Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Open Sesame: Doors Open Toronto

The weather was my bitch this weekend - it submitted so completely that I rarely had to unholster my cat-o-nine-tails.

And boy did we take advantage.

Toronto kindly opened its doors to all sorts of unsavoury characters this weekend, Jason and I among them. Supposedly we were to admire the city's impressive architecture, but we secretly toured only the cool places. Of 144 sites with doors wide open, we managed to visit 7. And we did good. All told, we walked nearly 40km in 2 days, and while this sets no records, it did take my 10 day old sandals and age them to approximately 16 years. And for a flat-footed soul like me, that's saying a lot.

Early starts were no problem since I've "conveniently" been waking up about 4:30. This means that by 10:30 on Saturday morning, Jason was chugging back beer at the Steam Whistle Brewery. Tim, the hottie tour guide, or Good Beer Folk, encouraged us to "smell the hops" which I'm pretty sure is a euphemism that I just wasn't getting. Despite the free samples, we left pretty cranky between the two of us - Jason wanted to toot the steam whistle, and I wanted to ride the little trains, but oh no, "This is for children only, ma'am", I was told, which I'm pretty sure is code for "Get your fat ass out of here." Either way, Jason was quite bemused that the tiny trains were actually powered by coal - the kind you buy at the grocery store for you grill, but still. Underneath this historic roundhouse now converted into a micro-brewery sits 10 levels of unhistoric parking garage...and possibly a top secret CSIS lab...or not.

The brewery sits in the shadows of the CN tower and the Rogers Centre so we squeezed between them (and about eleventy billion sweaty tourists) to get to the CBC building for an exciting tour of television studios. In reality, what we saw was a not so exciting tour of big empty rooms where cool stuff happens only when they're not open to the public. In fact, the big empty rooms were only distinguishable by the tour guides who assured us that they were either slightly bigger, or slightly smaller, or slightly to the left of all the others. They were all empty except for lights, but the guides really talk a big game. Royal Canadian Air Farce is sometimes here! Olympics coverage is sometimes here! Elephants and helicopters are sometimes here! (sometimes meaning not now...never now). And we tried our best to look impressed. I think we failed. But we were sufficiently grossed out to learn that the donuts from the coffee shop set are a year old and still going strong. They've basically pickled themselves at this point.

In the lobby there was a 'meet & greet' of CBC "celebrities", none of which we'd ever heard of before. Admittedly, we're not big TV people. But upon closer inspection, I realized that in fact, Strombo himself, maybe the only person worth turning on the boob tube for, was sitting on the panel. I have loved George Stroumboulopoulous since well before The Hour, and some woman with a headset was very insistent that I not be shy and go on up to collect some autographs. Despite the fact that Jason almost swallowed his tongue over this remark, the woman apparently had no idea how close she came to the famous Jamie Tongue-Lashing. In the end, I chose to neither greet nor meet George. No disrespect, but I think autographs are just signatures. It's just a name on paper. Who the fuck cares? And should I stand in line to say "Hey, I like your show" so he can say "Thanks" with as much sincerity as he can muster 80 dozen times in a row? Okay, so I'm a total cunt....the whole thing just leaves me a bit cold. However, I did stick around long enough to come across a pair of celebrities that would melt the frigid cockles of my heart.

Next we went to the distillery district where we toured a very old building that seemed only moments away from collapsing on us, and which smelled distinctly of hundreds of years worth of spilled whiskey. Not too bad at all.

And then off to Greek Town on Danforth, where we were summarily marched past and told to admire storefronts which apparently were extras in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, or something like that. Then we sat our wearied souls at "the house of shish kebab" where we did not order shish kebabs, but did enjoy Greek salad and spanokopita while we watched cars on Danforth get expensive parking tickets. Har har har.

We had some drinks. And then we basically had some more drinks.

The good news is, we did get home, and safely. And a bit sunburned.

No comments: