Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2023/12 Moments December 2023

Toronto, Ontario

Xawaash Courtneypark
Xawaash Courtneypark: Cuisine of Somalia was the most unique for this district west of the airport, delivered to table in two segments: lamb fatayer, fish mandi, beef adana, eggplant stew, salad and rice; then chicken suqar, roasted lamb and fried chicken. Had phoned in a reservation, not appreciating the quiet, casual setting of the restaurant. (Xawaash, Courtneypark Drive, Mississauga, Ontario) 20231203
Illumi Mississauga
Illumi Mississauga: Farm scene was early in the 60-minute walk through 13 universes with 20 million lights. Temperature was still above freezing, drizzling rain manageable in the last hour before the venue closed for the evening. Attraction might have been more fun if with children who were younger. (Illumi, Derrycrest Drive, Mississuaga, Ontario) 20231203
Centre for Social Innovation Annex
Centre for Social Innovation Annex: Annual holiday gathering @csiTO featuring program with @AvenueRoadArts to create monoprints. Pattern on scratch foam plate, brayer roller with gelatin pain to create the master, then pressing with a batten to produce the print. Glad to see some familiar faces, met a few new members and plus-ones standing at cocktail table enjoying the buffet. (Centre for Social Innovation Annex, Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20231207


The Well:
: At west end of @CondoWell , music resounding to north, looked east and then down to see @jeffeager on ground floor stage. Main floor and second floor retail spaces still unoccupied or with installation in progress. Warm 10 degrees C encouraged many visitors to sit in benches, or with table service under outdoor patio heaters. (The Well, Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20231209

The Well
The Well: Across the Grand Atrium running east-west through @CondoWell , the Starbridge Bridge of iridescent crystal curtains attracts snapshotters composing images of friends or family. Three levels of pedestrian sidewalks covered by glass canopy may still see snow blowing in from either end if winter is long. Complex of seven buildings includes commercial, office space and residential seems only half occupied, with a few spaces showing moving-in underway. (The Well, Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20231209
Mandarin Barrie
Mandarin Barrie: After the drive north for a 30-minute business meeting, buffet lunch with the first of three modest main course plates, then desserts. Preferences centered on Chinese selections, he declined on the roast beef and salads. For a pescatarian, still many choices available, struck by the too-generous sashimi cuts of salmon and tuna, each more than a mouthful. (Mandarin Restaurant, Fairview Road, Barrie, Ontario) 20231212
The Penrose
The Penrose: On east side of a 30-floor apartment tower, environment sculpture @CatWidgery (1999) Liquid Echo has three stands of spiral cut columns giving the impression of a waterfall, with two boulders cut and reassembled as seating during warm weather. Onthe pavers, stainless steels sections of circles suggest the way that light reflects off disturbed water. Late afternoon with a warmer than normal temperatures for mid-Dedember. (The Penrose, Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20231215
Centre for Social Innovation Spadina
Centre for Social Innovation Spadina: Congee bar @csiTO as special occasion of noontime Coffee Chat ritual, vegan with options savory (yaotiao fried bread sticks, peanuts, cilantro, green onions) or sweet (red bean paste, coconut milk). Good occasion to meet some new social entrepreneurs and share experiences. Despite venue in central Chinatown, amused that jook was unfamiliar to many. (Centre for Social Innovation, Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20231220
Cafe Landwer
Cafe Landwer: Birthday celebration on Christmas Eve led us to choose an Israeli cafe downtown, in a reverse of the Jewish tradition of dining in Chinese restaurants during holiday season. Casual, buzzy atmosphere, with many dishes shared by the family. Table eventually became too small for all of the orders, we had to rearrange platings. (Cafe Landwer, University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20231224
Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Phillips Square: City hall plaza is one attraction guaranteed to not close on Christmas Eve. There were fewer people north of the skating rink, where people were in line to rent skates, or taking photos in front of the Toronto sign. Temperatures above the seasonal average below freezing, we’re not expected to see snow even into the New Year. (Nathan Phillips Square, Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20231224
May Yan Seafood Restaurant
May Yan Seafood Restaurant: Christmas lunch foregoing turkey in favour of double lobster, beef brisket hotpot and noodle soup with mushrooms. Had confirmed in advance that restaurant would be open on the holiday, they said they’ll rest on Boxing Day. Took leftovers home so that we won’t have to cook, anticipating more family meals together this week. (May Yan Seafood Restaurant, Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, Ontario) 20231225

May Yan Seafood Restaurant:: Menu for double lobster says at least 2.5 lb in weight each, so careful selection and checking on weigh scale ensures consistency. Christmas Day lunch busy with a regular stream of crustaceans from the front room into the kitchen, the number of pick-up orders seems greater than dining in. Two styrofoam cases on the floor suggest that seafood may bypass the tank, with the potential of depleted stock later in the day. (May Yan Seafood Restaurant, Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, Ontario) 20231225

Centennial Park Conservatory
Centennial Park Conservatory: Open on Christmas Day, indoor greenhouse of exotic plans is operated by City of Toronto on northwestern edge of municipality crosstown. Season features poinsettias, with a pair of cardinals taking residency in the warmth escaping winter temperatures. Pond central in the building seems to be missing koi, the fish have been moved or were hiding. (Centennial Park Conservatory, Elmhurst Road, Etobicoke, Ontario) 20231225

High Park Zoo: Herd of llamas in the pen more interested in grazing than the humans peering through the fence. Indigenous to the Andes in South America, they appeared comfortable in their fleece with temperature still above freezing. Exotic animals are more interesting than the decorated holiday trees by the roadway. (High Park Zoo, Deer Pen Road, Toronto, Ontario) 20231225

Dragon Pearl York Mills
Dragon Pearl York Mills: Paused in front of holiday season decorations in front lobby, after 2 hours in Chinese buffet restaurant. Grandfather’s preferred style of dining, with an opportunity to meet with all of the grandchildren in town. He’s still generous with red envelopes, receipients are debating whether that’s still necessary after we’re married. (Dragon Pearl Buffet, York Mills Road, North York, Ontario) 20231227
Gibson House Museum
Gibson House Museum: Local excursion to site of 19th century farmhouse, now surrounded by high rises as the northern district of Toronto has been developed. Fire was stoked with logs, and homemade gingerbread following traditional recipes were offered. Glad for the assitance of the friendly staff, with the addition of the elevator so that the elderly don’t have to climb stairs. (Gibson House Museum, Yonge Street, North York, Ontario) 20231227

Upper Cornell
Upper Cornell: We were invited to join father’s friend’s family in celebration of holiday season. More people than would fit around one table, the younger set overflowed into the next room, rejoining for refills on dishes. Three generations together, many visiting the Toronto area from Montreal, (Upper Cornell, Markham, Ontario) 20231227

