My Trip To Toronto. By T.C.


My trip to Toronto. We went to Andy Kim's 8th Annual Christmas Show.

How did it go?

Thanks for asking. I shall dish out.

It was pretty much like the 11 other times I visited. I like Toronto. If anything because it's so different from Montreal. In fact, all three of Canada's three major centers - the other being Vancouver and its annoying nickname Van City - are distinct in their "feel."

For example, Toronto and Vancouver stink of money, while Montreal has more of a hipster feel to it. Architecture also is different.

Here, Montreal has a clear advantage being one of North America's premier Art-Deco city. Toronto, on the other hand, has a strange, orderly (some say copy-cat) Anglo-Georgian Victorian-Protestant base. It seems content with that. As for Vancouver, meh. Vancouver Special or not.  'Couver has other things going for it - it definitely is one of the most gourgeous cities on the continent.

It's no different than what I've observed in the US. NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago - all distinct.

Italy same thing. In fact, there the cities are so different they may as well be independent city-states. Wait....they were. I strongly suspect it's the same in Spain.


Back to the Big T.O.

Driving in (the 401 stretch between Mtl and Toronto has got to be one of the ugliest on the continent), we observed safety highway signs are in both languages. That's always interesting to see given our unhealthy language situation.

It's only right given, you know, we are in Canada and it is a question of basic safety for the good of drivers regardless of where they come from. One day Quebec will get off its insecure high horse and realize this. Playing politics with health and safety is a bad, disrespectful idea.

I spent the better part of the drive - neigh, the trip - fixing a payroll problem. At one point, I threatened to drive straight on through to Winnipeg where the company I deal with is based.

Cooler heads prevailed and we eventually staggered into Toronto, Ontario. Good thing too because Cornwall and Brockville just about destroyed us morally and financially. Wild, wild towns.

We didn't have much time to spare as it was late in the afternoon and the concert was at 8pm. So we headed to Sambuca's - an Italian restaurant nestled in the gay village. Outstanding food turns out. Nice Calabrese sauce. So much for Toronto not having good restaurants.

What I do find unacceptable is an espresso machine not working in an Italian restaurant which happened to be the case. Luckily, there was a Starbuck's right next door - didn't expect to find an Italian bar as Little Italy was much further up the street. A good 20 minute walk the other way.

On our way to the Phoenix Theater, we had a couple of minutes and stopped off at the Loblaw on Carlton and Church St.

Now that's a grocery store. Nothing like it in Montreal. Actually, nothing "grand" happens in Montreal. For all our "coolness" we have one mean, parochial, streak in us that prevents projects on a grand scale. Our politics and corruption hold us back dearly.

How can we proceed when you have faux-populist, anti-English, socialist, anti-business, separatist fools like Marois going to New York City to speak to business leaders proclaiming Montreal is "open for business" like whores in Bangkok. All the while, of course, inserting "one day" we will be "independent." Just what business people want to hear.

I stand by my belief the PQ hastened the decline of Montreal.

I digress.

Quebecers feel uncomfortable with such displays of grandeur we saw at Loblaw I reckon.

The show.

Andy Kim was figthing a virus that affecting his throat and voice but made the best of it. Guests included Ron Sexsmith (who is set to play Royal Albert Hall), Sloan, Mark Holmes (of Platinum Blonde) who made a great rendition of "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch), Serena Ryder, Devine Brown, Dan Magnan, K-Os, Colin James and a few others.

James - who I saw live at the old Spectrum back in the early 90s. The band Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers out of Philly opened for him - was excellent.

Other than his ridiculous "Canada is a socialist melting pot" comment, K-Os was good too. Yeah, I was tearing my hair out on that one.


It was all for a good cause. This year, it was for the Jeff Healey Park  (we met his wife back stage) in memory of the great guitarist. Healey, Holmes, James...man, throwback to my days in the 1980s and 90s. Time flies.

This was not meant to be a concert review. Kim was his stylish, professional self and a good time was had by all.

Had I really planned it, maybe I would have taken in the Seahawks-Bills game in Toronto but it was a 4pm start and my mother-in-law did join us on the trip so the chances of us leaving for Montreal at 7:30pm would have been slim to none.

The end.

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