THEO THE TUGBOAT, AFTER 21 YRS. IN HALIFAX, IS LIFTING ANCHORS & HEADING FOR HAMILTON

Blair McKeil has purchased Theodore, and will share the Maritimes with Ontario. Built in 2000 for a television series, the tug left Dayspring, Nova Scotia. and headed for Halifax and fame as a children’s TV star. Anyone who has visited the capital has no doubt seen Theo chugging up and down the Harbour and under the bridges. Former owner, Ambassadors Gray Line, received inquiries from Arizona and California, but the tug went to Mr. McKeil, who has Nova Scotia roots. His father and grandfather came from Pugwash and his maternal grandfather from Mabou, Cape Breton. HAMILTON’s children will soon be traveling onboard the one-and-only Theo Too. “We feel very fortunate to have Theodore,” said Mr. McKeil.

IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW, PARIS IS GONE FOR NOW – YOU CAN ONLY REMEMBER IT

Like the rest of us,the Parisians are dealing with pandemic lockdowns. Their city – our city – is just making do with what’s available – and that’s far less than normal. But they’re trying and so are we. Having spent five solid months in Paris, I fell in love with it in the 1980’s, learning to speak and write in French, and always exploring. Above, the deserted Rue de Rivoli enduring a nationwide curfew, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., due to restrictions against spreading coronavirus in France, Credit: Reuters Photo/Gonzalo Fuentes Before Covid-19 arrived I was planning to fly back and see it all again – the museums, galleries, riding the buses and metro, some of the oldest theatres in the world, tiny cinemas and their festivals, the antique markets, year-round carousels, restaurants and patio dining, the parks and gardens, the people themselves, the hookers themselves greeting passersby – and the magnificent skies after a rain. Who wouldn’t go back? But it’s not all there right now.Saul Bellow, the American-Canadian writer <photo – Literary Arts> had this to say in 1983: “A gray sadness has settled over the city like a fog. Parisian gloom is not simply climatic. It is a spiritual force that acts not only on building materials, on walls and rooftops, but also on your character, your opinions and your judgement. It is a powerful astringent.”  A powerful statement from Mr. Bellow.In my French class at the Eurocentre, some fellow students were hoping to avoid the “Parisian grisaille” (the gray skies) and fly south for the holidays. Some were seduced by Air France, whose advertising used the word “grisaille”, something to avoid if we could.For me, grisaille was only atmospheric –  rain, wind and cold.  But believe me, some days the sun did shine and then the city was splendid.I know Paris will be back, and I’ll be there to love it all over again.

AGAIN VENICE FIGHTS ITS WORST FLOODING IN 53 YEARS, THANKS TO STRONG WINDS & HIGH TIDES

<NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC & GETTY IMAGES> VENICE is a city that’s been sinking almost from the time it was built. It’s been named aqua alta, or high water, with good reason especially in November and December when seasonal winds drive strong tides up canals, through drains, and into the streets.  Second only to 1966 when high tides reached levels of 6 feet, and in 2019 three-quarters of this one-of-a-kind city was submerged by powerful storms.<ABOVE – Wading through the flood waters – REUTERS>. Venetian leaders have been working on a plan since 2013 to save Venice. (MOSE MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico), the project, is a system of mobile gates meant to protect the city and lagoon from extreme tides. The gates were supposed to be finished by 2011, but some officials are predicting they won’t be done for another three years. Unfortunately, Mother Nature won’t wait.<ABOVE – St. Mark’s Basilica flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, REUTERS><ABOVE – November 2019, a tipped boat. This year, 2020, three water buses sank, but tourists kept up their sightseeing as best they could. – REUTERS>

PHOTO #2 – NOV. 20/2020 – A TINY OWL HAS BROUGHT SOME JOY TO NEW YORK CITY & CANADA

It’s like one of those Disney animations when a little owl travels to Rockefeller Center inside a giant Christmas tree. The workers, who’d be setting up the 75-foot-tall spruce discovered the traveler.Birds sometimes find their way into the tree on its way to New York., so each branch is always inspected before the tree is decorated. The Ravensbeard Wildlife Centre said the little one is actually an adult. They fittingly named the Northern saw-whet owl “Rockefeller”, one of the smallest in North America.  Ravensbeard workers estimated the little guy hadn’t eaten for about three days as the giant tree made its way from Oneonta, New York to Manhattan. They served him up all the mice he could eat, along with plenty of fluids. Some day soon he’ll be released. ‘Rockefeller’ made CBC’s National News last night, and he’s all over the media. It’s a feel-good story at a time when we really need one.  Happy Holiday, Rockefeller Center! <PHOTOS – Ravensbeard Wildlife Center>

‘EMPTY TOWERS IN SEATTLE’ – FROM THE TIMES, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6/2020

<With companies finding that many employees prefer to work from home, the end of the pandemic might not mean the end of remote work. An estimated 90% of Seattle office space is currently vacated due to the pandemic as employees work from home. Maybe TORONTO should take a deep breath.>

PHOTOGRAPHS OF VANCOUVER IN THE 1950’S – BY THE LATE FRED HERZOG

Stuttgart-born FRED HERZOG was a master of colour photography.  After moving to VANCOUVER in 1953, he worked primarily with Kodachrome slide film to create a wonderful archive of that city, as it was in the 1950’s.  His photography is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery, and he’s been the subject of numerous books. . . . . .  http://www.equinoxgallery.com

TRUST PARIS TO COME UP WITH A BRILLIANT IDEA – A FLOATING CINEMA ON THE SEINE

PARIS has captured social distancing, temporarily anyway, with a floating movie theatre on Saturday, July 18th. ‘Cinéma sur l’Eau’ (Cinema on the Water) is a creation of Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) with support from Haagen-Dazs and mk2. There’ll be a fleet of 38 electric boats, each holding four to six friends and family members. In addition there’ll be 150 deck chairs on land in the area so the curious can look down on the scene.  The movie – ‘Le Grand Bain’ (The Big Bath) will be a 2018 French comedy/drama about 40-something men who are all on the verge of a mid-life crisis, so they decide to form their local pool’s first synchronized swimming team.