Saturday 28 September 2013

"Tommy", Avon Theatre, Stratford Festival, Stratford, ON

Gord and I take the train down and back (almost 2.5 hours each way) twice during the summer to Stratford to see plays in the Stratford Festival.  By not driving, we don't have to deal with traffic and we can have a couple of drinks after the play without worrying about driving.  Plus we like the train!

Today we saw Tommy. It was playing at the Avon Theatre.

There were a couple of kids busking next to where Justin Bieber got his start.

There is a plaque in the sidewalk acknowledging Bieber

Deprived of sight, hearing and speech by the shock of what he has witnessed as a child, young Tommy Walker seems lost to life – until he reveals an uncanny talent for the game of pinball. When his faculties are suddenly restored, Tommy is hailed as a living miracle – but will the fans who turn to him for enlightenment want to hear what he has to say?

I didn't know much about the story other than "a deaf dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball".  It was really loud and colourful, which I liked.  There was a large cast and lots of singing and dancing.  I knew some of the songs because The Who had made them hits back in the day.  I enjoyed it.

It was such a nice day that after the play we walked along the Avon River and sat on a bench and watched the ducks.  Then we had supper at the Boar's Head Pub.

We eventually made our way back to the station to catch our train home.

Another fun day in Stratford!

Boar's Head Pub, Stratford, ON

After seeing Tommy and then a walk in the park, Gord and I had supper this evening at the Boar's Head Pub.  We've been there before and have liked it.

It was such a nice day (warm and sunny) so we sat on the patio.

I ordered a Pulled Pork Sandwich (minus lettuce and onions) and fries.  It came with cheese, which I thought was odd but then I discovered that instead of ordering me a side of gravy, our server ordered cheese instead.  It's the first time I've had the pulled pork sandwich there and it was good.  The pork was really tender.  I'd get it again.

Gord ordered the Corn Fried Chicken Sandwich (which no tomatoes or red pepper jelly) and onion rings.  He said it was good and would order it again.

Joel was our server and took good care of us.

Friday 27 September 2013

John Cleese - Last Time to See Me Before I Die, Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto, ON

This evening Gord and I went to see John Cleese - Last Time to See Mee Before I Die.

In Last Time To See Me Before I Die, Cleese will regale fans with stories and exclusive clips from his illustrious 40-year career. Canadian comedy fans simply cannot afford to miss this once-in-lifetime, John’s specifically, to get up close and personal with a true living legend before he, you know, dies*. 

*No one actually knows when John Cleese is going to die. We mean, presumably he will someday. But he’s not suffering from any kind of illness or disease, nor is anyone planning to kill him. At least, not as far as we know.

One of the most influential and important comedic voices in entertainment history, Cleese is a founding member of Monty Python, and responsible for some the most iconic films and television comedies ever made, including: Do Not Adjust Your Set, And Now For Something Completely Different, The Rutles, Life Of Brian, Meaning Of Life, and Fawlty Towers. John has also starred in such major Hollywood hits as A Fish Called Wanda, Silverado, Fierce Creatures, as well as multiple instalments of the Harry Potter and James Bond franchises. 

Cleese was at the Winter Garden Theatre.

Our seats were good ... we were in four row, on the right side.

For about two hours, he shared stories, starting with his childhood and having an eccentric mother.  He talked about how he got into performing and the friendships he's had and the people he's worked with over the years.

He showed lots of videos of his work from over the years ... here are my favourites.

It was a good show ... it was a fun way to get to know more about John Cleese.

Book ~ "The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country"(2013) Charlotte Gray

From Goodreads ~ A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict - the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey.

In February 1915, a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families was shot and killed on the front porch of his home in Toronto as he was returning from work. Carrie Davies, an 18-year-old domestic servant, quickly confessed. 

But who was the victim here? Charles “Bert” Massey, a scion of a famous family, or the frightened, perhaps mentally unstable Carrie, a penniless British immigrant? 

When the brilliant lawyer Hartley Dewart, QC, took on her case, his grudge against the powerful Masseys would fuel a dramatic trial that pitted the old order against the new, wealth and privilege against virtue and honest hard work. Set against a backdrop of the Great War in Europe and the changing face of a nation, this sensational crime is brought to vivid life for the first time.

This is the true story of Carrie Davies, a poor 18-year-old British girl who was working as a domestic in Toronto for Bert Massey and his family.  Though part of the wealthy Massey family, Bert's side of the family was forgotten/neglected when his father, Charles, died when Bert was a child.  Bert made a living selling cars.

