I’ve been doing this blog – torontosavvy – for ten years now, and have been enjoying it immensely. Should you be self-quarantined and housebound, there’s no better way to occupy yourself than posting a daily, weekly or monthly writeup, with or without photos, while at the same time building up an audience.I’ve found WORDPRESS to be easy to use, and inexpensive. It seems you can also make money from it – although I’ve never tried.Start a blog and it will sure keep you busy. I begin working on it most mornings, with a cup of coffee. It makes you think, do research and take pictures. For me, it’s a satisfying way to start the day.To find out more just type in ‘WORDPRESS’ on your computer, and you’ll be under way.
It’s a great idea and it’s catching on. For several months now downtowners have been chatting back and forth about what’s going on in their neighbourhoods. One idea in this time of self-quarantining, is taking pictures of pets and showing them. <ABOVE – ALFIE><ABOVE – LEOPOLD><ABOVE – FRANKIE, whose owner writes “He’s patient at home, but a bit bored.”><ABOVE – WAFFLES, whose owner writes: “She’s enjoying everyone being home. Trained the whole house to get up and give her a cookie, no matter what room they’re in.”> For more information and to join up with the neighbours check out ‘NEXT DOOR DIGEST’ – https://ca.nextdoor.com/
In this COVID-19 pandemic, long haul truck drivers are depended upon to deliver the goods – feeding millions on both sides of the 5,500-mile US/Canada border. <PHOTO ABOVE – Richard Buchan, Canadian Press> American trucker DARRELL WOOLSEY, 52, sums up the challenge he and fellow drivers face.“I live in something smaller than a jail cell all the time. I hear other people complaining, and I’m like, get over it. There’s lots of us living like this, all the time, coronavirus or not.” He adds “It’s in the middle of the night that things feel a little more ‘Mad Maxy’,”On the Canadian side of the border it’s much the same, with the often exception of this country’s long, uninhabited and under serviced stretches of highway. There’s a reason Canada is nicknamed ‘Big Lonely’. No doubt many truckers would certainly understand that. <BELOW – Queen Elizabeth Way, Globe and Mail photo>
All you need is a computer to unlock a cache of documentaries, comedy, television series like ‘Kim’s Convenience’, ‘Coroner’, and ‘Schitts Creek’ along with the CBC News Network. It’s all available on CBC-GEM, and it doesn’t cost a dime. Type in GEM and see what happens.Another great service, thanks to TORONTO Public Library, and KANOPY is a collection of classic feature films and documentaries. To access this you’ll need a Library Card. My first experience with Kanopy was excellent and it delivered exactly what I wanted. Being a ‘Luddite’ when it comes to computers, that was a pleasant surprise. Kanopy is also available through library systems in OTTAWA, WINNIPEG, CALGARY & the FRASER VALLEY. There’s unlimited access to Kanopy Kids (which includes ‘Sesame Street’ & ‘Arthur’).
BUFFALO, New York State’s second largest city after NYC, has always attracted Canadians for – among other things – football, hockey, architecture, chicken wings, the Albright-Knox contemporary art museum, excellent restaurants, the airport, theatres, PBS, and friendly inhabitants. No doubt once this crisis is over we’ll be back crossing the bridges again. We’re all in this together.From our friends in BUFFALO . . . Dear Canadians – Our countries have closed our borders to non-essential travel. It’s moments like these that remind us how fortunate we are to be neighbors — a friendship that has stood the test of time and underscored our shared interests and values. We cannot wait for the day when life returns to normal, and we can welcome you back here with open arms. Take care, and be well!
Your friends in Buffalo.
<ABOVE – ‘Barking Dog’ by KEITH HARING, 1990’s>
As one who has run for 36 years, I can vouch for the goodness of my one and only sport. As The NY Times puts it “Forget the gym. While the coronavirus brings life to a near standstill, people are discovering, or rediscovering, one of the most basic exercises – running. It has a built-in form of social distancing, and its participants can take in picturesque sights.”“As a regular runner you become addicted to the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other, because when you’re running hard that’s all you can think about. Just get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Get to the next repetition, to the next tree, to the next breath.”Running in TORONTO, I found a route with only two traffic light intersections, went out every evening by myself, winter and summer, wore the best running shoes I could find, sweated like crazy, solved problems while running, and felt great afterwards. Advice – build up very gradually; don’t overdo it; stretch first; good runners (running shoes) are essential.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION – The bad news from Canada’s beloved Stratford Festival: 495 layoffs affecting 35 full-time staff, 300 seasonal workers and 160 artists. Delayed contracts for another 300 seasonal workers and 140 artists. Payroll until now – $1.8-million.The 2020 season has been postponed by a month. Budget for the 2020 season $76.2-million for 15 repertory productions – some in a new $70-million theatre complex. 62% of revenues come from ticket sales, concessions and the gift shops. Only 5% comes from Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council, which is extremely low by European and British standards.The City of Stratford will suffer along with the Festival. The estimated economic impact is about $135-million annually, which would include the hotel industry, gift shops and local restaurants.Facts and figures from J. Kelly Nestruck’s opinion column in the Globe and Mail, Saturday, March 21/2020.
<The CN TOWER is closed for the time being due to (not surprisingly) the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans are to re-open on Tuesday, April 14th.>
<PONTIAC – Pathfinder Deluxe, made in Canada, advertisement in the Saturday Eveniing Post, 1950><METEOR – Canadian car advertisement, 1950’s><NASH EXHIBIT, Canadian National Exhibition, TORONTO, 1938. A special feature – you could sleep in it anywhere.><DESOTO CUSTOM – ‘Drive without shifting’, Canadian advertisement><MONARCH, ‘Canada’s own car of distinction’ – promotional image, 1956><METEOR CONVERTIBLE, rare Canadian>