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Flying Pony: Cabinet briefing

Top cabinet members take note of the latest art show at the Flying Pony.

All members of Andrew Horne’s back room cabinet have had distinguished careers. Check out the wide-eyed Everyman character on Youtube. He was part of a collaboration with Australia’s famous cartoonist, Leunig.

Life’s a Zoo  provided roles for many others in the same cabinet, and they performed here in Canada.

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Wait, there’s more! A new raccoon is dancing in the Flying Pony Butterfly Garden. Such grace, such expression.

Eat your heart out, Degas.

Godspeed: Door open … pub, not yet

The big door was open, showing the inner workings of Coxwell Avenue’s Godspeed Brew Pub.

I asked the man on the scaffold, “Will you be open in July?” “Sooner, I hope,” he said.

You can see some of the stainless steel brewing apparatus at the back. Counters and rooms have taken shape, ready for finishing touches.

The little outdoor patio area has its trim. The facade awaits lighting fixtures and signage.

Why do I, a non-beer drinker, show such interest? Well, as brewmaster Lafontaine told me, there will be food, too. More than that, Godspeed is a welcome addition to the scene in our ever-more-vibrant Bazaar area.

In other Coxwell construction news …

Work continues on the No Frills supermarket we all miss. A lot of gutting is going on right now. The rebuilding stage hasn’t begun yet.

Danica noticed the hole in the front, showing blue sky where the roof had been. No roof? That would explain why the interior looked so bright when back doors were open.

Ryerson as a downtown asset

Ryerson University is expanding its footprint downtown at a great pace, opening up green spaces and walkable concourses that are a welcome contrast to the bustling urban surroundings.

 I like the energy and hustle of downtown Toronto, but I also like the campus atmosphere, right in there with it. Toronto’s core has huge tracts of land given over to higher education … University of Toronto, OCAD and the various George Brown sites, among others.

What a simple pleasure to duck into the student world, enjoy an outdoor café, do some people-watching, check out a bookstore, see an art gallery, stroll under trees … with no impending assignments or exams. Do they still do exams?

Big turn-out for Rhodes Jam

The Rhodes Avenue community street party was a complete success.

 The party was a musical “jam”, so people were encouraged to bring an instrument. Danica brought the drum that Joni made for us, with the understanding that if anyone played it, it would be me.

I didn’t play along, but I did get the photo of Danica, on the way home.

Meanwhile, a couple of doors down …

There’s always something interesting going on at GAS. The Photography Show is still on the walls, but today the space was also filled with vendors of fine comestibles, unique fabric creations, terrarium kits and crafts.

I brought home a square of chocolate that Danica, the expert, gave top marks. Chef Dan Legault makes it in Peterborough and brings it to Toronto a couple of times a month.

Indigenous arts on Ryerson campus

Our neighbour Natalie gave Danica and me a heads-up about these art events. I got downtown this afternoon.

The big tipi was easy to find, standing in a grassy quadrangle off Church Street. My photo doesn’t convey its size. It was VERY tall and wide. Some native food dishes had been on offer, but I got there too late for that, so I stepped inside the tipi door.

A circle of women, men and kids were standing quietly around a central fire, slowly placing cedar shingles into the flames, one by one. Each shingle bore the name of a child who had died in residential schools, and their ages … 8 years, 12 years, age unknown.

An Indigenous woman began to chant in a strong, clear voice. More names went into the flames. A Black woman accepted a small drum and began another powerful chant, tapping the drum lightly at first and more insistently, but steadily as her words rang out. Little ashes spiralled up and around the tent.

I took no photos inside the tent, not wanting to be disrespectful. You can see a bit of the fire and a figure inside, through the open door.

Signs surrounding the tipi branded the installation “Survival Through Sovereignty” which means, to me, something quite different from the “Survival to sovereignty” title written on the Ryerson web page. A minor error or an example of the gulf still unbridged?

On the way to the tipi, I passed the Ryerson outdoor rink, now ice-free of course, but showing mural-painted stones. The figure reminded me of a performance art event at Guild Park, where an artist “unsettled” the land that had been taken over by settlers. She did this by standing in her robes, on top of the Greek-inspired carvings in the park.

My last stop was at the Image Arts Centre, to see photographs by Danny Beaton.

There were fewer photos than I had expected, but from the web write-up, I gather they are not a special show, but a permanent presence. It was a bright, sunny day and the reflections on the glassed frames were bad. It’s not a prime location. The images were of Indigenous people, young and old, in groups, pairs or solo. Nice looking people, being themselves. Hardly any of them were smiling.

Crafted on the Danforth

I’ll bet there aren’t many people who know that incense sticks are made and packaged right on the Danforth, just west of Coxwell. The store is without signage and is not open to retail traffic. Floré Incense has been in business since 1982 and has built up a loyal following.

The proprietor is a friend of a friend and I have been helping out with the simple web site for years. Here’s a photo I just received, to update the counter display image.

Local photographer deserves your vote

I can only do so much from my little blog to ask for votes to put Gord Sawyer’s wonderful Family Portrait over the top in the People’s Choice contest, but every little bit helps. You can vote once a day, so please do. Every time you vote, you get an entry in a draw for a $500 Visa Gift Card for yourself … a reward for participating.

Here’s the Link to vote.

If you are on Facebook, you can have a lot more influence. Show your friends the picture so they can vote, too. Here’s the link again, if you want to copy and paste it.

Can you imagine what it takes to get a shot like that? The patience, the anticipation, the camera, the skill? If you have any doubt that Gord deserves to win, just see the body of work on his website. Gord does a lot of his shooting, all year around, right on our Leslie Spit. I love his shots of owls, especially.