Saturday, April 28, 2012

Queen St West

I've always considered myself a Queen Street Kid. I first moved into the wonderful, Victorian business/residential complex, the Noble Block (1888) in the early 70's and inhabited 3 different apartments in the building before the 80's arrived. Queen Street West remains a favourite haunt for John and I.
The Cameron House has been a hang-out for artists since the 1980's. We fondly remember Molly Johnson's Blue Mondays. Napoleon Brousseau created the huge ants crawling over the building in 1984 and John Abrams painted his new front mural and Tom Dean the side mural in 2011.
Likewise, the Rivoli at 331 Queen West has been a food and entertainment centre since the late 1970's. Many artists like Kids in the Hall and Jane Siberry got their first shows here. Remember Hoi Polloi?
Even some of the new businesses have a funky feel. I like how the old St Stanislaus Church steeple appears to be rising out of the KFC/Taco Bell eatery at Augusta. Sort of looks like a fun-fair cathedral, no?
Love this display of chairs on sale at the Pavilion shop at Tecumseh Street.
A blue-haired employee of Coupe Bizarre checks out the merchandise at Psyche dress shop next door while waiting for the hair salon to open.
One of our fave sections of Queen West is the north side between Dovercourt and Fenning streets. Here locals gather at the Argentinian Cafe, El Almacen.
Next door this funky old structure is home to Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art, one of our favourite private galleries.
This wonderful building with its French arch windows houses an art/event space upstairs and a vintage clothing and night spot downstairs.
Let's end my little tour of some favourite Queen West buildings at The Great Hall (1889) at Dovercourt Ave. It was originally built to house the first West End YMCA and is now a multi-use, rental building. Queen St West in Toronto is endlessly fascinating.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lilliput Hats

When Bill and I visit Balfour Books on College Street our path always takes us by Lilliput Hats -- an independent milliner.
She always has some new fascinators in the window.
We loved this quote from Coco Chanel: "Fashion is architecture. It is a matter of proportions."
And I'll bet this Beckett comes from Waiting for Godot: "He can't think without his hat."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Away with the Fairies

I like to go away with the fairies. I accidentally documented the process recently. It happens like this...
 I was waiting for Bill to come out of our favourite grocer in Kensington Market. I glanced at the people going by
 then my attention drifted up into the awnings.
 I was attracted by the sunlight glowing through the fabrics.
 I stepped into the street to see the umbrellas and awnings from the outside,
Then my attention was caught by the shaft of light and I followed it back to the sidewalk.
Bill stepped out of the shop and we continued up Kensington Avenue.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Das Tanztheater der Pina Bausch

John and I were looking for German language materials the other day on YouTube to prep ourselves for Berlin this coming May. We love Pina Bausch and were thrilled to find this documentary made for German television. 
In this 43 minute program Pina Bausch's uncanny knack for thrilling movement is on full display and her choreography showcases one stunning song after another.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On the road to Reta

When Bill and I visit his mother, Reta, in St Catharines we always take the bus.
We prefer to get to the terminal early buy our tickets and then wait in the open hangar.
Once on our way we thread though the tiny Chinatown streets emerging onto University Avenue. The city is already buzzing.
We like to sit right at the front of the bus to enjoy the view of the Gardiner Expressway
and the Queen Elizabeth Way.
I always love my first glimpse of the Burlington Skyway bridge at Hamilton
with its dazzling view of Lake Ontario.
The bus to St Catharines always stops at Grimsby. As we carried on our way we looked at this picture on the back of the camera and named this dog The Poodle of Grimsby.
Bill always gives Reta a quick call when we arrive at the St Kitts' bus terminal.
Before heading to Reta's place we walked up Academy Street to St Paul, the old main drag of St Catharines.
Bill has heard that the Victorian shops lining St Paul Street are going to be revived.
Bill took this picture of the Town Cinema where he saw Fellini's 8 1/2 around 1963 and it changed his life. Now let's go find his mother!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Life

It poured rain all day last Sunday. When we got to St Catharines on Monday we found it filled with new life.
I love the green and scent of maple flowers at this time of year. They only last a week but the scent is unforgettably fresh.
Can anyone identify this shrub? I love the red branches. There was forsythia blossoming nearby.
Don't you love little grape hyacinth? What a colour!
All hail the arrival of the new life!

Reta at Coppolas

Bill and I had a lovely visit with his mother Reta on Monday. She gave us lunch and then we watched "We Bought a Zoo" which was perfect for our lighthearted mood.
 Afterwards we went to Coppola's -- our favourite Italian restaurant in St Catharines
 We love to split a Vegetariano pizza.
Bill and I have gotten Reta hooked on having an espresso after dinner and a glass of Amaro Siciliano, the Italian digestive we discovered in Sicily. She likes to add sugar to her coffee as the Italians prefer.
And enjoys dunking the biscotti.
I grew hypnotized watching the second dunk. She's used to my snapping away with my camera. And we haven't even touched our chocolate bundt cake yet!
The last of the biscotti is always so tasty.
Her last sip of coffee. I can almost taste it.
After dinner we stepped out into the bright afternoon for a trip to our beloved Buns Master to pick up a few groceries.
Reta is a discerning shopper. Here she is surveying the frozen foods.
At last, laden with purchases, we headed back to her apartment.
It's always a pleasure to spend time with Reta.