For the past few days Scandinavian R has been exploring the must-see locations of Greater Toronto Area. The heavy concentration of world-class sights and smaller wonders include the Toronto Island Park, the observation dome and restaurant of the CN Tower and the fantastic Niagara Falls.

During this time period the city of Toronto has been under the combination of heavy humidity, Smog alerts and a temperature high enough for Environment Canada to issue extreme heat warnings. In addition, there currently exists a severe risk of thunderstorms and the UV ratings have been on high levels for days.

While Scandianvian R enjoys the benefits of air conditioned hotels and vehicles the normal people have been hit hard. To counter the environmental impact on ordinary citizens the government has opened cooling centres throughout the city and the public swimming pools are open until late night for cool dips.

Judging from the speed and depth of response to counter the on-going crisis Canada has given an image of itself as a country which cares of it’s inhabitants and one which is ready, willing and able to use its resources for the benefit of the everyday person. This has to be given more than a little respect.

Je Me Souviens

July 6th, 2008

On Saturday evening after an especially good three-course dinner Scandinavian R stopped at the Nathan Phillips Square where hauntingly beautiful voices and melodies - of which some could go back centuries - took a good hold of him.

Francoforce is a collection of musical groups touring in a city after another and displaying some of the facets which form the cultural identity of French-speaking Canadians.

The musical performances allowed the listener to understand that despite some setbacks the so-called linguistic minority has both the opportunity and the will to express that they remember.

What About The Musical?

July 6th, 2008

What about it?
The campy-splatter-horror-movie-trilogy-turned-into-a-musical is pretty hard to describe in words, so I allow
Bruce Campbell to do the summarization:

Evil Dead: The Musical was everything I hoped it would be: outrageous, high-energy, and really f***in’ funny.”

After the show held on Thursday in Diesel Playhouse I was told by the cast that YouTube contains clips of the theatric phenomenon of our time.

In other news, No Matter Where… is now adjusted into proper time, GMT -5.

Tronto

July 6th, 2008

Friday was one of the most anticipated days since it would combine the ongoing holiday in Toronto with a happy coincidence, the performance of a Liverpoolean electroclash quartet.

The background for the event - Harbourfront Centre - is a seaside performance area next to docks for small boats and to the imperious CN Tower, this time alight in its evening lights.

The evening’s first performer, Poni Hoax represented the electronic rock genre and had its moments. Even though the band was a little uncut at times, a definite bonus goes to the drummer Vincent Taeger, who got into the whole deal so full-heartedly that the first drum pieces were broken before the end of the premier song.

During the show the crowd remained seated and if not for the few rythmical nods and appaluds between songs could have been mistaken for a bunch of moviegoers. It took a long time for the masses to warm up but eventually they showed more signs of enjoyment. At the darkest hour Scandinavian R hoped that the main performer would garner more enthusiasm from the Torontonians.

And it sure did.

As soon as the first notes were released in the warm summer night the now full crowd suddenly and unexpectedly stood up and were righteously taken over by Ladytron. The band was better than ever before and performed a simply marvelous collection of songs from every stage of their musical career - everything from Seventeen, through High Rise and all the way up to Ghosts from their latest album.

Upon witnessing the behaviour of the excited crowd Scandinavian R made a few observations. Firstly, the expressions of the listeners were wery a little modest, some would say apathetic. Aside from the continuous nodding there were only a few raised hands and even then there were no fully closed fists, rather the index finger was pointed out. This handrelated behaviour seemed both bizarre and unintentionally very amusing.

Secondly, there were no supportive shouts, like the ones Scandinavian R is used to hearing in his North European country of origin. Therefore, proud of his heritage Scandinavian R showed the proper respect and launched both fully closed fists and several supporting comments towards the band, naturally in his own language.

Soon after the main show the Ladytron After Party began with DJ Nasty Nav who at midnight was joined by DJ Mira and DJ Reuben, both of the Ladytron.

In suffices to say that the hour-long main event and the hour-and-a-half afterparty gave Scandinavian R a high rise without any additional chemical stimulants.

And for some truly unknown reason the whole evening at the Harbourfornt Centre was of free of charge.

Wayne’s World

July 4th, 2008

Thursday’s program begins by a pilgrimage to the BCE Place, a passageway designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The utterly stunning arches crowning the passageway connecting two office towers nearly brings a tear in the eye of the real estate -orientated viewer. But the architectural wonder is not the only reason for visiting these surroundings since the national sport of Canada has it’s shrine one level below the ground.

Temple de la Renommée du Hockey (or the Hockey Hall of Fame for the English speaking crowd) houses much of that which forms the national spirit of the country. Inside the temple the sport in question is examined on every level from its beginnings, through its greatest - usually Canadian - heroes and all the way to the most memorable moments in its history.

In the eyes of a foreigner it is possible to see that while the museum resides on Canadian soil much of the attention is given to other leading countries which participate in this highly competitive sports. Even some relatively small Nordic countries get their moments in the highlights.

After several hours spent studying facts and figureheads in the temple of hockey Scandinavian R takes the next step and sets forward to continue the exposure by having a dinner in the only possible restaurant, Wayne Gretzky’s.

Judging from the hockey related gear and material Wayne has probably had his say regarding the athmosphere and decor of this combination of a bar and a restaurant. Once inside Scandinavian R let’s loose and maximises the hockey experience by placing an order for some Gretzky’s Famous Meatloaf (a family recipe) complemented with a bottle of Wayne’s Spring Water and some Canadian lager. Unfortunately Scandinavian R discarded his playoff beard in the bathroom sink before departing for Canada but that aside he is now figuratively and literally full of hockey.

After stepping out to the warm summer evening Scandinavian R spots a sign in the theatre just opposite the restaurant, which depicts a grinning man with a chainsaw in the place of his right hand and a shotgun in the other held by a scantily clad blonde being harassed by a detached palm.

Holding his breath and recalling the patterns of elder signs Scandinavian R sets forth to investigate.

Square One

July 2nd, 2008

Wednesday morning begins with a breakfast at a local cafeteria but the sheer size of the dish makes it seem more like a brunch.

With a large amount of coffee Scandinavian R is saturated with both caffeine and energy making it possible to enter the depths of the Toronto City Hall.

The Toronto City Hall was designed by a Finnish architect Viljo Revell back in the 1960’s and has become a landmark in the city. This outstanding architectural creation might have been inspired by visions of all our yesterdays. Inside the municipal umbrella residents of the city can cure all their bureaucratic evils and burdens through the help of the sentinels of civil authority.

After a self-guided tour inside and around the facility it is already noon. The next hours will be spent by mapping the attractions and must-see locations of the the largest city in Canada.

Bridgemaker

July 2nd, 2008

Last year the journey to Vancouver came to its end with a national holiday. This year Canada Day acts as the opening celebration for the vacation.

After an eight-and-a-half hour flight Scandinavian R checks in the hotel and ends the evening with a flame-grilled 8 oz. Angus steak and a dark Canadian beer. However, there’s still time to witness the fireworks held in the honor of the federal statutory holiday.

The next morning R rises after ten hours of sleep with no signs of jetlag, thanks to the westward orientation of the fligt.

Crowns of the Holiday

June 30th, 2007

Friday, with its cloudy and rainy weather set the initial mood for Scandinavian R. Soon the skies cleared, if not physically then at least metaphorically. Evolving from its humble beginnings Friday rises to share the place as the best day in town with Sunday.

After a walk on the 4th West Avenue, my path took me to Kitsilano once again. There, amid the culturally colorful surroundings a pre-determined jewel-of-a-restaurant was found: The Naam.

The all-vegetarian restaurant has been available for three decades and is open 24/7 closing only on Christmas day. Naam has outright great down-to-earth service and the vegetable-only food is plentiful and tasty. In addition, Naam serves the best pie of the blueberry-apple calibre. To preserve some sense of reality Scandinavian R declines to test the apple-only version.

Naam manages to leave a good feeling and receives 5/5 for the combination of athmoshere, people (staff and customers alike), and general easy going mood.

The rest of the evening is spent in a nearby record store browsing and purchasing some missing gemstones of several genres, from industrial through electroclash and all the way up to mainstream artists.

Five days into the journey the primary objective of the whole vacation - full relaxation - is completely achieved.

Due to the approaching Canada Day the local internet cafe is closed and Scandinavian R resorts to backup locations and input equipment.

Delays in blogging are not only probable but also expected.

Guns of Vancouver

June 29th, 2007

Having lost a lengthy post due to the obscurities of the digital world, Scandinavian R isn’t too pleased.

Thursday was spent in the Vancouver Museum studying local history. The museum experience is further enriched by additional exhibits, such as one telling the story of a Vancouver-based all-Asian baseball team and another which gives insight to the daily life of the Cree of west central Saskatchewan through the art of one of their own, Allen Sapp.

The original plan was that after lessons in local history it would be the ideal time to re-visit Bessborough Armory for a tour in the 15th Field Artillery Regiment’s museum. Before that there was the issue of dinner, however.

The restaurant, Moxie’s, was chosen mostly for its trendy outlook and led Scandinavian R right on time for the restaurant’s Customer Appreciation Day. This event, complete with a live band and drinks on discount, was celebrated ”because its fun”, as a young servantess explained.

The rest of the night was spent first with some ale exclusive to Moxie’s, then with a New York -style beef accompanied by glass or two of Pinot Noir and ended with surprisingly cost-efficient 10 year-old Glenmorangie.

So much for the artillery museum.