2023/11 Moments November 2023

Toronto, Ontario

The Power Plant Gallery
The Power Plant Gallery: Color in mostly black ink drawing by Abdelkader Benchamma (2023) Trees – Comastesque (where Comastesque is a style of geometric decorative inlay stonework in church floors and walls of Medieval Italy). Part of the major solo exhibition Solastalgia: Archaeologies of Loss (where Solastalgia is distress in a lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change, compared to eco-anxiety that is anticipatory). Abstractions of a fragmented landscape becoming an interwoven topography. (The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Harbourfront, Queen Quay West, Toronto, Ontario) 20231104

Power Plant Gallery: One of two east galleries for solo show of Abdelkader Benchamma (2023) Solastalgia: Archaeologies of Loss (where Solastalgia is distress in a lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change, compared to eco-anxiety that is anticipatory). Pan of (i) Engramme, 2020, (ii) untitled ink drawings on wall (2023), (iii) Engramme – Souterrain, 2023, (iv) more untitled drawings on wall (2023, and (v) two. Untitled (2023) framed works. (The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Harbourfront, Queen Quay West, Toronto, Ontario) 20231104

Riverside neighbourhood
Riverside neighbourhood: New natural gas furnace and heat pump installed, 4 days after technician found a cracked block on the old one. Attached red tag mean fuel shutoff for 4 days, cool inside as outside temperature dipped to freezing at night. Old furnace was 20 years old on an expected 15 year life, we switched out air conditioner in year 10 of a 13-year life because cooling and heating are now integrated as a system. (Riverside neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20231113
Propeller Art Gallery
Propeller Art Gallery: Elements of Nature show @encaustic_art (2023) Four Elements -12 has small encaustic pantings arranged four rows by three columns. Unsure whether the themes, top to bottom, are fire, water, sky and ground. Noticed a little red dot beside the upper right painting, could mean that this set may not again be seen together as a collection. (Propeller Art Gallery, Abell Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20231116
Union Station
Union Station: Floor-to-ceiling mural @blakeangeconeb (2023) Sharing, about transmission of knowledge through storytelling to the young, the third of three in the Eighth Fire series. The Oak Room used to be a restaurant at the northwest corner of the railway station, removed to provide a throughfare to the Skywalk and Union Pearson Express. Thousands of people must walk by the painting every day, hard to judge if the people sitting in the collection of chairs further west if they’re waiting for someone, or eluding the late fall cold. (Union Station, Front Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20231119
Grand Opera Lane, Scotia Plaza
Grand Opera Lane, Scotia Plaza: Lighted outline sculpture of cervid (deer) species in late November might bring reindeer to mind, but life size and shape of antlers identifies moose indigenous to Canada. Open setback is by the former site of the Grand Opera House (1874-1927) before the financial district overtook the neighbourhood. Locale was largely unoccupied on a Sunday evening, with major construction having closed the street to vehicular traffic. (Grand Opera Lane, Scotia Plaza, Adelaide Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20231119
May Yan Seafood Restaurant
May Yan Seafood Restaurant: Mangled understanding of order led to 2 lobsters delivered to table, plus expected beef tenderloin and fish fillets, with scallops on tofu with black bean sauce and pea shoots on their way. Enough leftovers for senior’s lunch and maybe dinner tomorrow. Arrived for dinner later than expected, after rush hour traffic, shopping for rolling walker, and switching mobile phone providers for my father. (May Yan Seafood Restaruant, Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, Ontario) 20231122
Onsite Gallery
Onsite Gallery: On floor of southwest edge of gallery, @EsteyDucuara (2020-2023) Black Hole, mineral coal of 282 cm diameter. Atmosphere of fear associated with open-cast coal mining in Colombia, the lines this version of the installation were inspired by aerial views of the roads east of Toronto. Part of the On Americanity and Other Experiences of Belonging exhbition, bridging Global North and Global South. (Onsite Gallery, Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20231123
Berczy Park
Berczy Park: Illuminated stack of presents of the Old Town Cavalcade of Lights topped by giant white bone continuing the fun of the (2017) Dog Fountain that is unlit for the winter season. The 27 dog statues looking up at the golden bone on top of the fountain have water turned off from November through April. With chilly temperatures, many pedestrians crossing through the park at the end of the work day. (Berczy Park, Wellington Street East, Toronto, Ontario) 20231123
SDM Lake Share Blvd E.
SDM Lake Share Blvd E.: In left shoulder, 7th Covid vaccination (Pfizer BioNTech Comirnaty XBB.1.5), then in right shoulder, annual flu vaccination (Standard-dose quadrivalent (QIV), either FluLaval Tetra or Fluzone Quadrivalent)). Routine injection by pharmacist with booked appointment, no ill effects later in the day. Bike over to this pharmacy branch, because the one in walking distance from our home is booked into next week. (Shoppers Drug Mart, Lake Shore Blvd E., Toronto) 20231124
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery: Hanging from the wall, (2014) Hallelujah I is horizontal lilac branches with an umbrella handle suspended into vertical branches, gallery lighting casting shadows down. Part of the The Performance of Shadows exhbition, in the bridging of material and spiritual experiences. Not at this show is (2015) Hallelujah II that looks similar, with a glass cane instead of the umbrella handle. (Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto) 20231125
University of Toronto Art Centre
University of Toronto Art Centre: Inside a glsss case, Barbara-Ann Watso (2009) Panier de Marriage [Marriage Basket] woven of ash splints and sweetgrass. Historically, Abenaki Basket-Making Industry flourished 1870–1920, by the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Baskets continue to be part of the Abenaki tradition passed down through generations, as the community has migrated along the Saint-François River, extending from Quebec into Maine. (University of Toronto Art Centre, University College, University of Toronto) 20231125

Lambert Lounge
Lambert Lounge: Conversation for Possibilities theme hosted by @redesign saying farewell after 15 years of mostly-monthly sessions. Strong turnout, with participants having attended since 2008, to someone coming for the first time. Sticky notes posted on flip charts on the wall, in response to questions about what was learned, and value of semi-structured dialogue. (Lambert Lounge, OCAD University, McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20221129

2023/10 Moments October 2023

Seoul, Korea; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; Toronto, Ontario

ICN Incheon Airport Terminal 1
ICN Incheon Airport Terminal 1: At 6:00am for a 7:35am flight, got into Security Line 3 before seeing the Priority entry to the left. Still annoyed that Asiana cancelled 7:35pm ICN-SGN, so we changed departure strategy to leave apartment say 4:00am to walk to Holiday Inn and all receptionist to call us a taxi. Needed 2 cars for 3 passengers with big luggage. (Incheon International Airport, Seoul, Korea) 202310001


