chickenfeet: (srscat)
Until last week I hadn't used the Toronto Public Library in years. I had a library card but I didn't use it. This was because my local branch was small and never had anything I was interested in and the inter-branch loan system was difficult to use and slow. Having renewed my card I find that the whole library paradigm has shifted (I realise I am ludicrously late to the party and I probably sound like someone who discovered fire a few hundred thousand years late.) As I see it now we have one virtual library with a series of pick up and drop off points. The "home" location of the book or record is largely irrelevant. I can go on-line, do a catalogue search (now easy rather than arcane) and have anything I want delivered to my local branch for pick up. This is an incredible advance on the old method. I'm surprised the city hasn't publicised it more. Maybe the magnitude of the change isn't obvious to insiders?
chickenfeet: (sousou)
I went out to do some shopping at lunchtime. I saw what must surely be the last, lonely rose of summer.


transitions102408_1, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



Musings on transition plus pictures )
chickenfeet: (feet)
The main stage show at the festival was amazing. Fesso the clown (yes, another one) hosted and juggled and kept things moving. There were amazing aerialists; rope, hoop trapeze, regular trapeze, silks, and the truly astonishing Silk Road Acrobats; a troupe of Uyghur refugees. There are more than seventy photos in the Flickr set but here's six to get you going.


show6_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.




show24_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.




show43_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.




show48_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.




show61_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.




show74_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.

chickenfeet: (tails)
Today we headed out to Harbourfront to see the 6th Annual Toronto International Circus Festival. The weather has been lousy this weekend but it cleared up a bit today though it was still pretty cold for circus watching.

On the way we saw a schooner making sail


schooner051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



and some weird Canadian art.


donutcanoe_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



We knew we had arrived when we saw a man on a unicycle juggling knives


unicycle4_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



and, as I warned you on Saturday, clowns. They were no longer lurking in the mist but practicing their dark arts in full public view.


clown1_051908, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



Later on we saw the main stage show which was awesome but a write up will have to wait until I have sorted out approximately a gazillion pictures.
chickenfeet: (feet)
It's a cold, wet long weekend Sunday in the Tdot. I biked out to the end of the Leslie Street Spit in a steady drizzle and despite being frozen I got a few pictures.

I like the spit. It's a funny place. It's a long spit of land providing shelter to the harbour. There is a long term plan for the area whereby fill from construction sites in the city is dumped there to create artificial wetland habitat so it's a strange mix of rubbish dump and nature reserve. On a day like today when land, lake and sky merge into a birdsong filled greyness it really feels like somewhere like Minsmere but with a great city in the background.

Pictures )
chickenfeet: (fishy)
Today I broke my poutine duck with, appropriately enough, duck poutine. This momentous event must be put in context. Poutine is, canonically, a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown BBQ chicken gravy. It is mostly only eaten by Quebeckers and, even then, mostly only when drunk. This explains why, in twenty five years in Canada, I have never so much as tasted the stuff. In recent years though, fancy chefs have started to offer fancy versions. I have even seen versions featuring foie gras. Therein lies the key to today's story.

The lemur and I decided to go out for lunch. We both felt like a change from our more frequented lunch spots. We thought of Kultura because they do a really good eggy brunch but it seems that's all they do at lunchtime and that didn't hit the spot. However, on the webpage where I was checking this info there was a list of other places in the neighbourhood and one of them, Gilead Cafe, was completely unknown to me, as indeed was the street it was located on, Gilead Place, which turns out to be a sort of back alley in the unpromising area between King and Front just east of Little Trinity Church. Anyway, we gave it a shot. The actual cafe is rather nice. It's part of the burgeoning Jamie Kennedy empire and is a combo cafe, fancy deli and bakery. I think the kitchen also supports JK's event catering operation. It had a decent list of blackboard specials, one of which was confit of duck poutine. I decided to risk it. I wasn't disappointed. It came in a deep bowl. A generous helping of Yukon Gold frites had been topped with shavings of mature cheddar and lots of shredded duck confit. The dish was doused with an incredibly intense duck jus and topped off with some snippets of chives. It was really good. The lemur had a very good open face croque madame made with home cured ham which was morw than satisfactory. Including a pot of darjeeling tea, the bill was under $25. Pretty good value in my book

