Thursday, 19 June 2008

The hard core Toronto miss on

So as my friend at Bling-Central has pushed me to do, I am going to try posting on this thing a lot more often. Even daily. Yes. Maybe. That might be overly ambitious. Though I actually thought starting a blog at all was probably overly ambitious and it's still happening - so let's not write this "every day" thing off immediately. This also means blog readers will be exposed to my day to day preoccupations - today's entry being about my hard-core-Toronto-Miss-On.

For anyone who knows me and reads this blog, you will also know that I am a Londoner by circumstance, but a Torontonian by birth, and Gawd today the Toronto miss on is so strong. Lately it's been strong en generale. I've just started asking myself what it means to be Canadian - how I think of my cultural identity as an extension of my personality and my insecurities - well, it's easy to be from a rich culturally marginalized country and feel "indie." That's what kind of country Canada is. A forgotten country. If you like indie music and write oddball stuff and generally identify with unmarketable things but feel too bourgeois to openly complain about it then it's just about perfect - because Canada is an unmarketable and unfashionably wealthy country. Any time we kick up a fuss on the international scene about being forgotten, out comes a quintet of the world's tiniest American violins.

Case in point - oh and I hope this is true - Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World starring Michael Cera will be the first mainstream possibly marketable movie ever set in Toronto. (I seem to remember that the beginning of Flirting with Disaster was set in Toronto, but it's very possible that I just made that up out of sheer necessity to remember my city as a place that is occasionally acknowledged on the silver screen.) I'm so excited about this that I've been telling everyone I know who is a) Canadian or b) totally uninterested - and everyone I know fits into one of those two categories - so that basically means everyone. If they reset the story in Detroit I truly will torch a Cineplex. Okay, won't torch a cineplex. But will be really, really mad. And since I'm Canadian that may only come out as an occasional twitch that I'll have to go to therapy over years later. But basically, Scott Pilgrim, I'm asking that you don't let me down.

**** Yes, this is a truly ridiculous thing to be upset about. Not having your city recognized by Hollywood, in fact, the very idea that something like that bothers me opens up a whole can of worms about identity and film and culture that I'd rather not go into. Let's just say, I'll restrict my complaints about being marginalized to the blog. Anyway, I probably like being marginalized. Toronto is like that great band that nobody else has started listening to yet. Perish the thought that my city should become like Juno or Wes Anderson or Arcade Fire - a victim of its own no longer indie success *****

Anyway in honour of my non marginalization as a Torontonian, here are my top ten (In no particular order) of favourite things to do in the T dot. If any of you should be so lucky as to go there, do them for me and send me a postcard.

1. Sitting on the patio at the Press Club on Dundas. Stealing a pear from the pear tree.

2. Vegan almond pudding at this Vego restaurant upstairs in China Town. Eating vegan things in Toronto is so fun and comes sans the British "are you in a cult" judgement.

3. Going to the big Cineplex at Richmond to watch something cheesy and riding the very very tall escalator.

4. Watching "The Log Driver's Waltz" across the street for free at one of the National Film Board portals.

5. Fried Tofu or Crispy Chow Mein at Java House on Queen Street.

6. Brunch/Breakfast at Saving Grace on Dundas. Packed French Toast is everywhere in that city! In London if you talk about Packing French Toast people look at you like you're having an aneurism.

7. Getting a three course Sushi meal at lunch time at Sushi Time on Bloor Street for 5.50. Followed by dairy free ice cream at that awesome ice cream stand next door.

8. The food court at Yorkdale. Why should I like this? PUre nostalgia. It's actually only fun if you're under 17 and spend most of your time in North York. Ditto for Belly Buster's Bacon Combo on Yonge Street. And the Bistro on Avenue Road.

9. The photo booth at the Drake Hotel. Come up with a concept. The wankier the better.

10. Beers with a friend on a front stoop at any time of day. This is best if you or they drop by unexpected. And truly wonderful if it's summer and there's a barbecue nearby.

I could go on. Portuguese Custard Tarts, Susur Lee, Rodney's Oyster Bar, 401 Richmond, the music, oh man, the music, Soundscapes, Kensington Market, all the video stores, I really could go on. Toronto I Miss you. Don't change.

*Hey Toronto Comment Posters - Post some of your own favourites. Let's compile a list before it's uncool to do so*


a/k said...

i prefer generation suchi on bloor, also bloor cinema, also honest eds, also carlton and that other cinema in yorkmills, also "fresh" on queen west and their burrito and shakes, and squrlies butternut squash soup! CENTRAL ISLAND, debbie!!! c'mon central island, hanland point.. is the best thing ever, run around bare feet with your friends, make a bonfire, drink beer...howl!

let's just go back and be the fabulousest people with "world experience"

Baudrillard the Bird (Dove) said...

walnut cakes & bi bim bap & korean bbq & ice watermelon soup from little korea
the boat
courage my love
tofu block & ear candles from essence of life (ok. kensington full stop.)
chinese traditional buns at dundus & spadina (the tofu soup! the soup filled dumplings)
trinity bellwoods park
harbourfront free music festival
she said boom
slices of pizza (papa ceo's, amato's, cora's)
kickball in alexandria park
sneaky dee's on sunday nights
pitchers of sangria at the red room
seeker's books
bulldog coffee
japanese tea room
the done right inn

i concur with most everything already said. i have a hard core miss-on too.

BexScott said...

I'm not quite sure how I stumbled upon your blog....a lot of bored surfing through blogs....linked to other blogs....and here I am....

Anyway, I'm an English gal living in Toronto...and I work at Java, so thought it apt that I give a hello.

As for the Scott Pilgrim movie...did you know it's being directed by Edgar Wright? (Spaced, shaun of the dead, hot fuzz) this is exciting for me. They are apparently using all the real locations (lees, sneakys etc). This however is just a rumour I heard from various people working in comic and books stores (the beguiling/labyrinth) because casting agents and location scouters have been out and about. Here's hoping it's as awesome as the books.

That fulfills your random hello from a stranger on the internet. Creepy? I certainly hope so. ;)