Category Archives: Observation

Observations of Toronto by Rob Elliott.

Long weekend planning

Camping, Caribana, Concert? Whatever you’re doing this long weekend, plan your route and pack sensibly. When I’m deciding what to bring, I always try to picture that bourgeois family in every World War 2 movie .

bourgeois family fleeing-s

Garden tip

If you see weird black and orange bugs on your plants, leave them. They’re ladybug larva, and they are feasting on any aphids you would otherwise be spraying for.

ladybug-larva

Humber rooster

Humber Arboretum is a surprise. Nestled along the Humber River near Finch Avenue and Highway 427, the park features ornamental gardens, walking trails and a bird-watching meadow. Among the birds you may see is a handsome rooster, wandering through the underbrush. According to a bird-feeding man we talked to, the rooster has been living in the wild for four years.

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When the rooster emerged to take his share of some bread crumbs, he was protective of the food. Each time a small hedgehog tried to get near the bread crumbs, it was chased back into the thicket by the rooster. The starlings and sparrows, being the perfect city birds they are, did not get involved.

New Christie mascot

Mr. Christie’s Bakery doesn’t close until next year, but the wildlife is already moving in. I spotted a large coyote exploring the factory’s ornamental boulevard last Sunday. (view large)

Christie-coyote

Winter in Humber Bay Park

I didn’t know Humber Bay Park existed until last Sunday, when my wife turned right off of Lakeshore Boulevard in a desperate attempt to double down on snow and sun before a forecasted warm front arrived. We weren’t alone in our desire to enjoy the blue sky and crisp air. (view large)

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Hammer time with the TSO

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed Mahler’s frankly-overstuffed Symphony No. 6 this week. Conducted with elan by Thomas Dausgaard,  the orchestra seemed to include every string, drum and horn player in the TSO directory.
Mahler 6 TSO hammer
Mahler’s own direction calls for three hammer blows, and is specific that they be “brief and mighty, but dull in resonance and with a non-metallic character (like the fall of an axe).” The TSO’s solution to this oft-debated problem was a hammer right out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. While wielding the ungainly mallet, the percussionist barely cleared the concrete balcony. My friend John Terauds over at Musical Toronto confirmed my suspicion that the hammer was custom made just for these performances.

Larcenous Thoughts at the AGO

On a recent visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario with my friend Trish, our conversation repeatedly landed on the subject of art heists. We’re not actually going to abscond with our favourite pieces, but the AGO’s coat check policy exists for a reason.

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