Monday, March 24, 2008

the Crucifiction parade

[Christ carrying the Cross past Queen Video on College]

i'm currently living in Toronto's Little Italy, where every year there's an Easter parade unlike any i've ever witnessed... Sponsored by the St. Francis of Assisi Church, the parade incorporates the stations of the cross (with a slew of different men playing Jesus), sombre marching bands, elderly Italian men in extravagant hats (Easter bonnets, really), and a great many religious banners. it's an eerie contemporary version of medieval Easter processions--i was intrigued to see one group in the parade wearing the traditional cape and scallop shells of the Compostela pilgrims.

[scallops & feathers]

this year, the weather was gorgeous on Good Friday and the Star tells me there were 15,000 people at the parade. certainly, College Street was hopping... and although the parade was nothing like the usual floats & clowns & bunnies, it was moving (if a bit creepy--the serious guys in robes, along with the whips, blood, thorns, etc, can get a little chilling.)

but i do like the fact that the parade is a reminder that Easter is about so many things--the celebration of spring, spiritual rebirth, and yes, also bunnies. a friend explained that actually the Easter bunny & eggs come from a Saxon spring fertility goddess, whose symbol was the we have rabbits & all those brightly coloured eggs. apparently it's all the fault of wily St. Gregory, who encouraged Christian missionaries in Britian to incorporate pagan practices, rather than supress them. [the mourning Virgin]

Friday, March 21, 2008

right on time...

it's spring!
snowdrops coming up on the front lawn.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

what reporters do for a livin'

wow i'm glad this didn't happen to me during the Yukon Quest...all my sympathy to bruised reporter Rob Leth, who was reporting for CityTV here in Toronto when this, uh, unfortunate but inevitable accident occurred. Leth is fine, by the way. I got this from the Torontoist (a great blog about this great grey city), who apparently got it from David Newland. - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mackey wins another

i'm pleased...4-time Quest winner Lance Mackey won his second consecutive Iditerod sled dog race this morning at 2:46 am.

the all-Alaska route includes the shore of the Bering Sea and commemorates a trail used by sled dogs that delivered diphtheria serum to Nome in 1925. this year, unusually warm spring conditions have made the trail soggy going for the dog teams. to make matters worse, two of Mackey's lead dogs argued (Hobo, a former Quest winner & lovely dog, had to be dropped from the team.)

fortunately the team was able to persevere! Mackey gets a new truck and $69,000 (i suspect his dogs prefer the Quest prize, where they get fed steak.) but Mackey told the New York Times that winning the cash prize is important because otherwise he'd "have to get a real job."

Monday, March 10, 2008


Toronto is...melting...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Stair of Wonders, shaken or stirred

forget the dinosaurs at the ROM for a current favourite place in the Crystal is the staircase, which even has a name: The Stair of Wonders. sounds like a twenty-first century take on the nineteenth-century Cabinet of Curiosities, and appropriately enough, that's exactly what it is: different landings dedicated to peculiar arrangements of objects neatly lined up in angular vitrines (it's the Crystal after all.) Shells, glass paperweights, & bugs, between the second & third floors. Or, on the landing just up from the ground floor, there's Victorian finger bowls—they look like glass jellyfish—alongside beautifully-plumed stuffed birds, & small pickled vertebrates. intriguing.

i have to go back on the weekend though, because I missed the bottom landing, which apparently has mammoth tusks, and also because I want to try the new martini. the ROM has decided to create a martini to celebrate the Crystal. they haven't arranged any antique martini glasses in the stairwell (and i hope they aren't using any pickled vertebrates instead of olives in the martini) but they've spent a year working on this recipe. i'm not totally convinced by the sound of "The Architecture"; this ROM martini has Grey Goose vodka (i suppose that would be their sponsor), Hypnotique (which is blue), and Scotch. sounds a bit, uh, complicated...the passion fruit, the scotch (which kind? no one seems to know)...but maybe it will be as great a collision as the odd collections in the staircase.