Archive for April, 2019

There are few charitable organizations I respect more than the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and they need our continued support to help those living with type 1 diabetes.

About Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF):

“At JDRF, we’re leading the fight against type 1 diabetes (T1D) by funding research, advocating for policies that accelerate access to new therapies, and providing a support network for millions of people around the world impacted by T1D.”

Learn more about Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and how you can help here.

Today is Good Friday for most of the western Christian denominations, commemorating the day Jesus was crucified. This historical event has led to many of the great works of art over the past two millennia. Here is an amazing house altar in the Baroque style from the 160os I spotted in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto on my recent trip. A fitting way to pay respect to the day.

I am back from Toronto and trying to get back into the swing of things. I still have a few things to share about Toronto and things I found up there which I will be sprinkling in over the next several days. Now, I leave you with this parting shot – a panorama of the baseball field at Rogers Centre – home of the Toronto Blue Jays – which I took when I attended a game last weekend.

In a city that is full of restaurants, and home to the longest running food market in North America (St. Lawrence Market) it is not surprising to find some very on trend food hall style grocery stores in Toronto.

FF: McEwan’s Gourmet Grocery

There are several, and I explored a few, but I fell in love with McEwan’s Gourmet Grocery right around the corner from my hotel at the major intersection of Yonge & Bloor. McEwan’s is awesome. There are stations and eating areas throughout where you can have a meal or snack with freshly prepared food by a top notch team. A great place to grab lunch or a pre-theatre meal. But McEwan’s also has fine groceries and the most fabulous collection of prepared foods – perfect for bringing back to your hotel room – which is what I did for many meals.

About McEwan’s Gourmet Grocery:

“McEwan Yonge & Bloor: McEwan Yonge & Bloor is a new chef-led food-hall that is revolutionizing food-retail to become the gourmet hotspot for local residents and visitors alike. The thoughtfully constructed store includes an all-day café, on-site butcher, bakery, patisserie, deli, produce section, carving station, hot & cold tables, sandwich station, sushi bar and so much more. At McEwan Yonge & Bloor, you can indulge in house-made recipes by Chef Mark McEwan and take home inspiring goods.”

Learn more about McEwan’s Gourmet Grocery and their locations in the Toronto area here.

FF: Loblaws

Meanwhile, the fine folks at Canadian grocery chain Loblaws have created the most amazing grocery store I have ever been in. Their store on Carlton Street in the old Maple Leaf Gardens building is awe-inspiring. First of all it is huge and has everything you could ever need. Second, the selection or prepared foods is amazing, and you could dine in the store every day for weeks and not exhaust the variety. I could live in the cheese section alone.

About Loblaws:

“Since the beginning, our love of food has driven us to find innovative ways to bring customers closer to their favourite products. In 1919, founders of the first Loblaw Groceterias were told their self-serve, cash-and-carry model would never work. Instead of waiting for a clerk behind the counter to fetch items, a store where customers could browse and choose their own quality goods at lower prices proved to be a big hit. Over the next decade, 70 new stores opened in Ontario alone. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Learn more about Loblaws and find locations all over Toronto and Canada here.

I love the look of those old gooseneck lamps with the flared enamel shades. And I love that fine folks like those at Barn Light Electric Company are still producing them in cool looks and designs – like their Rochester Gooseneck Light.

About the Rochester Gooseneck Light from Barn Light Electric Company:

“Meet our newest vintage-inspired gooseneck light — The Rochester! Featuring a hand-spun, RLM warehouse-style shade, this gooseneck light has detailing that harkens back to early 20th century factory lighting. American made from commercial grade materials, this industrial gooseneck light has a high-gloss porcelain enamel finish that lasts for years in interior and exterior areas.”

Find the Rochester Gooseneck Light from Barn Light Electric Company here.

See the whole collection from Barn Light Electric Company here.

One of Toronto’s big draws for me is theater. Following New York and London, Toronto is said to have more live theater in the English language than anyplace else – and that includes L.A., Sydney, and Chicago. Add to that the thriving multicultural theater scene and Toronto is really a stellar theater town.

On this trip I saw four big shows, all Tony award winning Broadway shows, including two big hits, Come from Away and Dear Evan Hansen, both of which are settled in to long run in Toronto.

Come from Away

Come from Away is the smash hit musical about the small town in Newfoundland that found itself dealing with the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks when dozens of planes were rerouted to land there. An unlikely setting and story for a musical, but it is well-presented and sensitive to the subject matter. Still running on Broadway, Come from Away is at home in Toronto as the show is very Canadian and it was fun to see with a Canadian audience.

