FIRST IT WAS A YIDDISH THEATRE, THEN THE VICTORY BURLESQUE, THEN A BANK & NOW A PHARMACY

This yellow brick building on Dundas Street West at Spadina Avenue opened its doors in 1922 as The Standard Theatre. Designed by architect Benjamin Brown, it was home to Yiddish comedy, original Jewish and translated plays, music, and left-wing politics. The building went on to become The Strand, a movie house, and from there the Victory Burlesque.

These days, on street level, it’s a 7,000 square-foot Rexall Pharmacy Plus.

In 1961, the Victory was one of three burlesque theatres in town, but by the mid-sixties the other two had disappeared. Ryerson & University of Toronto students were among its most loyal fans.

Occasionally The Victory doubled as a music venue. The New York Dolls, Kiss, Iggy Pop & Rush all played there. TORONTO’s educational television station even did a live New Year’s Eve telecast from the Victory.

As far as we know, the old theatre itself is still intact – ghosts and all.  Now there’s hope that a community-based space of some kind will appear on the upper levels. No sign of that yet.

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IN THIS SELFISH AGE, HOW AWESOME IS A WEEKEND VOLUNTEER CLEANUP OF THE DON VALLEY

Organized by ‘Don’t Mess With The Don’, hundreds of volunteers gave up their Saturday by picking trash in TORONTO’s Don Valley.

The Don is more than just a park. It’s home to a six-lane freeway, access to 10 ravines, bike and running trails, Evergreen Brick Works, and a sizable population of native animals and birds.

At day’s end, an impressive 1,500 bags (about 100,000 pounds) of trash were waiting for pickup.

Don’t Mess With The Don collaborated with Evergreen, Greenpeace, Salomon, Arc’teryx and One Piece a Day in this second-annual event.

<PHOTO ABOVE – some of Saturday’s volunteers in one of the Don Valley parks>

MACKENZIE HOUSE, 82 BOND STREET, WAS HOME TO TORONTO’S FIRST MAYOR – AND A REBEL

William Lyon MacKenzie was an outspoken newspaper editor, a leader of the 1837 Upper Canadian Rebellion, and following a sojourn in the United States – our city’s first mayor. Located in downtown TORONTO, the MacKenzie row-house was purchased by the community when he retired from politics. It’s now a museum featuring changing exhibitions and special events. Reputedly it’s haunted.  Website – http://www.toronto.ca/culture/mackenzie-house.htm

‘THE MOON: A VOYAGE THRU TIME’ MIXES MODERN ART WITH MASTERWORKS @ THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM

Who isn’t transfixed some nights when they look up to see a full silver or orangey moon. It’s magic, and you can see it without causing eye damage.

For this exhibition the AGA KHAN MUSEUM, 77 Wynford Drive in DON MILLS has assembled works from prestigious institutions in London, New York, Cleveland, Cambridge, Oxford, Ann Arbor, Rotterdam, Toronto – and from the Aga Khan collection itself.

A highlight is ‘MOON’, a giant sculpture created by contemporary British artist LUKE JERRAM. It features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, and includes sound by BAFTA-winning composer DAN JONES.

The sculpture measures five metres in diameter and it would take 40 people standing shoulder-to-shoulder to circle it.

The AGA KHAN MUSEUM is a work of art itself. Tours can be arranged, and the museum’s DIWAN restaurant has developed an excellent reputation. ‘The Moon’ continues until August 18/2019.

Website – http://www.agakhanmuseum.org

WITH AN ELECTION ON ITS WAY, EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS AS JUSTIN TRUDEAU ‘APPEARS’ ON ‘THE SIMPSONS’

LISA SIMPSON asks for asylum in Canada at Niagara Falls, and briefly has a look-in on Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU.

The Prime Minister demonstrates his core strength yoga workout.

<THE SIMPSONS COME TO CANADA, “Remember . . . as a nation these people have a highly developed appreciation of the absurd.”, editorial cartoon by BRIAN GABLE, Globe and Mail, April 24/2019>

CANADA’S SMALLEST PROVINCE HAS GIVEN ‘THE GREEN PARTY’ THE BIGGEST BOOST

After decades of trying to get a leg up, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, birthplace of Confederation, home of Ann of Green Gables, has elected enough Green Party seats to form the province’s Official Opposition.

<ANNE OF THE OFFICIAL GREEN OPPOSITION, editorial cartoon by BRIAN GABLE, Globe and Mail>

<PHOTO by John Morris/Canadian Press/PA Images – PEI Green party leader Peter Bevan-Baker>

On Tuesday night Islanders voted in their first minority government since 1890.  The island province’s 153,000 people gave a much-needed boost to the Green Party. There are three Members (MLA’s) in the British Columbia legislature, three in New Brunswick, one in Ontario, and now nine (9!) in Prince Edward Island.

WELL DONE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND!