Whiling Away The Time

It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on because of the screen on the window, but below me, in the hotel parking lot, three drivers are passing time with a game of backgammon! Other drivers join to kibbitz. This looks like a serious game. A good way to fill time on a glorious sunny spring day (that isn’t too hot).

The Bata Shoe Museum

It’s been there for 20 years but I’d never visited. After lunch Karen asked where I wanted to go. Our ultimate destination was her grandson’s daycare – her day to pick him up. So I suggested we visit the shoe museum which was near the daycare.

The hanging stained glass “shoes” in the foyer catch your attention immediately.

There was an interesting exhibit of the hazards of shoe manufacture to both maker and wearer – hazardous dyes, for example.

Irresistible to a tennis fan: Roger Federer has larger feet than I thought – larger than Bjorn Borg’s. This pair Federer wore at the French Open – you can see the clay embedded in the shoes clearly.

Sandals worn by Pierre Trudeau, toe slippers worn by one of the National Ballet’s ballerinas in the role of Cinderella – replete with “jewels”.Shoes belonging to Marilyn Munro and Elizabeth Taylor – I remember owning shoes just like these.

The shoe timeline exhibit from the earliest foot protection (found in archeological excavations) to contemporary – a must see. A museum devoted to shoes? Absolutely. Shoes reveal a lot about human culture. The Museum is definitely worth a visit. Put it on your list for the next time you’re in Toronto.

Unexpected Faces

Day before yesterday my friend Karen and I were out for lunch. On our way back to the car from the restaurant we walked past a store window and both of us came to a dead stop: “A face!”


Having no idea what the object actually was we went into the shop to ask. We also asked if the owner would take it from the window so we could capture an image. The shop owner thought we were both mad! Turns out the object is a pair of automatic motion sensitive security lights with a camera (the proboscis).

“That’s all you want? A picture?” How do you explain you see faces in all sorts of unlikely places.

We took pictures and left.

Another security camera and light – I guess the idea is to capture images of unwanted visitors – both animal and human.

Later that night Karen and her husband headed north to their cottage. The next morning she saw another face – the cottage almost smiling because the snow is just about gone.

Yup. Faces everywhere!

While Karen and I were having lunch I noticed a small animal climbing the concrete facade of the apartment building across the street. Too far away and too small to get a photo.

At first I thought it might be a squirrel but it seemed to lack a bushy tail so I concluded it was likely a small rat or large mouse. The animal stopped for a while beside an open window. I watched until a truck obstructed my view. When the truck moved away – rodent was nowhere in sight – I wonder if the occupants of the apartment with the open window came home to an unwanted visitor!

Maybe they need one of these security cameras beside their window?

Visiting Toronto

I’m in Toronto visiting friends and family for the next several days.

Today Maxine (friend) and I took a trip downtown to visit the AGO (art gallery) to view the Outsiders – an exhibition of photos of the 60s, 70s, 80s by iconic American photographers. Very strong images. We also had an interesting tour of the gallery – the docent focused on a dozen or so paintings from the 1300s to a couple of contemporary pieces, deconstructing the content and composition of the works. I don’t know here background but she was most knowledgeable. We also had a very tasty lunch there.

However, it was Dundas St. that made me bring out my camera:

Maxine and I were returning to the car, walking past what I think is the Italian Consulate (across the street from the gallery), she commented on how ugly the dandelions were. My reaction was the opposite – I thought the profusion of golden flowers was lovely! Imagine this display in the sunshine.

The gallery is in the heart of Chinatown:

I used to visit Chinatown when I lived in Toronto but it’s become much more densely “Chinese” in the intervening 40 years – block after block of small shops and restaurants tightly packed.

All in all a great day.