Tuesday, February 28, 2006


While Montreal & Quebec were all snow covered, the very same day Kingston was completey snow-free, sunny and beautiful. The sunny bit can very deceptive. Temperature would still be in the negative range.

Kingston was erstwhile capital of Canada. In 1844, only after 3 years, capital was moved to Ottawa. Reason being Kingston's proximity to another country.

This is the Kingston Townhall, which was Parliament House in those prime years.

What I liked best were these pretty and cute houses !

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Montreal & Quebec


Tour guide told us an exotic story of how after this place was found, the discoverer wanted to name it "Mont-Royal" after a French prince. He shipped a letter saying so. But by the time ship reached France, that letter was subjected to generous dose of sea-water, thanks to storms. And Mont-Royal was mis-read as Montreal.

Pronunciation of both is very pleasent actually. The Royal goes a grandoise Royaaale..., while Montreal has the bicycle bell sound - tri i.e. Montreeyaale. Sounds great.

Saint Joseph Church, Mont-Royal. Highest point in Montreal.

Now that we are nearing end of Feb, am not sure how cold it is now, in Montreal and Quebec. But this is how they were, a month ago.

Frozen St Lawrence River in Quebec

Nearly 2 feet snow on rooftops

In Quebec, the bus stopped for dinner. I browsed the closed shops.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Art Gallery of Ontario

Visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was umm ok-ish, at first. But it ended well.

First, I spent considerable time to hunt it's location. Based on their postal address, I got off at Dundas Street West subway station and caught a street car to somewhere. It took me on a complete city tour (my mistake, not their's). Next time I tried the smarter approach - of calling first for landmarks. Turns out it is on Dundas Street West, but a block away from McCaul Street ! (This is like half-way across the city from where I got off the first time). I forgot that the streets here run across the city and beyond.

AGO location is great. Neighborhood is cluttered with Art supply stores. Crowd is also artsy looking type. And that is because Ontario College of Art & Design is AGO's immediate neighbor. Now, this college building is worth a watch.

At AGO, they had a Favorites exhibition on - set of diverse paintings, favorites chosen by eminent personalities of Toronto. Was good. So was the "Entire City" collection by Michael Awad. He clicked similar places across the city and stuck them together seamlessly. It looks like an entire city captured on one frame. So we have all super-markets in one frame. Likewise escalators, Toronto airport, all stores of Queen Street. Good project. I hope they soon come out in print poster form. Apart from these, nothing of interest. No offence, but sculptures and installations bore me. Give me a painting anyday.

The exhibit that I loved most, was a Wallwork*. It so happened, after getting lost in most of the gallery, I finally reached their store. I hoped it would pep me up. But no. They didn't have any of my favorite painting prints ! So I crawled away to the next room, which seemed completely empty, but for sofa. I sat on one of them, and turned around to the door, and boing ! What do I see ? I see this.

Ontario Art Gallery

I said, now you are talking !

Didn't note the artist name. He had used all modern day common objects, to create pillar and sculpture, for an adorned doorway. All in twos , in symmetry on either side of the door. Stuff like bed breakfast table with used plates having bread crumbs. A coffee table with coffee mugs, mobile phone, cutlery, even used tissue. Then, a slept floor bed, jeans spilling out of a closet, Redbull cans, sandals, doormat, underwear, marker pens, post-its, file folders.

I was amazed at the strength of glue to fight gravity ! It's like an entire section of floor was transported to the wall.

I have to say, this wallwork is the best part of this gallery ! Wonder how the artist will dismantle it ? Maybe it is a permanent exhibit after all.

* Wallworks are artworks produced directly on the surface of walls. The artists who adhere to this method of working dispense with the tradition of the canvas, preferring the hard vertical surface of walls, often incorporating texture and existing architecture into their work.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Montreal Olympic Stadium & Biodome

Olympic Tower at 1976 Montreal Olympic Stadium.

Montreal BioDome is located next to the stadium. From the snow covered city, suddenly we were transported to Tropical forest. And then again to Antartic !

Zoos don't lose their appeal, do they ?
We were just as excited as kids in the group
to spot hidding tiny blue Frog and another orange one, identify the Anaconda among deadwood, discover that the source of loud cracking background noise is a large blue Parrot and sit quietly for a show of Penguins being force-fed !

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Bata Shoe Museum

Bata Shoe Museum at 327, Bloor Street West, Toronto.

With Bata being such a part of growing up in India, I just had to visit this museum. Also to check out how different it would be from any of the Bata shops around here. Yes, it was different. The obvious one being, not more than one piece of a model. (Ok, bad joke).

It was amusing to browse thru such a variety of Shoes. There were silk, wood, leather and even ceramic shoes. It can be really amazing to see the evolution of something we take for granted. And funny too - to see various shape used by our ancestors. I mean, there were some from French court, which were platform with no heels at all. How torturous !

Then there were from different ages and cultures. And another section for celebrity shoes - Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Churchill, Tiger Woods and more. And an entire section for the European ones with bows !

My favorite section has to be the one by influential designers of 20th century. All the high-heeled ones with beads, sequins & flowers. Piece of art actually. Some of them modern art.

Quick tour of their collection here. Some of them captured for you, here ...

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Back in Bangalore

I had my usual rava idli vada breakfast and now it hits me. I am back home !

This trip has been great. Thoroughly refreshing. I got myself a fancy haircut, met newborn baby of an old friend (she is cute & spunky :), saw snow for the first time in my life. Mostly I walked around the city, rode the subway, watched people, window shopped, bought books on sale & gifts. I have not walked this much in years. This trip has given me something to talk about. Hope to post them all soon.

Not much has changed here. No, actually we have a new chief minister now. The coup had only happened when I left. After that I lost touch. Now I learn there is a new government and new CM. Interesting.

Now it's time to catch up on backlog mails.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Addition to library

Bought 5 books today. 2 shops, bargain prices. Could not resist.

That's a record one-day addition to my library. But I only hope they don't remain in my bought-long-back-but-not-read section for long !

5 Books