Vincom Center:
: Periodic torrential downpour every few hours means that first week of October isn’t the nearly the end of rainy season in Ho Chi Minh City. Went for long walk from west to east in District 1, trying ATMs with a Canadian bank card unsuccessfully, finally visiting money exchange office that offered XE rates, with a slight downgrade for old bills. Cloudy conditions are preferred to inhuman sun and heat, and air pollution wasn’t noticeable until later rush hour when rain was less plentiful. (Vincom Center, Đ. Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231002

Banh Mi store, District 3
Banh Mi store, District 3: Driver took brief detour to find banh mi shop on the way to tailors, since we missed breakfast in the early morning. Roast pork sandwiches don’t have carrots in the recipe, but sweet cucumber instead. Gluten-free and vegan diets redirected away from the French baguette-style rolls, in favour of sticky rice. (Banh Mi store, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231002
Ngoc Chau
Ngoc Chau: Clerk in fabric store holds bolt of cloth in place to give impression of what a complated ao dai would look. Bride’s mother suggeted second ao dai for later in evening on wedding celebration day at end of this week. Lots of driving to tailors on Monday, giving seamstresses a week to adjust fit. (Ngoc Chau, Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 3, Ho Chí Minh City, Vietnam) 20231002
Phước An Hội Quán
Phước An Hội Quán: Big drum close to the entry of this Daoist temple, reflecting the military dedication to Quan Cong, a legendary army general from the Eastern Han Empire circa 220-240 AD China. Walking through District 5 Cholon, found one temple with Buddha statues, and two temples with statues not of Buddha. This quarter was founded by Chinese immigrants in 1778, some visitors to the temple were speaking a Chinese dialect close to our ancestral village. (Phước An Hội Quán, District 5 Cholon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231003
Bin Tay Market
Bin Tay Market: By 1:30pm, food aisle vendors were closing down, so we decided to take the most local cuisine and trust the cooks. Searching District 5 Cholon on our walk towards the market, restaurants on the map were closed on Tuesday lunchtime. This market is definitely oriented towards wholesale distribution, buying one of anything would seem strange. (Bin Tay Market, District 5 Cholon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231003
Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts
Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts: Courtyard of the city art museum seems to have lines for badminton, wondering when they might put up nets to play. On display were mostly 20st and 21st century Vietnamese artists, with special emphases for pioneering female creators. Building interior seems to have been renovated since our visit in 2013. (Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231003
War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum: Guillotine brought by the French in the early 20th century for use in the jail, and transported during the U.S. war with Vietnam for decapitations until 1960, beside a tiger cage used for inhumane imprisonment. Inside main building, compelling history of munitions used, lives lost and number wounded. Some exhibits showed reconciliation amongst war veterans, while others showing injured survivors were too depressing to watch. (War Remnants Museum, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231003
Tân Bình district
Tân Bình district: First formal meeting between the families, as the Permission Ceremony (Le Dam Ngo) where the groom’s father requests the bride be allowed to marry. Using Google Translate between English and Vietnamese, verbal agreement was made without fuss. Two families are now to be joined thorugh the marriage, and with future children. (Tân Bình district, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231004


Beirut Restaurant:
: Pause at dinner to admire belly dancing in Levantine (Middle Eastern) restaurant. Vietnamese language is optional in this expat enclave south of the twisty Saigon River, redeveloped starting in the 2010s. Family from Toronto was still in transit this evening; we chose a non-Asian cuisine foreseeing more local recipes for the next few days. (Beirut Restaurant, Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

Golden Lotus Healing Spa Land: Korean-style jimjilbang spa includes doctor fish garra rufa originating from Turkey, nibbling on dead skin as pedicure. Most in family reticent to put their feet into the water, sensation is mostly ticklish, then slightly sharper above the ankles. Passed the time waiting for one-hour full body massage, heard in review that masseuse walked on the back of my legs, but I was lying face down into a hole on the bed. (Golden Lotus Healing Spa Land, Tân Phong, District 7, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam) 20231005

Golden Lotus Healing Spa Land
Golden Lotus Healing Spa Land: Completing Korean spa jjimjilbang massage, offered tea and fruit to continue relaxation. Family chose from hot sauna and refrigerated sauna rooms, most declining the doctor fish garra rufa treatment. District 7 is a newer part of the city with westernized urban planning, but our schedule didn’t permit more than taking the taxi in and out. (Golden Lotus Healing Spa Land, Tân Phong, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231005
Nhà hàng Việt Phố
Nhà hàng Việt Phố: Travellers arriving an extra day before the nuptial celebration were invited to join for dinner. Guests from Toronto, California and other cities in Vietnam introduced themselves in the noisy restaurant. Photograph only captures about two-thirds of the length of the long table. (Nhà hàng Việt Phố, Võ Thị Sáu, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231005
RMIT VN Recreational Centre
RMIT VN Recreational Centre: Touring the Saigon South campus of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, encountered cheerleading men elevating each flyer up and then transitioning to prone position. University is modern and compact in 2 buildings, with covered walkways to student centre and athletic facilities furher on. Received permission from faculty member to tour the campus, admission onsite has been tightened since the pandemic attracted non-academics and crowded out students. (RMIT VN Recreational Centre, Tân Hưng, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231006


Tân Bình district:
: Normally quiet residential street interrupted by Le Xin Dâu ceremony, asking for bride to join the groom’s family. Sidewalk coffee shop customers watched nine groomsmen bring in offerings, into apartment ground floor transformed week long table and backdrop. Many photographs and video captured. (Tân Bình district, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231007

Hotel Nikko Saigon
Hotel Nikko Saigon: Late afternoon western ceremony in hotel garden was followed by banquet for 330 guests. Theme of enchanted garden requested by groom was fulfilled by bride with wedding planner. Two masters of ceremonies for proceedings in Vietnamese and in English. (Hotel Nikko Saigon, Phường Nguyễn Cư Trinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231007


Hotel Nikko Saigon:
: A lion dance is exceptional for a Saigon wedding, and more traditional in the Chinese ceremonies familiar to the groom. Western tradition included a wedding cake, Vietnamese tradition included pouring into a champagne tower. Evening concluded with DJ and dancing on the runway and stage for the last hour of the event. (Hotel Nikko Saigon, Phường Nguyễn Cư Trinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231007

