Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Surprise In the walls

Living in a construction site

You have not seen many new posts from me lately and there is a good reason; our son and his partner are doing a renovation of their condo, putting in a new kitchen, modernizing the downstairs powder room and redoing the front hall. With both of them working very hard at keeping the Canadian economy going strong to support us retired seniors, they find it hard to actually get involved in supervising the work going on around them. Fortunately, they have retired parents living close by who can cook them meals (Their kitchen is currently completely torn out) and walk over to supervise the workers who are turning their accommodations into a temporary disaster zone. 

Having done extensive renovations on our house, including a complete Kitchen redesign and renovation, built a new bathroom in the basement, and redesigned the back hallway, I felt qualified to act as “supervisor” and I actually enjoy going over and letting the workers in and checking on the ongoing work. 

Prior to the actual work starting we went over and help them organize things to get the condo ready for the renovation. One of the things I did was clean up and organize a handy storage area they have in an empty space going up the stairs between the dining room and the kitchen. As I was sorting through things there I noticed that although there was a floor to the room, the walls were simply the stud frame of the surrounding rooms and the floor only extended to the studding leaving a little space between each 2 X 4 stud which was not covered. Over the years, things had fallen down these openings and as I cleaned I pulled up a pillow, one mitten and various other things that Ryan and Ben did not recognize. That however was only the start . . . . .

The Kitchen?

Renovating the kitchen  involved moving walls to make room for a bigger fridge, and changing the size of the front hallway coat closet, so a lot of the old walls were being taken apart and the extent of the items that had fallen down from that little storage room became evident. 

In the wall above the fridge and coat closet I discovered a sleeping bag, a pillow, a blanket, a brand new unused air mattress, and a brand new 5 foot long centre section of a bed frame. Had this storage room been used as a bedroom sometime in the past?

In the wall

Above the kitchen door I pulled a little envelope containing a diamond (well this has not been confirmed yet - it might be only glass), and then later a few other similar envelopes containing diamonds were found - was this condo the hub of a smuggling operation at some time?  

Then in the wall behind the kitchen stove, one high heeled shoe, a purse (not even change in there let alone diamonds), a rack from a fridge, a paint brush and various other items fell out as a section of wall came apart. 

Other than the dubious diamonds, nothing of real value was discovered. The wall held no shocking and horrifying discoveries, and everything was just added to the construction debris to be hauled away, but I think I should probably go up and cover all these gaps in the wall or the next owners will be finding more surprises if they renovate. 

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Murdock Mysteries Live

Since the days of ‘Silent Movies’ ended, there is usually a soundtrack behind the video story in movies and TV shows. Sometimes these soundtracks actually become hits in themselves and often have big name music stars singing and performing in the background. But . . . have you ever wondered how these soundtracks are planned and performed?

We got a chance to see exactly how one of these soundtracks was made. We had an opportunity to go to Roy Thompson Hall to preview an episode of the Canadian TV hit show Murdock Mysteries and see how the soundtrack for the show was written and performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 

The Concert Program

The concert was held in the Roy Thompson Hall which is the spectacular home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. It is a huge beautiful concert hall designed to provide a comfortable venue to enjoy the music. 

The concert started with music from the show played by the orchestra, and then Robert Carli, the composer, Yannick Bisson (Detective Murdock) and Thomas Craig (Inspector Brackenreid), spent the first hour explaining how the music is written to go with the TV Show. Scenes from an episode of the show were shown without sound and then how particular music was written to enhance the action of the show. You do not really notice the music in the background when you are watching the action on the screen, but when you compare the silent and musical versions the value of the music is obvious. In addition the composer introduced some other music pieces that contained mysterious sections. I did not know that composers sometimes composed pieces which hid their names in the scores. 

Roy Thompson Hall

After an intermission the concert turned to a screening of a new episode of Murdock Mysteries especially written for the concert with a musical theme. As the show was projected onto a huge screen, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra played the soundtrack live behind the screen. I will admit that I have never been a fan of the show, and often when Regis wanted to watch an episode I’d respond with “That’s fine, I will be able to fall asleep for a nap.”, but this time I managed enjoy the entire episode. 

Apparently the episode of Murdock Mysteries, entitled “Rhapsody in Blood” will be shown on Monday Night, March 11th, 2024, so be sure to watch it and listen to the soundtrack behind the mystery. I’ve already seen it, so there will be no “spoilers” from me.

There's Regis waiting for the show to start

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Toronto Street Art

Whenever I go out exploring I am always on the lookout for interesting Street Art. I have collected over 200 photos since I arrived here in September. Some are massive multi-story high commissioned art work, and some are simply graffiti. Some of the artwork is absolutely amazing, and some makes you wonder “What on earth were they trying to say?”. Many interesting examples are on the side of building down alleyways and lanes, so I often take detours when I see flashes of colours in out of the way locations. 

Here are some of the most recent examples I have found. 

Also in my photo collection of "doors"

Part of a series on Music

This was inside a restaurant

Disappointing that this has been tagged

The beast guarding the Garbage Cans

This was part of a much larger mural

Monday, March 4, 2024

No Snow

As I work my way through “The 111 Places in Toronto That You Must Not Miss”, I am finding that many of the suggestions really would be nicer to visit in warmer summer weather. I will admit to pushing some of my walks a bit; I did go to see Woodbine Beach which is renowned for it’s impressive volleyball facilities, only I went on a February day to see “Winter Stations”, so I have decided to slow down and save some of the attractions for the nicer weather. 

One of the suggestion is “Christie Pits Tobogganing”, so at least that is a “Winter” activity . . . only problem is that winter never really happened here in Toronto; any snow that fell usually melted the next day, so there was not a lot of Tobogganing happening this winter. So today, we decided to go see this “Place not to be missed” even if it was not to slide down snow covered hills. 

The park is situated on the site of the Christie Sand Pit which was excavated for the sand, gravel and clay found there. It was named for the street it is on, Christie St., which is actually named after the famous “Mr. Christie” of cookie fame. As the sand, gravel and clay was removed, the pit was formed and once it was no longer useful it was turned into a park. Because it is a pit with steep slopes on all sides it has become a popular area to toboggan in winters when Toronto actually gets some winter snow. 

Christie Pits Park

Christie Pits Park is called “a city within a park”, and although this park in the western end of downtown Toronto is only one block square, it really does pack a lot into a small area. The park now contains a full sized regulation baseball diamond and several smaller softball fields. There is a swimming pool complex with water slides and a regulation sized outdoor hockey rink with artificial ice (VERY useful this winter). The park also has a skateboard park, a labyrinth, a picnic area, a playground for little people, basketball courts, and an outdoor wood fired oven. There are trails through the park  to get you to all the handy facilities and lots of comfortable benches. 

The Labyrinth used to be a fountain

We headed out to the park via Subway line two and arrived at the Christie station right beside the park. We walked all the way around the park and then took one of the pathways down into the “pit“ where we wandered around the many pathways and even found our way through the Labyrinth to the very centre. On a cloudy foggy Sunday, the park was well used and it was nice to see the public washrooms were open rather than the usual “Closed for the season” signs we often see in the winter.

Our visit to the park was a pleasant way to pass the day, and we were impressed with the facility; it really is a nice community park and the neighbourhood must be pleased to have a park so well equipped to enjoy even if there was little tobogganing this year.