Bert came home one evening and was shot and killed on his porch.  Carrie was found with the gun and admitted to shooting him.  She said she did it because he had tried to "ruin" her ... he had kissed her the day before and had put the moves on her when she was making his bed.  She said she was defending her virtue.

The book details the nine days from the time Carrie was arrested to when she goes to trial for his murder ... the three choices the jury had were murder (which would bring the death penalty), manslaughter or justifiable homicide (no punishment).

Toronto Evening Telegram, Tuesday, February 8, 1915
A picture I took of Bert's house (169 Walmer Road) today, now split into
three apartments.  I wonder if the tenants know they are living in a house
where there'd been a murder.

It was an interesting story ... Torontoist has a great summary if you want to know more of the details (I don't want to give away what happened).

Not only did I learn about murder but it was interesting to read more about what Toronto was like back then ... so different from today.  There is also a lot of information about what was going on at the time ... World War I was happening, women were fighting for their rights including the right to vote, Toronto was growing as a city and Canada was becoming an independent nation.   I live near where the old Massey plants used to be.

I'd recommend this book if you like reading true murder stories and/or you want to learn more about Toronto and Canada at the beginning of the 20th century.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Holiday preview at Bite Bar, Toronto, ON

I got invited to the holiday preview at Bite Bar (at Bay Street/Elm Street) being held this evening.  Gord and I arrived just after 5pm.

Bite Bar is Toronto's premiere bite-sized dessert bar providing dessert lovers with a guilt free option to enjoying their favourite desserts paired with dessert inspired alcoholic and virgin beverages. Opening its Toronto flagship location in the spring of 2013, Bite Bar offers consumers a variety of fresh housemade desserts including mini-cheesecakes, gourmet wrapper free cupcakes and delectable marshmallow bars.

Preparation is well underway for what will be a busy holiday season. 'Tis the season of indulging, sharing time with family and friends and gifting and Bite Bar’s team is hard at work putting together a festive holiday menu to entice any holiday reveler.  With bites only tallying 40 - 80 calories, the signature menu item can effortlessly be popped into your mouth without any mess or fuss making it a must-have at every holiday party.

Founder Nisha Amin-Agnihotri

Monday 23 September 2013

Italpasta Gluten Free Dinner, 7 Numbers, Toronto, ON

I got invited to a media dinner this evening which was hosted by Italpasta to showcase their new gluten free pasta products.

Joseph Vitale’s lifelong passion for food was formed in his mother’s kitchen in Bari, Italy when he was just a little boy. He founded Italpasta in 1989 and since then, Italpasta Limited has grown to become a premium manufacturer of pasta in Canada. 

It was held at 7 Numbers on the Danforth.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Back in Nova Scotia

There is a tourist bureau as soon as you enter Nova Scotia from New Brunswick ... Sister Sarah and I stopped for photos.

Sister Sarah!

Broadleaf Guest Ranch, New Brunswick

Every year for the last couple years about this time of year, I meet up with Chrissy and Elaine, two friends I went to university with.  We graduated from St. F.X.U. in 1983.

Chrissy lives outside Sydney, NS, and Elaine lives in Moncton, NB. This year Elaine had the great idea of spending the weekend at the Broadleaf Guest Ranch, which is about 30 minutes south of Moncton.

I flew to Halifax on Thursday and stayed with Sister Sarah that night.  Then she and I drove to Moncton on Friday (she was my roommate) ... we drove back to Halifax today and I flew home.

Broadleaf Guest Ranch is an 1100 acre, family owned and operated adventure business located in Albert County, New Brunswick, in the heart of the Bay of Fundy! We have been providing memorable experiences for over 50 years and 3 generations. The tranquil atmosphere enables our clients to submerse themselves in Broadleaf's soothing surroundings.

Combine our country setting with our delicious home-cooked Ranch cuisine and toss in some great outdoor adventures, spa treatments, and country-style lodging, to give you an award winning recipe for an exceptional, stress free, all-inclusive holiday package.

There are three cabins in a row on the hill ... we were in cabin #2 (Comanche).  It was a self-contained cabin with a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms (with a double bed and single bunkbeds in each room) and a bathroom.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Horseback riding at Broadleaf Ranch, NB

There is a stable near where Chrissy, Elaine, Sister Sarah and I are staying.

I've never ridden a horse so it was on my list of things I wanted to do since I had the opportunity here.

Broadleaf Ranch has about 35 horses ... half are males and half are females.

We went on the hour ride ... it was just $30!