A Super Canadian Weekend

by PenRei

Warning: It’s about to get super Canadian in this post, because this is all about the Canadian weekend I had with good company, good food, good music, and nature (which is good in every aspect).

It started off Saturday morning with Nomes, Douggy Fresh and I heading over to the Evergreen Brickworks, as mentioned in Nomes’ previous post. It is such an eco-friendly park that there is not only a garbage and recycling bin, but also a compost bin. What a brilliant idea! I believe that the option of all three separate bins should be everywhere (and I mean across the world). I’ll admit that we Canadians can seem a little self-righteous when it comes to protecting the environment, but I am partly proud of it because our environment is an incredibly important part of everyone’s lives (despite how some may disagree).

We got there a little late to take in all of the festivities, but we were able to partake in a quick look at the various Farmer’s Market stalls (to be repeated in the near future). One stall that especially interested us was a honey stand. A very nice and cheerful young woman ran it. She sold organic honey, which is FAR superior to regular store-bought honey. I can’t remember when it happened, but one day I tried organic honey and I couldn’t go back. To be clear,  I’m not a hardcore organic grocer, but when you can taste the difference, you get my vote. She had wildflower, lavender, cranberry, and cinnamon honey. Of course, I wanted to buy ALL OF THEM, but my wallet wasn’t burning a hole through my bag, so I opted for just one wildflower honey jar. The winning side, IT CAME IN A HONEY BEAR JAR!!! Douggy Fresh pointed out that if you bought various types of honey in honey bear jars, you could make yourself a drinking glass set. She often comes up with brilliant ideas like this out of nowhere. Here is a shot of Nomes and Douggy Fresh with our purchased honey (Nomes got the cinnamon one).

Afterwards, we heard the sweet call of music from The Honeyrunners. As you may know from my previous post, I’m a fan; a fan who is impatiently waiting for them to release their EP (dated to come out in October, in case you’re wondering). We were hoping to hear their original music, but they played a cover set that was still impressive. We also discovered that they have a new drummer with beats as killer as his awesome afro. Since I’ve already gone on and on about them before, I will simply leave you with a few photos I took of their gig and you can imagine the fun time we had.

Starving Artist Jar

Also, here is a photo of them with my jar of honey. After all, I bought a jar of honey than saw The Honeyrunners. How could I not?

The Honeyrunners with my jar of honey

Since it was Douggy Fresh’s first time at the Evergreen Brickworks (and Nomes and I are nature junkies) we had to take a walk around the nature park behind the buildings. It was such a beautiful day. Words can not describe the amazing weather we had, so instead I will leave you with this picture.

On Sunday, it was Canada Day… which to anyone from Ottawa, is a BIG DEAL!!! Even when other people in your city aren’t huge into partying it up, Ottawa people will make their own party.

The three of us started off with a Pride brunch at Johnny Be Good’s apartment. He has a balcony that overlooks Yonge street, hence, the perfect place to both watch the parade and have access to running water, thus keeping at bay dehydration from heat.

Pride Flowers

I’ll start off by saying there was A LOT of bacon. There was so much bacon, that I should show you this photo I took, because you wouldn’t believe me otherwise. There are some sausages in there, but it was about 83% bacon.

Bacon Mountain

Mountain of bacon

It seemed perfect to start Canada Day with a Pride brunch. After all, Canada is awesome with its legal rights, gay marriage and openness to allow same sex couples live full and happy lives out in the open, without shame. I wish I could say that this was everywhere in Canada, but sadly, there are still some small pockets that are evolving in their mentalities. We had an awesome time, eating brunch, meeting new people while catching up with good friends, and dancing to music for 3 hours.

Afterwards, we had to leave the party to continue our Canada Day festivities. Nomes went off to celebrate a friend’s birthday party, so we said our temporary goodbyes.

In the evening, Douggy Fresh and I headed down to the Harbourfront centre. The sunset was GORGEOUS. We had to take a moment to just absorb the pinks, blues, and purples in the sky, the gentle cooling breeze, and the sound of moving water. If you live in Toronto and haven’t experienced the sunset at Harbourfront, I suggest you put it on your list of things to do during your next weekend.