Grandma Lu Bánh Mì
Grandma Lu Bánh Mì: Modest brunch order for banh mi, with vegetarian and pork fillings. French bread isn’t gluten free, so we crossed the street for some roast pork and rice for our sleeping son. Slow Sunday morning after full day for wedding, followed by visit to club to experience Vinahouse. (Grandma Lu Bánh Mì,, Phường Cầu Ông Lãnh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231008
Vinh Nghiem Buddhist Temple
Vinh Nghiem Buddhist Temple: Devout workshippers in main hall praying to Buddha, along with Bodhisattvas on left and right sides. Wasn’t expecting stacks of material offerings in front of the altars, some with cash layered between tiers. Temple completed in 1971, using modern concrete material, follows traditional style more common in ancient japan. (Vinh Nghiem Buddhist Temple, Phường 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231008
Việt Chay
Việt Chay: Vegan dinner with families joined up, day after big nuptial ceremonies, deferred from lunchtime because prior day fatigue called for more recovery time. Official formal Lễ Lại Mặt protocol would prescribe newlyweds revisiting parents home, to show respect that their contribution towards the bride’s upbringing would not be forgotten. This event was opportunity for farewells before depatures from the city on the next day. (Việt Chay, Phường 8, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) 20231008
Rose Lounge Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN): Star Alliance Gold status allows one guest into international lounges, so sons are at food court. Easy morning with midday check-in, 2 taxis for 5 people with big luggage. On to third city, been away from home for 2 weeks, this trip feels like a long one. (Rose Lounge Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)) 20231009
Rose Lounge Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN): Star Alliance Gold status allows one guest into international lounges, so sons are at food court. Easy morning with midday check-in, 2 taxis for 5 people with big luggage. On to third city, been away from home for 2 weeks, this trip feels like a long one. (Rose Lounge Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)) 20231009
Taiwan Taoyuan Airport (TPE)
Taiwan Taoyuan Airport (TPE): Of five travellers, 3 winners in the Taiwan the Lucky Land promotion. Registered on a few days before flying, won NT$5000 on Easycard that we can use on transit and in convenience stores. Welcoming gesture for Canadians visiting Taiwan! (Taiwan Taoyuan Airport (TPE), Taiwan) 20231009


National Palace Museum:
: Children especially enjoy the Marvels within the Sea Immersive Interactive Tunnel, reinterpreting Sea Nie Huang (circa1662-1722) Rich and Varied Products of the Sea and Sea Oddities, as people observed and imagined marine life in the Qing dynasty. Found in the calligraphy and painting section of the massive collection. Bronzes and ceramics are more durable, but feel lifeless. (National Palace Museum, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231010

Linjiang Night Market
Linjiang Night Market: Vegan street food snacks recommended by friend living on the east side of the city, away from popular tourist venues. Also sampled sweet potato balls, wintermelon-pineapple-oliveoil drink, Taiwanese guava with dried plum powder, but the squid vendor was not available. Dining is more limited when travelling with vegans. (Linjiang Night Market, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231010
Houtong
Houtong: A shelter for visitors overlooking the Keelung River, with small cat houses where felines can stay warm. Originally a coal production town, open train carriages show that fuel is still in demand. Confused morning routing mean slow local trains eastbound into mountainous forests . (Houtong, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231011

Bangka Longshan Temple: Misty rainfall in courtyard with waterfalls on eastern wall, with the Buddhist temple entry facing south. Built in 1740 during the Qing Dynasty, the structure has been restored multiple times following natural disasters and a bombing in WWII during Japanese occupation. Local friend advised the neighbourhood is rough, with few tourists after dark. (Bangka Longshan Temple, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231010


Shifen Taoist Shrine:
: Modest temple in the village away from the commercial vendors along the railway tracks. Statues in the centre, but no Buddha that is a different religion. A big drum seems to be a common feature, and often military weapons. (Shifen Taoist Shrine, Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231011


Shifen Waterfall:
: Rainbow Pool is at the bottom of the widest waterfall in Taiwan, with anticline (arch-shaped) rock formations above. Park is a 15-minute walk from the old town, with well-groomed paths and suspension bridge featuring upstream rapids before the big plunge. Waterway was straightened in the late 20th century, with a flood diversion channel created downstream at Ruifang to preclude torrential flooding. (Shifen Waterfall, Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231011

Jiufen Old Street
Jiufen Old Street: Gradual inclines under the covered walkways take visitors by wall-to-wall shops, while the more intrepid manage the stairs upwards and downwards. Views northward to Shen’ao Harbour are breathtaking, for which photographs are insufficient. Mountain village was established in days of gold mining during the Qing Dynasty by the Japanese. (Jiufen Old Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231011
Dihua Old Street
Dihua Old Street: Visited street of traditional Chinese herbalists, seeking luobuma with an old sample package, but was told that no one in the district would have it, as they have in Shanghai. A tea shop did have luobuma tea bags, but not bulk, so the price would have been four times what I’ve previously paid. The green leaves are available in Chinatown of Oakland California, I’ll have to rely on their importing direct from mainland China. (Dihua Old Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231012
Dadaocheng Pier Plaza
Dadaocheng Pier Plaza: Reproduction of a Tangshan Sailing Boat on dryland, with brightly coloured active ships dockside. The Tamsui River Basin was first colonized by Han people in 1683AD. The Huwei region became active as a commercial port by 1861. Before the end of the 19th century, silt buildup in the basin and development of the Keelung Port reduced traffic to passenger travel. (Dadaocheng Pier Plaza, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231012
Xiahai City God Temple
Xiahai City God Temple: Compact Taoist temple where devotees pray to specific gods for good fortune. In the south room, the Wife of the City God blesses married couples to have a good relationship and family. Statue was alongside a god of defence (war?) and god of wisdom. (Xiahai City God Temple, Dihua Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231012
ABC Mart Ximen
ABC Mart Ximen: Sympathetic shopping encouraged by Easycard charged with Taiwan the Lucky Land promotion, accepted for merchandise purchases. Found Nike Air Monarchs to replace very old New Balance soles that developed a crack. Happy to find mens 6.5 size shoes in Asia, they’re rarely available in North America. ((ABC Mart, Emei Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231012


Xingtian Temple:
: Well-fed koi sidestage right from the altar, in a contemporary building built in 1967. Said to be the most popular most-visited temple in northern Taiwan, we arrived in afternoon rush hour to many devotees praying facing the statues to the north, some facing south, and others seated facing the lecturer to the east. Order was maintained by women wearing light blue smocks. (Xingtian Temple, Minquan Road East, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231012

Addiction Aquatic Development
Addiction Aquatic Development: Arriving mid-evening, routing around the water tanks with sealife, we opted to bypass the high-end restaurants to find the takeout sushi being marked down. After paying cash at checkout, we enjoyed chutoro, scallops, tuna gunkan, ikura don and assorted nigiri at the stand-up tables. Walked along dark streets to and from the venue, the nearby Second Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market is an early morning neighbourhood. (Addiction Aquatic Development, Minzu East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231012


Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei
: In the corner room is the second floor, HUNG Sheng-Hsiung (2022) The Dwelling of Collaborators plays music to a sparse arrangement of furniture. Featured exhibition on Signal Z contemplates the qualities of being “liquid’ and ‘fluid” as a starting point, investigating contemporary social phenomena and living condition. A variety of fluid states cross the public/private and physical/virtual boundaries. (Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231013

228 Peace Memorial Park
228 Peace Memorial Park: Monument to remember the February 28 incident in 1947, where thousands of civilians were killed in the suppression of an anti-government uprising. This structure in Taipei is one of many in the country, designed by architect Cheng Tzu-tsai while in prison. Viewed on a long afternoon trek from the National Taiwan Museum to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial hall. (228 Peace Memorial Park, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231013

Daan Park Pavilion: Fortunate timing to attend the free weekend shows of Taipei Jazz Festival, with the Taipei Youth Jazz Orchestra. Tiered benches in the amphitheatre full, with more casual listeners on the grass. Venue in the midst of the forest park, in the university district. (Daan Park Pavilion, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231013

MaoKong Tea Master
MaoKong Tea Master: Tasted a variety of teas from leaves grown at this level and higher. Local preference is for intense flavour, some smokier or fruity or floral. Enjoyed the Maokong gondola ascent, and returned with the glass-bottomed floor. (MaoKong Tea Master, Wenshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231014
Shenkeng Old Street
Shenkeng Old Street: Beside the modest Shiding/Jishun Temple is a cart reputed to serve the best stinky tofu in the region, taking its time on the grill with a patient lineup of customers. This village dates back to the Qing Dynasty, on the route between the mountainous areas and the harbours in lower lands north. In the Japanese era of the early 20th century, this was a major business centre for trading the tea grown at altitude. (Shenkeng Old Street, Shenkeng district, New Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231014

Daan Park Pavilion: Starting their tour of Asia at the Taipei Jazz Festival, the Tomasz Chyla Quintet has just released a new album. Violinist lead shows a democratic style with band members weaving solos into intros, outros, and in-between. The Polish musicians spoke English, giving us a greater understanding than the speeches by the local Chinese master of ceremonies. (Daan Park Pavilion, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231014

Songshan Cultural and Creative Park: Booming music led us to the courtyard in early afternoon, with Les Petites Chose Productions in dance rehearsal for performance in evening. Theme relates to The Garden of Early Delights, with Chuang Che-Wei. Rooms in the former tobacco factory filled with art installations and crafts vendors. (Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231015

Taiwan Design Museum
Taiwan Design Museum: Exhibition on Designs For The Next 100 Years by design firm NOSIGNER looks into solving ecological problems. Follows the approach of Evolutional Creativity from Eisuke Tachikawa of mutation and selection in biological evolution to create astounding beauty and function. Award-winning book written in Japanese was translated into Chinese and published in Taiwan. (Taiwan Design Museum, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan) 20231015
Eva Air Star Lounge TPE
Eva Air Star Lounge TPE: Signs of travelling through an advanced Chinese airport: fried gluten with peanuts and vegetarian floss with morning congee. High service in a Star Alliance lounge, including staff to help find seats. Awoke at 4:15am for first leg to Tokyo Narita, theoretical 3h40m connection. (Eva Air Star Lounge, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Dayuan District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan) 20231016
Narita Airport Terminal 1:  A 3 hour connection isn’t long enough to even get close to Tokyo, but the bright lights of commerce welcome visitors. Gate 46 is closer to the United Lounge, but we opted to walk over to the ANA lounge for more local flavour. More accustomed to flying to Haneda then Narita these days, but I haven’t actually been to Tokyo in a few years. (Narita Terminal 1, Japan) 20231016
Narita Airport Terminal 1: A 3 hour connection isn’t long enough to even get close to Tokyo, but the bright lights of commerce welcome visitors. Gate 46 is closer to the United Lounge, but we opted to walk over to the ANA lounge for more local flavour. More accustomed to flying to Haneda then Narita these days, but I haven’t actually been to Tokyo in a few years. (Narita Terminal 1, Japan) 20231016
McCleary Playground
McCleary Playground: Towards constructiion of the future Riverside-Leslieville Station expected 2041 on Ontario Line, trains are running on the west tracks while the east bridge ihas been demolished. Heavy machinery has temporarily taken over the playground that will be enlarged as new retaining walls are put into place. Inconveniences on streetcar routings in the short term are in the promise of benefits in future. (McCleary Playground, McGee Street, Riverside neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20231022

Riverside neighbourhood
Riverside neighbourhood: Ready to greet visitors calling trick-or-treat. Not yet dark, but sometimes parents bring the really young while it’s still daylight. Weather is clear, temperature should still be above freezing for the evening. (Riverside neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20231031

