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Boring Company: Elon bets on a pun

You may have seen Elon Musk’s fantasy movie about cars in tunnels. Someone has bothered to criticize its obvious shortcomings in detail.

This cartoon shows more understanding.

I do give Elon full marks for threatening to quit his White House advisory positions if the U.S. withdraws its signature from the Paris climate accord.

BTW. Ever wonder about the origin of that unusual name, Elon Musk? If it is an unjumbling of Leon Skum, I can sympathize with a wish to rearrange.

Birthday bounty

Today was one of gifts, cards and phone calls congratulating Danica on completing another trip around the sun. I must say, the affection is well placed.

Do we need a closer look at that bear? Yeah, I think so.

Hollywood misses Bill Byres sighting

Toronto’s Bill Byres turned up on location for a movie being shot in Toronto right now. A passerby thought it was a Robert De Niro film, but it was more likely a romantic comedy a called Little Italy.

No Oscar-winning A-Listers were in view, so Bill and I headed to Kensington Market for a look around.

Slide show

I overheard a sidewalk guide explaining to tourists the meaning of the pole-mounted symbol at College and Augusta. (Slide 1)


 (Slide 4) Visnja is Danica’s cousin, now living in Sydney, Australia. She is a superb concert flutist and she taught us to reward street musicians for the work they do.

Doors Open: Guild Park

Doors weren’t really open, but the restaurant will be, next month.

Danica and I remember the fine breakfast buffets served in the old Guild Inn, with white tablecloths and as much roast beef as you wanted. Kathleen’s memory goes back further. Having lived in the area most of her life, she used to chat with old Mr Spencer Clark, one half of the wealthy couple who once owned the property.

Kathleen’s house is a short walk away from Guild Park.

The tour made clear the debt we owe to Rosa and Spencer Clark. They were passionate supporters of the arts who created an artists’ colony … The Guild for All the Arts … and funded their philanthropy, partially, by selling off some of their land to create Guildwood, the large residential community surrounding Guild Park.

Front landscaping remains to be done, but it won’t be long. Everyone seems delighted with the restoration … heritage buffs, neighbours and wedding parties.

Most notably, the Clarks rescued many outstanding architectural details that would have been demolished when Toronto was tearing down heritage buildings in the name of progress. Without the intervention of Spencer Clark, we would not have our Old City Hall, either. The Clarks saved many, many works so that we can still enjoy them and learn from them.

Slide show


 Guild Park is a national treasure with a stunning location, perched above the Scarborough Bluffs, commanding a sweeping view of Lake Ontario.

Architecture. Landscaping and Design

Doors Open 2017: Door Number One The Daniels Building

The newly renovated and expanded U of T Faculty of Architecture Building is spectacular and will open to students this September. Today, the public got a preview. [Website]

Slide show

The 1874 building has one of the best street locations in the city,  in its own circle looking straight down Spadina. New streetcars sweep around it. On the back, looking north, a completely new addition has been bolted on, matching height. The marriage of old and new is successful, both entities retaining their own presence.


 Daniels Faculty Dean Richard Sommer was at the front door, helping his enthusiastic students to greet visitors. I asked how Architecture had won the use of the building and site. His answer was pleasing. “It’s like a game of chess,” he said.

More Daniels Building slides

I happened to have a photo of the back, taken pre-construction, so let’s start with that.


 One “miss”, I felt, is the treatment of the windows on the third floor of the new addition. You see them in the slides, striped with frosted bands that obscure your view. To control sunlight? Even though its north light? I don’t know, but the windows look to me as if they need a good cleaning. I agree with the student who told Danica, “I wish they had kept at least one section clear”.

Nevertheless, the new part does feel like a success. I felt vibes of the ROM Crystal, thanks to all of the oddly angled, white surfaces. A benefit of these, I think, may be acoustic. Even filled with Doors Open crowds, the big spaces are not echo chambers.

I think the Faculty of Architecture will make great use of the new facility. One Spadina Crescent is coming back to life after years of neglect, it has been updated, expanded and preserved, and a unique location has been given its due.

Doors Open: Lunch Break

Danica and I have returned many times to the Free Times Café since we were first introduced to it by John Robert and Ruth Colombo.

Today, it was very handy, just around the corner from our first Doors Open stop. We got a window booth (with the windows open), listened to live acoustic music and Bob Dylan songs coming from the back room and enjoyed the always delicious Saturday brunch offerings.

Free Times Café is on the north side of College, a couple of blocks west of Spadina.

Robarts Library: Rare Books

Doors Open 2017: Door Number Two Fisher Rare Books Library inside the Robarts Library on St George Street, U of T campus

Slide show


 There is a Hollywood, over-the-top theatricality about the Robarts Library that extends to the interior and the Fisher Rare Book Library.

The exterior is pure brutalism. Inside, rare books are sensibly kept in climate controlled space and dim light, but this has afforded and opportunity for stage-lighting effects.

The Bard wasn’t looking too impressed. I’m inclined to feel the same way, about the architecture.

The collection, though, seemss important and worthy of careful preservation. In the pieces on display, Danica drew my attention to parliamentary debates, documenting Sir John A’s unabashed racism toward Chinese immigrants.