We were primarily there for a free live concert of The Hidden Cameras. They are a 9 piece independent Canadian band that plays an interesting and playful mix of folk, pop, progressive, and rock. I didn’t take pictures of this event since the lighting wasn’t ideal for the type of lens I have on my camera, but I believe that this music video will give you a sufficient idea of how good they are. If you are a fan of Broken Social Scene and other Arts & Crafts bands, I know that you will love The Hidden Cameras. For those of you who are impatient. The song starts around 1:30.

I guess that’s it. HAPPY BELATED CANADA DAY!!!!

Up next, the 4th of July in Washington DC. It’s gonna be CRAZY!

“Car Blank”, Smuggler, and Brunch

PenRei here, sharing a few experiences during the TIFF season here in Toronto. I won’t go too far in depth as I do not yet feel comfortable using this blog as a personal movie review site.

Every year during TIFF, I make a solid effort to see a minimum of 4 movies: 1 kids’ film (always seen with bestie Douggy Fresh), 1 Midnight Madness, 1 Vanguard, and 1 French language. The list of films this year was a slightly different mix, but just as satisfying:
Carré blanc, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti (Vanguard and French)
Smuggler, Katsuhito Ishii (Midnight Madness, Japanese)
A Monster In Paris, Bibo Bergeron (TIFF Kids)
A Letter To Momo, Hiroyuko Okiura (TIFF Kids, Japanese)

This year, Nomes joined me for the deep, freaky and horrifying futuristic French film Carré Blanc, direct translation “White Square”. Unfortunately, nobody who actually worked at TIFF in the theatre even knew how to say the title. As a Frenchie, I found this to be deeply troubling. Sure, I understand that not everyone can say the title properly, but none of the volunteers or employees even made an effort to say the title correctly. They simply said “Car Blank”, which drove me crazy because anyone who knows anything about French knows that that isn’t even close. Nomes came a little late and was asking some people where the lineup was for the film Carré blanc, only to have the volunteers say that they weren’t screening that film. So not only can they not say the title of the film, they are also turning away viewers who can correctly say the title. I couldn’t help but wonder if some people missed out on the beginning of the film because of the ignorance of these workers and volunteers. (Please note that I appreciate the volunteers of TIFF, I just don’t appreciate awful customer service anywhere, and that clearly was).

After Carré blanc, Nomes and I had tickets for the Midnight Madness screening Smuggler. Since there was less than 45 minutes between the end of film 1 and the beginning of film 2, the lineup was absolutely ridiculous. We were also both exhausted from waking up at 6am to buy tickets for the day, and I couldn’t handle the thought of going to bed at 2am, simply to wake up at 6am, again, 4 hours later to get more TIFF tickets. We both decided that maybe the Midnight Madness wasn’t the best idea for us. After parting ways, it made me sad to know that the tickets would go to waste if I hung on to them, so I decided to pass by the Ryerson Theatre and give the 2 tickets to the first people in the rush line. Ironically, those 2 people happened to be 2 Japanese female tourists who had most likely been waiting in line for 2 hours with the hope of maybe getting in. There was a bit of a language barrier since they couldn’t entirely understand me, but once it was clear that I was giving them the two tickets for free, no strings attached, they got so excited. They did that adorable Japanese giggle and bounce as soon as I handed them the tickets. The volunteer at the front of the rush line then told them that they could now line up with the tickets holders, smiling at their luck. I don’t know if I would have fully enjoyed the dark comedy of Smuggler, but knowing that I just made 2 girls who were clearly dying to see the film incredibly happy made my night. I was happy to know that the tickets went to people who would enjoy the film more than me. That’s what TIFF is about: enjoying films!

Well, laundry calls, and later on, BRUNCH! Clearly the BEST MEAL EVER! Upon visiting some employees at my old job yesterday, there was a very clear discussion on how brunch works as the perfect excuse to get out of so many things.

Supervisor: So-and-so called and said he/she is sick and won’t be coming in tomorrow. Can you cover their shift?
You: Nope, I have brunch.

Parent: Can you drive your little sister to daycare? I have to pick up the cake for tonight’s party.
You: Sorry, I have brunch.

Friend: We should totally go out tonight, get wasted, and pick up some really hot guys. I could go for some meaningless boytoy time tonight.
You: You go ahead without me, I have brunch in the morning.

It just works every time!

Peace out!