August 21st, 2010

Toronto Tidbits

I was sitting on the edge of a planter reading outside of some random office building (I was early to meet people for coffee) and various corporate types were striding down, purposefully inhaling a cigarette in five minutes or less, then striding off. Two gents in suits, one my age, one a little older, cruised past, not smoking, and I caught just the moment in the conversation when the younger said to the elder, “I really just try to cry as little as possible.”

I found out the City of Vaughan is twinned with Sora, Italy, which seems like a nice, friendly, slightly random enterprise (until you realize how many Italian folks live in Vaughan). I also found out that Vaughan is a city–I always thought it was part of Toronto. To be fair, this week’s visit was only the second time I had ever been there. It not being part of Toronto would certainly explain why the TTC doesn’t go there, and the TTC not going there is the explanation of why I don’t go there either. It was a lovely visit–people made me tasty food, I petted an orange cat, and sang karaoke! If anyone volunteers to drive, I’ll go back–it’s likely the closest I’ll get to Sora.

I was going into my apartment building when I saw through the window a woman coming out. I stood waiting for her to open the door, rather than fumble with my keys, but when she opened it she turned awkwardly in the doorway, as if trying to block me. I reached into my bag to show her my keys–that I wasn’t a burgalar trying to sneak in–when she said in a thick Russian accent, “Excuse me, could you…?” I looked up; she had her back to me and her snug black sheath dress was about halfway zipped up. “Oh, of course,” I said, and did it up. She shot me a look between gratitude and shame, said thank you and scurried off.

If you somehow can’t be in Toronto or even Vaughan right now, but really want to be, I highly recommend you check out the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. It is set in Toronto. Not Toronto-disguised-as-New York-or-Chicago, but actual unabashed Toronto. Sightings include: old-school (ie., getting rarer these days) red rocket buses, Honest Eds, Lee’s Palace, Pizza Pizza, Casa Loma, the CN Tower, etc. But, actually, even if you don’t care about TO one way or another, you should still see this movie. Unlike the very fun One Week the locational love note is just where Scott Pilgrim begins, not where it ends.

This euphoric little action movie is about a 22-year-old goober (played by the uber-goober, Michael Cera) who falls in with a cool girl with a complicated past, and has to fight her seven evil exes to win her hand. The whole movie is set up like a live-action video game: when we see Scott’s apartment for the first time, tiny letters pop up labelling each item and saying who bought it (mainly his roommate, Wallace, in an incredibly funny performance by Kieran Culkin, whom I adore without remembering ever seeing him in anything else). When Scott goes to the bathroom, a pee bar flashes full on the top of the screen, then drains to empty. And the fight scenes are bang-pow fantastic, and involve a lot of leaping and ducking and spinning; when a villain is defeated, he or she explodes into a shower of coins (Canadian coins–including toonies!)

There’s skateboarding on the stairs at Casa Loma, a show at Lee’s Palace, and lots and lots of Annex-y self-referential irony. And I personally love Michael C., but even those who don’t have pointed out that he is less annoying than usual in this pic. Oh my goodness, so much love!

3 Responses to “Toronto Tidbits”

  • Ferd says:

    Vaughn! The city above toronto!

  • Julia says:

    I love this post! Especially the woman with a Russian accent who asked you to zip up her dress! I’m glad I’m not the only person this happens to…

  • Rebecca says:

    Is this really common? Before I got better at yoga and thus more flexible, I would put on a sweater and go to work, where I could ask my cubemate to do stuff up for me. But only cubemates I know really well–I would be way too shy to ask a stranger!

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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