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Big score for commercial art?

The federal government has always been the biggest advertising spender in Canada, much bigger than any corporation. Spending like this is maddening.

If the going price for cover art has reached beyond $200,000, why does that Toronto District School Board task force recommend phasing out arts programs? Good careers, no? Big bucks.

Maybe the task force suspects that very little of that money actually reached artists. 🙂

Toronto Golf Club tour today

Danica and I didn’t have to go far. Our house used to be on the fairway of the original Toronto Golf Club.

Local historian Joanne Doucette and golf historian Scott Burk took a sizeable crowd on an informative walk between Coxwell and Main Street. They gave us an idea of what would have surrounded us in 1898. A golf course … Canada’s first 18 hole course, in fact.

The Grand Trunk Railway, for a while the largest rail line in the world, defined the north edge of the course. It threw cinders and burning clinkers onto the grass, but it also brought golfers from far away Boston and Montreal.

The sandy soil in our yard is a glacier-age sandbar. The lake was once 55 metres higher and our place was underwater. In 1898, the terrain was a savannah with oaks and pine trees that could survive grass fires. You could see the mists of Niagara Falls 33 miles away, from the clubhouse. The Falls are only a third of what they were then, thanks to hydro electric exploitation. The mist plume was much larger.

The “Punch Bowl”. A natural depression and creek. Golfers’ picnic stop. (Still visible today)

Click to many fine photos, ads and articles on Joanne’s site.

A big thank you to Joanne and Scott for putting our day-to-day surroundings into a larger context, both historical and social. Beach Hill Neighbourhood Association sponsored the event.

Selfie bewilderment

Lucky timing. I was present today, as Andrew Horne put the finishing touches on his monumental YOU ARE HERE mural.

Now, as we pose for selfies by the east wall of the Flying Pony, we will be pulled into a mental hall of mirrors. Fear not. There is a way out.

Take a deep breath. Put the phone away. Turn around. Read the sign.

While you are looking at the wall, you might enjoy a close-up inspection of the brushwork. It’s very well done … a major undertaking and a striking addition to the street. Those 3D letters really pop!

Bonus: The skill we acquire looking at Mr Horne’s piece is transferrable to other selfie situations.

Noteworthy assignment

Canadian publisher George A. Vanderburg will be soon be printing five volumes called the Notebooks of John Robert Colombo. JRC has been hard at work, collecting, organizing and proofreading well over a million words, covering a wide range of topics that have interested him over his long career.

Over 200 books have been authored by John Robert Colombo and I have been delighted to collaborate on cover designs for quite a few of them. This time, I’ll be helping with the back covers by doing some portrait photography of the writer.

Fun with the future

The announcement that Google/Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs has won the pitch to Waterfront Toronto leaves me cautiously optimistic. Maybe they can make something good happen. I hope so, and they’d better get a move on. We live not far from the action and I‘m not getting any younger.

Frankly, I have no idea who is going to pay for what, or how Alphabet is going to get a juicy return on its 50 million dollar contribution to the planning process, but I am already having fun reading the 196 page, illustrated presentation.

I love these Happy Talk fantasies. As the song goes, “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”

As you see, people of the future will evolve to become faceless, eliminating problems of privacy-invading surveillance and conveniently removing the need for controversial face-coverings.

The artist visionary foresees a new business, indicated by its sign; Community Coding. Sounds high tech, yet folksy/friendly, eh?

I see that bicycles will continue to get flat tires in the almost perfect future. Odd, too, that chalked blackboard sidewalk signs will still be in use. At least nobody has their face glued to a cellphone. Oh yeah … no faces. That’s why.

Driverless taxibots and sky-cabled gondolas will supplement relentless strolling, dog-walking and cycling. Streetcars will be ad-free and zippy water craft will cruise canals (when ice-free). Bombardier will make all of the vehicles, of course, and by this time, delivery schedules will be met routinely.

Suspense on Beach Hill

Ace reporter Danica returned from her Fairmount Park scoop (below) via Fairmount Crescent and sent me to photograph a local Halloween installation.

OK, I thought, when I saw the large, cable cob web. Danica’s right, someone has done a good job. I saw the spider.

Then my eye travelled up the cables, into the tree.

Oh, Mama!

That thing must be 6 feet across. Beautiful!