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A question answered

Speaking with Richard Johnson’s wife Lucie at Gord Smith’s opening, I mentioned that I had been happy to see one of Richard’s iconic ice hut photos featured prominently in a TV commercial.

Lucie surprised me, saying that there had been no contact or compensation for use of the photo. This didn’t seem right, so I wrote to Galen Weston, making it clear that I was writing on my own initiative and that Richard Johnson did not know that I was doing so. I wrote as a Richard Johnson fan and praised the art director who picked the prop.

It won’t surprise you to hear that I do not have the email address of one of the wealthiest men in Canada. I sent my message via an online “Contact Us” form, asking the receiving employee to send it on to Mr Weston for me.

Weeks passed, but then a courteous and, I think, satisfactory answer arrived in my inbox. The photo had been rented from the Art Gallery of Ontario and was covered by blanket consignment agreements between the AGO and the artists.

So, while it would have been nice if someone had thought to let Richard Johnson know that his work was in the commercial, it wasn’t an oversight or a misuse of his work.

For me, it was an opportunity to set the record straight … and, I admit, to draw the ice hut collection to Mr Weston’s attention. I certainly didn’t suggest that he purchase a few large format pieces for display in corporate headquarters. Sure, they’d look fantastic in that context and about a Canadian as you can get, but that should be for Mr Weston to decide. Maybe he will.

Time and Spaceman

Not to be outdone by Danica’s trip to Australia, I have been quietly making a big trip of my own. No passport, no customs hassles, no dehumanizing airline experiences required.

I have just completed my 73rd trip around the Sun.

My sister Joni sent me this lovely little Raven carving, probably dating back at least to the 1950s. It is signed on the back: by Willy Stephenson, Nishga Tribe, [?]ast River.

A beautiful card and message from Anna and Thorne and a newsworthy Toronto tip from Paul.

Thank you all for your good wishes and favours. That includes lunch, Brian. 😋

I have already watched one of the 10 Hidden Gems on Kanopy … and I highly recommend it. Here’s the trailer.

Sydney Beach Patrol reports in

Here’s Danica, making the most of Sydney’s summer. I see a tan developing.

The Waverly cemetery was mentioned by Andrew. It was part of our walking tour on Day 2. We took a bus to Bondi Beach and trekked half the Coastal walk:

Bondi Beach
Tamarama Beach
Bronte Beach at Nelson Bay
Waverly Cemetery
Clovelly Beach

Next day Visnja had a student in Malabar district, after the flute lesson we returned to the coast and went back to Clovelly in reverse, part walk, part drive:

Malabar Beach
Maroubra beach (couple hours swimming)
Coogee Beach
Gordon’s Bay

So far also swam at:

Sharks Point @ Neilson Park (South Head)
Balmoral Beach
Curl Curl Beach
Shelly Beach at Manly (North Head)

Toronto’s view of old and new

Following up on Danica’s admiration for the way  Australians have preserved their architectural past by weaving it into the contemporary life of Sydney, how about Toronto? I feel alone in lamenting the relentless destruction of 3-storey Yonge street.

Granted, these buildings have been allowed to fall into poor states of repair and the retail businesses that the’ve housed range from shoddy to underwhelming, but that’s fixable. What I will miss it the scale. They afford relief from skyscraper canyons and allow a little sky through to the sun-starved street.

OK, I’ll miss the quaintness, too. So what if these brick rows are not SIGNIFICANT ARCHITECTURE? Fixed up and modernized inside, they could look quite nice … certainly  nicer than the anonymous sheets of glass and aluminum that will replace them. I know. Money. The real estate must be exploited. Money, money, money.

A temporary view of sky at Bloor and Yonge, over the demolished Stollery’s store

The skyscraper-to-be site shown above still has a block-shaped piece of old building. It may be allowed to stand, or perhaps it is useful temporarily as a construction office. Sometimes we keep parts of old buildings as decoration for new ones. It’s called “façadism”. Better than nothing, I guess, but not much.