OhDee goes on public display

Ohdee was the logo/mascot for ODNT Creative Services (Old Dogs New Tricks),  a little advertising boutique that Paul Royko and I opened in the 1990s. Paul was an avid woodworker as well as a clever copywriter. He crafted a 3D version of my “scribble dog” to hang on our office wall.


I took OhDee home when I closed the office after Paul’s untimely death. He was barely 52 when esophageal cancer took him out. OhDee lived on my office wall at home for 17 years until the discovered cache of Helen Andersen paintings made our wall space scarce. OhDee graciously made way for Helen’s art, but storage where he wouldn’t be seen didn’t seem right. We thought about a possible new home and Danica’s idea proved perfect.

We dropped in to see Karen Schiavone at her Barkside Bistro on Gerrard Street East. OhDee would be happy there. What dog wouldn’t? All natural, raw, healthy, dog food! When Karen saw OhDee’s picture on my iPad, she loved him. Surprise bonus: Karen has a background in the advertising business. Meant to be.

So OhDee is now greeting customers at the Barkside Bistro, 1125 Gerrard Street East. Thanks, Karen, for giving him a new lease on life.

A week of appliance woes

Our TV set, coffeemaker, hair dryer, assorted clocks, my pedometer, a light bulb and an ethernet adapter went into malfunction mode, one after the other this week, but nobody can dig you into a deeper hole than software engineers.


Attempting to get a new printer connected wirelessly with a Windows 10 laptop, I have been defeated. I will buy the USB cable that didn’t come with the Brother printer. Hours of agony will end, for me and for the friend I was trying to help.

Debbie Facey is Vintage Hunter.

Good name, eh? Vintage Hunter. I like the sign, too. BluMorpha had a hand in its making.

Danica and I dropped in this afternoon and met the proprietor. Debbie is a very easy person to talk to, welcoming and knowledgeable. Her shop at the corner of Woodfield and Gerrard Street East is filled with unusual finds. Her prices seem better than average, too.


There’s a second display room behind the one I am showing here. Debbie also does her own fixing and restoring right on the premises.

I respect and admire entrepreneurs who work hard to create businesses like this. What’s more, I like looking through vintage stuff that was often better made than present day equivalents … or better looking … or both. I think Debbie’s store will be a regular stop on my local walks.

1390 Gerrard Street East. Hours: Wed-Sun: 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Wayback Times still ticking

jay-telferI was delighted to hear an interview this morning on CBC Radio, exploring the topic of Ontario’s 22 active drive-in movie theatres. The expert was a writer for the Wayback Times, an antiques and collectibles newspaper founded by a friend, the late Jay Telfer.

I remember when Jay put out his very first issue … 12 pages, I think it was. He did everything all by himself … it’s written up here.

Jay sold his “baby” before his death in 2009 and I lost track of the Wayback Times. What good news it was, then, that the new owners have kept it going. They’ve even maintained a tribute page to Jay, a remarkable and multi-talented guy who made many friends.

Colourful Lower Gerrard

Let’s start with the official street furniture, added by the Business Improvement Association. These signature benches are new to the “Little India” strip. There are several of them on both sides of the street. Planters have been refreshed and brightened, too.


Alex “Runt” Currie is hard at work, covering the Lenswork studio from his vivid imagination. He’s at the ladder stage. When I asked if I could still help paint a portion of his design, he looked a bit concerned. “Sure, if you don’t mind heights,” he said.


I think I’ve missed my opportunity. First, I don’t want Al worrying about a wobbly old guy teetering on his ladder. Danica will also be happier if I just watch. That’s OK. It was nice of Al to say I could.

Here’s a trailer for a documentary about Al Runt’s work.

Around back of the Flying Pony Gallery/Café, Andrew Horne‘s studio has been adorned by the Eskape Reality Collective.


I featured the back wall a while ago but hadn’t realized that the mural wrapped around the west side, too.

Back to the McMichael so soon?

It was pouring rain when Danica and I met Desanka and Bob at the gallery recently… not a day for looking at the outdoor art installation by Thom Sokoloski. A return on a nicer day was necessary.

COLOUR OF THE RIVER RUNNING THROUGH US is the title. Brian and I visited on our way home from Orangeville and I freely admit that I am not an installation artist’s ideal viewer. I like to view visual art with a minimum of associated instruction and reading, just to see what I make of it as it appears. Clearly, this weakens my connection with artists’ intentions, but frankly, I am more interested in my unguided impressions. I can always read up later.

What I saw were monumental tripods, well-built and made of wood, like tent poles. Small, broken branches centred under each of the 13 pieces reminded me of fuel for campfires.

A pulley hanging from each tripod suspended mason jars filled with papers upon which haikus were written. There were objects in the jars, too. Offerings? Counterbalancing the jars, large, clear glass bottles dangled, contained in wire mesh. The bottles looked molten on the bottom, and deformed.

I knew (slightly) what the poems were about because I had skimmed a write-up. The preserve jars suggested bygone times. Preserving the past? Past emotions? The bottles held no particular meaning for me; just interesting textures and materials.

The tripods, campfire and hangings from a pulley suggested an outdoor cooking set up, perhaps? I noticed that the pulleys were the kind used for clotheslines. But what about the crescent shapes on top, and the irregular spheres? A canoe? A moon?

Then suddenly, when I looked up to view several of the structures out in the landscape, each one seemed to be a kind of human figure, arms reaching up. The spheres were heads. All the figures alike. A tribe.

I had more impressions, favourable ones, about the scale, the setting, the materials. construction  and so on, but how was my response compared to the artist’s intent? See for yourself.

Hub and Rub: Strange bedfellows

It’s hard to imagine two less likely neighbours. The Riverdale Hub is a community resource centre for women. Next door, the newly arrived Mystic Spa offers body rubs and “erotic massages”.


I thought I’d better get this shot while I could. The Mystic Spa will probably be closed down as quickly as it popped up. A front page news item in the local neighbourhood paper says the “spa” operators are breaking bylaws and are unlicenced.