Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hockey and mangos

Every morning on my way to work I walk past the Hockey Hall of Fame/. And every morning I think to myself "I have tot take a picture of that sculpture". And I never do. But tonight, out to hunt down some dinner, I have my camera with me and here it is:

And then a trademark headless style picture of myself wearing the Super Original Mango t-shirt for
duffypedia's gallery.

If everything goes according to plan, you will be able to purchase Super Original Mango tracks and other tunes from the newly built first floor of the little shop at decorfilms from October 17th onwards. Right now, Stewart, wearing a yellow hard hat, is still busy on the building site, but I am sure, he will be finished on time.

Toronto islands

Before I cross the lake again to get to the islands, I check the relevant chapter in Stefan's travel guide and learn the following:

Toronto islands started life as an immense sandbank, stretching into the lake. On April 13th, 1858, a hurricane cut through the sandbank and formed Toronto's islands. Centre Island has no residents, but hundreds of visitors on weekends. On Algonquin Island and Ward's Island small artistic communities live a unique life. (After a long struggle the city granted the the year-round residents 99-year leases in 1980.) All of the islands are interconnected by bridges or footpaths.

The islands have three ferry terminals and my guess is that from the one in the west to the one in the east, it's about a 6k walk. So in the morning I pack something to eat, a towel, a book and my Blackberry (Huston, I have a dependency problem) and take the ferry to Hanlan's Point.

Once there I start to walk along the road in the general direction of the beach. (Not the "clothing optional" one, of course. Call me old fashioned, but some parts of me I think should remain private. It's better for all parties involved.)

It's quite lovely here:

They have a pretty lighthouse:

Finally, the "clothing required" beach or "Centre Island Beach":

I unpack my towel and lie down on my back. This is my view...

After due consideration I decide never ever to return to the office. That's when my Blackberry's red light starts flashing. You've got mail. (Did I mention my little dependency problem?)

I have brought a bathing suit, but after sticking my toes into the lake decide that it's way too cold to go for a swim. This guy disagrees...

I read for a while, doze off and finally wake up hungry. So I make my way to Centre Island Pier, where apparently food can be purchased for a nominal price.

On my way what I think is a Monarch butterfly, sits still long enough to make a good picture:

The food is a jucky fast food pizza affair and since I am hungry, but not starving, I decide to walk on to a place called The Rectory Cafe.

But first the view back to the island from the pier:

Instead of walking along the lakeside, I take the road along the lagoon.

I don't know about you, but to me these do not look very secure. Pretty, maybe. But secure. No.

Boats, boats, boats...

Still life: Pretty lilac buoy and ugly cable...

Did I mention the boats?

All along the way there are these funny looking things:

On one of them it says "Disc Golf Target". What the $%&/ is disc golf?

I reach The Rectory Cafe and it is a lovely, chips/French fries/Pommes Frites free zone. A good vegetarian selection and not too expensive. I order a warm goat cheese salad.

The Hunter appears. He is a very impressive white cat with incredible blue eyes:

The nice elderly couple sitting next to me have orderd salmon and tuna. Hunter finds these infinitely more attractive then my goat cheese and starts staring at their plates.

In their defence I have to say that they did put up a fight. But in the end the cat won and a small plate with fish was placed under the table for him. He left without saying thank you.

I left too and spent another couple of hours on Ward's Island Beach reading my book, dozing in the sun, staring out over the lake.

Sunburnt, but recuperated I return to the city in the late afternoon.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The history of the pointy shoe

After two people independently commented on the pointiness of a particular pair of shoes I was wearing, I decided that I should go and visit the Bata Shoe Museum to investigate the history of the pointy shoe.

The museum itself is shaped like a shoe box, which I find very appealing...

The museum displays shoes from all over the world and throughout many centuries. This is a pair of 19th century Indian silver and gilt wedding paduka. How on earth is someone suppossed to walk on these???

19th century Chinese boots for bound feet...

Just looking at them makes me shudder with horror. How cruel was that binding of feet! There is a note saying that it is a rumour, these women hardly walked. Every step must have been painful.

And here it is... the ultimate pointy shoe... a 15th century knight's Gothic sabaton from Southern Germany:

I must say, I prefer mine!

