GONE FOREVER – FAREWELL TO THE MATADOR – A CONDO HIGH RISE WILL SOON TAKE ITS PLACE

They once had plans to turn Toronto’s old honky tonk into a parking lot, but now it will be replaced by condominiums. Owners of the storied Matador Club, 466 Dovercourt Road, made every attempt to make it rise again, but that won’t happen. “Blame for its death lies squarely with city hall,” writes Marcus Gee in the Globe and Mail.  Millions of dollars have been spent fixing it up, but soon a demolition crew will knock it down.<PHOTO – R. Jeanette Martin/NOW magazine>  This after-hours club, known locally as a “booze can”, was a go-to late night destination for musicians of all stripes including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell, Stompin’ Tom Connors and Leonard Cohen.  Catherine O’Hara and Indiana Jones (aka Harrison Ford) paid a visit, as well as garden variety locals who wanted to stay up late, have a few drinks, do some dancin’ and party. There was live music every Friday and Saturday night from 1:30 until 5:30 am.k.d. lang’s official video for “Turn Me Around” (1987) features the Matador sign and street frontage as well as long shots of the stage and its dusty cowboy boots.  That’s k.d. in the photo above.Founded in 1964 by ANN DUNN, the after-hours dance venue was shut down in 2007 and it’s never re-opened.Leonard Cohen’s 1992 music video “Closing Time” was – in a way – a love song to The Club Matador.
Ah we’re drinking and we’re dancing
and the band is really happening
and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high
And my very sweet companion
she’s the Angel of Compassion
she’s rubbing half the world against her thigh
And every drinker every dancer
lifts a happy face to thank her
the fiddler fiddles something so sublime
all the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIMEYeah the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIMEAh we’re lonely, we’re romantic
and the cider’s laced with acid
and the Holy Spirit’s crying, “Where’s the beef?”
And the moon is swimming naked
and the summer night is fragrant
with a mighty expectation of relief
So we struggle and we stagger
down the snakes and up the ladder
to the tower where the blessed hours chime
and I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can’t say much has happened since
but CLOSING TIME<PARTIAL LYRICS “CLOSING TIME” – Writer(s): Leonard Cohen
Copyright: Sony/ATV Songs LLC, Stranger Music Inc.>

A UNIQUE EXHIBIT AT TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY’S TD GALLERY – ‘YOU, ME, US’ – UNTIL JANUARY 26/2020

IBBY (the International Board on Books) is one of many free collections within the TORONTO Public Library system. IBBY features over 4,000 multilingual reference books for young people with disabilities.There are regular books in print and other formats such as Braille, sign language, picture communication symbols, tactile and simplified text, along with fiction about inclusion and ability awareness.IBBY is headquartered at the North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street. For more information – http://www.tpl.ca/ibbyNow showing at the TD Gallery, within the TORONTO Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, downtown ‘You, Me, Us’, features several excerpts from the IBBY Collection.

FOR OVER 100 YRS., SIMPSONS & HUDSON’S BAY CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS WITH ANIMATED WINDOWS

There’s something totally different this year on Queen Street West as Hudson’s Bay windows show us the inner workings of Santa’s up-to-date toy factory. The display.has been totally modernized, and the kids are giving their approval. One of the windows is even interactive. Push a button and a robot responds. These windows have always been great fun for grown-ups too.

5200 SQUARE FEET OF PUBLIC ART HAS BEEN ADDED TO YONGE AND ST. CLAIR’S URBAN LANDSCAPE

You can’t miss it. TORONTO street artist birdO has brought more colour and life to Yonge and St. Clair with a 10-storey mural in his signature surrealist style. This mural is one in a series of commissions from the StreetARToronto Monumental Program and is the latest step in revitalizing the neighbourhood, spearheaded by Slate Asset Management<PHOTO by Riley Snelling>

<PHOTO ABOVE – by Riley Snelling; BELOW – by Yonge & St. Clair>  Although his art has been commissioned around the world, birdO loves working in TORONTO because it allows him to live with his pieces longer. “As an artist, I’m not here to inundate you with visual clutter – my intention is to brighten street corners and make you scratch your head. I moved to TORONTO when I was 18 years old and the first place I landed was at Yonge and St. Clair. It’s a special moment in my career to return to the area and paint the largest mural I’ve ever done,” says birdO.

