Highlights (week beginning 9 November 2009)

Although we still have the most glorious mild, sunny days, the winter festivals have begun! Our highlights this week have included:

  • A highly intellectual Meetup for Paul at Ryerson University about the Semantic Web (no, I’m not entirely sure I understand what this means!) [Tuesday]
  • For me, a free concert by the Canadian Children’s Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre, home of the Canadian Opera Company. This encompassed winter and Christmas music in at least half a dozen languages across a wide spectrum of styles sung by children of all races. The auditorium used for the free concert series has a wall of glass, with views out across the city. I particularly loved a Huron Carol, sung in English, French and Huron, as well as a poem written by a member of the company and read by a professional actor. This was entitled Celebration and reflected a celebration of Christmas that crosses cultural and religious boundaries – the writer was Jewish. A lovely start to the season, and very moving. [Wednesday]
  • The free public opening (with nibbles & atmosphere!) of the latest exhibition at the Harbourfront Centre. The two exhibitions I have now seen here have both expanded my sense of what it is to be Canadian and challenged my perceptions in so many stimulating ways! This exhibition was playful at the same time as psychologically and intellectually challenging, particularly Hinterlands, which resonated very personally with an acknowledgement over the last week of a disorientating lack of grounding or clear boundaries inevitable in the hinterland that follows immigration. [Friday]

“If I am on the periphery, then where is the centre? . . .Otherness becomes a kind of wilderness that can’t be entirely mapped or understood. So the question becomes one of negotiating this distance, acknowledging separateness regardless of location. The idea of a center or margin is one of belonging, rooted in a notion of place.” (Sky Glabush)

  • Illuminite, part of the City of Toronto’s Winter Magic festival, held in neon-bright Dundas Square – I couldn’t help feeling that this was a very pagan winter fire ritual! (The video-clip below very roughly crashes together a few of the highlights) [Saturday]

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  • The 105th Annual Santa Claus Parade – Since 1905, the Toronto Santa Claus parade has made its way through the streets of downtown Toronto. Today, The Santa Claus Parade is the longest running children’s parade in the world and one of the largest. After a free breakfast in Dundas square, we took up position on the parade route just opposite the Royal Ontario Museum, where the parade turns south from Bloor – an excellent vantage point. A tartan clad pipe band makes a sudden switch from a traditional Scottish air to a manic Mexican free for all and back to a highland fling; a shower of candy canes; children with saucer eyes; cheerleaders and clowns; fantasy floats; and finally, the big man himself, flanked by the first Mounties we have seen! [Sunday] as well as the small selection below, there are more photos in the Events gallery!

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All this alongside measuring up and planning for our new home, researching our furnishing needs and buying a bed and bedside tables, a sofa, the smaller kitchen appliances, and the seemingly endless tail of settling our UK affairs!

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