Consider that Dad was a history teacher, me a history whiz. Consider that another year my locker number was either 1776 or 1812 (memory is a bit hazy on that one). Did the person who assigned locker numbers have a good sense of humour?

The picture on the right is taken in the tech wing - the open door on the right leads to the drama room. I had a homeroom in this end of the school during my last year at Amherst, though there weren't any messages about safety then.

Classes were in session, so I wasn't able to duck into classrooms to see what traces remained from 15 years ago. This may have been a good thing, as the onslaught of memories of events and people I haven't thought about for ages might have knocked me on the floor.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

they tried to make me go to rehab, in 1894, 4, 4...

Vintage Ad #213 - They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab (in Oakville)
On a recent research trip, I discovered hard copies of a 1890s newspaper called Truth. Most of the advertising revolved around pianos, matches, patent medicines or, as in this example, sanitariums.

The only information that seems to be available on the web is an except from a pamphlet just after the turn of the century, touting its proximity to Toronto and Hamilton. If anyone knows where Lakehurst was located, or long it survived, leave a comment.

Stories, most with a casually racist tinge reflective of the time, that surrounded this ad included:

* Tips on why breathing through the nose carries less risk of invasion from "foreign substances" than mouth breathing (the secret is mucus!)

* Why Piegans were more clever than Crees: a Piegan warrior saved himself from a Cree party by figuring out a trick to make it appear as if there 69 other warriors with him by going around the same rock opening on a certain angle, even if all 69 carried the same gun, wore the same clothing and bore the same limp.

* Rudyard Kipling's opinion of Canada: "There is a fine, hard, tough, bracing climate--the climate that puts iron and grit into men's bones...Things don't perhaps move quite as fast as in the United States; but they are safer, and you are under the flag, you know, and among men of the slower stock and breed. Send your folks to Canada; and if they can't go themselves, let them send their money--plenty of it.

Source: Truth, June 16, 1894

Monday, April 02, 2007

keep your salesman out of my office!

Vintage Ad #212 - Keep Your Salesman Out of My Office!
Keep this boss away from the office too! We'll give him two minutes in the penalty box for excessive facial gurning, or temporarily remove the office supply of Listerine.

Pity the poor people for whom even mouthwash can't control bad breath due to medical problems. Discrimination against the sweet-breath challenged ran high in the late 1930s, with many ads illustrating the horrors of going without a gargle. Lost jobs, broken relationships, scared children, etc.

I doubt that carrying Listerine to the office would rank high among life's concerns when sweet- and foul-breathed men were tossed together in their new offices a couple of years later - the battlefields of Europe and Asia.

Source: Time, March 27, 1939