TORONTO STAR & TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY’S VINTAGE PHOTOS OF THE SANTA CLAUS PARADE

TORONTO’s Santa Claus Parade, founded by Eaton’s Department Store in 1905, is one of the largest Christmas parades in the world.  The outdoor spectacular attracts hundreds of thousands every year – in person, and on US and Canadian television.<The man himself, date unknown><Bird’s Eye view of the parade, 1962><A 50-foot dragon with flapping wings, 1985, photo-Reg Innell><Cartoon mouse, 1976, photo-Graham Bezant><The Pinnochio float, 1962, photo-Don Dutton><Santa and his reindeer, 1979, photo-Keith Beaty>

ONE OF A SERIES OF BOOKS PUBLISHED BY THE CITY – THIS TIME IT’S ALL ABOUT NORTH YORK

Recently I featured a SCARBOROUGH guide book. Since then, two more publications on self-guided touring within the inner suburbs have been produced. This one is about NORTH YORK, once a city, now a ‘division’ amalgamated with TORONTO. You can find this publication, as well as another on EAST YORK, in the book rack, ground floor, Toronto City Hall. BELOW are some excerpts from ‘Explore North York’.AGA KHAN PARK, ISMAILI CENTRE & MUSEUM – 77 Wynford Drive (page 6). This is the city’s newest cultural hub. The formal gardens across from the Museum feature reflecting pools and facilities for festivals, film screenings and other events. Learn more about the park at http://www.agakhanpark.org NOOR CULTURAL CENTRE, 123 Wynford Drive (page 8) – Once the Japanese Cultural Centre, designed by celebrated architect Raymond Moriyama, the building is now a centre for Islamic learning and culture. For more information – http://www.noorculturalcentre.ca The RAINBOW TUNNEL MURAL (page 9) is often noticed by northbound drivers on the Don Valley Parkway. The original was painted in renegade fashion over 40 years ago by Norwegian B.C. Johnson in memory of his friend Sigrid. It’s an upside down smile for Sigrid to look down on from above.TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, 777 Lawrence Avenue East (page 14). Consisting of 17 award-winning themed gardens spanning nearly four acres, the park features a range of indoor and outdoor programs for all ages. EDWARDS GARDENS is adjacent at 755 Lawrence Avenue East. For more info – http://www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca FOUR SEASONS by Douglas Coupland, southeast corner of Sheppard Avenue and Don Mills Road (page 24). Inspired by Laurentian pencil crayons, 48 to 60 feet high, the Vancouver artist’s creation represents the four seasons. Other cones are placed intermittently.WINFIELDS’ NORTHERN DANCER PAVILION & THE CANADIAN FILM CENTRE, 2489 Bayview Avenue (page 30). Docent tours of the Film Centre can be booked in advance by calling 416-445-1446 x312. The Winfield estate was once the home of E.P. Taylor, a businessman who formed Canadian Breweries in 1930; developed Don Mills; built the O’Keefe Centre; bred champion horses, including Northern Dancer. For more information – http://www.cfccreates.com TORONTO CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, 5040 Yonge Street (page 36) – The building is one of the city’s premiere performing arts facilities – home to the 1,856-seat Apotex theatre, the 1,025-seat George Weston Recital Hall, a studio theatre, and two art gallery spaces.LEE LIFESON ART PARK (page 37) is named after two well-known Willowdale musicians – Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of the rock band RUSH. They’ve produced gold and platinum records and have received numerous awards.GIBSON HOUSE MUSEUM, 5172 Yonge Street (page 42). The mid-19th century, red brick Georgian Revival farmhouse was once home to David Gibson – surveyor, farmer and political reformer – born in Scotland. It’s now one of ten historic sites owned and operated by the City of TORONTO.MILLER TAVERN, 3885 Yonge Street (page 49), This Georgian-style commercial building was constructed in 1857, replacing a former hotel that burned down in 1856. It survived floods, Hurricane Hazel, a gambling den, threats of demolition, and was finally purchased by the City of TORONTO, and is now a familiar landmark.BLACK CREEK PIONEER VILLAGE (page 61), offers a collection of many of Ontario’s oldest heritage buildings, some dating back to the early 1800’s. For more information on the village, and how to get there go to – http://www.blackcreek.ca