Monday, August 25, 2014

Jump, Jump...


Perchance to Dream...

Over at ActiveHistory is an article discussing yet again the need for a Museum for the City of Toronto. Written by Daniel Ross, PhD candidate in the Department of History at York University (my alma mater) and Jay Young, a postdoc at McGill, the article traces the history of the idea and a recent meeting of the Museum of Toronto project at St.Lawrence Market. Sadly, like a lot of great ideas in Toronto a City of Toronto Museum has never garnished any real political will or capital. Wouldn't it be nice to see a Museum somewhere in the city. As Ross and Young discuss the Canada Malting Towers at the foot of Bathurst Street was one option and it is an impressive site. All anyone has to do is to think of the grain towers in St.Jacobs and how they were turned into a shopping destination, for an example on how this site could be used. Sitting at the foot of Bathurst Street, the site is impressive in size and scale allowing not only for a museum but also shopping, artifact storage and a restaurant overlooking the city's waterfront. If only to dream. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The New Imperialism

With the execution of James Foley the media has been falling all over themselves to cover the story of ISIS, the Islamist group in Syria and Iraq. Reporting which emphasizes the violence of the group with florid language ignores the role of Western intervention as a force in the groups appeal. Groups like this do not arise out of a political vacuum. Like al-Qaeda before, the ideologies of such groups, including their violence are products of Western intervention and involvement. Although we may not like their message they seek their own vision of government. And we know that the difficulty of governing always occupies any power blunting their edge. It is time to leave cultures not our own and allow them to find their own way. 

Every time a Western power walks into a culture and a state that has a different tradition or political system, groups like ISIS will arise. They know that foreign powers will not stay and that battles only need to be fought to make Western powers leave. Calling them guerrillas or insurgents is not enough. We need to recognize our own role in fostering the growth of such organizations. Western involvement becomes the lightning rod for hatred and fear and allows such organizations to gain support from locals. Instead of responding because of fears of possible ideological contagion, it is time for Western powers to leave and allow local cultures to deal with these organizations, themselves. It is too easy to become involved in battles that are imperial in nature while cloaking ourselves in the ideology of paternalism and democracy. Instead we need to allow withdraw and allow cultures not our own to find their own path, no matter what that is. 

Had One!

Walks & Fairs

Yesterday after our morning trip to Kensington Mr.T and I made our way over to Yonge Street to check out the Buskerfest. This year it was held on Yonge Street with the festival closing down the street to traffic from College to Queen. This meant a nice long stretch of street with a few points of access for cars at major intersections. Sadly, there really wasn't that much buskering going on, with the street devoted more to food trucks and stalls selling assorted unrelated goods. It was nice to see the street closed and a fair like atmosphere. 

After we walked along Queen Street to Parliament where we caught the Carlton streetcar to head over to Little India for the Festival of South Asia. Because of the fair the streetcars were being diverted and at Broadview we had to transfer to a bus, and as usual everything was in disarray with lots of disgruntled TTC passengers. After much waiting we finally boarded a bus and made our way to the edge of another street festival where we had a really yummy lunch at MotiMahal an Indian fast food place with really delicious dhosas. We then explored the rest of the fair walking east on Gerard then north on Coxwell to Danforth. We the walked west on Danforth finally catching the subway at Broadview making our way home. Although it was a grey day it never rained making it a nice day for a long walk. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer in the City

Funny enough a couple of weeks ago when Mr.T and I were out for a walk we spotted someone similar. An older woman in a Wonder Woman bikini heading through the streets down to the harbour to have some fun on the beach. She looked just as incongruous. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Beautiful Weekend

On Saturday night Mr.T and I celebrated Ms.E's birthday with her and her extended family at Mr.D and Mr.Z's. It was a simple celebration of all of Ms.E's favourite Canadian foods, including hot dogs, hamburgers, salmon burgers (for those who didn't eat meat) and lots of picnicky type salads. While we were forced indoors because of the rain it was a great celebration for her birthday. 

On Sunday Mr.D, Mr.Z and Ms.E came over and then we all made our way down to the Ex. After arriving we hit the food building, then wandered the grounds enjoying the fair like atmosphere of the C.N.E. Heading home Ms.E left us to enjoy more birthday celebrations with her peeps, and Mr.D, Mr.Z, Mr.T and I made our way to Harvest Kitchen for a quiet dinner on their treehouse like balcony. The place was really busy and although the service a little slow, the food as always was delicious, including a really good vegan cheesecake. It was the perfect way to end a really nice weekend with friends.