Christie Pits, 750 Bloor Street West at Christie, is a 22 acre park boasting baseball diamonds, basketball courts, a soccer/rugby football field, an ice rink, splash pad – and now one of the largest summertime outdoor film festivals.
Founder EMILY REID – “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished. I think we’re really challenging our audience with less than mainstream titles. This is the most ambitious program we’ve ever put on.” The Christie Pits Film Festival runs from June 26 to August 28. Subway stop – CHRISTIE. For more info go to http://www.christiepitsff.com
A new Forum Research poll conducted on June 14 by phone, suggests most Torontonians approve of the work Mayor John Tory is doing. 74% after 18 months in office. Not bad, Mr. Mayor. Approval was highest among residents 65 and over, those who earned between $100,000 to $250,000, and who had completed post-graduate studies.
The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, once the O’Keefe, later the Hummingbird Centre, opened on a cold Saturday night in October, 1960. Onstage – the Broadway-bound musical “Camelot”, starring Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet.
Some features: 3100 custom designed seats; a year-round Sony Store; affordable restaurant and bar; the largest mural in Canada – R. York Wilson’s “The Seven Lively Arts” (painting, sculpture, architecture, music, literature, dance and drama); a gold painted ceiling and 1700 cherrywood panels in the auditorium; a huge stage and orchestra pit; 189 freshly polished solid brass doors; and 2000 lights in its spectacular marquee. Subway stop – KING or UNION
For those of us who love rusting steel, defunct bridges, underpasses and commuter rail lines along with a smattering of graffiti and wildlife (as in geese, ducks, frogs, etc.) TORONTO’s Lower Don Trail is ready-made.The Lower Don Trail is a key part of the Pan Am Path, a legacy project from the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. North, south, east and west, the Trail/Path runs through several communities and a variety of topographies – river glades, green parks, tunnels, under and over bridges, etc. Some sections are ugly – others strikingly beautiful.
Thanks to The Beaver, a queer bar/restaurant, 1192 Queen Street West, an idea put forth by designer ROB SHOSTAK, is now reality. A replica logo in the window pays tribute to Orlando’s PULSE gay nightclub. On his Instagram site Mr. Shostak writes “This is Pulse. Every queer space is Pulse. When one of our safe spaces is attacked, all of our safe spaces are attacked. The Beaver is my local bar. I’ve been going there for 10 years ever since I moved here, and it’s a space where I feel at home. In the end, every queer space is a Pulse.” <PHOTO ABOVE – Rob Shostak/Instagram>
DOLLY PARTON in TORONTO this week: “I really feel bad that things are going on like that in this world. I guess it’s always been crazy, it just seems to be getting so much worse now. “I do have a gay following. I’m a patron saint for a lot of drag queens. Some of them look more like me than I do. I once lost a Dolly Parton look-alike contest on Hallowe’een. As far as what happened in ORLANDO, it’s horrible. It’s a hate crime, looks to me . . . We should love one another more.”
In all of Canada there are only 52 drive-in theatres left, down from 250. In the United States there are 336, where there once were 4,000. Surprisngly there are quite a few drive-ins scattered around the Greater TORONTO Area. For a different kind of movie experience – watching the sun go down and seeing a first-run feature on a giant screen – add a ‘drive-in night out’ to your bucket list.
<The Mustang Drive-In, GUELPH> Today there are drive-ins in Toronto, Hamilton, Oakville, Barrie, Newmarket, London, Guelph, Oakville, Newmarket and Port Hope. In the not-so-distant past the city by itself had 10 of them, but with urban sprawl, increasing land values, and $80,000 to install one digital projector, most have found the operating costs crippling.
<Port Hope Drive-In was built in 1952. It’s still going strong. PHOTO – Terry Lagler> “I can’t make a drive-in look sexy at two in the afternoon. But when the sun goes down, and the kids are on the swings, and you can smell the popcorn and the neon comes alive, it really is quite special.” – BRIAN ALLEN, president of Premier Operating Drive-Ins
<The Polson Pier driving range and drive-in, Port Lands, TORONTO>
For the last nine years RICHARD JOHNSON has been taking pictures of ice huts – those little cabins found on the frozen waters of Canada’s northland. The huts are occupied by local anglers, who while away the hours hoping for a nibble on their fishing lines dropped through a hole in the ice “floor”.
<Ice Hut # 504, Shields, Blackstrap Lake, Saskatchewan, 2011>
<Ice Hut # 497, Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan, 2011> Inside it’s cozy and warm; outside temperatures can sometimes hover around -40°. With a stiff wind blowing there’s a real danger out there of frost bite, and winter storms can move in without warning.
Ice Hut # 321, La Baie Des Ha! Ha!, Quebec, 2010; ALL IMAGES © Richard Johnson
<Ice Hut # 665, Deer Lake, Newfoundland, 2014>
Richard Johnson’s TORONTO gallery and digital photo printing centre is located at 894 Broadview Avenue, a short walk north of Danforth Avenue. You’ll find more ice hut photography at http://www.icehuts.ca . . . . ALL IMAGES © Richard Johnson