I’LL BE TAKING A MONTH OR SO OFF UNTIL MID-JULY/2021 – BE SAFE AS YOU CAN!

So much is happening these days that I’m taking some time off until mid-July. ‘torontosavvy’ will continue to be available, and I’ll be working on some new material for July. That’s the month when I’ll be getting my second dose as well. Meanwhile, stay safe and all the best, DAVE

HOW GREAT IT IS WHEN CANADIAN STAGE SHARES ITS OUTDOOR AMPHITHEATRE WITH OTHERS

Canadian Stage is planning to make room for the much-anticipated return of live, in-person theatre, dance and music to Toronto this summer. It’s putting aside the normal Shakesperanean outdoor productions of the Bard – and instead share its 1,000-seat open-air Amphitheatre in High Park with a wide variety of local arts groups from the end of June/2021 into September. Most exciting will be full productions of a new Canadian musical; a new work by two-time Governor General’s Literary Award-winner Jordan Tannahill. A special performance beyond the Amphitheatre will use the entirety of High Park itself. All will be physically distanced, mask-wearing audiences up to 100 – with strict COVID-19 protocols on stage and off. Running times will be around 90 minutes. See the full Dream in High Park 2021 line-up. And there’ll be so much more.

TORONTO’S “BRIGADOON” – RARE PHOTOS OF THE FORMER GERRARD ST. VILLAGE

In the 1920’s, artists, writers, shopkeepers and bohemians began settling into 19th-century row houses along Gerrard West and neighbouring streets.They painted the stuccoed houses in rainbow colours, opened art galleries, bookshops, restaurants and – a first for TORONTO – an outdoor patio.  The neighbourhood was christened GERRARD STREET VILLAGE. It became our city’s Greenwich Village, Soho, the Left Bank – an enclave of Bohemia in the middle of a very conservative town.  CSILLA FEL remembers TORONTO’s first patio: “The first patio was a rented house and was called “The Jack and Jill”. Catherina Barca, aged 97 was part of the Barca pioneers in sidewalk cafes.  She once said “this was my backyard as a child and the atmosphere of coffee and creativity has stayed with me my whole life.”Ernest Hemingway called the Village home for a while; the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris sketched here; painter Albert Franck rented a shop in the 1940’s.  Some other villagers – poets Al Purdy and bp Nichol, Margaret Atwood, Milton Acorn, Michael Ondaatje, Joe Rosenblatt, Gwendolyn MacEwen – a slew of intellectuals, designers, booksellers and writers.Only a few of the Victorian-era houses remain – “totally emasculated” as one old-timer put it.  A hotel, parking lot, hospital buildings, a condo and a steam plant occupy – what was once – Toronto’s ‘Brigadoon’.“You mention Albert Franck having a hop on Gerrard, but he and his wife Florence Vale, actually lived there too. Harold Town frequented their place (he wrote a couple of books on Franck, and Joyce Wieland and Kazuo Nakamura were, I think, mentioned by Franck. Also on that strip is where the collective General Idea (Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal, and AA Bronson, of whom Bronson is the sole surviving member) had their first salon.” – from STEVEN ERIC KETOLA <PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives; Image above – David Mason Books>

CANADA HAS BEEN JUDGED NUMBER ONE IN THE 2021 ‘BEST COUNTRIES REPORT’ – SOME MIGHT DISAGREE

 

We couldn’t have asked for much more. Canadians live in the globe’s best country all-in-all, overtaking Switzerland, which held onto the title from 2017. Presented by US News and World Report, the BAV Group, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, 79 nations and 76 credits, the 2021 ranking considered economics, military presence, education and overall quality of life. As well, they took into account how the countries were perceived.  Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia did well. The United States came in sixth place. Iraq made last place at #78. Canada ranked first in Quality of Life and Social Purpose, not corrupt and respects property rights; sixth place for Entrepreneurship, third for most business-friendly countries, and third in Agility.

TORONTO TAKES A RELAXED APPROACH WHEN IT COMES TO URBAN WILDLIFE – RACCOONS FOR INSTANCE

We have them all – coyotes, squirrels, rats, mice, chipmunks, skunks, foxes, groundhogs, muskrats, stray dogs, bats, beaver, possums, and #1 on the list – a lot of raccoons. In fact Toronto and Brooklyn, New York are the raccoon capitals of North America. They can pick latches, ride the subway now-and-then, invade attics in 10 minutes, browse back yards and gardens, climb trees, open the green food bins, establish themselves on rooftops and so on. They’re in charge and they know it. Toronto’s raccoons are fatter than ever. Temperatures have gone up and hibernation has become a non-starter for these cute, noisy, garbage-loving creatures of the night.  <Photo Above – a raccoon who lives at the Toronto Zoo.>

