Skip to main content

Letter from Toronto # 4

Day two in Toronto and a few observations from the area were in, they like their tattoos and they like their booze! There also seems to be a real World Cup mania here at the moment, very different from the States where no one seemed to care.


After a wee sleep in we all headed up town to get some breakfast, found a nice wee cafe and had one of the best sandwiches I've ever tasted, bacon, egg, tomatos, some sauce along with saute potatoes & a can of coke! My diet is apparently reduced to eggs & coke, I'm doing well not to break it! We had a quick wander to find a bar showing the world cup matches and then headed back to the house to chill. Were staying with some friends of a friend who lives and studies here in Toronto and they have been kindly showing us around. Nickson, Cat & Julia have been spectacular in their hospitality and I'm really hoping they can come to Aberdeen to see how we do things.

Anyway after some relaxing times before we knew it the balcony was full of girls and guys, Rob Reed & Dan Devlin being two characters of note. Rob for his infectous humour and interesting history and Dan for his Mary Pooppins style bag, he seems to be able to produce fine brewed Ales, Scotch and wines at will! Hes the kinda guy you wanna hang with at a party! His face lit up when I told him about our mild pricing policy and fine selections of Ale's available from ASDA, in real bottles too! All of the girls seemed to have tattoos at the party, I've never seen so many in my life.

Had another wee sleep in and then went for some more munch at a cool bar called Sneeky Dee's. The whole bar is covered in tags and graffiti and they do a mean breakfast. Weve been lucky enough to see a load of World Cup games as were not working while away. The bar two doors down had the game on in Spanish with supporters from Spain & Chile watching outside, they had a feelday when it finished and were all dancing in the street, stopping traffic and generally having a good time. It was great to see!

Later on I went for a walk down the west side to see what else there was but didn't find anything too exciting, I did however meet some cool people who run a small store specialising in screenprinting and craft goods. Kid Icarus is the name of the store and you should check out their website HERE! They told me they were planning a trip to Edinburgh so I gave them some tips and bought some nice cards for folks back home and for our generous friends in Toronto. They even do their printing in store, amazing considering the small size of the premises.


Later on we went to another bar that sells beer slops in pitchers for $10, we paid the extra dollar and got clean beers instead. After a few pints it was into a cab, bike in the trunk and off to find the best pool in Toronto. Apparently it has a water slide but you need a bucket of water to grease it up! This made me laugh no end. However as soon as everyone was over a voice called out "This is the pool attendant, please leave the pool or the police will be called, please leave the pool immediately", little did we realise they had a security camera set up. The security guard was fast on the scene but was digging some of the girls and I used my Scottish tones to convince him to open the gate and give us a half hour! He gathered everyone round and we all listened intently as he explained the pool rules, no diving etc etc and just as we thought he was going to open the gate he said " but not in this pool" as it had the camera! The sigh of sadness after that, thought we had it, the perfect end to a perfect night!


Little did we realise that was yet to come in the form of Liam shouting and rilling up some crack head home boy Vannila Ice impersonater. Things got tense and bottles were ready to be smashed, namely over mines & Bobo's faces. He wanted to talk to the cracker jack menawhile Liam got aggro from a safe distance, rendering them both as idiots forever in my mind. Well not Bobo since he was jet lagged and didn't quite grasp the situation. But needless to say no one was hurt, everyone walked away and Liam Cody has finally pushed my buttons beyond what I can take. At least he apologised and knows that when he does it again we wont be there to help, I aint getting shot for no cracker jack, even one of my best friends!


And now on our final day in Toronto things have gone astray due to the G20 Summit being held in town. Al "The Count" Nickson has been sent home early from work due to the downtown area being shit down for all the hippy protesters. We had a wander around to see what was going down and it was all pretty peacefull, even boring. But before we knew it a healthy sized crowd had gathered and the police equiped with riot shileds etc began to back off. The mob was acting aggressive but shear numbers became intimidating, one cop had a panic attack infront of a sit down protest? A bunch of hoods smashed up a cop car and then sat on top of it spouting off about the evils of capitalism but the audience was soon side tracked a looney who climbed out onto a sign and started preteding to dangle off an electricity wire, but he soon realised how stupid this was and climbed back, only to re appear and finally dangle off the wire!!!

We headed for home as things did seem to be heating up a bit and within an hour we were sat watching the same smashed police cae burn to cinders, tear gas was used and rubber bullets were fired. I don't know who fired first but seeing a lone police officer with no armour being abused and having rocks thrown off him was well beyond the score! We eventually had a seat on the roof and watched as smoke filled the skies, 3 or 4 cops cars were totalled and things went on till the early hours! I'm just gald they didn't have Kaiser Chiefs playing "I Predict A Riot". We ended up going to see some friends of Fish's playing in a small bar up Spedina. They were pretty good except for when we walked in and the first person I saw was the guy I'd asked to leave on the first night, he waved and smilled! But he was soon ignored again.

