Life and Times

Life and Times from 2019

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Life and Times from 2015

Life and Times from 2014

Life and Times from 2013

Life and Times from 2012

Life and Times from 2011

Life and Times from 2010

Life and Times from 2009

Life and Times from 2008

Life and Times from 2007

Life and Times from 2006

Life and Times from 2005

Life and Times from 2004

Life and Times from 2003

Life and Times from 2002

Life and Times from 2000

Toronto 2019

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

Part 4

On Saturday, the plan was to visit a number of locations on our list, but with the car rather than walking.  Then we were meeting up with friends for dinner.  First, though, it was a beautiful day, and I got warmed up with some photos of the view off of the balcony while Elyse got ready.


The view from the balcony of our hotel room.

The view from the balcony of our hotel room.

The view from the balcony of our hotel room.

The view from the balcony of our hotel room.

The view from the balcony of our hotel room.


I also got a photo of Elyse with Woomy, holding one of the Malabar labels.

I also got a photo of Elyse with Woomy, holding one of the Malabar labels.

I also got a photo of Elyse with Woomy, holding one of the Malabar labels.


Our first stop was somewhere that Elyse wanted to go: a place called Free Geek.  I dropped Elyse off at Free Geek, which is located in an apartment building, and then went off in search of parking.  I found parking a few blocks away on Lisgar Street, and photographed various odds and ends on the walk back over.


150 Sudbury Street.  150 Sudbury Street.

150 Sudbury Street.


Speed hump sign on Sudbury Street.  Due to bilingual requirements in Canada, most street signs that we saw used pictograms rather than words.

Speed hump sign on Sudbury Street.  Due to bilingual requirements in Canada, most street signs that we saw used pictograms rather than words.


Signs asking that pet owners not allow their dog to urinate on the bushes.  I still maintain that these signs are really tacky, just as I said in a 2015 Journal entry, and more obnoxious than the original problem.  Signs asking that pet owners not allow their dog to urinate on the bushes.  I still maintain that these signs are really tacky, just as I said in a 2015 Journal entry, and more obnoxious than the original problem.

Signs asking that pet owners not allow their dog to urinate on the bushes.  I still maintain that these signs are really tacky, just as I said in a 2015 Journal entry, and more obnoxious than the original problem.


A toy hedgehog on top of a parking meter, with a broken face.  I believe that this is a Zoomer Hedgiez toy.

A toy hedgehog on top of a parking meter, with a broken face.  I believe that this is a Zoomer Hedgiez toy.

A toy hedgehog on top of a parking meter, with a broken face.  I believe that this is a Zoomer Hedgiez toy.


Free Geek is a nonprofit organization that provides computers to the needy to help bridge the digital divide.  They also have a small computer lab for the community’s use, and also sell used computer parts and such.  Not a bad thing by any means.  There are other Free Geek locations, but none in my area (the nearest one to me is in Ephrata, Pennsylvania).


This sign on the wall at Free Geek amused me.

This sign on the wall at Free Geek amused me.


When we got back to the car, I found a yellow piece of paper underneath my windshield wiper.  It was a parking ticket.  As it turned out, I had been parked in an area that is legal for parking some of the time, but not when I parked there.  Well, crap.  I knew that I should have been a little suspicious of a mostly empty block when everything else was full.  I took it as my comeuppance for a number of times where I didn’t pay to park when I probably should have, so I wasn’t even mad about it.  I paid that ticket for $50 Canadian, which came to about $38 in US dollars, when I got home.

Moving along, we headed off to our next destination: 495 King Street West, which formerly was home to Morgese-Soriano, a Canadian mannequin manufacturer.  This was the place where the magic hat ultimately led Waldo the Magnificent during his pursuit of said hat in “Our Story Part 2” after it flew away from him when he cast a spell on it.  The hat ultimately landed on the head of the mannequin that would become Jeff, causing the mannequin to come to life.

Morgese-Soriano later moved to Etobicoke, and has since gone out of business, and the building has since been renovated into office lofts.  However, the building is still recognizable.  I started by photographing the exterior of the building while Elyse waited in the car.


Exterior of the former Morgese-Soriano mannequin factory.

Exterior of the former Morgese-Soriano mannequin factory.

Exterior of the former Morgese-Soriano mannequin factory.


