Julia asked me recently whether it was possible to knit and walk at the same time, so as to avoid too much sitting, and I said Yes I do it all the time, but then I realized I do it all the time (weather permitting) in the neighbourhood of my house, which has wide and leafy sidewalks. I would not try to knit while walking around downtown... although now that I think of it, that's probably safer than texting while walking around downtown. At least with knitting, you're not looking down the whole time!
Before I realized I could indeed walk and knit downtown if I was ever not in a hurry (there's a hope) Pete asked me to take him to my favourite coffee shop, home of the gorgeous floor which I showed you earlier this week and am showing you again because I love it so, so much:
Actually I spotted another floor I love in one of the older parts of a bank - different marbles laid to look like a carpet and border. It's a lot more neutral look and probably much easier to capture too, so I will try to be open-minded. (love the big cement tiles though, and when else would I have a chance to have that?)
(could I do that at the condo do you think?)
Back to my point: after coffee, Pete wanted to walk on to City Hall, which is celebrating 50 years in existence this fall. I do mean City Hall, which is not to be confused with Old City Hall, which sits next door and is much older. I wonder, what will they do when the current City Hall gets too old for the job?
Anyhoo: it seems the the logical way to celebrate is by filling the public square in front of the building with vintage ambulances...
I can't imagine I would feel as thrilled to look at the back of this Packard from a position of need, but as a more-or-less tourist: gorgeous.
That's old city hall looming up behind the front of the vehicle, the building with the little pointed peaks on top of its towers. I think it is a courthouse now but don't quote me, it's next door to a distracting mall and an equally distracting department store and I am too swamped to be an accurate blog-writer.
We met a retired ambulance driver while admiring all the chrome and the streamlined shaping, and he said the trouble with the design was that the stretcher base was very close to the doors. If the patient they picked up had a seizure, the window got kicked out, guaranteed. So if they picked up somebody with this trouble they would know straight off they would need to drive straight from the hospital to the garage where half a dozen rear windows were kept in stock for just this situation.
That's what I love about history: the human element. Really hope those patients were all okay though because it would be bad enough to have a seizure... the force you'd need to pop out a car window can't have been easy on your bones and joints.
Oh, and here's another history factoid: originally all the ambulances were privately run, and in many cases were operated by a funeral home. Way to inspire confidence in the patient about getting well, huh?
There were other vehicles pulling into the square for the afternoon's ceremonies too:
I loved watching this one drive to its designated position past the fountains in the square. Definitely not something you see every day.
And in happy news, it looks like the Toronto sign is staying. That curvy building on the right is City Hall,by the way.
Pete got me to take a picture of him in one of the Os, and then two German ladies asked me to take their picture in an O as well. Their camera was much fancier than mine and I didn't press hard enough to take the pictures the first time I tried, but we worked it out. Anyway I was just thrilled to have graduated from being a local messing up while giving directions to a tourist, to a local messing up while taking pictures for a tourist.* When we left I spotted another woman in an O, filling it with outstretched arms and legs.
*for the record, I can totally direct anybody to the really good coffee
shop. it's just north of the scaffolding detour on Yonge Street north
of King, where all the construction blocks every useful entrance to
PATH. Also it's called Dineen.
Truly a genius design, that Toronto sign. And City Hall is really pretty cute too.
We looped home along University Avenue, which is wide enough to have parks with benches running all down the middle, with breaks for every cross street.
I remember seeing this same idea in Boston - a boulevard, if you will - but here there is so little space it could absolutely have been paved over and/or turned into another lane, so I love that we have parks instead. I still remember with happiness walking home through those parks one summer evening after work when I had finished my second year of university. It was such a nice way to wind down after my day job in a circulation department and my second job at a department store!
I spotted this amazing sculpture further south on University and if I were a responsible person I would have the name of the artist to give you but I think we all know by now I am anything but that:
It's like something out of a nightmare in a way, but sooo shiny and interesting, and the little lumplike things all over it are birds:
I like it a lot.
Here's really why we looped down University, though.
The Toronto International Film Festival! Yet again I will probably not have free time at times films are showing. I am going to try, because I probably won't be living down here next fall, but either way I love the energy of the city during TIFF, and it's not like King Street is closed down and filled with giant orange balloon things every day. I realize that in this picture the street looks like tumbleweeds could blow through but it was really very early on Sunday when I took it, and just past the first two sets of balloons, there was a massive long line winding around Roy Thompson Hall for a movie. It would be a shame if I don't have a chance to see anything really, because the lines are always very long, and knitters are so well-equipped for standing in lines.
I am incredibly grateful to have this experience downtown after so many years in a midtown neighbourhood with a small town feel. I'm sure I'll get tired of it eventually... I just hope that happens just before we move back, and not eight years afterward!