TORONTO’S EDWARD BURTYNSKY SHOWS US EARTH’S INDUSTRIALIZATION & EXTRACTION ON A GRAND SCALE

ANTHROPOCENE is a collaboration among award-winning photographer Edward Burtynsky & filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. <IMAGE ABOVE – Kevin Walsh/Earth Magazine.org>  The images make it clear what humankind has been up to for decades. They’re a wakeup call to the destruction caused by our species’ dominance, thus far anyway.<COAL MINE #1, North Rhine, Westphalia, GERMANY, 2015, © Edward Burtynsky, Flowers Gallery, London/Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto>. “I have always been concerned with showing how we affect the Earth in a big way. To this end, I seek out and photograph large-scale systems that leave lasting marks.” – from ‘Life in the Anthropocene’ by Edward Burtynsky.<Elephant Tusk Burn, Nairobi National Park, Kenya, film still, Anthropocene Films Inc. © 2018>. “How to convey, despite our brevity as a species, the magnitude of our impact? Anthropocene in a scientific and geological sense means that we are now everywhere, all the time, and even in the rocks—those dense, mysterious receptacles of the planet’s history.” – from ‘Our Embedded Signal’ by Jennifer Baichwal.<Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya 2016. © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto>. “It’s hard not to marvel at the engineering ingenuity of the massive industrial sites we filmed, and equally hard to ignore the devastation they represent.” – from the essay ‘Evidence’ by Nicholas de Pencier.<Uralkali Potash Mine #2, Berezniki, RUSSIA, 2017, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London/ Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto><Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Canalgrande #2, Carrara, Italy, 2016. Mural, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of the artist and Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto >The Art Gallery of Ontario-produced catalogue, Anthropocene, may still be available at shopAGO for $29.95; along with the 224-page Anthropocene art book published by Steidl.

TORONTO IS STILL IN PARTIAL LOCKDOWN, BUT WE CAN SALUTE THE IRISH ON MARCH 17TH

In September/2017 Ross and I were in The Republic of Ireland and had plans to visit Northern Ireland when the skies opened up and we sampled an Irish deluge. We’ll go up north next time. My day was made when the tourism lady asked my name. When she heard my last name, Moore, she said “you’re one of us!” with a jolly good laugh. We went off to explore the capital and there was plenty there to explore.You can’t miss the Spire of Dublin, or the Monument of Light. Either one, it’s made of stainless steel, 121 meters tall, located on the site of the former Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street in the heart of the city.Oscar Wilde’s childhood home, now restored and occupied by the American College DublinThere’s so much to do and see in Dublin, that once the pandemic ends, we’ll both be on our way there again.Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

AND NOW A QUARTET OF FREE OLD TIME RADIO, DOCUMENTARIES, FEATURE FILMS & TELEVISION

#1 – OLD TIME RADIO – It is what it says it is. After typing in the website you’ll arrive at a vast archive of programs where radio was king. It still is in some places. Our Miss Brooks, Jack Benny, Dr. Kildare, Dragnet, CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, etc. etc.The Golden Age of RadioTHERE IS MORE ON THIS SITE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE!  . . . . . . The website address is — http://www.archive.org/details/oldtimeradio . . . .  #2 – RADIO-GARDEN Enjoy hundreds of radio stations worldwide. The Dutch have come up with a fantastic service based in Amsterdam & Hilversum which broadcasts radio stations from all over the world – across Canada, the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, Scotland, France etc.  Just type in Radio-Garden and you’re all set to go. It’s free. #3 – KANOPY – Another great service from TORONTO Public Library.  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.  Type in Kanopy and you’ll be there.#4 – CBC-GEM – ‘START STREAMING’ – 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.  (CBC-GEM is a production of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.)

LOTS OF CHANGES ARE HAPPENING IN CANADA’S REAL ESTATE MKT. – DESPITE COVID-19, FEB. 22/2021

The Globe and Mail has delivered three solid pages of what’s happening in Canada’s real estate market. The market has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rachelle Younglai did the reporting. Some highlights below . . . .
ATLANTIC CANADA is a big winner. People are flocking to the East Coast. Average selling price of a home in Nova Scotia $331,429; Halifax $400,000; New Brunswick about $200,000, including Saint John and Fredericton; Newfoundland and Labrador – bigger properties with ocean views; Prince Edward Island above $300,000.TORONTO – average selling price – nearly $930,000.HAMILTON, Ontario – house prices topping $700,000 – not so affordable any more. 63 months to save a down payment on a Hamilton house.DOWNTOWN MONTREAL – apartment vacancy 10.2%; metropolitan area 2.7%CITY OF TORONTO – 7.3%; metropolitan area 3.4%VANCOUVER – 6.3%; versus 2.6%IMMIGRATION – plunged 46% to 184,370; lowest level of permanent new residents in more than two decades.