Toronto Tourism Done Right

BlogTO pointed out today that the Canadian Tourism Commission has an amazing series of videos about Toronto on YouTube. In fact, they have a YouTube channel of amazing videos about places all over the country, but me being me, I'll focus on the Toronto stuff for now.

Clocking in at no more than about two minutes, these videos look fantastic, but aren't cheesy. They just naturally let the awesomeness shine through about everything from West Queen West to the Distillery, Casa Loma to the Islands, from the AGO to the Brickworks to Woody's in Boystown...and even more. If you don't live here, you really need to check them out. If you do live here, check them out anyway and I'll bet they might get you to feel maybe a teensy bit proud of this place.

Here's an example below, featuring an area I walk through very often: Yorkville, but you'd do best to go through the comprehensive playlist (and don't forget it's two pages).


For NaPodPoMo: No Mood Swing

Evidently, it's not enough I have this monthly podcast and another weekly podcast - I have to come up with a daily one. But it's just for National Podcast Post Month (NaPodPoMo), which I dodged last year, but this year won't. A podcast episode every day in November, and in my case, each will be under 10 minutes. Yikes.

But don't worry - I'm not foisting it on you, unsuspecting Description listener. The podcast, No Mood Swing, will be on another feed...with this one exception: my mission statement for the project, where I give an idea of what I'm going to do on this thing. If you want to subscribe, awesome! If not, no problem, and thanks for putting up with this one thing in your feed. That's the one thing about being less than 10 minutes: compared to what I usually do here, it goes by like (snapping fingers) THAT!

Download the mission statement
Subscribe to No Mood Swing


Description 74 - GOing

I venture into suburbia in a big green and white clanging flattened metal hexagon, and live to tell the tale. Featuring music from The Most Serene Republic, a surprise cameo by a constable, looking up a word I didn't know and a bird in a nice suit.

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Click here to download directly
(Yes, you can download it. I'm migrating all episodes to other hosts, working backward. Thanks for your patience on that.)

Associated links
Go Transit Official Site
GO Transit @Wikipedia (and follow the link in the article for "conurbation".)
The GO Concourse @ Union Station
That Paul Janz song (Again, because much of the video was shot in Union Station. Sorry.)
The Most Serene Republic
And here comes the IODA Promonet stuff...
...And The Ever Expanding UniverseThe Most Serene Republic
"Heavens To Purgatory" (mp3)
from "...And The Ever Expanding Universe"
(Arts & Crafts)

Buy at Napster Buy at Rhapsody
More On This Album

Canoeing the Credit River
Lakeshore Lions Arena

The Most Serene Republic are forging on with their tour (at the Mod Club here tonight as I write this) although recently they had a lot of their gear stolen in Vancouver. That's a hard blow for any Canadian band, so check out their official site in the links for details on what was stolen, so you can watch for it if you're in that area.

A GO Train was the location for the tv series Train 48, which aired on Global from 2003 to 2005. A version of an Australian soap, it centred around a group of commuters heading home each night from Toronto to Burlington (technically, that would have to be Aldershot, right?). The train was the only location for the show, and the episodes were taped the same day they aired (having great improv actors helped), so things could be topical and cheap - and the cheap part was how Global was able to do an original drama series at all back then. That's grist for another episode, I guess, if I could find a way to keep it from being depressing. :-)

I cut quite a lot of the soundseeing tour of the concourse hall. Sure, I could go on about the Second Cup and the juice place and the Cinnabon and the Dairy Queen, but...meh. As you might have noticed by my boundless energy in this episode, the place is nothing more than functional.

When I first lived in Toronto way back when, there was a bar where the newer food court is now - called Choo-Choo's, I think (whatever it's called, it has moved nearer to the stairs to the Great Hall of Union Station). It was actually where I made my first mixed drink order. Due to my fairly uneventful teenage years, I had very little context for concocting a beverage in my head. I knew I loved Coke, and thought I'd like Kahlua because it wasn't fruity, so I walked up to the barkeep at the age of 19 and asked for a Kahlua and Coke. He asked me to repeat that, and I did. He stood there perplexed for a moment, then went to fill my order. He poured a shot of Kahlua and a highball glass of Coke, then gave me the glasses.

"Um, no, I'd like them together," I said.

He raised his eyebrows. "Together?"

I nodded, he shrugged, then poured the shot into the Coke. He watched as I drank this mix perfectly content, because it was exactly what I wanted. I would go on to perplex less seasoned bartenders than him for the following two years, before university life would mature me to the level of gin and tonics.


Hang in while our host is down

You might have noticed this in the last little while, but our lovely hosts at publicbroadcasting.ca have been down and are not connecting. Really sorry about this, and we'll get things together as soon as possible.


Updates on Updates and Nuit Blanche Again

As usually happens when I do a post without a show, a new episode is coming next week. One of the things I've been doing instead of an episode lately has been FINALLY transitioning a part of my first website to blog form. Incompletely Conspicuous, my almost-10-year-old (holy crap!) website about the band The Pursuit of Happiness, has always had a news section called Updates, and I figured it was time to drag it kicking and screaming (if it felt like exerting effort) into the 21st century by turning it into a blog, so I could...er...update more easily and include more doodads and interactivity. So if you like TPOH and want to know about some of the interesting things its people do because the band isn't really around anymore, take a look and feel free to subscribe.

Now, it's also time for good ol' Nuit Blanche, what I've called "NXNE for modern art" during the now-four years I've been doing podcasts about it. The subject of Description 25, 45 and 61, the all-night city-wide art exhibition - starting tomorrow night - will most likely be the subject of Description 76 (yes, two podcasts away...not guaranteeing that). My focus this time is probably going to be the happenings around the Art Gallery of Ontario, because it will be open FOR FREE from 6:55pm to 3am for various snazzy things. Since the AGO re-opened with its full Frank Gehry makeover, I've wanted to do a soundseeing tour there, but hadn't yet made it there during the couple hours on Wednesday night when I could afford admission. So here's my chance. Yay!

But what I'm going to do is more about the AGO than Nuit Blanche (sort of like Description 61 was as much about the Crystal at the ROM than Nuit Blanche), so this does not in any way get you off the hook if you're anywhere near town to experience the event. There are at least 130 projects of all kinds to explore and sometimes participate in, reportedly closer together in the downtown core than last year (which was my beef then), helping out even more with car-free zones and open-all-night TTC with a $9 pass to take as many trips as you want. There's also the Nuit Blanche app for my iPod Touch and your various smartphones to help you out when you're pounding the pavement in the dark not knowing which way is up (correction: whoops, it's not for the Touch - I have to stick with the mobile version of the official site). For info on all that stuff I just mentioned, go to the official Nuit Blanche site, and also check out suggestions and tips from our friends at Torontoist.

Granted, some years are better than other years, but even at its worst, Nuit Blanche is as accessible as contemporary art gets, and frankly, it's as accessible and happy and warm-fuzzy as Toronto usually gets. So celebrate art, the city, and each other.