2023/09 Moments September 2023

Toronto, Ontario; Seoul Korea

Nathan Phillips Square:
Nathan Phillips Square: Chinese dancers posing for photographs after performances are done for the day, for Toronto Dragon Festival. Large crowd convening to see dancing, martial arts and variet show organized by the Canadian Association of Chinese Performing Arts. Most of the plaza filled with food stalls, with smelly tofu at the farthest southeastmost corner, causing pedestrians along Bay Street to cover these noses at the mystery scent. (Nathan Phillips Square, Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20230903
Princess of Wales Theatre
Princess of Wales Theatre: First TIFF event for two residents of Toronto, courtesy of brother flown in from Los Angeles to assure no technical glitches with the premiere of Quiz Lady. Unfortunately no Sandra Oh or Awkwafina attending, due to actors strike, but director Jessica Yu recorded video of crowds cheering in the post-show Q+A . King Street is full of crowds, ticket holders lined up around the block. (Princess of Wales Theatre, King Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20230909
Congee Queen Don Mills
Congee Queen Don Mills: Family dinner out, on father’s schedule for late afternoon, with brother having the day off from TIFF. Coming from four different locations, the two public transportation travellers arrived first. Familiar Cantonese dishes, some arriving with unexpected spiciness. (Congee Queen, Lawrence Avenue East, Don Mills, Ontario) 20230915
Edwards Gardens
Edwards Gardens: After dinner stroll with the family amidst the flowers starting to look tired at sweater-weather temperatures. Near the end of the golden hour daylight, as sun was low in the trees. Surprised that the parking lots were almost completely empty at our arrival, the tourists are less attracted to the suburbs. (Edwards Gardents, Lawrence Avenue East, Don Mills, Ontario) 20230915
Very Fair Seafood Cuisine:
Very Fair Seafood Cuisine: Sunday morning early dim sum, before the table filled up with a large variety of plates. Last day of TIFF, brother said the 10-day stay felt more like a tourist experience. Family conversation made me realize we had four sons before brother had his two kids. (Very Fair Seafood Cuisine, Milliken Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario) 20230917
Victoria University Chapel
Victoria University Chapel: Pews on the second floor full of boxes of books for the annual booksale, the late afernoon sun light up the southwest-most stained glass window. Only browsed non-fiction hardbacks, most of my time is now spent reading softcopy on tablet or computer screen. Felt that I need the bike ride over, I’ve been focused on writing to a deadline. (Victoria University Chapel, Queens Park Circle, Toronto, Ontario) 20230923
Maple Leaf Lounge Domestic
Maple Leaf Lounge Domestic: First leg, Toronto Vancouver Seoul. Up before 5;00 a.m., it’s going to be a long day into tomorrow. Still on domestic flight, will transfer to international at YVR. (Maple Leaf Lounge Domestic, YYZ, Toronto) 20230925
Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver International Airport: On way to gate, paused at Vancouver Aquarium 114,000-litre kelp forest exhibit housing marine plants and animals. Scheduled connection of 2h34m shaved down to 75 minutes including a long walk through security gates. Did dine and dash in Maple Leaf Lounge before boarding 11-hour flight. (Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia) 20230925
Sinchon Ro
Sinchon Ro: Late evening at a modest noodle house, converging from Toronto and NYC. Cold buckwheat and rice noodle soups, with a side of mandoo dumplings for the non-vegans. Ha doriginally planned for gimbap across the street, but that venue was closed by the timewe arrived. (Sinchon Ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 10230926
Noryangjin Seafood Market
Noryangjin Seafood Market: On open public space on 5th floor, (2015) Full of Blue Light is polycarbonate little fish on a stee frame outlining a whale. Sculpture celebrates the 2000 employees and mechants in the building below. Mid-morning walk saw retail section in the east part and the wholesalers in the west part, but it was too early for most restaurants to be open. (Noryangjin Seafood Market, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230927
Seoul National University Museum of Art
Seoul National University Museum of Art: Long bus ride south to visit university art collection in building designed by Rem Koolhass circa 2005. Works exhibited seem to tell stories that may not be appreciated by visitors outisde of Korean culture, some reminders that we’re in a Christian country. Hilly journey revealed large campus in the midst of forest, reflecting 21st century rise of Korean economy. (SNU MoA | Seoul National University Museum of Art, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230927
Sungnyemun
Sungnyemun: Approached the north side of this Namdaemun (Gate of Exalted Ceremonies) as the south entry closest to the river. Built of stone and wood in 1398, the morning market was just inside. Strolled through Namdaemun Market and had gimbap rice wrapped in seaweed, nokdujeon mung bean pancakes, tteokbokki spicy rice cakes, standing in the alleys. (Sungnyemun, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230927
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul: Member of Korean Avant-Garde Art Association,matured into Kim Kulim (1998) Ying and Yang 98-S 191, painting inspired by Eastern thought after returning from NYC. Part of special exhibition taking up multiple galleries in this museum. Contemporay art in a modernist bulding, across the street from ancient palaces. (MMCA | National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230927


Bongeunda Gangnam:
: Arrived to first hear drumming, and then saw Buddhist priest swinging log into bell for a big bong. Climbed up stairs to find a big Buddha. After visiting the shrine, crossed street south into Starfield Coex Mall, a haven for shoppers. (Bongeunsa, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230927


Samilgyo Bridge, Cheonggyecheon Stream:
: Took elevator down from street level above to rest by urban stream, on a long walking route from Seoul Museum of Art, through Myeong-Dong, then towards Insa-Dong. Forecast for rain didn’t come true, weather was sweaty and a sun hat would have been a better plan. Second full day following afternoon arrival, still battling jet lag. (Samilgyo Bridge, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea) 20230928

Gwanjeong Pavilion, Huwon Secret Garden, Changdeokgung Palace
Gwanjeong Pavilion, Huwon Secret Garden, Changdeokgung Palace: Visitors in the shade of mulberry trees by the pavilion with the no entry sign. Stream was at the end of the tour of the private rear garden constructed by King Taejong of the Joseon dynasty, who ruled from 1400 to 1418. Original palace buildings and grounds were destroyed by centuries of war, and have been restored or improved. (Gwanjeong Pavilion, Huwon Secret Garden, Changdeokgung Palace, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230929
Hyangdaecheong, Jongmyo Shrine
Hyangdaecheong, Jongmyo Shrine: Reproduction depicting a spirit chaumber (tomb) like the many for royalty onsite the shrine. On each side of the rear table are cabinets, where the urns would be stored. This building was originally used for storing ritual utensils. and now provides a view that commoners won’t normally see. (Hyangdaecheong, Jongmyo Shrine, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230929


Samilgyo Bridge, Cheonggyecheon Stream:
: Took elevator down from street level above to rest by urban stream, on a long walking route from Seoul Museum of Art, through Myeong-Dong, then towards Insa-Dong. Forecast for rain didn’t come true, weather was sweaty and a sun hat would have been a better plan. Second full day following afternoon arrival, still battling jet lag. (Samilgyo Bridge, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea) 20230928

National Folk Museum of Korea

Gwangjang Market
: Cooks in stalls with piles of raw foods ready to assemble, responding to customers seated at the perimeter. Aisles packed with visitors struggling to walk through crowds, some pausing to eye selection. We opted for a sit down restaurant, where the adventurer tried sannakji young octopus cut into pieces with nerve action continuing posthumously. (Gwangjang Market, Jongno-ku, Seoul, South Korea) 20230930


DDP Design Lab:
: Curtained-off section of Design Dream Land: Fall in K-POP exhibition, showing how design, fashion and illustration come together to develop a musical group. Foil walls, colored lights, video screens and mannequins give visualization with reality. We’re not the target audience, so unfamiliar to the K-pop groups. (Dongdaemun Design Plaza Design Lab, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230930


DDP Dongdaemun Design Plaza:
: Arrived at dusk at the cultural hub in the traditional fashion district, this Metonymic Landscape replaced a stadium in a major urban development project completed in 2014. The entry into the Dongdaemun Design Museum was hidden on the B2 level, with a bank of elevators towards enclosed parking. The Design Lab had an exhibition to experience how K-Pop is nurtured into a larger societal pheonomenon. (Dongdaemun Design, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea) 20230930

2023/08 Moments August 2023

Toronto, Ontario; Fairfield, Iowa; Iowa City, Iowa; Salina, Iowa; Ames, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Sackville, New Brunswick; Parrsboro, Nova Scotia; Amherst, Nova Scotia; Shediac, New Brunswick; Moncton, New Brunswick

