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
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
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!