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Toronto | Ruth Tshin

Nuit Blanche 2010

Last weekend, caries I experienced my first Nuit Blanche in Toronto.  I loved that there were tons of people out on the street and that I could get into the ROM for free to see an outstanding exhibition by a Ghanian artist called El Anatsui, denture who used refuse to create art, neuropathologist before it heads to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.  Too bad it was too crowded to enjoy that night.  My favourite part of the night was listening and watching Lauren MacDonald’s audio-visual work of 29 singers singing in 29 languages in the ROM’s lobby.  It was spine-tingling to listen to, not unlike evensong at King’s College in Cambridge.

Fellini's 8 and 1/2 as deconstructed by Atom Egoyan

A film exhibit by Guy Maddin, Winnipeg's film auteur

The new Lightbox at King and John - bringing cinema in Toronto up several notches

The PG-rated sing-a-long at the Lightbox

Robert De Niro's actual driver's license when filming Taxi in New York

People out and about on Bloor Street

Back in Canada!

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

I’m back! (…until about September, drugstore that is)

What I didn’t realize I missed about Canada while in Thailand (and have spared no time making up for it):

  • Boston cream donuts from Tim Horton’s
  • powdered sugar donuts
  • Golden Graham cereal eaten out of the box, here no milk
  • Ace Bakery french bread
  • blueberry cheese danishes
  • chocolate chip and apple granola bars
  • curried goat roti from Roti Roti in Rexdale
  • South Indian food from Saravana Bhavan in Mississauga
  • steak sandwich from Biermans in Chesley
  • Rueben sandwich from Three Friend’s Cafe in Wiarton
  • fish and chips from Chips Ahoy in Southampton
  • local micro-brewery beer (Ontario: MacLean’s Ale, Steam Whistle; Nova Scotia: Alexander Keith’s)
  • European bakeries
  • strolling in downtown Toronto
  • watching games at a sports bar
  • evening walks without 90% humidity
  • rolling countryside and gorgeous sunsets in Grey/Bruce county
  • free concerts at the Harbourfront Stage
  • the public library

Little gems

Toronto offers so many simple pleasures especially heightened in the winter when you are bundled up against the cold and travelling on foot. Having lived in tropical climates for the past two winters I’d almost forgotten the delightful feelings of cold, more about ruddy cheeks, epidemic of coming into warmth after braving the wind, the sounds of smooth ice slipping underneath ice skates (shrrush, shrrush), of muted footsteps in the snow.


I’m always thrilled to discover little gems in Toronto, especially when they are introduced to me by friends. It’s always an immense pleasure to discover local gathering places or hole-in-the-wall eateries that lack pretense or the sheen of “modern luxury”, and are accessible on foot. I visited the Dufferin Grove Farmer’s Market on Thursday and was delighted to see people out and about even though it was a rather cold day (it’s open year-round). There was a guy selling Mexican drinking chocolate made from cacao beans grown, picked and processed by his collective; a lady presiding over delicious breads made with beets or potato scones with rosemary; and theatre props hanging from the rafters above organic beets, turnips and cabbage. The market is housed inside a community ice rink and there were lots of kids and teenagers having a good time amongst the shoppers.

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Near the corner of Dufferin and Bloor, there was a cozy Ethiopian restaurant that offered a yummy vegetarian platter that I shared with my friend. In the two and a half weeks back in Mississauga and Toronto, I’ve made up for the lack of international cuisine in southwest Florida by eating Cantonese, Sichuan, Thai and Lebanese (Paramount Fine Foods in Mississauga – deeelish pastries, fresh fresh fresh pita bread and hummus, and manakeesh) foods. And I plan to eat more before I return to the sunny climes (Newin Centre, here I come!). (Oooh…in the midst of all this, I do miss my mamey shakes and Cuban sandwiches. Grass is always greener on the other side, eh?)