I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
In Halifax they have an annual “Art
at Night” event called Nocturne, and we have enjoyed exploring the
Halifax art scene during his event. Our son researched things to keep
us entertained while using his condo here in Toronto, and he
discovered that Toronto has a similar event called Nuit Blanche
(Sleepless Night according to Google Translate). Last night we took the
subway downtown and explored some of the art exhibits scattered
around the city. The event went on all night so the transit system
also ran all night.
It was a warm night, and we started our
evening at Dundas Square, Toronto's version of Times Square. As you
emerge from the Subway, you are instantly surrounded by illuminated
buildings and billboards reaching into the night sky, and amazing
crowds of people. Dundas Square is always busy, but this event
multiplied the crowds tenfold. We picked up a nice map of the event
showing where all the art installations were. The organization of the
event was excellent and there were lots of volunteers handing out
maps and advice.
The actual artistic installations were
not so good. The first one we found in Dundas Square was simply not
working. It looked impressive, but was supposed to be illuminated
mirrors which was not happening. Next we went to see “Places Between”
which was supposed to be “a collection of photographic stories
centered around the domestic sphere”,But what I saw was a projector
projecting random photos on a house window. We then walked down to
Nathan Phillips Square where we discovered that Torontonians have a
lot more patience for standing queues than I do. Most of the exhibits
here involved waiting in lines for hours. There were even long lines
for the commercial exhibits which had set up around the Art
installations. One of the Nuit Blanche installations that was
impressive was called “Radical Histories”. The artist had covered
the front of Toronto City Hall with used Jute bags sewn together. The
artist had traded new bags for used one from vendors in street
markets in Ghana and fastened them all together to create this huge
fabric mural. Although I'm not sure how the theme of Radical
Histories ties in, it was an impressive display. The other
interesting installation was a row of unmarked police cars with their
lights flashing; it doesn't sound like much but with all the lights
flashing at different times made for an interesting sight.
Although I must say I was disappointed
in the art of Nuit Blanche, I enjoyed the evening. It was a huge
social event with everyone there to see and be seen, some dressed in
their finest or their most outlandish, and I enjoyed just wandering
around watching the natives of Toronto in their element.
Although Toronto is a city full of cars
(I saw a Rolls Royce, an Aston Martin and Porsche all in one parking
lot), it is not a city where I'd want a car for general
transportation. You just do not need one, the transit system is great
and will get you almost anywhere. Toronto's transit system is
constantly improving, and every time I visit it seems to work better.
In addition, there is UBER and LYFT if you need to get somewhere the
transit system does not go. As a result, when we come to Toronto to
visit our son and his partner, we prefer to fly in and leave the car
When our son moved to Toronto he
discovered a book called “Stroll” about walking in Toronto and I
have been using it to find interesting places to explore in the city.
On a previous visit I used the book to explore the Toronto
Regis (Sarah) found her street
On our first day here I decided to walk
down Yonge St. to try to find the new Alfa Romeo dealer to get some
swag to wear while having fun in my 82 Spider, and I used the
“Stroll” book to make the walk more interesting. It pointed out
an interesting old cemetery hidden down an alley at one of the
busiest intersections in the city. Although a small cemetary, it was
once a very busy spot, and houses over thirty thousand souls.
Unfortunately I could not actually get in to explore, but at least I
was able to find it. I also visited what the author called “The
world's fanciest liquor store”, a converted and restored train
station. Had to purchase a bottle of wine, but their selection is so
amazing it is always hard to choose only one bottle. We also passed
the Staples store which occupies the former home of the Pierce Arrow
Motor Car showroom. It looks like a boring “Big Box” store at
first until you look closely and notice the ornate gargoyles which
have survived the various renovations since 1939. I probably would
have walked by all of these interesting buildings without the
suggestions from Stroll.
The downside of “Strollin” is that
we walked over 15 km, so the next day was spent relaxing and
recovering for our next stroll, an evening trip downtown for Nuit
Blanche, a nighttime live art show all over the city similar to
Nocturne in Halifax.