Then, something told me to check the front door.  Much to my delight and surprise, the door was open, so I went on in.  The lobby was fairly nondescript, but I noticed a very old set of buttons on the wall to my left that said “up” and “down” on them.  I pressed one of the buttons, and heard some machinery come to life.  It sounded like there was an elevator in there.  I held “down” until the sound stopped, and then opened a set of double doors next to the buttons.  Imagine my surprise to find the original freight elevator that I remembered from Today’s Special behind the doors.  I assume that when the building was renovated into office lofts, the shaft was fully enclosed, but never did I expect that the original elevator from the Morgese-Soriano days would still be there.  I fully expected that it would have been replaced by a modern passenger elevator during the conversion.


The doors that conceal the elevator.

The doors that conceal the elevator.


The button for the elevator in the first floor lobby.

The button for the elevator in the first floor lobby.


Look familiar?

Look familiar?


Discovering this, I called Elyse in.  She’s the elevator buff, after all, and I just found a vintage Cober manual freight elevator.  She came in, and we took a ride.  The doors leading to the other floors were, not surprisingly, locked, but the elevator still worked.  We rode it up and down a couple of times, and raised and lowered the gate a few times.  I was clearly having fun, remembering when Waldo the Magnificent rode this same elevator.  Meanwhile, Elyse filmed it for her YouTube channel.


Looking up the shaft of the elevator from the first floor level.

Looking up the shaft of the elevator from the first floor level.  I was surprised to see some openings at the second and third floor levels that had been walled in.  I have no idea when these openings were closed up, but it was done during the Morgese-Soriano days, as the footage from Today’s Special shows that the openings had already been walled in.


Elyse and I each posed with the elevator and the gate.  Elyse and I each posed with the elevator and the gate.

Elyse and I each posed with the elevator and the gate.


Signage inside the elevator about its being a freight elevator, and listing maximum capacity of 907 kg (approximately 2000 lbs).

Signage inside the elevator about its being a freight elevator, and listing maximum capacity of 907 kg (approximately 2000 lbs).


Handwritten markings inside the elevator on the second and third floor gates identifying the floors, as well as a reminder to open the gate slowly and gently - unlike the way that Waldo opened the gate in "Our Story".  Handwritten markings inside the elevator on the second and third floor gates identifying the floors, as well as a reminder to open the gate slowly and gently - unlike the way that Waldo opened the gate in "Our Story".

Handwritten markings inside the elevator on the second and third floor gates identifying the floors, as well as a reminder to open the gate slowly and gently – unlike the way that Waldo opened the gate in “Our Story”.


Elyse photographs the front of the elevator.

Elyse photographs the front of the elevator.


Leaving the former mannequin factory, we headed east.  We first stopped at a head shop called Friendly Stranger, which is up the street from the store and near Malabar, just to see what it looked like.  We also learned that the people lined up across the street were waiting to get into a place called The Hunny Pot, which is one of the city’s two legal cannabis dispensaries.

From there, we headed over to the Adelaide Street Court House.  The building now houses Terroni, an Italian restaurant.  In the 1980s, the building was host to a theater, and in this guise, it appeared in “Plays“, where Sam and Jodie visited and met with a man named Alan who showed them a little bit about costuming and stage makeup.  I parked on a side street, and went out to get some photos of the exterior.


The Adelaide Court House, looking much the same on the outside as it did when it appeared in "Plays".  The photo above is the same angle as the establishing shot on Today's Special.

The Adelaide Court House, looking much the same on the outside as it did when it appeared in “Plays”.  The photo above is the same angle as the establishing shot on Today’s Special.

The Adelaide Court House, looking much the same on the outside as it did when it appeared in "Plays".  The photo above is the same angle as the establishing shot on Today's Special.  The Adelaide Court House, looking much the same on the outside as it did when it appeared in "Plays".  The photo above is the same angle as the establishing shot on Today's Special.


We then headed over to Market Square, which Sam visited in "Building" while it was in the early stages of construction.

We then headed over to Market Square, which Sam visited in “Building” while it was in the early stages of construction.


