AGO Turner show worth a visit

Use a Museum Access Pass from the Toronto Public Library and the ticket cost is $10. Without the pass, it’s $25 … or $21.50 for seniors.

turner-1[Art Gallery of Ontario/Turner] –Above: One of my favourites.

Sometimes as dramatic and cinematic as an action movie director, sometimes as delicate and meditative as an ancient Chinese master, Turner was always a showman whose influence would be difficult to overstate.

Try to go at off-peak times, so that there aren’t too many people standing in front of the pictures. Take photos. They are not banned.

It would be lovely to see the originals in natural light, but that’s not possible. It’s still pretty amazing to be able to visit them by taking a streetcar downtown rather than a jet to England.

Everything is behind glass, of course, so reflections can interfere with viewing, but in many cases, the lighting is well enough done to make the glass imperceptible.

 Don’t forget to stand back to view the pictures. It’s interesting to get in close and see how they are made, but step back and watch how they “pull together”.

Turner’s landscapes are so abstract, they often look more mid-20th century than mid 19th century. The exhibition is quite large, displaying many watercolour sketches and a worthwhile number of larger oil paintings.

Here’s a trailer from a 2014 movie that might put you in the mood. The AGO plays clips from it as part of the exhibition. I’m sure Turner would have loved the audio-video accompaniment to his paintings. Indeed, much of the visual language we take for granted today was invented by Turner’s restless, relentless experimentation.

Spiffing up the Beach

First, a nice panorama to show you the kind of day we had. My iPad made the shot, stitching pictures together as I panned across the scene.


For the “pano”, I was standing on the new patio behind the updated bath house seen below. Nice, new, stamped concrete hardscaping and stones for sitting on.


A very long stretch of the boardwalk has new wooden beams. Sixty bucks apiece for the top planks, I’m told. They are 4″x 8″ x 16 feet. The 4″x 4″s are for the supports, which were placed on top of the old boardwalk. The timbers are from BC.

Bottom photo: Modular plastic panels joined together to make the beach accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. They are great! The view is better from out on the sand, but many couldn’t go there without these.

The temporary snow fences are already up, even though we are enjoying a surprisingly warm November. When those fences go up, the whole beach becomes an off-leash zone, so the dogs are happy.

Spelling’s easy, try pronouncing

icelandThis is as close as I’m likely to get to the land of some of my ancestors. Pretty close, actually, isn’t it?

It is a little piece of Iceland, and specifically the volcano that stopped air traffic in 2010.


[Wikipedia story]

 I don’t know how Peter Tatham guessed that I would have an affinity for obnoxious things from Iceland, but he brought me the keepsake and presented it today. Peter has just returned from an excellent 5-week jaunt around Europe, finishing up with a few days in Iceland.

A win for our waterfront

no-jets-buttons-smallWe can retire our protest buttons! The federal government has shut the door on the Porter Airlines attempt to get approval for jet aircraft on the Toronto Island Airport.

There goes Bombardier’s order for “whisper jets”. Now maybe the struggling manufacturer can concentrate on real orders and start delivering the streetcars they owe us. Wheels on steel, not pie in the sky.

For your visits, Crawf and Ulli


I just discovered that one of our Beach Hill neighbours is in business selling baked goods that everyone can eat. Gluten-free, Crawf? Soy-free, Ulli? Looks like we can all have dessert next time you’re staying with us.

I thought Bix might be a local business but the products are made in Richmond Hill. They ARE available locally, though, because we can get them at the Fairmount Farmers’ Market during clement months and at the Pitchfork on Gerrard all year around.

Two Helen Andersens go to New Mexico


This post is about connections … some that were formed before the internet, and some that continue as a result of the first ones.

My mother and father, Helen and Raabye Andersen, often vacationed in Hawaii. It was sort of “Florida” for Canadian West Coasters, because it was relatively close. Helen and Raabye made many friends there. One of those contacts found the Helen Andersen site and wrote me.

Deborah had once owned a lithograph of The Spirit Moves Him to Dance, but she lost it due to unfortunate circumstances and wanted to replace it. Now 2 prints are winging their way to New Mexico … the replacement plus a print of Saltwoman and the Hero Twins. The second print is kind of a companion piece to the first one.


More connections: Deborah tells us that she has a good friend in Canada who is also a talented creator of visual art. Richard Johnson is a commercial photographer of architecture and a maker of fine art subjects, too.

Above is my screen capture of a Google search for Richard Johnson’s Ice Huts. Click the link to see them properly. What a great series! You can’t get much more Canadian than this, can you?

Borscht, spelled the Royko way

Here is your Royko Recipe for November.

This is my own, vegetable-based version of the classic beet soup. Incidentally, this spelling of the name is an exact transliteration of the way it is pronounced in Ukrainian.

Elapsed time: 2 hours
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

1 cup dried lima beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 small cabbage, shredded
3 cups Rich Vegetable Stock* or chicken stock
1 large bottle V8 or tomato juice
1 19-oz. can stewed tomatoes, chopped
6 large beets, peeled and julienned
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 cup sour cream (optional)

Rinse and pick over lima beans and place in a saucepan covered with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let beans sit, covered, for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, carrots and cabbage until the cabbage starts to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add vegetable stock (or chicken stock), V8 juice and stewed tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add beets and lima beans. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in chopped dill.

Serve in large bowls with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

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