Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen, Toronto, ON

I had supper this evening at Street Shak Caribbean Kitchen on Queen Street W (at Palmerston).  I've walked by it many many times and and have been wanting to check it out.

The inspiration for Street Shak came from the food that Streek Shak owner, Tony Bradshaw, enjoyed while growing up in Barbados. Street Shak is Tony’s way of bringing guests to Barbados and having them experience some of the local dishes featured at street food shacks on the island - local treasures like freshly grilled food at Oistins market or Cuz’s, which has been selling fish sandwiches on Pebbles Beach for over 50 years. These dishes along with other Caribbean favourites have been elevated through modern techniques that Tony gained from 20 years in the restaurant business.


I love love love chicken rotis and ordered one.  I usually head to Island Foods when I'm craving a roti.  This was a different style than theirs in taste and the filling but it was delicious.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

North Of Brooklyn Pizzeria, Toronto, ON (Queen Street W)

I love love love pizza and I had supper tonight at North of Brooklyn Pizzeria on Queen Street W and Palmerston.  Our neighbours, Nikki and Andy, had recommended it a couple months ago so I thought I'd check it out this evening.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Gladstone Hotel Café, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had lunch today at the Gladstone Hotel Café, which is on the northwest side of the hotel (at Queen Street W and Gladstone Avenue).

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Book ~ "A Long Way Home" (2014) Saroo Brierley

From Goodreads ~ At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

I was on flight last year and started watching the movie Lion.  I had 25 minutes left to watch when we landed.  I figured I'd watch the rest on my return flight ... but they'd changed up the movies.  Grrrr!  Lion is based on this book so I thought I'd read it to see what I missed.  Plus I assumed the movie didn't follow the book exactly (and it didn't).

This is the true story of Saroo, who was one of four children living in poverty with a single mother in India.  One night when he was five years old, he goes out with his older brother and ends up getting on a train alone that takes him to Calcutta.  He wanders around for weeks before he is taken to an orphanage and is eventually adopted by a couple in Australia.

Years later, he decides to find out what happened to his birth family and let them know that he is okay.  This is a time when computers and the Internet weren't the swiftest and he eventually finds his old village by finding it on Google Earth.  When he's about 30, he travels to India and is reunited with his birth family.

I hadn't heard of Saroo's story when it happened.  I first learned about it when I started watching the movie on the plane.  I enjoyed the writing style of the book and found myself pulled into his story.  I hadn't known how it would end (because I still have 25 minutes of the movie to watch) so was happy with the ending.  I like that he is taking his experiences and helping others less fortunate.

BTW, the picture on the cover is the day he arrived in Australia from India wearing the clothes his adopted parents had sent to him.

Doors Open - Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON

It's Doors Open weekend here in Toronto and this afternoon I checked out the Gladstone Hotel (on Queen Street W and Gladstone Avenue), which is in my 'hood.  I've done the Gladstone Hotel tour a view times over the years and think it's a gorgeous hotel.

The 18th annual Doors Open Toronto returns on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, 2017, offering free and rare access to 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. 

Doors Open Toronto 2017 is part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions marking Canada's 150th birthday. Doors Open Toronto is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario and the broader community.


Year: 1889
Style: Edwardian (1900-1916), Revival (1800 – Early 1900), Victorian (1840-1900), Second Empire (1860-1900), Modernism (1880+)
Original Architect: George Miller

Building Description
A place where ideas are cultivated and magic happens! An accessible space that allows artists, travellers and diners to collide, collaborate, disagree, debate, fall in love, get in trouble and get away with it. Set within the historic walls of Toronto's oldest continually operating hotel, the Gladstone has evolved into a social and cultural house with 37 artist designed hotel rooms, a restaurant, bar and four unique event venues. And the art - it's everywhere. The Gladstone provides access to locally-made works 365 days year. Partnering with community organizations and curators, the Gladstone produces a long list of exhibitions and programs including: That's So Gay, a celebration of Pride; Grow Op, a provocative exploration of landscape and place; Hard Twist, a group fibre show and many more.

Visitor Experience
There are four gallery spaces open from 12 to 5 p.m. for guests to explore, as well as a cafe offering farm fresh menus. Doors Open visitors will be invited into the Melody Bar, a venue that hosts musical performers and activities throughout the year. Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival exhibitions will be on display on the 2nd, 3rd + 4th floor. Hotel tours starting in the second floor gallery space will take place on both Saturday and Sunday at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Several of the artist-designed-rooms will be open for viewing after each tour.

I joined the 3pm tour on the second floor.

Lukas gave us lots of interesting information

Poop Café, Toronto, ON

I'd heard that the Poop Café had opened (on Bloor Street W, east of Christie Street) ... interesting name!  I was in the area this afternoon so stopped in to check it out.

Doors Open - Basecamp Climbing, Toronto, ON

It's Doors Open weekend here in Toronto and this afternoon I checked out Basecamp Climbing (on Bloor Street W at Manning Avenue).

The 18th annual Doors Open Toronto returns on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, 2017, offering free and rare access to 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. 

Doors Open Toronto 2017 is part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions marking Canada's 150th birthday. Doors Open Toronto is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario and the broader community.


