Goodbye Toronto

A few days have passed since the Toronto International Film Festival ended, giving us a chance to reflect on the highlights of our trip there that were not necessarily film related.

Starting with the hotel we stayed at. Built in 1929, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel boasts 1365 rooms and the largest hotel kitchen in Canada. You might recognize it as the setting for a big scene in the film "Red" (not the conclusion to Kieslowski's "Three Color" trilogy but the one in which Helen Mirren shoots a machine gun).

 There are also 72 kilometers (about 42 miles) of carpeting in the endless corridors of the hotel. Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining"


could have been shot here. But it wasn't.

Otherwise, I  didn't have much time to see many of the local attractions. I did, however, get a glimpse at  the number one tourist destination in the city, the Steam Whistle Beer Brewery, from the window of Lynne Ramsay's hotel room when I interviewed her for "We Need to Talk About Kevin." It's located in the old John St. Roundhouse (also built in 1929!) that had served as a Canadian Pacific Rail steam locomotive repair facility.


They give away a free six pack at the end of the tour!

The Steam Whistle Brewery was originally going to be called "Three Fired Guys Brewing Company" because the founders had been employees laid off by a big beer corporation. It's yet another example of Canadian coddling disgruntled labor, if you want my opinion. What do you expect from a socialist country?

Like when I was walking  to a screening at the Light Box (TIFF's brand new state of the art HQ and multiplex theater)  and I saw this guy idling at some make-work project probably paid for by our tax dollars. I really wanted to tell  him to move his ass or get a real job.

Then I noticed it was a statue.


It's a memorial to guys killed on the job in Canada over the past century or so.



Piano players get credit, though. Here's Glenn Gould outside the CN studio named after him. It's about 90 degrees and look how he's dressed!

After spending so much time indoors on city streets, we were relieved to take a break and stroll along Queen's Quay, where we observed some of the exotic local wildlife. We managed to spy this handsome specimen of the elusive "Canada" goose.


Highlights missed this time around: the CN Tower, which is a much bigger version of the Space Needle that we saw during the Seattle International Film Festival. And the Rogers Center, where the Blue Jays were adding to the ongoing Red Sox September collapse while we were in town. And many more points of interest as well: makes us want to come back soon!

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