The biggest city in Canada, Toronto isn't just responsible for the TV show, "Kids in the Hall". There's also a bevy of photo-yielding tours to take, with a vibrant social and cultural scene that guarantees plenty of subjects for your analog lens. And the food? Well, just don't eat the ponies.
In Toronto, you’ll find an artist who works with lint and a shoe museum where you can design your own shoes. There are lots of reasons to visit besides the Toronto Film Festival too: NXNE and LuminaTO are just two of the city’s other annual arts festivals that are definitely worth checking out. Here are a few other attractions too:
Funky Arts Tour of West Queen West
I felt right at home with Toronto-based columnist, writer, educator, and speaker Betty Ann Jordan. She took us on a four-hour journey along Toronto’s West Queen West, one of her favorite parts of the city. The area features a wide range of indie boutiques, specialty stores, offbeat dive bars, and other choice subjects for local and international shutterbugs alike. It probably looks a lot like the “quirky” part of your own city, but it’s still fun.
Toronto Graffiti Tour
Speaking of tours, Jason Kucherawy of the Tour Guys gives an interesting overview of Toronto’s graffiti scene. Among other things, I learned that defacing a mural isn’t nice, but it’s OK to tag your name on top of someone else’s. Apparently, no one told the people who scribble all over the Virgin Mary murals in Los Angeles. Anyway, when it comes to rules, isn’t graffiti all about breaking them?
Inside the Art Gallery of Ontario
Founded in 1900, the Art Gallery of Ontario in Downtown Toronto’s Grange Park district reopened in 2008 after completing a four-year renovation. Transformation AGO cost $276 million, a reportedly low budget for Frank Gehry, the project’s LA-based architect who’s used to working on brand-new buildings like the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Upon completion, the revamped AGO increased the amount of gallery space by nearly 50%. That means lots of Gehry-esque curves, lines, light, and shadows to play with on film.
Presented by the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto, The Tutu Project features “60 Tutus for 60 Years.” Here are just a few on display, captured with my Lomokino.
A Horse is a Main Course, of Course, of Course
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in Canada, eating horse meat is legal. I learned this after I encountered a group of people protesting outside Toronto’s La Palette restaurant on West Queen West. They told me that the restaurant sources horse meat from auctions, including retired horses from children’s pony rides. I wouldn’t be comfortable eating a dish called “Quack ‘N’ Track” anyway. (Foal gras, anyone?) But that’s just me.
Whatever your taste, Toronto is a fun, cute, creative city, not unlike many other urban centers around the world. Just be sure to hold your horses if you go.