When we finally left the house of fun I couldn't hlp but feel sad, the gang who looked after us were a truelly amazing bunch and made us feel so welcome. Friends have been made, connections made and hopefuly exchanges will happen again in the future. Forever the song bellow will be associated with the balcony at 119 Baldwin Street! Until next time Tornoto, onto Chicago now!


Popular posts from this blog

Painted Doors 2017 - Year 2 Recap!

It's been a busy old year and I for one cannot wait for the christmas break. I'm lucky to be off til the new year and I'm hoping it'll be a chance to catch up and take stock. Its certainly been another busy year for art and culture in Aberdeen and especially putting art into the public realm. Nuart Aberdeen, Look Again Festival and Painted Doors both provided lots of incredible opportunities, and the artworks were nae bad as well. But with famous street artists and international design stars on the programme, what makes Painted Doors special?
Firstly all the artists are from or are based in Aberdeen. And many of them are new faces to me which is a good sign that we have a healthy creative scene in the city. I pride myself on getting out and meeting artists and creatives and spend a lot of time trying to help promote and shine a light on their work but even in the big village of Aberdeen where everyone knows everyone its fantastic to come across new faces. The artists fo…

Nuart Aberdeen 2018 - Production Week Part 1!

Its a month since Nuart Aberdeen unveiled the new additions to the cities mural and street art collection and its been great to see the public reaction. As with last years festival Nuart attracts a lot of attention and when you consider the level of work that goes into pulling off a festival of this scale its well deserved. Of course its been a great eye opener to the work that friends Sally & Claire have put into organising Look Again Festival which will be kicking off again in June. Of course its always a team effort and I love the Nuart approach which is that everyone plays a part from artist to helper and its only through this group effort that they can do what they do. And seeing behind the wizards curtain I can vouch for that!

I'll be forever grateful to Nuart for bringing these artists and works to Aberdeen, literally changing the face of the city and helping to make it a destination for street art fans. For me personally, Nuart has not only given me insight into the wor…

'Markings' by Jo Mcintosh at Parx Cafe!

'Markings' is the current show on display at Parx Cafe in Aberdeen's West End. Located just off Rubislaw Terrace. 'Markings' showcases the work of print maker and book maker Jo Mcintosh and features a lovely selection of work from editioned screen prints to hand stiched accordion style paper books. Although Aberdeen isn't short of galleries it's quite nice to be able to grab something fine for lunch while checking out what's on the walls. Its probably one of the things I miss the most about the EARL of Sandwich, that and the fact they gave me a panini tab!

Parx Cafe has been a regular spot to check out new artists and its refreshing to find an artist like Jo who's got an extensive background in the arts and I'm only just discovering her work now. From her degree in fashion design to running creative workshops and now in her current capacity as a lecturer, Jo has certainly been carving out a unique style and approach to her art. Although her work …

'Darkness Can't Exist In The Light' by Jo Muir at The Anatomy Rooms!

If you've been in town recently then you'll certainly have seen the banners and posters proclaiming "Art is the new Oil" although I think its less a proclamation as it is a question. The poster is part of a campaign by Citymoves Dance Agency to promote their 3 week festival of dance which finished a few weeks back. Now partner organisation with The Anatomy Rooms (Citymoves have taken on the large open plan dissection rooms) they aim to bring contemporary dance to the forefront of Aberdeens cultural offering. I'm sad to say I couldn't make it the various events but did get a look at Jo Muir's exhibition, organised to coincide with the festival.

Jo is one of the numerous artists based in the Anatomy Rooms studios and has spent the last 12 months hiding from day light and working out her ideas. She was finally ready to present a new body of work which seemed like a perfect fit with Dance Live and so over the course of 3 weekends the show was open to the publi…

NUART Aberdeen - Part 1, Production Week!

By now the sight of a giant yellow cherry picker at the Indoor Market is a common sight with hundreds of photos appearing across Instagram and Facebook. NUART Aberdeen kicked off last week with the arrival of our first artist Martin Whatson. I had the pleasure of seeing Martin at work up a cherry picker in Stavanger for NUART 2014, a sight that definitely makes you stop and stare. Having initially met team NUART on their first few visits to Aberdeen I'd offered to help in any way I could and was given the role of artist host. I would be meeting them at the hotel, showing them around and hopefully giving them a little insight into our fair city.

So on a sunny Wednesday we headed to airport to meet the infamous Martin Whatson. Being the first to arrive I was a little unsure what to expect, after all I've been a huge fan of street art for 10+ years and to be honest the whole concept of NUART in Aberdeen has been blowing my mind for months. So when this tall blonde Norwegian appear…