About Come from Away:

“It’s been called the ‘edge of the world.’ The weather is wild, but the locals never lack for warmth. And it’s here, in Newfoundland, where a remote town became the epicenter of a remarkable true story filled with unusual characters, unexpected camaraderie and uncommon generosity. Come from Away is the breathtaking new musical that Toronto has embraced with open arms and has audiences leaving the theatre night after night claiming they are ‘proud to be Canadian!’ Written by Tony-nominated Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and helmed by Tony-winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley, Come from Away ‘takes you to a place you never want to leave!’ (Newsweek).”

Come from Away continues at the beautiful Elgin Theatre in Toronto though at least September 2019.

Dear Evan Hansen

Meanwhile, Dear Evan Hansen is a different kind of musical, it’s the story of a young man trying to make sense of his life who gets caught up in a misunderstanding that changes his life. It’s not classic musical theater fare, but Dear Evan Hansen explores how the art form can tell all kinds of stories while it entertains.

About Dear Evan Hansen:

“A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).”

Dear Evan Hansen continues at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto though at least September 2019.

I was not really familiar with artist Duncan Hannah when I came across a review of his memoir. However, reading about him and the book I noted that his story had everything I like in a read: a memoir in the voice of a creative person talking about his/her experiences coming of age. Twentieth-Century Boy – Notebooks of the Seventies by Duncan Hannah is all of that and more, it is a portrait of a time and place (1970s New York) which clearly fostered some of the most amazing talents of the latter half of the last century.

About Twentieth-Century Boy – Notebooks of the Seventies by Duncan Hannah:

“Celebrated painter Duncan Hannah arrived in New York City from Minneapolis in the early 1970s as an art student hungry for experience, game for almost anything, and with a prodigious taste for drugs, girls, alcohol, movies, rock and roll, books, parties, and everything else the city had to offer. Taken directly from the notebooks Hannah kept throughout the decade, Twentieth-Century Boy is a fascinating, sometimes lurid, and incredibly entertaining report from a now almost mythical time and place. Full of outrageously bad behavior, naked ambition, fantastically good music, and evaporating barriers of taste and decorum, and featuring cameos from David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, and many more, it is a rollicking account of an artist’s coming of age.”

Had I been living in New York during that era as a young man, I probably would not have had all the same experiences as Mr. Hannah. However, when I read his firsthand accounts of his life – written at the time and shared 40-plus years later – I wish I could get in a time machine and observe for myself.

Twentieth-Century Boy – Notebooks of the Seventies by Duncan Hannah is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

What better way to bring a smile to a kid’s face on Easter morning than to give them this Bunny Jack-in-the-Box I found from the fine folks at Jack Rabbit Creations?

About the Bunny Jack-in-the-Box from Jack Rabbit Creations:

“This classic toy plays ‘Here Comes Peter Cottontail’ to your child’s delight. Our plush bunny is holding a carrot and ready to come out and play. Beautiful tin box with hand-drawn scenes of our bunny playing.”

Find the Bunny Jack-in-the-Box from Jack Rabbit Creations here.

See all fun stuff from Jack Rabbit Creations here.

The fine folks at Paper Source are always a fun place to visit – but they really shine on holidays. For example, their Easter Collection has everything you need to make your holiday special.

I like Paper Source’s Light Up Squishy Chicks Set:

“These squishy, chick-shaped toys light up when jiggled or shook. Shipped in assorted colors of pink, green, orange, yellow, blue, or purple, these fun toys are perfect additions to an Easter basket. Sorry, you cannot specify a color when ordering online. Best for ages 3+. Price is per chick. Paper Source exclusive.”

Find the Easter Collection from Paper Source here.

See all the cool finds from Paper Source here.

OK, I have discovered the greatest idea for an event ever. You know those places you can go with a bunch of friends and drink wine while learning to paint a picture – or any of the number of other similar events? Well, in Toronto, the fine folks at Lavigne & Co Design host The Charcuterie Board Workshop – where you and your mates make a charcuterie board, as in the actual board (and then get to eat some fine fare).

About The Charcuterie Board Workshop in Toronto:

“A unique experience with the industries pros. This workshop is a mix of a little class and a little dust. Start the evening off with some some wine or Perrier and tasty charcuterie while learning how to style a charcuterie board. Choose your live edge board and enter the woodworking space and try your hand at making your very own board. You will acquire some introductory woodworking skills from Lavigne & Co Design’s Founder Sarah Lavigne as she walks you through de-barking, sanding and oiling your board. At the end of the class you will leave with not only your board but the skills to style it, a jar of take home finishing oil as well as some new skills in woodworking.”

I found out about The Charcuterie Board Workshop too late to partake in one on this trip, but I am totally keeping it in mind for a future visit.

Learn more about The Charcuterie Board Workshop here.