Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cherry Beach Sundays

craig chillin cherry beach style
Originally uploaded by 416style.
Used to be Craig (pictured), Jimi and Team Large bringing the decks down to Cherry Beach for a little Sunday beach fest Toronto style. My bday in 02 brought the crew together again for an unforgetable time; Rene, Rick and Ali Black spun some wicked house and rnb while the girls kicked back on the beach and the boys played ball. Still owe you one guys.

Rumour has it that Justin (of Boreal and Harvest Festival fame) even pulled a decent crowd out on a winter day down at the beach. Frozen beers made for some complication.

Well, now it's a heat wave and time to begin the Cherry Beach ritual again. Dave and Irving of Promise are a dedicated two that bring us some Cherry Beach chill almost every Sunday, including this coming Canada Day. DJs play a range from dub and ambient to minimal techno. It's relocated now because the city's trying to make the area appealling to all and have planted a few too many trees in our sacred spot.

If you need details, you know where to find me. Peace.

Distillery District Reaches New Heights

Up until a couple years ago Toronto's Distillery District was used only for big budget Hollywood flicks. One night, I was lucky enough to get access to a movie set and snuck through buildings that had lay relatively abandoned for 15 years or more. What I'll always recall about the buildings, as I rose in the darkness on suspiciously creeky stairs, was that some of the floors reached less than 5 feet in height. It was pointed out to me then that this had been where the distillers accomplished their backbreaking tasks.
Much has changed. It's now a playground, a spacious pedestrain-only district, for Torontonians and its visitors to enjoy. There's no place like it anywhere. From bakeries to Balzac's to the Boiler House to breweries, there's so much one can appreciate about the site of this Victorian Industrial complex, the largest example of such architecture in North America. Just off Mill Street, East of Yonge, the creative energy booms amidst the cobblestone and brick. It's definitely worth exploring, and now nobdy has to be sneeky about it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Waterfront Weekends

toronto island airport ferry
Originally uploaded by 416style.
It's as though someone was trying to prove me wrong after I wrote the last blog about the Martin Goodman Trail and Toronto's waterfront. I've spent the last two weekends on Toronto's waterfront and enjoyed it immensely.
Last weekend started with a beach volleyball tournament on the Toronto Islands - 400 teams were there to raise money for the charity HOPE. While I popped my knee out during one of the games and had to be wheeled off the islands' ferry docks I wasn't going to let it slow me down on my birthday weekend.
The next day I had big plans: brunch and boating. Il Fornello's at Queen's Quay was the starting point. Delicious food, terrific service and a wonderful waterfront breeze on the patio made my hangover easier to ignore.
Now for the thrill...powerboating around the harbour on a rented 26ft 250hp deckboat. We put the throttle into high gear and burned up tons of gas, that's what happens when you let the boys drive. There was so much to see, so many new places you wouldn't know existed if you were on land, so we explored as much of it as we could.
The day just kept getting better. Found a secret rooftop patio I'm not allowed to indulge info about on this blog, but I can tell you it's gonna make my summer.
Then the champagne flowed, on a friends luxury cruiser beside the harbourfront centre stage while the sun set. Wow. Life on the water definitely agrees with me.
Aside from my bum knee, it couldn't have been a more perfect day.
Since then, all week long I'd thought about the water and boating and marinas and how I couldn't wait to get out there again. So on Friday, Craig gets the invite to go sailing out of Mimico's Cruising Club. I'm in. Let me change my plans.
It was a squirrley day they would say but we found some good wind out near Port Credit's Four Sisters and I found myself commandeering the sail boat through a bit of it.
Next stop, fireworks at the Rogers VIP tent at Ontario Place. Best view I've ever enjoyed. Thanks Ted.
I love Toronto and it just keeps getting better.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Is Toronto an American city?

toronto film shoot
Originally uploaded by 416style.
It may be more widely known now, but for some time it got under the skin of many Torontonians that our city was being used for Hollywood flicks without the recognition it deserved. Story lines and plots centred around American cities but used our picturesque city for it's backdrop. New York cabs used as props are still a familiar sight, but somehow now the attitude has changed. We're happy to do what it takes behind-the-scenes to make Hollywood history, even if it means blowing up our City Hall.