Ralph Thornton Centre
Ralph Thornton Centre: Sunday afternoon Break Draft event by @ensemblesession, led by longtime members in the Toronto community. Round-robin event for 4 hours, ending with two tie-breaking faceoffs for cash prize. Welcoming to observing audience, relaxed atmosphere. (Ralph Thornton Centre, Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario) 20220806
Pape Village
Pape Village: Family dinner backyard BBQ extended with adopted uncles, reflecting on the recent wedding. Reminisced of early days hosting the sons when the parents went on vacation to London. Grilled burgers, chicken and vegetables, alongside Japanese curry with rice. (Pape Villiage, Broadview Avenue, East York Ontario) 20220809
Riverside neighbourhood
Riverside neighbourhood: Mobile bike mechanic rolled up to our garage on the back laneway with a trailer carrying a stackable toolbox, collapsed bike stand and some supplies. Requested tuneups for the newer fun Miyata and the older Raleigh beater, both with drivetrain issues. The Miyata is missing one of 6 speeds due to a plastic tooth broken in the shifter, the Raleigh has a chain stretched so far that a replacement might be considered next year. (Riverside neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20230811
Tinuno Downtown
Tinuno Downtown: Satisfied a sense of adventure for two experienced globetrotters by dining on kamayan (Filipino boodle fight) with hands in plastic gloves and no serving utensils. Snagged outdoor patio table, that servers covered with banana leaves, spreading garlic rice then topped with squid, shrimp, fish, mussels and pork. Guests had a tiring drive around the lake from Rochester, should have have a good night’s rest before the in-person Systems Thinking Ontario meeting next evening. (Tinuno, Howard Strreet, Toronto, Ontario) 20230813
Canadian Tire Woodstock
Canadian Tire Woodstock: Westward towards Iowa, more rest stop than charging needed, so suburban plaza is on route. Originally planned internal combustion engine had coolant issue, so alternate vehicle is Mercedes electric vehicle. Learning about user interfaces while in motion. (Canadian Tire, Norwich Avenue, Woodstock, Ontario) 20230816
Maharishi International University
Maharishi International University: Leisurely tour through Fairfield Iowa included stop by the Maharishi Tower of invincibility, and peek into windows of the Maharishi Pantanjali Golden Dome not open to public. Signs in the Argiro Student Center say fall session starts with lecture tomorrow, while the campus was quiet today. Moving slowly after previous day journeyl that took over 20 hours in the maiden long journey of a new electric SUV. (Maharishi International University, Fiarfield, Iowa, 20220817
Dairy Bar
Dairy Bar: Late afternoon pause at local institution for ice cream sundaes and slushies. Sitting at picnic table, casual conversation led to creative possibilities of approaches to conducting workshop to awaken non-rational thinking. Rural pace in the small town enables open mindspace away from urban rush. (Dairy Bar, West Burlington Avenue, Fairfield, Iowa) 20230817


Stanley Museum of Art:
: In the lightwell, from the ground floor up to the third floor, Nnenna Okore (2023) Spirit Dance reflects the Nigerian notion that change can be enacted by non-human, humans and spirits. The sculpture is made of wire boning, dress in burlap, cheesecloth and jute in browns, reds and oranges. Just revealed at the beginning of August 2023, the installation is exposed to rain and snow that will weatherhe materials, through its showing into 2024. (Stanley Museum of Art, Burlington Street, Iowa City, Iowa) 20230818

