St. Lawrence Market


Off the plane, on the bus to the Kipling subway station, the grey look of the city, the people. The winter fatigue.

Table for two at the Travelling Book Café, where Margaret Hollingsworth and I focussed on writing and publishing. This old friend, a long time writer with many plays to her name, a novel, short stories, essays, has become a poet, and after a lifetime of writing, her original ideas, her stunning language, she wonders, is it good enough? Even having won a poetry contest hasn't convinced her. Still, if no one else will publish her collection, she will do it herself..."because I have spent all those hours..."

Tulips in all the stores. The fragrant, bountiful St. Lawrence Market. The awful, embarrassing mayor. Someone you wouldn't want even at a table beside you at dinner. It's sad for him and also Toronto. Line ups for everything, transit, transit, people, people, but...

The wonderful hot docs festival, three films in all: the powerful "Virunga", about the endangered national park in the Congo, a World Heritage Site. Why do these stories never change? Why are corporate values, in general, so contrary to nature? Proceeds from poaching mountain gorillas fund the rebel armies as do payoffs from SOCO, the British oil company that wants to use Virunga as its own private profit well. Not much different than in King Leopold's days of rubber high grading. Instead of chopping off human hands, the hands of  gorillas are chopped.  Wonderful footage, sad story. Somewhat splayed story structure.

Then "Rich Hill", the intimate look at this Missouri town of 1500, and three boys anyone would term at risk. Fabulous job of intimate film making, character revelation. Andrew taking care of his parents, Harley about to explode, Appachey drifting, smoking, reverting to a baby with his head on his mother's shoulder before he enters juvenile court. Beautiful camera work, too.

My least favourite, "Lady Valour", not because of Kristin Beck and her situation, her having come out as a woman after a career as a seal; but the CNN way of underscoring with loud music, concentrating too much on the nail polish and the high heels of this so-called princess warrior. I'm not sure the film really did justice to Ms. Beck, though the director had her explain her situation again and again and again. Most touching part, Kristin's father, brother and sister. The emotional toll of Kristin's transformation, the love they felt for her... that said more than any of the statements she made about how hard it was to be her.

Traffic tie ups slowing down the Bathurst bus on a long, rainy day.... but, charming side streets with narrow brick houses and peak roofs. Sun breaking through, wind blowing away the clouds and, finally, free ice cream and a dancing cow to celebrate the opening of the new Dutch Dreams location on Vaughan Road, and also Dutch liberation day!