I spend the last week of the out-of-town portion of my Book Writing Tour 2013 in Toronto, trying out my colleague’s writing routine of frequently moving writing locations during the day. This tends to chunk the day with more physical activity and increased potential for interesting encounters and inspirations. Thus, I write my Daily Morning Pages, story notes and organizational ideas at 3 local coffee shops varying in size, artistic decor, and busy-ness, each inspiring creativity in their own way. Throughout the rest of the day, I continue the relocation routine and move around between the garden and the study at the home of my Toronto hostess. My writing colleague and I manage to fit in a collaborative website working session, exchanging tips and tricks, and other website hosting discoveries.
Toronto’s Artist Date takes my writing colleague and I to the beautifully renovated Art Gallery of Ontario. The open-arched sculpture gallery reminds of being trapped with other creatures inside a transparent whale, whose ribs are made of wood. The atrium’s sensuous wooden Baroque Stair that reminds of a snail’s shell is a delightful contrast to the graceful movements of the bird-like robotic arms engaged in a tantalizing ballet dance within the Killing Machine interactive exhibit. Exiting the Gallery, stepping down the gently sloping sinuous ramp with tall massive wooden walls for railings, gives an inspired feeling of floating over the concrete floor like a ballet dancer. The Gallery provides fertile ground for the imagination.
The Gallery experience is further heightened by my excitement of taking Toronto’s Bixi bike share to and from the downtown location. The joyous ride is marred only by a passer-by’s ignorant yet still hurtful audible commentary about the unintentional grimace on my face as I intently concentrate on not getting my bicycle wheel caught in the streetcar (tram) tracks and wiping out.
While I never make it to the nearby Roncesvalles Polish district where I spent about one of my teenage years, I pass through it on a streetcar on my way to the GO Train to make my commute from Toronto to my Mom’s in suburban Brampton for the last weekend of my trip. Excited to be taking one of the very few trains Canada has to offer at present, I even gladly make the 30-minute journey in standing-room-only conditions.
On an unremarkable Sunday afternoon, I stumble on a surprising glimmer of hope for cyclists. In suburban Brampton, I spot a covered bicycle parking station at a “Community Campus” (picture a large open-air mall or “power centre”, geared solely towards public “recreation”, accessible primarily by car, since the >1.5km-long city blocks are largely prohibitive as walking distances). Though distances there leave much to be desired, the brave and fearless cyclists who make the trek there by bike are protected from the dripping rain while locking up their vehicles on a rainy day, and are welcomed by a small piece of infrastructure that further sanctions their transportation choice.
Upon my return to Vancouver for the final 3 weeks of my Book Writing Tour 2013, I begin to take stock of my gains and my losses from the experience. As part of my travel loot, I return with a handful of my childhood photos to help further jog my memory for stories of what my life’s beginnings were like.
The Special Dish for the Week is a summer favourite, which I make for the second time during my trip (the previous time when London was Calling): the sweet and spicy, cold and refreshing, Watermelon Gazpacho.