Vintage (1896-1909) mugshots – Ontario Provincial Police Museum, ORILLIA

“Arresting Images” is an award-winning Ontario Provincial Police exhibition of early mugshots.  They were shown at York University in December/2011, and are permanently housed in the OPP Museum Archive, ORILLIA, Ontario.  A surprising number were taken in the Niagara area, along the American border.


17 concerts in 16 cities – that’s our annual “Salute to Vienna”

It began in TORONTO 16 years ago.  SALUTE TO VIENNA, a recreation of Vienna’s world famous annual ‘Neujahrskonzert’, has spread continent-wide to cities in both Canada and the United States.

Marion and Attila Glatz had a dream that a version of Vienna’s New Year’s Day Concert could be a solid hit, and they were right.  With hard work and dedication, this couple produced their first SALUTE in 1995 before a sell-out crowd of 1,000 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in NORTH YORK.  There was such a demand for tickets, that the following year they moved into a much bigger venue – Roy Thomson Hall.  Almost immediately, every ticket was sold.

In the third year there were five concerts in five cities, including VANCOUVER and Lincoln Center in NEW YORK.  Fourth year – 15 cities.

The 2011/2012 SALUTE TO VIENNA will play in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Florida, San Diego, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City – and of course, TORONTO.  17 concerts in 16 cities, all happening within a span of four days around New Year’s.  Attila Glatz Concert Productions hopes to expand soon to Australia, South America and possibly, Asia.

The original concert, from Vienna’s Opera House, is broadcast live to 1.3 billion worldwide on New Year’s Day.  It’s must-viewing in Europe, and has become extremely popular in Asia and North America as well.  Guest conductors from around the world, a star-studded audience, the magnificent theatre itself, and a generous helping of soloists, ballet, novelty tunes, and the waltzes of Johann Strauss lead to the climactic moment – a thrilling performance of the Blue Danube.

TORONTO’s concert at Roy Thomson Hall will be on January 1, 2012 at 2:30pm.  It’s wise to book well in advance.

Bowmanville’s Michelle DuBarry (aka Russel Alldread) hits the big 8-0!

TORONTO royalty, MICHELLE DuBARRY, ‘diamond-wearing female impersonator extraordinaire’, is now officially a senior-senior.  “Since the 1950’s he has performed in countless bars and fundraisers, toured with the Great Imposters, and ruled the roost at the Imperial Court of TORONTO.”  (IN Magazine)  Long may she reign!  <PHOTO – David Hawe>

Frances Loring & Florence Wyle – ‘Montparnasse’ on Glenrose Avenue

Nicknamed “The Girls” – Frances Loring and Florence Wyle – lived, worked and entertained in a converted wooden schoolhouse at 110 Glenrose Avenue, MOORE PARK. They became two of Canada’s best-known sculptors.  Their works can be found in the National Gallery of Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Toronto General Hospital, in towns and cities across the country, on Toronto streets and in its parks.

Their studio building, which still exists today, was the site of frequent salons and gatherings for friends, supporters, art students, and established artists, including A. Y. Jackson and Arthur Lismer.

American-born, both died within three weeks of each other.  A parkette, established in 1984, is dedicated to the art and memory of these two famous women.  It’s a block north of their studio, at the corner of St. Clair Avenue East and Mount Pleasant Road.

“The Girls” were founding members of the Sculptors’ Society of Canada, 1928.

PHOTO ABOVE – Frances Loring (1887-1968) and Florence Wyle (1881-1968), by Robert Flaherty, 1914


A new book by Arlene Chan – ‘The Chinese in Toronto From 1878’

Chinese labourers began arriving in TORONTO once the Canadian Pacific Railway to the west coast had been constructed.  They didn’t feel welcome in British Columbia, and so – around 1885 – headed east to Ontario looking for employment.

In 1894 TORONTO’s Chinese population numbered 50.  Today there are about 550,000 Chinese people in the GTA, and there are 7 Chinatowns of various sizes serving our second-largest visible minority.  Across North America, many Chinatowns are in decline, but in TORONTO they’re flourishing.

Arlene Chan’s new book – The Chinese in Toronto From 1878: from outside to inside the circle’ – traces the history of our Chinese neighbourhoods from first arrivals to the present day.  The Chinese community is very much inside the circle these days.