Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

I had a wonderful ten days in Toronto – much too little time! – and only arrived back this morning after a long overnight flight. Thus this post is brought to you by jetlag and a need to combat same by staying up till 8pm, all going well. I am nonetheless well aware that a detailed blog post, with the requirement of many coherent sentences flowing one from another, is beyond my capabilities today. You must content yourself with a list of some of my favourite moments; I’m certain to miss some out.  (more…)


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This week, I’ve done some real planning for next month’s trip to Canada, specifically for Toronto, where I will spend the greatest part of my time. I’ll be spending said greatest part of my time with two friends I made last year, and it will be interesting to see how their Toronto compares to my Toronto, discovered on my previous two visits last year and in 2011. During my planning, I finally located my photos from last year’s trip, a great relief as I had thought them lost. They have helped me remember where I went, where I still want to go, and have jogged my memory about some of the places to which I would like to return. Here are some of those photos, unedited and unpolished (a skill still to learn), but with many words to accompany and explain them (verbosity being a skill/curse which is definitely not lacking). (more…)

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Trinity College, Downtown Toronto (St George) campus, Toronto University.  My photo, 19 September 2014.

Trinity College, Downtown Toronto (St George) campus, Toronto University. My photo, 19 September 2014.

Canada plays quite a part in this blog; Canada is one of the reasons for this blog’s very existence! So it is with great delight that I realised today that it is five months until my next visit. My first trip was entirely for the purpose of library research and presenting a paper at the Ninth International Conference of the Book, with the exception of a full day at Niagara Falls, but I knew that I wanted to return to see more of Toronto, and of the whole country. (more…)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Readers mine, I live in Scotland once again! Life since May began has been decidedly hectic, when I handed in my notice to Sotheby’s Institute of Art, where I have been the Assistant Librarian since January 2008, within a week of returning from France (the two events are not causally related, merely temporally adjacent). Since leaving work at the end of June, I was packing up and saying “Cheerio, not goodbye!” to the six and half years of my London life, and for just over a week now I have since been living in Scotland once again. I didn’t leave the Institute to work elsewhere in London; I left it as part of a larger change in lifestyle. Having been asking myself the question “where do I want my life to be, in the main?”, for a couple of years now, and the obvious follow-up question, “what then must I do to achieve that?”, moving to Scotland was the first part of the answer. It’s about life, not just about work. London was never a permanent move, I always knew that, and I cannot express how strongly I disagree with Samuel Johnson’s famous quote as given below

when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

There is a significant difference between not wanting to live in London and being tired of it. It’s always accessible, always there, and I’ll never stop visiting it. I’ll never stop missing my friends who live there. But there is so much to do, so much to see, here in Scotland. Besides, I needed to get back before September 18, after which the borders will of course be closed :). I jest, of course, but it’s definitely an interesting year to be in Scotland, and I want to be able to have a say in the future of my country. (more…)

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I moved to my next hotel – the aforementioned Banting House Inn – and was given a lovely welcome. I am lodged in the Oriental Room, which definitely lives up to its name; even the walls are swathed in beautiful fabrics. I have a four poster bed which is almost higher off the ground than I am tall. This could be interesting in the morning. The kitchen is open access, and guests are allowed to forage in the fridge at all times. The manager’s mother has even made biscuits which are kept for general use. The living room has desks and computers available, and a lot of books – I am particularly taken by the old manual typewriter! (more…)

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Not yet, but by this afternoon. Just had a lovely breakfast – the house special omelette comes highly recommended – in the company of a mathematic researching a book about the Twin Towers, an architect whose Green Building conference has just ended, an American couple visiting their daughter here at University, and, briefly, someone who enjoys boiled eggs after his morning run. Plus Roger and Tess, the lovely owners who are soon heading to London and wanted my views on the Tate galleries. Apparently working at Sotheby’s Institute of Art makes you an expert on all things art-related, which is rather flattering. I did my best! (more…)

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Stew has always been comfort food, something to eat when it’s cold outside and when you’re at home, relaxed and replete. But I found tonight that it also does wonders at making you feel a bit more at home, after a very long flight to an entirely new country. Dear readers, I am – finally – in Toronto.

My journey started at 9am this morning, and was considerably more relaxed than it could have been thanks to my sister-in-law turning up as if by magic and giving me a lift to Terminal 5. I’ve never gone through Heathrow before, and it is pretty impressive. I just can’t say how it compares to Terminals 1-4; perhaps it comes down to which terminal sells the best fluffy/cartoon-themed neck pillows. I particularly liked having to take a train (or a ‘transit’ in Terminal Five-ese) to reach my gate.

A bit of a delay in the flight actually leaving, but by 1pm we were airborne. I remember the days when you got one film, maybe two. Today there were actual channels – film and television. Fortunately for the indecisive, the flight is seven hours or so, so you can get at least two films watched. All in all, it was fine, and the leg room was better than I’d been expecting. I also finally found a purpose for my habitual fidgeting – my anti-DVT exercise DVD will be out in time for Christmas.

We arrived to temperatures of 24 C; a bit unexpected but it did mean that the city was shining when I saw it for the first time from the bus. Speaking of the bus journey, I loved the bus driver’s accent; I have diagnosed myself with a case of Gilbert Blythe Syndrome (from the range of diseases associated with much-loved characters from books read in one’s youth). My hotel, Banting House, is lovely, in the brilliantly-named ‘Discovery District’ in the west of the city. The hotel is small and decorated very much like a home – so yes, I did spend about 15 minutes routing through the bookshelves. The street is filled with all manner of restaurants, from vegan to a Thai fish menu. It’s very close to the university, so there are students sitting out on the porches of most houses in the area, enjoying an unexpected October summer.

I found the way to the Textiles Museum as I walked to the hotel, and went past the Art Gallery of Ontario, where the exhibition Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde starts on October 18. Unfortunately, I fly out of Toronto two days before; it is most infuriating. I had previously thought that it started on Saturday 15 October, but it turns out this is the date of the Chagall Ball – an event which almost defies the imagination. The colours of the clothes alone would be worth seeing. Should I try gatecrashing the party Cinderella-style? It is pumpkin season after all.

I ate the stew which inspired this post at the fantastically-named Sin and Redemption Bistro. It is of course pure coincidence that it looks across the street at St Patrick’s Catholic Church. It was only as I ordered my meal that I realised that the next table was filled with Scots. My fellow countrymen are everywhere, as, it would seem, are my fellow fencers. It would appear that I can spot a fencing kit bag across a busy airport.

In any case, I have reached Toronto safely and happily. Tomorrow I will be venturing out round the city to visit some museums, gardens, and – I hope – a nearby island. I will almost certainly be looking to find some more seasonally-appropriate footwear as well.

And so to bed …

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