Danica flies Porter

As a thank you to Danica for her helpful trips to Windsor last month, Ned provided round-trip flights to his No-Mo-Kee-Mo party today. I saw her off and explored the new access route to the island airport.


Elevators descend 650 feet to the the airport tunnel. Operating instructions are quite simple … basically two buttons. Top and bottom. One day this may be automated so when you get on at the bottom, it just knows to take you to the top.


Reaching the bottom, you cross beneath a short channel on a moving sidewalk. The tunnel is open to the public, not just ticket-holders, as you see by the photos I was taking.


At the end of the tunnel, escalators, then escalators, then more escalators take you up to the surface again.


When you reach the top and see the biplane, don’t think, “Jeez, maybe we should have let them have jets”. The old plane is only a symbol for the airport’s namesake Billy Bishop, a WW I pilot. Porter’s real planes are Dash 8s.

Danica and I were both active protesters against Porter’s attempts to get jets and runway extensions but we left our victory pins at home. The jets are out, enough said.


A little ferry still runs back and forth across the narrow channel, taking motor vehicles to the airport side in 5-minute trips. Was all the engineering of a tunnel necessary? It’s not ours to say. Much has been made of the fact that no public money went to the project. In fact, I’m a little surprised that you don’t need to show a ticket to use the tunnel.

I’ve seen the room, now for the movie

Sarah Keenlyside and Joseph Clement teamed up to recreate “the all-time coolest teen bedroom” of Ferris Bueller as an installation in the Gladstone Hotel’s annual Come Up To My Room event.


Lloyd Cooke correctly said I mustn’t miss it and I’ll be adding a slide show of many more installations. The Bueller Room was such fun and Sarah was so pleasant to speak with, I thought I’d start off with it.

Although Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has been a popular comedy classic since it appeared in 1986, I still haven’t seen it. I will, now, but my ignorance put me in an odd position with regard to the room. Movie fans would recognize particular props and associations that I lack knowledge of.

In a way, maybe that’s an advantage, because I got to view the room just as a collection of things that might have been in any kid’s room in the mid 80s. An art director’s challenge that took Sarah and Joseph only 3 months to meet. They used social media to source objects, reproduced things they couldn’t find and improvised.

I haven’t included the stiff-looking, rumpled tee shirt lying on the floor along with other tossed socks and clothing, beside the bed. A mention will be more effective than an image. One example of amusing attention to detail.

Sarah kindly took my photo during a brief lull in traffic. Then the room filled up again quickly with appreciative crowds asking questions and congratulating the artists.

CUTMR is only on until tomorrow (Sunday), but worth a last minute visit, if you can.

30 year-old joke

This year it will be 30 years since Danica and I lived in our first house on West Avenue … the one in the middle. It was like living in 3 streetcars stacked on top of each other, but that’s not the joke.

When we took a taxi home, we’d direct the driver thusly: “First go East on First, then go South on West.”



Saving YouTube sound as mp3s

YouTube-mp3 is an app that runs in a web page. You don’t have to download or install it to use it.


Just find a YouTube soundtrack you want to save and copy its URL. Paste it into YouTube-mp3, click convert and download your sound.

A word of caution. Use my link above  or type accurately http://youtube-mp3.org. There are spell-a-like malware sites you want to avoid.

Here are some tunes I gathered …

The recent death of David Bowie has generated many tributes and playlists of his favourite music (for example). The playlist above is a mixture of Bowie picks and Bill picks.

The last two listed are the original Jacques Brel version of Amsterdam (in French) and the Mort Schuman version (in the English translation I believe he made for Bowie). If you compare the performances, you’ll find them quite different from one another.

Sharing my dietitian

So many friends and acquaintances are working to lose pounds this month, I thought I’d offer a graphic reminder that might be helpful. It’s from 2012, but still works.

Danica is retired now, no longer practicing as a Registered Dietitian, but you can get that “look” and advisory question. Copy, paste and post it somewhere handy.

Another Danforth crime story

Photo: The Linsmore Tavern last October, where Brian, Cheryl, Lloyd and I were entertained by The Dylan Tree cover band. We didn’t see the ghost of Dorothy Cox, but she is said to haunt the place.


Dorothy was a regular at the Linsmore until she suddenly stopped showing up in 1943. In I995, when Robertson Motors was demolished, her bones were discovered encased in concrete. The murder was never pinned on anyone, but her construction worker husband was helping build the new auto dealership at the time.


Danica and I first heard the story on one of our Jane’s Walks … free walking tours led by locals to discover, explore and connect with the city.

May 6-8, 2016 in TO and in 100+ cities around the globe. Get on the mailing list to be reminded.


I got the Gladstone part right

This pylon-monument-sculture made me wonder what it was all about. It stands in a park next to the Walter Stewart Library in East York and looked to me like something Gerald Gladstone might have done.


Gladstone’s welded rods and cutout shapes are recognizable enough but I never would have guessed that it represents a galaxy in space.

My uninformed guess was a Gladstonian shark swimming right through the stolid uprightness of Toronto’s cultural aspirations in the 1950s. OK … I do believe my guess is close to truth and Gladstone’s more grandiose metaphor was a sell-job for patrons eager to get in on the space age.


This is from the Toronto Public Library web site:

This pylon was described by Gladstone as “a physical statement by an artist on a philosophical problem. The concrete represents the space that our galaxy hangs in – the bronze part represents the galaxy – the lights represent energy within it. The whole piece is based on circles and straight lines.” The sculpture was commissioned in 1960 by the East York Public Library Board and is now the property of the City of Toronto.

It has lights? I wonder if they still work.

I like looking at such public works of art, partly, I admit, the way people like pop music from their youth. I never liked Gladstone’s stuff, actually, but I appreciate it now as a reminder of a naive, earnest Canada trying ever so hard to be modern and sophisticated.

Have we changed very much, or do we just dress differently now?