That worked out nicely, as Market Square was right up the street from our next target, St. Lawrence Market.  A fish vendor at St. Lawrence Market appeared in “The Sea“, where Sam and Muffy went in order to get an octopus for the sea party that everyone was planning for Sam.  Back then, it was called Dominic’s Fish Market, but is now called St. Lawrence Fish Market following a change in ownership.


St. Lawrence Fish Market, where Sam and Muffy picked up the octopus.  St. Lawrence Fish Market, where Sam and Muffy picked up the octopus.

St. Lawrence Fish Market, where Sam and Muffy picked up the octopus.


I was pretty proud of the way that I found the fish market.  When they did the establishing shot in “The Sea”, they panned past a sign that showed a phone number.  I could read the phone number on the sign, and put it into Google.  Found it in seconds.

At this point, we were coming up on a hard timepoint.  We had agreed to meet some friends of mine at Cafe Polonez on Roncesvalles Avenue at 5:00.  The friends that we were seeing were Darlene and Anni.  Darlene was Sarah Lanthier’s mother, and I know Anni through Darlene.  I first got to know Sarah in 1997 through the website, and we had great fun together on my previous trip to Toronto in 1999, and we remained friends until her passing in late 2004.  I’ve remained good friends with both Darlene and Anni ever since, and so it was great to visit and catch up in person again.

Cafe Polonez was a mixed bag as far as restaurants go.  The food and service were absolutely fantastic.  I ordered the schnitzel, and as soon as I saw the plate come out, I thought, I’m in trouble.  They gave us a whole lot of food.  I think that Anni was the only one who didn’t end up with a to-go container, likely because she was most familiar with the menu, and knew what items had a more reasonable portion size.  I can usually put away a meal, but this was a lot.  The only problem with Cafe Polonez was the noise level.  I admit – it was at the peak dinner hour, and the place was busy.  But still, that noise level was excessive.  It was so loud that we had difficulty hearing each other at our table, and there was not a shred of fabric in sight to dampen the sound.  I ended up giving them a lower review than I otherwise might have because of the noise.  I won’t fault a place for being popular, but it was clear that they had not made any efforts to mitigate the noise that a full house produces.

After this, we went up the street to Ed’s Real Scoop for some ice cream.  Anni highly recommended the toasted marshmallow ice cream.  I gave it a try, and Anni was right.  The flavor was spot on, and it really tasted like toasted marshmallows should taste like (note “should”, as compared to “burnt to a crisp” like I always tend to do).  They also had some amusing signage.


Sign on the tip jar reading, "Money is the root of all evil!  Cleanse yourself here."

Sign on the tip jar reading, “Money is the root of all evil!  Cleanse yourself here.”


Any size in any cone.  Plain, sugar, waffle, and... pine?  Elyse in particular was thoroughly amused by the pinecone.

Any size in any cone.  Plain, sugar, waffle, and… pine?  Elyse in particular was thoroughly amused by the pinecone.


After ice cream, we parted company, and then Elyse and I headed uptown.  We went up Yonge Street to just north of Eglinton in order to visit the Little Party Shoppe.

On the way, we visited an army surplus store on Bloor Street, where Elyse bought a lentil stew MRE package that she had never been able to find locally.  We also visited Ameri, which is the city’s other legal cannabis dispensary.  There was no line there, presumably because of its more uptown location, and so we went in and took a look.  I was impressed by what I saw.  Each style that they carried was on display in a see-through container so that you could examine it, and then you asked the sales staff to get what you wanted, and they pulled it from the back and packed it all up for you.  I was impressed, though I couldn’t get anything because of DOT regulations related to my work.  Basically, even though cannabis is 100% legal in Ontario, that’s not the case with the United States DOT.  Additionally, even though cannabis is legal in DC, that makes no difference as far as federal regulations go.  I suppose that it’s just as well that I’ve never been that interested in partaking in it.

We made it to the Little Party Shoppe just as it started to get dark.  When I spotted it, I made a pretty gutsy move, and busted a big u-turn in the middle of Yonge Street.  Yes, it felt untoward, but it was safely executed.  I then parked in a spot on the street.  I then realized that I would be blocking my own shots if I stayed there, so I did another big u-turn and parked across the street.