Stanley Museum of Art
Stanley Museum of Art: In gallery opened in August 2022, Giorgio De Chiirico 1947 Le Muse Inquietanti (The Disquieting Muses) was a verifalsi (true fake) copying his own work in 1916. The original is in a collection of italian futurists in Milan. Allusion to the muses of tragedy and comedy, with industrial buildings in the background. (Staney Museum of Art, Burlington Street, Iowa City, Iowa) 20230818
Salina, Iowa
Salina, Iowa: Dynamically planned dinner with ingredients mostly local on hand: dried trumpet chanterelle mushroom from Finland into soymilk for vegan soup; homegrown tomatoes for caprese salad, wild keta salmon with ginger and soy sauce, stir fried eggplant zucchini + peppers, corn on the cob. Discussion on dry summer with current rise of heat, the crops may not survive. Neighbours have become more unfriendly in the past few years, wondering why. (Salina, Iowa) 20230819
Main Street, Ames, Iowa
Main Street, Ames, Iowa: On street corner, Steve Reddell (2022) Riding High sculpture on a hot August day. Opted to enjoy ice cream inside the shop, and visit the bookstore with air conditioning. Drove around the Iowa State University campus, with signs that classes start tomorrow. (Main Street at Douglas Avenue, Ames, Iowa) 20230820
Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Pappajohn Sculpture Park: In foreground, Keith Haring (1989 design, 2009 fabrication) Three Dancing Figures, version C, is number 3 from an edition of 10, inspired by the graffiti in NYC. In background, Jaume Plensa (2007) Nomade first shown in Antibes, then Miami, before current siting, with human figure outlined with individual letters. City centre park is compact with 9 installations, some by familiar famous artists seen in other cities at different scales. (Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa) 20230820
Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Pappajohn Sculpture Park: In foreground, Yayoi Kusama (2014 design, 2018 fabrication) Pumpkin (L) represents a form of radiant energy. In background, Tony Smith (started 1962, completed 1981) Marriage originally didn’t have the opening visibile in three-quarter view, so the top box was made 2 feet longer. Late Sunday afternoon, few visitors to the park in rising summer temperatures. (Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa) 20230820
Cracker Barrel
Cracker Barrel: Recharging stop of 5 homeward bound, not including the false stop in Davenport that wouldn’t connect to vehicle. Optimized routing leads to suburban plazas, where food choices are local to a 30 minute stop when output is 200 kWh, and 60 minutes+ when real rates are less than 100 kWh. Restaurant offering southern cooking hasn’t been at the top of my list, but passable for a vegan falling off to fish. (Cracker Barrel, Commercial Drive, Lansing, Michigan) 20230821
Woodstock OnRoute Service Centre
Woodstock OnRoute Service Centre: Oasis at 11:30pm Monday night barely has Tim Hortons open, with no other EV drivers lounging. Charging station posted with 150kWh capacity is pushing 45 kWh. This should be stop of 5, we expect to arrive in Toronto after 2am ET, having left Fairfield Iowa at 7:00am CT. (OnRoute Service Centre, Highway 401 eastbound, Woodstock, Ontario) 20230821
Edwards Gardens
Edwards Gardens: Annual ritual repeated for the 38th time, we reflected on a busy year packed with family activities. Discreet change of angle on the fountain, to hide the yellow tape around the pit dug behind. Attended by a single son, we appreciate the regular event can get bumped by overbooking. (Edward Gardens, Lawrence Avenue East, Don Mills, Ontario) 20230824
Wilson Heights
Wilson Heights: Convened for relaxed dinner with friends since undergraduate university days, schedule months ahead on busy calendars. Catching up on careers and family changes since our last dinner together, 4 years ago, before the Covid shutdown. Creative dodging of dietary constraints with cedar-planked salmon, broccolini, Portuguese pastry, mochi, non-dairy ice cream, and the first Sauvignon Blanc wine i’ve tasted in many years. (Wilson Heights, North York, Ontario) 20230826
Maple Leaf Lounge Domestic
Maple Leaf Lounge Domestic: Coordinated meeting for meal before boarding on eastbound flight. Airport seemed chaotic at domestic check in, our taxi slowed by 4-vehicle pileup on highway, their train was faster. Our family usually flies to west coast, is the closer east coast departure more delayed? (Maple Leaf Lounge domestic, Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario) 20230828
Pierre Lassonde School of Fine Arts
Pierre Lassonde School of Fine Arts: Collection of sculptures at the front atrium clearly signals entering an art school. Walking tour of Mount Allison University, by a retired staff member, routed us through back doors. Well maintained campus for a top liberal arts university in Canada. (Pierre Lassonde School of Fine Arts, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick) 20230829
Owens Art Gallery
Owens Art Gallery: Triptych mural Alex Colville (1961) Athletes now resides in gallery, after 50 years in the lobby of the Athletic Centre at Mount Allison University. Swimmer is starting, high jumper and javelin thrower are in mid-action, sprinter is crossing the finishing line. Geometric structure across the three parts was planned out after the artist has done renovations on his Sackville house. (Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick)
Colville House
Colville House: Studio of Alex Colville recreated on first floor of house where he lived with his wife and four children1949-1973. Original working space was in third floor attic, but climbing through a narrow trapdoor would be too hazardous for visitors. Arranged for tour guide while we were at Owens Art Gallery, she opened the door and turned on the lights for us. (Colville House, York Street, Sackville, New Brunswick) 20230829
Minas Channel
Minas Channel: Arrived at low tide to see the water marks on the exposed pier, with the lighthouse across the Minas Channel. The Minas Basin has some of the highest tidal ranges recorded, as a sub-basin of the Fundy Basin, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy. Enjoyed local seafood at the restaurant with the Harbour View, named accurately, but without expected elevation. (Minas Channel, Pier Road, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia) 20230829
Hawkes Blueberries
Hawkes Blueberries: Stacks of colourful blueberry transport crates on a rainy day, with windmill electricity generators in the background. Road signs pointed to delivery station with a retail store, but we were too late in the day. In Nova Scotia just by the border with New Brunswick, the region is farms with a few towns, all near salt water. (Hawkes Blueberries, Amherst, Nova Scotia) 20230830
Duncan’s Pub
Duncan’s Pub: Reunion with past colleague and friend, who moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia escaping pandemic pressures in winter 2020. First time in years that I’ve stayed in a pub past last call, but hours are shorter in a small town. Reawakening socializing together, after work-from-home routine has become too comfortable a habit. (Duncan’s Pub, Victoria Street, Amherst, Nova Scotia) 20230830
Le Plus Gros Homard du Monde
Le Plus Gros Homard du Monde: Popular tourist stop, with many families visiting even on a cool cloudy day at end of August. Noticed a predominance of Francophones, New Brunswick might be a favorite for monolingual Canadians. Leisurely route from Strait Shores to Moncton, return flight already rescheduled an hour later than original plan. (Le Plus Gros Homard du Monde, Rotary Park, Shediak, New Brunswick) 20230831
Galerie d'art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen
Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen: In gallery celebrating Acadian Renaissance, Emily Philips (2021) Hexaptych, Brother’s Brook large oil on canvas. Arrived at university museum 10 minutes before closing, didn’t see cultural history. Flight home further delayed. (Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen, Universite de Moncton, New Brunswick) 20230831


Transportation Discovery Centre:
: Hands-on exhibits not just for kids. Light attendance on late Thursday afternoon, so adults play unimpeded. Grownups may interpret the science differently. (Transportation Discovery Center, Resurgo Place, Moncton, New Brunswick) 20230831

2023/07 Moments July 2023

Toronto, Ontario

Bakery Lane
Bakery Lane: Canada Day urban pseudo-lumberjack trimming back the neighbour’s tree growing over our garage. Way overdue for maintenance, debris from many years had become soil in the eavestroughs, rich with earthworms. Elders now more cautious about taking on risky activities. (Bakery Lane, Riverside district, Toronto, Ontario) 20230701
Aki Studio
Aki Studio: Improv @Toronto_Fringe @mahjongmafiacomedy with @hello.anson , interviewing on life history for content without scripts. Stories of Thai father Malaysian mother working in restaurant with English as common language, expressing love through food. Second act was based on prompts of secrets hidden away from Asian parents, back-to-back scenes with rapid dialogue. (Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum, Dundas Astreet East, Toronto, Ontario) 20220711
Godspeed Brewery
Godspeed Brewery: Couple to be joined officially in about 2 hours, in fun pose for photographer with brothers and cousins from California, Texas, Virginia, British Columbia. Lighting and available space was better in the parking lot than inside the brewery. The large Ing and Yee families participated in the traditional Chinese tea ceremony before other guests arrived. (Godspeed Brewery, Coxwell Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20230715
Godspeed Brewery
Godspeed Brewery: Bride and groom entering the tank room of the brewery, to ascend the stairs and meet the officiant to take their vows. Relaxed venue for a marital ceremony, reception offered smoked fish, oysters, sausages and charcurerie to accompany Czech-style beers, sake and iced tea. Brief speeches and dancing into the night, with performance of break dancing from the crew members, as well as a toddler showing up the elders. (Godspeed Brewery, Coxwell Avenue, Toronto, Onrtario) 20230715
King Spadina District
King Spadina District: Family dinner with special recognition for successful PhD dissertation defence earlier in the week. Reflection on 6 years living in Toronto, will be moving to Hong Kong for a professorship in a few weeks. Watched newly transferred videos of childhood cottage visits, as well as delivery in the hospital at childbirth. (King Spadina district, Toronto, Ontario) 20230726
Jimmie Simpson Park
Jimmie Simpson Park: Afternoon meetup with @cdnorman, since he walks past my street practically every day. Catch-up conversation for OCADU-affiliated faculty who haven’t been on campus so much recently. Last occasion on the same bench was almost 3 years ago, physically-distanced with pandemic disruption, we really should meet more frequently. (Jimmie Simpson Park, Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario) 20230727

Kew Beach
Kew Beach: Overenthusiastic passerby captures nonsharp image of walk on boardwalk at dusk. Visitors from Finland enjoying Toronto, except a warm day for us is a hot day for them. Happy that they’ve felt comfortable in our city, they said there’s more urban walking neighbourhoods than in Montreal. (Kew Beach, Toronto, Ontario) 20230728
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