One of my collegues in London is the biggest Madonna fan I have ever met. So of course I had to take a picture of her shoe in the "Walk of Fame" part of the museum:

I am very impressed by one of Shaquile O'Neal's trainers. He has size 20!

There is a special exhibition "The Charm of Rococo:Femininity and Footwear in the 18th Century". The shoes are lavish and over the top. These shoes from England (approx. 1735 - 40) are complemented by small green clogs, which were slipped on to protect the shoe from sinking into the mud.

There is another exhibition about China and I learn that my Chinese zodiac is the rooster. Apparently I am blunt and brutal and have a direct approach to life.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

On the beach

The ferries to and from Toronto island operate until late in the evening, so I decide there is more than enough time to cross over and have a look around.

And I stick my feet into Lake Ontario...

... and I have no intention of putting other parts of myself into the water! Way too cold. I am the hot shower type of person.

Some lovely Canada geese standing around, doing nothing much.

Oh dear! Do you remember the people wearing fluffy green hats at the Robbie Williams concert? I guess, some disgruntled fan whose view they blocked, drowned one of them here.

It's worse, someone drowned them all!

I swear it wasn't me!

If this is a spiders work, I really don't want to know how big it was:

Baywatch Toronto:

I thought things like this exist only in Europe! A "Clothing Optional Beach"...

It's late in the afternoon. Time to go...

Let's go for a walk (reprise)

It's Tuesday. The two people that I have to work with most here in Toronto have taken the day off. So I decided to do the same and go for a walk. Stephan gave me his City Guide Toronto before he flew home and they have a couple of interesting walking tours. "Cabbagetown & Rosedale Architecure Walk" sounds most interesting, so that's the one I will take.

But first I have to get to the starting point in Cabbagetown. My hotel is on The Esplanade, so quite a bit away. But it would feel stupid to start a walking tour by taking a taxi or the underground, so I walk to do the walk. If you understand what I mean.

Canadians are funny people. They like icehockey so much, they have built it a temple.

Great Britain clock...

I walk and walk and walk... and end up in what clearly is the gay part of Toronto. There is a lot of shops with the rainbow flag hung outside and - forgive me the stereotype - an increased number of good looking man. God has a strange sense of humour, at least from a straight woman's point of view.

Then I realise that I have walked way too far. I had been so busy absorbing the city that I missed a turn I should have taken. Oh, nevermind. I have the whole day.

Eventually I get to the starting point of the walking tour. The predominant impression of Cabbagetown is a big mass of deliberately neglected green green gardens. I am in love. Should I ever move to Toronto, this would be the place to go to.

This is the former St Enoch's Presbyterian Church, now the Toronto Dance Theater & School:

The guide says, it's a "soaring red-brick Romanesque Revival building (1891)".

Next up is the Italianate Villa:

No. 320 Carlton St 5 is "a plump example of of the architectural style Toronto is best know for, the bay-and gable home":

These are the working class style Geneva Ave Cottages...

How many dogs can a single person walk?

The Witches' house has been named after its gingerbread appearance and the gargoyle on the front:

The Alpha Ave Cottages are hidden in a tiny road that you will miss, if you don't know what you are looking for. They were originally built for workers in the 19th century.

The same is true for Wesley Cottages...

No 314 Wellesley St is a terra-cotta building with fine ornamentation:

Then the walking tour leads me past some modern architectural delights...

This is the James Ramsey House (that's a busy road in front of it and you have no idea how long it took me to take a "car free" picture):

Castle Frank Road No 65 is a white Georgian home...

This house in Castle Frank Road No 43 is built in "clinker brick" style, where each brick is differently coloured:

No 93 Elm Ave has an impressive ornamental iron porch:

No 88 Elm Ave won an architecture prize in 1921 and is listed by the Ontario Heritage Foundation as being of architectural significance:

This house is not part of the walking tour, but I like it:

The walking tour is done and it was really good. This is indeed an interesting part of Toronto.

I walk back to my hotel and come by this sculpture. It makes me sad, because apparently modern life is all about running busily from one place to another.

Oh... a huge Cadbury's chocolate!