Celebrating JULIA CHILD’s Centennial Year – 2012

<Taping ‘The French Chef’ at PBS station WGBH in Boston, April 16, 1970>  JULIA CHILD, ‘the French Chef’ would have been one hundred years old on August 15/2012.  Unfortunately, this wonderful woman is no longer with us – but her books, methods, kitchen, videos of old television programs, and Meryl Streep’s spot-on screen impersonation – will live on and on.

In 1991, JULIA CHILD visited TORONTO, met the local star chefs and generally did the town.

<One of the Smithsonian’s most popular exhibits – Julia Child’s Kitchen>  Good news if you’re visiting WASHINGTON DC:  Julia’s kitchen is reopening to the public at the Smithsonian Institute in November.  It will anchor a new exhibit hall titledFood: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000′.

Jarvis Street @ Carlton: a Toronto artist remembers the Uptown Theatre

Visual artist MICHAEL BROWN is spending part of his summer painting a utility box at Jarvis & Carlton Streets commemorating TORONTO’s former Uptown movie palace.  The theatre, which opened in 1920 with 3,000 seats, met an unfortunate end.  It collapsed inward, while being demolished – killing one young man and wounding fourteen others.  The Uptown was built for vaudeville and cinema during the Roaring Twenties.  Until 1969 it was one single auditorium.  After shutting down for three months, it reopened as one of North America’s first multiplexes.The Uptown 1,2 and 3 played major Hollywood releases, and the Backstage 1 and 2 regularly played art films.  The Toronto International Film Festival rented the cinemas for several years in a row.  In 2001, new regulations required wheelchair access to all theatres.  The Uptown’s owners refused to lay our $700,000 for an upgrade, and sold the building to developers who planned to demolish it and put up condos.During demolition, a large section of the theatre collapsed after a vital steel support beam on a roof truss was cut.  The Uptown collapsed in on itself, taking an adjacent language school with it.

<Cinema One, created from the original Uptown balcony, ca1969, Roger Jowell photo>

<One of the Backstage cinemas, ca1969, Roger Jowell photo, City of Toronto Archives>  *** To see more of MICHAEL BROWN’s work, check his website: http://www.michaeljeremybrown.ca

In the 1960’s, the south side of Queen Street West was our little 8th Avenue

PHOTO – Queen Street West facing Old City Hall, ca1960’s, http://silenttoronto.com  I remember it well –  the Broadway Cinema and its double bills, the Casino Burlesque Theatre, the Union House, and a ragtag row of this and that.  The Bay Cinema & Toronto Telegram sign were just off to the left.  All of this is now buried under the Sheraton Centre, opposite Nathan Phillips Square and Old City Hall.

Wenlock & Mandeville – London’s Olympic & Paralympic mascots

Who can forget WENLOCK and MANDEVILLE, London’s Olympic mascots?  The kids loved them; adults thought they were creepy and kooky.  But whenever they appeared, these two made quite an impression.

* The headlight is the hire light of a hackney carriage – a London icon . . .  . * The eye is a camera lens, allowing them to record their journeys . . . . * The Olympic mascot wears the 5 Olympic rings as friendship bands, while the Paralympic mascot wears a personal best wristwatch which also displays the year of the games . . . . . * The three peaks on the Olympic mascot were inspired by the 2012 stadium roof, while the Paralympic’s head shape has been inspired by the agitos – the symbol of the paralympic movement . . . . . * The colour of the Olympic mascot shimmers through golds, silver and bronzes to reflect the colour of the medals

GRANT HUNTER, creative lead of the team at Iris Worldwide who designed the mascots – http://www.creativebits.org

65 painters create Canada’s biggest art mural in TORONTO’s west end

RECLAMATION1“The Reclamation Project”, supported by the City of TORONTO, Metrolinx and Urbancorp, provides eye popping colour along the GO commuter railway corridor in the west end.  The 300 metre-long work is being created by 65 artists from Ottawa, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.RECLAMATION3RECLAMATION4

‘The road to Cherry Beach’ – via the Martin Goodman Trail

TORONTO has several clean water beaches.  On the downtown eastside, CHERRY BEACH is the easiest one to get to by bike.  Go to the foot of Parliament Street, cross under the Gardiner Expressway, hang a left, and you’re on the Trail; it’s marked in blue and green paint stripes.  Both the Trail and the underpass handle a lot of heavy traffic – bikes, walkers and rollerblades on the Trail; trucks and autos of every description on the road.  Keep to the right, pass on the left, pay attention.  You’re entering TORONTO’s Port Lands industrial and recreation area – an odd combination, but it works as long as everyone obeys the signaling system.  For go-karting, golf, a licenced patio, drive-in movie show, and some of TORONTO’s best skyline views, check out Polson Street and its boardwalk.CHERRY BEACH and CLARKE BEACH PARK are especially serene in the early morning, but things liven up as the day goes on.  There’s a reasonable amount of free parking, newly renovated washrooms, food trucks, cold drinks, clean sand, sparkling water, and on weekdays – relative peace.  There’s TTC bus service straight to Cherry Beach from PAPE subway station.  Take the #72.  The Martin Goodman Trail continues east for several kilometres to the Beach neighbourhood.

401 Richmond Street West – an old building with plenty of new ideas

The locals know about it, but visitors to TORONTO may overlook 401 Richmond.  It’s a remarkable place, created and presided over by Margaret (“Margie”) Zeidler.  The property, steps from Spadina Avenue at Richmond Street West, was once a tin factory.  In the sixties it was abandoned by Continental Can, and remained empty for 30 years.  Then along came Ms. Zeidler, and the old factory was transformed.

As Jane Jacobs once said, “old ideas can use new buildings, but new ideas need old buildings”.

401 Richmond is home to 140 cultural producers and micro-enterprises.  Here you’ll find several art galleries – including some of TORONTO’s oldest – a design/architectural bookstore, convivial cafe, a daycare, fashion and hat studios, at least one major art magazine and a notice board filled with gallery info on what’s happening around town.