Here are a few recent movies shot in the Tdot:

Mean Girls
How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days
The Recruit
Cinderella Man
Good Will Hunting
Bulletproof Monk
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
John Q
The Pacifer
Resident Evil: Apocalyse
Cold Creek Manor
Saint Ralph
Fever Pitch
Ice Princess
Phil the Alien
Four Brothers
Dawn of the Dead
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
Welcome to Mooseport
The Prince and Me
New York Minute
Against the Ropes
Festival Express
A Home At The End of the World
Touch of Pink
The In-Laws
Wrong Turn
How To Deal
Owning Mahowny
Hollywood North
Undercover Brother
K-19: The Widowmaker
Jason X
Men With Brooms
Between Strangers

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Who is Martin Goodman?

bridge blader
Originally uploaded by 416style.
The heatwave is on and the pools are still closed - only two ways to deal with it: sit in the comfort of an air conditioned space, or make your way to the waterfront where the air is breezy.

Toronto's trying to revitalize this waterfront but I'm still not sure how. Some new paint perhaps.

One thing they're sure to keep is our 22km lake front stretch of the Martin Goodman Trail.

I tried to find some history on the name, and the man, but came across nothing. I don't believe a sign even exists at any point along the trail. That might be a good place to start; help Torontonians identify with their city a bit more, show us it's history. I couldn't even find out when it was initially constructed.

The first time I did the trail I was 12 (1986) and had just moved to the city. I left with a friend from the west side after school on our bikes, went all the way out to eastern beaches and back, showing up about 7 hours later to our mothers' disdain. At the time it opened a whole new world to me, there was so much to see along the way.

Hopefully the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp will soon decide how to make our waterfront more lively, maybe give us some more sights along the way, maybe a few bars and patios too and encourage everyone to use the trail. Rumours have it though that they plan to spend the handout from the feds on the Front Street Extension instead, and make some history building the most expensive piece of road in the country. Then all the money will be gone, while we continue to hope that one day our waterfront will live up to that of other major cities around the globe, maybe not Sydney or Copenhagen, but there must be something we can do to make it a better space. Then maybe this heatwave wouldn't seem to bad.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Islands' culture spices up Queen’s Park

bongo drummers
Originally uploaded by 416style.
We rolled up to Muhtadi’s International Drumming Festival in our sweet little cabriolet, parked on the grass and had a look around. Lots going on, lots of dreads, drumming and island food. Muggy Saturday afternoons are perfect for this kind of stuff. A big stage set up in front of the Queen’s Park parliament buildings got the most attention, but smaller more intimate drumming circles spread throughout the park. We didn’t play but kicked back at the beer tent instead, listening to the beats all around. Ah, but then the thought of food drew us away.

First, spicy corn-on-the-cob, Grandma’s secret recipe. The lime with butter was obvious, and gave me the idea to try something similar at home. Wendy couldn’t help going for some corn soup and then Caribbean jerk chicken, which pleased her, while I stuck to the vegetarian offerings and gave some Ethiopian cuisine a shot.

A few different options were laid out for me on a piece of injera, a flat moist bread used for wrapping around bite sized portions of food. Nice to be able to eat with my hands, and the spiced lentils, carrots and steamed swiss chard made my tummy feel good.

The main stage was switching scenes, from Japanese dancing fairy types to laid back Indian drummers and sitar players. Slow mellow ambient tunes began and then picked up some serious speed. It sounded great.

Muhtadi’s 3 day drumming festival (June 3 – 5) is in it’s 6th season. Queen’s Park was a great spot for it too. Hoped it might draw some of the politicians next door down for some much needed chill time, none came, but at least they were cool enough to let it happen in their big backyard, and spice it up a little.