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Near Gerrard Square

Danica and I haven’t been in yet, but we are pleased to see the new bakery that a taken up the building where Starbucks left off, quite a long time ago.

This Sugar Loaf Bakery is the second one, the original being on Queen Street East near Broadview. Nice addition to the Gerrard East scene. They do breakfast and lunch, too.

What’s in a name?

We have this little etching by Gordon Kit Thorne hanging in our hall. It is called Siwash Rock and represents a landmark off Stanley Park in Vancouver.

I remember hearing that the name Siwash was derogatory, but never knew in what way until this week. Apparently siwash is a corruption of the French word sauvage (savage in English). Myth had it that the rock represented a figure on an Indigenous man. The name Siwash is clearly offensive, once you know what it means.

I’m not sure whether or not Siwash Rock has a new name today, but I came across the etymology when I was following up on a story about the Toronto District School Board’s removing the word chief from various TDSB job titles in deference to feelings of Indigenous people.

That the word chief could be offensive had never occurred to me. Its use predates European contact with First Nations people, but leaders of Indigenous groups have been called chiefs. I thought chief just meant head, as in Head of State. In Canada, that would be the Queen of England. Maybe if we called her the Chief of State, she wouldn’t like it.

Singular or plural?

The other day, I watched a policeman in a TV interview say that officers had searched a premise. Why did I think the word was premises?

I looked it up. Premises refers to a building and the land it stands on, hence two things. Plural.

There is a singular use for the word premise, of course. It is a proposition used as the basis for a conclusion or action.

Here’s my favourite definition of conclusion:
It is the point at which we decide to stop thinking.

Interpreting the signs

I don’t know if there’s any particular iconography involved here, but the 3 decorated telephone poles are along the front of Beach Hill’s Forward Baptist Church and I think I see the severed head of a Thanksgiving turkey in there.

Jigsawed plywood and crate slats make a 3 dimensional departure from most city pole art. No spray cans have been used to apply the paint, either.

I put my favourite one in the middle, in the first photo. I like the design and colours and those screwy eyes get to me.

From pre-car cities to post-car cities

It looks like our friend Brian (AKA Indiana Hickey) is out of town, in Jordan this time.

Good time to mention Jennifer Keesmat, who just stepped away from her role as Toronto’s Chief Planner. Brian is not one of her fans. She is an opponent of cars in cities and Brian is a car guy.

Personally, I am pleased to be able to remain in contact with Keesmat’s ideas, thanks to her active Twitter account and her podcast channel.

I am even more pleased to see her tweet, “I have every intention of coming back.” 😉

From Keesmat’s Twitter feed, here’s an informative summary of 7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free. Madrid is on the list, and that stuck me as significant, because Brian was very impressed by what that city has done for its car drivers. He described a massive 5-year tunnelling project that produced a marvel of modern autoroutes. Poor, bumbling Toronto cannot even dream of such an accomplishment. We are still too backward.

The Madrid example, and others on the list of 7, underscore the need to address urban congestion on many fronts, not simply by crudely clubbing car drivers while providing crappy transit alternatives.

As a 72 year-old, I am resigned to the possibility that I may not outlast Toronto’s prolonged adolescence, but I am glad to know that people like Keesmat are still going to help us through this immature period.

Gord Smith’s 80th

Danica and I were delighted to be invited to Gord’s 80th birthday party at Pinewood Studios on October 8th … the actual, factual date, not just one chosen for weekend convenience.

In the spirit of the occasion, I made our birthday card by hand and Danica added decorations to the inside and envelope. The DIY inspiration came from Gord himself and his colleagues in the Goop of Five.

Terrible photos of a great evening. My camera was confused by the lighting, but excuses don’t improve the pictures. If anyone has better ones, please email them!


 Live music was provided by two Toronto greats … Joe Sealy on keyboard and Paul Novotny on bass … because Gord used to play gigs with them, back in the day. Gord played drums. What a life, so far!

Goop of Fiver Annie made the spicy Art Cake, complete with candles and paint brushes.

The party was held in the restaurant of Pinewood Studios in the film district. Avron Mintz, another Gooper, is the father of David Mintz, owner of the Studio catering company at Pinewood. Probably coincidence. We ate well!