In other news, yesterday was a day of squee. I saw a deer by the Don river while out riding my bike and then went to [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby's birthday bash at McVeigh's. This featured the awesome miss [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby herself (of course) plus quite a few of her friends who are excellent company and I even got to argue with a completely unreconstructed Stalinist which I haven't done for years. Later on we were 'entertained' by possibly the worst Irish band in the entire universe. Drowning in green beer with plastic shamrocks shoved up their arses would be too good for them. They really had that Ed Wood "so bad it comes round to good again" quality.
chickenfeet: (mew)
It really is a lovely spring day. [livejournal.com profile] lemur_catta and I had a very pleasant brunch at Barrio on Queen Street East. They do a rather excellent Benny variant with crabmeat and green onion. Also several good beer choices on tap.

Coming home I took some pictures:

1. The true confirmation that winter is over, patio dining


joy, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



2. A Toronto landmark (very decent food and Fuller's porter on tap)


jerk, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



3. The Don river in springlike garb


don, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.



4. Just to be crass and vulgar


potty, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.

chickenfeet: (spacetime)
Doh! I missed this picture from the Cabbagetown post. Known to zombie fans the world over, regrettably, the Winchester is now a Tim Horton's; whose coffee only zombies will drink.


winchester, originally uploaded by jgilks@rogers.com.

chickenfeet: (canada)
Cabbagetown was once the quintessential working class neighbourhood of Toronto. It was the first home for generations of new immigrants starting with the Irish, then Eastern Europeans and, more recently, South Asian and East African families. Old Cabbagetown had its slums and was notorious in the mid 19th century for cholera outbreaks. Post WW2, a fair amount of not especially nice public housing was built (Regent's Park) and the neighbourhood became one of the sketchier parts of the city. More recently there has been a massive amount of gentrification, especially on the quiet side streets and houses sell for, by Toronto standards, very high prices. Most recently parts of Regent's Park have been demolished and are being replaced by pretty boring condos. It looks as though no attempt is going to be made to create the kind of fairly integrated mixed income community that makes the St. Lawrence neighbourhood so great.

Anyway, here be pictures: )
chickenfeet: (canada)
I really like the way the brickwork and mansard patterns in the older building to the left have been extended, in somewhat simplified form, to the renos on the right.
The St. Lawrence hall from Front and Market on a bright, sunny but definitely not spring yet morning.
chickenfeet: (fart)
Today, [livejournal.com profile] lemur_catta and I walked east from Ashridge's Bay more or less to the Water Works and then up to Queen Street. Now The Beach is a pretty odd neighbourhood but it doesn't usually have quite so many pipe bands and oddly dressed people like these two:



Soon all was revealed when we found this poster:



Bemused and a bit fed up with the crowds we headed back ssouth to the boardwalk and back to the car that way. The Beach is a silly place. Let's not go there after all.
chickenfeet: (cat)
Walking from Kensington Market to chez [livejournal.com profile] chickenfeet2003 via Queen Street West can usually be guaranteed to provide a few thought provoking fashion statements. Today there were two such. The first we shall call the Muslim Ninja Backpacker. The MNB was dressed in black cargo pants and jacket with a black headscarf and sunglasses. He/she was proceeding northbound on Spadina at great speed wearing a very large leather (black, natch) backpack. The second person was a twentyish anorexic male with the sort of haircut that everybody had when I was at university. He was dressed in a tweed jacket, flannels, a white shirt and a tie. Despite his anorexia, the jacket was a size too small and tightly buttoned up. The flannels were about three inches too short and his shirt wasn't tucked in. WTF?

In other Queen West news, Le Select, The 360 and David Mason Books have all closed. No doubt they will be replaced by yet another Gap or Taco Bell.
chickenfeet: (enigma)
It was freezing out today, windchill of -16, but beautifully clear so I took the camera along and walked down through the docks to see what could be seen.

Pictures )
chickenfeet: (Default)
In the middle of all the awful things going on it's nice to be able to take pleasure in small things. This morning I saw the Hippo bus refuelling at my local gas station. It's somehow reassuring to share a gas station with a hippo bus.

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