Montgomery’s Inn tells the story of the people of suburban ETOBICOKE. The restored building features 12 rooms, a tea room, a bar, commercial kitchen, gallery space, a 3,000-volume research library and archive. Visitors can explore the role of the tavern in colonial Canada through tours, events, exhibits and educational programs. Location – 4709 Dundas St. West; website of this and other TORONTO historical museums – https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/history-art-culture/museums/montgomerys-inn/
The BILTMORE, 319 Yonge Street, was one of three downtown cinemas known for showing double and triple bills for a modest admission price. The others were the Downtown and the Rio – all within a few metres of each other. The BILTMORE was constructed by the wealthy OKUN brothers, who’d made their fortune selling ladies hats under the Biltmore label.
This flagship theatre had 916 seats, 300 in the balcony – interior photo http://www.localfilmcultures.ca – and sat on land now occupied by a large shopping centre and a multiplex of 26 movie screens.
<EXTERIOR PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives>
It’s a war out there as TORONTO cyclists battle for their piece of city streets with pedestrians, streetcars, construction vehicles, delivery vans – and drivers who park in bike lanes. Following the lead of Germany, Australia, Singapore and the US, a green ‘parked in bike lane’ sticker program is underway. The stickers are available, 20 to a roll, for $5 at http://instagram.com/iparkedinabikelane
RIVERSIDE has many things going for it – easy access to TORONTO’s freeway system; two intersecting streetcar lines; Victorian-era architecture; housing ranging from $-million homes to subsidized apartments; fab downtown views; one-of-a-kind restaurants, bistros, and coffee bars; a popular music venue; an active BIA and community centre, and plenty of greenery.
STREETCAR DEVELOPMENTS, based in Riverside, has acquired 4.5 acres on the south side of Queen Street East, between the Don River and Broadview Avenue, for a new, mixed-use community of condos, retail, and a public square. RIVERSIDE SQUARE <rendering above> will consist of 4 buildings of different heights, taller near the centre, stepping down to four storeys along Queen Street East.
STREETCAR would like to see a 3.5-acre park within the circular Eastern Avenue/Don Valley Parkway on-ramp. This park would connect to a new cross-river pedestrian and cycle path linking Riverside to Corktown on the Don’s west bank.
Canadian writer and artist BRUCE McCALL has written a column in this week’s Sunday Review section of the New York Times about TORONTO’s ailing mayor, ROB FORD.
“Farewell, Rob Ford” begins with a reference to a painting by American artist PAUL CADMUS exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1950. Then-mayor of TORONTO, the Honourable Hiram E. McCallum, was scandalized by “Sailors and Floozies”, which depicted seamen cavorting with strumpets in New York’s Riverside Park. <In the early fifties TORONTO was a city of churches with “no Sunday shopping, no drinking, no movies, no sports – no nothing. The other six days were no jamboree either,” writes Bruce McCall. “By the third millennium, that stony bastion of Protestant piety lay as buried and forgotten as ancient Troy.”>
Then came 2010 and the election of ROB FORD as mayor of the Queen City <painting above by SPUD – “Rob Ford’s engine pulling the gravy train”>
But now, in the middle of his re-election campaign, MAYOR ROB FORD has been stricken with a rare form of malignant cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy at Mount Sinai Hospital. The outpouring of best wishes in his battle against the disease from friend and foe alike has been impressive.
Mayor Ford has quit the mayoral race, but will run for city council in Ward 2 – illness permitting. And TORONTO will lose its “renegade Canadian churl who got and held the attention of millions of Americans who had always seen their northern neighbour as a nation of Dudley Do-rights.” – BRUCE MCCALL Illustration – Mayor Rob Ford, Graham Roumieu – http://www.roumieu.com
The first museum in North America devoted to Islamic Arts and culture has opened in an unlikely place – on a hillock beside the Don Valley Parkway in the middle of suburbia. The AGA KHAN, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community, philanthropist and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, is the founder. The $300-million, 7-hectare site includes the AGA KHAN MUSEUM, a community centre and spectacular gardens. It’s been 12 years in the making, and will no doubt become a major cultural destination at 77 Wynford Drive in Don Mills.
The museum intends to collect contemporary Islamic Art. An inaugural exhibition, “The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan” opens on September 20 until January/2015. Musicians due to perform in the first year include WU MAN, the award-winning player of the ancient Chinese instrument the pipa. Canada is home to around 100,000 Ismaili Muslims, and “the most successful pluralist society on the face of our globe,” according to the AGA KHAN.
PHOTOS ABOVE – planispheric astrolab, 14th century; an ivory horn; a Koran (photo – Peter J. Thompson, National Post), exterior photos by the Islamic Arts Magazine, http://www.islamicartsmagazine.com
Renowned Japanese architect FUMIHIKO MAKI designed the complex, which will contain over one thousand artefacts and artworks spanning over one thousand years of history, as well as collections from the family of the Aga Khan. Website – http://www.agakhanmuseum.org
Nothing lasts forever it seems, even one of Canada’s most famous music venues. The EL MOCAMBO is closing its doors in November and many will mourn its passing. The El-Mo made headlines when the Rolling Stones performed there in 1977 <PHOTO ABOVE – Toronto Star>; our Prime Minister’s wife – Margaret Trudeau – danced the night away; the Toronto Police Pipe Band performed on its stage, Elvis Costello and April Wine recorded live albums in the club; a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert was filmed there; Bo Diddley performed, etc. etc.
The club’s final show will be on November 6 as a fundraiser for Parkinson’s research.
“Tiny Talent Time” was a Channel 11 mainstay for an unbelievable 35 years (!). From 1957 to 1992 this was Canada’s most-watched kiddie talent show on HAMILTON’s ‘super station’, CHCH. Produced on a shoestring, first in black and white and then in colour, the half hour telecast was packed with tap dancers, pint-sized magicians and amateurish vocalisers.
Affable TV weatherman BILL LAWRENCE, encouraged the youngsters to do their best in front of the cameras – and they did it with gusto.
“Tiny Talent Time” is coming back – probably next summer – as CHCH celebrates it 60th year serving the TORONTO/Hamilton market. Casting begins in 2015. <PHOTOS – CHCH-TV>