A late report of our July visit to Toronto. It's been a while, so nothing will be in order and I'll probably only remember the highlights but...
First highlight! My parents took the kids to African Lion Safari. Apparently, it's much nicer than it was three decades ago when my parents were last there, and the kids had a great time, not only riding around the park in a car, but also getting to touch and ride on animals in a zoo area.
And the reason that was a highlight: Julie and I got to spend the day downtown. We had fun shopping in the Umbra store, a Canadian company that designs housewares, and then we visited the Art Gallery of Ontario. The main reason to visit the AGO was to see Abstract Expressionism at MOMA, which was a nice show -- I especially liked the short videos that showed conservators re-enacting technique, like Rothkos very thinned out washes -- but we were most impressed with Giuseppe Penone's tree sculptures. Displayed in the gallery at the front, north end of the building under the new facade designed by Frank Gehry, the gallery was wonderfully lit with lots of natural light. Penone took trees and carved chunks of outer rings from them until he exposed an earlier, younger version of the tree. Really striking.
The rest of our day was spent around Queen Street West, including shopping at Outer Layer which was chock full of fun stuff and nice people. That's where I spotted a purse hanger; Julie thought it was sort of ridiculous. A visit to Kensington Market was fun, with all the import shops and some neat artist's shops (a great print-making shop whose name I've forgotten).
In the evening, we picked up Pauline from the airport! We got to spend the rest of the week with her.
On Canada Day, we went down to Harbourfront. It was pretty crowded but it was fun to see a crack jump-rope team in action and we saw a nice documentary called "Finding Farley" about a young family (the son was about 2 or 3, and they had a dog) tracing Farley Mowat's journeys around the country. Some beautiful photography and scary amounts of black flies.
During the week we visited the ROM, and saw a cool exhibit on water (I was amazed at the early use of dams and the latest water devices: playground equipment that pumped water into tanks in Africa -- kids play and they provide water to their community!).
We saw The Glass Menagerie at Soulpepper; we'd previously only seen comedies at this repertory theater. The show was good and I was particularly impressed with Jeff Lillico, the actor who portrayed the Gentleman Caller.
Soulpepper is in the Distillery District and because it was Jazz Fest in Toronto (as well as Pride Week), there were a number of combos set up around the plazas. We also found a store that sold purse hangers and with the encouragement of Pauline, Julie found them delightful. We later had a search for them in the Pacific Mall.
Once again, we made it to Ontario Place and with the kids being much better swimmers, they had a lot of fun in the water park. We also saw some circus acts around the park and Austin and Julie saw a "4-D" movie about dinosaurs.
One new place we went this time was Scarborough Bluffs. It's changed since I was a boy, from erosion and also with what I think is a new system of water filtration. The trails were not particularly long, but it was a pretty walk.