Year: 1938
Style: Contemporary (1995-Present)
Original Architect: Kaplan and Sprachman

Building Description
Basecamp Climbing is housed in the historical Metro Theatre building. Built in the 1930s, this space was used as a second run and B-movie theatre. After roughly 35 years, the building was sold and transitioned into an adult movie theatre. Primarily due to the invention of the VCR, the theatre began a steady decline and closed its doors in the early 2000s. In 2013, a full renovation process began to transform the theatre into a rock climbing gym. Basecamp Climbing is now fully operational and tries to keep some of the history alive by showing mock movie posters and utilizing their marquee to display the names of climbing routes as the old theatre used to for movies.

Visitor Experience
Visitors will be sent upstairs to the mezzanine area where there will be photographs showing the construction process from old theatre to rock climbing gym. Each photo will have a small description of what was happening during the process. Likewise the gym will be open for regular climbing and guests will be able to watch live rock climbing from the mezzanine area. Basecamp is offering one free climb to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors who are interested in climbing will need to sign a waiver prior to entering the climbing floor.

I remember this place as a porno theatre for many years (I've walked and driven by it a lot).  I went to the mezzanine level.


They have pictures showing what the place used to look like.

Doors Open - 159 Manning Avenue, Toronto, ON

It's Doors Open weekend here in Toronto and this afternoon I checked out 159 Manning Avenue (just south of Dundas Street W).

The 18th annual Doors Open Toronto returns on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, 2017, offering free and rare access to 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. 

Doors Open Toronto 2017 is part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions marking Canada's 150th birthday. Doors Open Toronto is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario and the broader community.



Year: Unknown
Style: Post-Modern (1945+)
Original Architect: Unknown

Building Description
Tim McCready hosts some of Toronto's most eclectic DIY events from the comfort of his home, turning his personal space into a performance venue, and creating unforgettable experiences in the process. For over 12 years, 159 Manning has been an important centre of cultural activity in Toronto. What initially grew out of friends moving to the city to play music and have the occasional get-together, has grown into well-known bi-annual 'house parties'. McCready's New Year's Eve and the summertime 159 Manning BBQ have featured Canadian and international top-tier and underground performers. 159 Manning was built between 1913 and 1920 and was originally owned by painter Richard Carter.

Visitor Experience
Visitors are invited to experience the legendary 159 Manning during Doors Open. There will be a fantastic roster of family-friendly musical artists from a wide range of genres. The backyard features a stage surrounded by a canopy of trees. Visitors are invited to view the library and an exhibition of the history of 159 Manning documented through concert posters, photographs and albums. Discover why 159 Manning is a hub for cultural activity in Toronto. Visit the special projects webpage for more details about the music programming at 159 Manning.

I'd never heard of Tim McCready or that he opens his house up for events but I thought that the fact that he does was worth checking it out.

Visitors were able to walk through the first level of his house to get to his back yard (I don't even invite people I know to my place! Ha!).

KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

I walked through Trinity Bellwoods Park this morning and passed by KC's tree.


We had it planted in the fall of 2011 in memory of our dog, KC, in the park.

It looked great when I checked it out a couple weeks ago ... and it's even greener now.  The whole park is looking nice and green!

It's the small tree in the middle

Doors Open - The Great Hall, Toronto, ON

It's Doors Open weekend here in Toronto and this morning I checked out The Great Hall (on Queen Street W and Dovercourt Road), which is in my 'hood.

The 18th annual Doors Open Toronto returns on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, 2017, offering free and rare access to 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. 

Doors Open Toronto 2017 is part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions marking Canada's 150th birthday. Doors Open Toronto is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario and the broader community.


Year: 1890
Style: Victorian (1840-1900)
Original Architect: Gordon & Hellliwell

Building Description
Originally constructed in 1889 for the Toronto's West End Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), The Great Hall features ornate Victorian architecture, designed by Gordon & Helliwell. The Hall has signature towers, tall arched windows, as well as influences from Queen Anne Revival style. During the 1890s, the fitness facilities became extremely popular and served as a training base for dairy magnate Morden Neilsen and distance runner Tom Longboat. Throughout the 20th century, The Great Hall acted as a hub for the Polish community, Toronto arts scene, and event space for festivals and concerts. The Great Hall underwent renovations in 2016 to restore its original beauty, and it continues to serve Toronto's cultural community.

Visitor Experience
Visitors can view the Victorian architecture of The Great Hall, including the three storey façade, decorative sandstone motifs, and peaked slated roof. See the comprehensive renovation of the exterior, event spaces, and amenities. 

Despite the online event description, only Longboat Hall was open for viewing.

The ceiling

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Doors Open - The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto, ON

It's Doors Open weekend here in Toronto and I after I checked out City Hall, I headed to the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre (on Yonge Street just north of Queen Street)

The 18th annual Doors Open Toronto returns on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, 2017, offering free and rare access to 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. 

Doors Open Toronto 2017 is part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions marking Canada's 150th birthday. Doors Open Toronto is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Province of Ontario and the broader community.


Not my picture ...
I forgot to take a picture of the outside

Year: 1913
Style: Edwardian (1900-1916)
Original Architect: Thomas Lamb

Building Description
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre was the only double-decker theatre constructed in Canada and is now the last one operating in the world. This stacked Vaudevillian era theatre was saved from demolition by the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1981. Today it is a fine example Edwardian architecture and is a national historic site.

Visitor Experience
You may visit the original and new lobbies, the elegant Elgin Theatre and the whimsical Winter Garden Theatre. Plus see samples from the world's largest collection of vaudeville scenery in the cascading lobbies. 

I checked out the Elgin Theatre first.