Sam and Jodie visited this location in “Noses“, back when it was The Little Pie Shoppe.  Since then, the location has become Little Party Shoppe, though it’s still owned by the same family.  What happened is that Little Party Shoppe, operated by the children of the Little Pie Shoppe’s owners, opened next door, and then later expanded into the pie place’s space.  They had already closed for the day by the time that we got over there, so we didn’t stay long.


The Little Party Shoppe, at 2566 Yonge Street.  The Little Party Shoppe, at 2566 Yonge Street.

The Little Party Shoppe, at 2566 Yonge Street.


We then headed back downtown.  Elyse wanted to check out The Hunny Pot, i.e. the place with the line out the door earlier.  When we arrived, there was still a line out the door.  I had no desire to wait in that line, so Elyse stayed and waited while I went off to do other things.  We would reconvene later.

After we parted company, I parked on Richmond Street and broke out the camera and the tripod in order to photograph the store at night.  I started at the southwest corner of the store (Bay and Richmond Streets) and worked my way around, going counterclockwise.


The HR-V on Richmond Street, a block west of the store.

The HR-V on Richmond Street, a block west of the store.


I quickly learned that long exposure photography in a major city requires great patience.  People are going to walk in front of your camera without realizing it.  Cars, streetcars, and buses are going to go by and leave a streak on your image.  And so on.  This area has a lot of nightlife, and so there was a lot of traffic in the area, both vehicular and pedestrian.  But all in all, I got decent results, with a lot of unusable shots in between.


The store at the corner of Bay and Richmond Streets.

The store at the corner of Bay and Richmond Streets.


The store at the corner of Richmond and Queen Streets.

The store at the corner of Richmond and Queen Streets.  The restaurant at street level, Leña, used to be an entrance to Hudson’s Bay, and was the spot where I first entered the store in 1999.  In addition, Jeff danced in this entrance at the end of “Jeff“, dancing in front of the window above the large “Leña” sign.


On my way around, I encountered this guy who was wearing some light-up glasses.  He was a pretty cool guy, though it was clear that he'd had a few drinks prior to our encounter.

On my way around, I encountered this guy who was wearing some light-up glasses.  He was a pretty cool guy, though it was clear that he’d had a few drinks prior to our encounter.


The store at the intersection of Yonge and Queen Streets.  This angle is similar to the establishing shot that opened "Our Story Part 1".

The store at the intersection of Yonge and Queen Streets.  This angle is similar to the establishing shot that opened “Our Story Part 1”.


The area around the skywalk to the Eaton Centre.  This is similar to the establishing shot before Jeff's "In the Night, There's Magic" song in "Wheels".  Jeff stood in that rounded window at the beginning of that song.  The area around the skywalk to the Eaton Centre.  This is similar to the establishing shot before Jeff's "In the Night, There's Magic" song in "Wheels".  Jeff stood in that rounded window at the beginning of that song.

The area around the skywalk to the Eaton Centre.  This is similar to the establishing shot before Jeff’s “In the Night, There’s Magic” song in “Wheels”.  Jeff stood in that rounded window at the beginning of that song.  It just so happened that I was photographing this area when they turned the lights off in the store after closing, as seen in the photo at right.  I could only imagine that Sam had just gotten the store locked up, and Jodie was bringing Jeff up the escalator to the Children’s Department.


The plaque, at the entrance to the Queen subway station on the north side of the store.  This is the plaque that the one in "Our Story" was based on.  This is now one of two historical markers on the building.

The plaque, at the entrance to the Queen subway station on the north side of the store.  This is the plaque that the one in “Our Story” was based on.  This is now one of two historical markers on the building.


A "meta" photo of sorts, showing a photo of the taking of a photo of the plaque.

A “meta” photo of sorts, showing a photo of the taking of a photo of the plaque.


Elyse came back on the 501 streetcar and got off in front of the store just as I was finishing up in the area around the skywalk.  The northwest corner of the store was unsuitable for photography because of scaffolding, so Elyse’s timing was perfect, as I was more or less done.  We headed back to the car and drove back to the hotel.


When we got back to the hotel, we checked out the "Kids Check-In" area.  There, children can go up the steps, sound the gong, and get a toy.

When we got back to the hotel, we checked out the “Kids Check-In” area.  There, children can go up the steps, sound the gong, and get a toy.


Elyse went up the stairs and took the gong for a spin.

Elyse went up the stairs and took the gong for a spin.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

Part 4