06 September 2006

O Canada!

Last week, I took a short trip up to Toronto. I hope to recreate here my fun-filled days up there. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but seeing as how I hardly took any pictures, I will have to substitute pictures with words. (Sorry, Josue - looks like you're gonna have to read here!)

I left on Wednesday morning, 30 August 2006, departing from San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, on flight UA-1255 at 07:00am; this flight was operated by Ted. I bought me a yummy RiteBite snack box for $5 and chowed down while watching Mission: Impossible III.
I unfortunately had to sit with two ill-mannered and bad-mouthed Puerto Rican men, who, in their 30's or 40's, acted like they were 12! We arrived early at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. I killed a little time before my 01:35pm flight up to Toronto via Air Canada by visiting Quizno's; I ate me a very fulfilling Mesquite Chicken with Bacon sub. I also bought some yummy pecan + chocolate braggs at The Grove -- 0.6 pounds lasted me the entire trip! Waiting at Gate E2, I made smalltalk with an older, turban-clad man who flew in with his wife from California earlier that day. The incoming flight was a little late, but the trip up was very comfortable (compared with the day's first flight). I guess we arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport around 05:00pm that afternoon.

After claiming my bag, I headed outside of the terminal to wait for the next Toronto Airport Express shuttle. I had purchased my round-trip ticket online the night before and saved 10%. Thanks to Orbitz, I had hotel reservations (4 days, 3 nights) at the "posh" (according to Geoffrey from Pimblett's Bed & Breakfast) Sutton Place Hotel Toronto, but the shuttle didn't stop there. The closest stop was at the Delta Chelsea, just a "short walk away" off Gerrard St. and up Bay. Seeing as how I was an irresponsible traveler, packing deoderant and toothpaste in my carry-on bag, I had to dispose of these items at the TSA screening checkpoint. Lucky for me, I came across a pharmacy while walking towards the hotel, where I purchased these essentials.

I checked into my room (numbah six-oh-three) and although I was beat (I had hardly slept in the last 2 days), I wanted to get out and start familiarizing myself with the city's streets ... and get a bite to eat.

Sporting a Threadless t-shirt, I walked down Yonge St. (the supposed longest street in the world, although Guinness does not make this claim). With Toronto City Hall in mind, I headed towards Queen St W. City Hall was the site of the reason (not Hoobastank's song, but my best friend's wedding -- no, not that one; this one!) why I had traveled up to Toronto in the first place. Having located City Hall, I walked back up Yonge, and stopped at Wendy's for a bite to eat. Now now - I know I didn't travel all the way up to Toronto to eat a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but I was hungry and tired and wasn't looking into international cuisine. Across the street from Wendy's was a Metro Sound & Music store -- I made a mental note of its location for future references and headed back to the hotel. I fell asleep watching V for Vendetta and that was the end of my Wednesday night.

Rise and shine! I was up by 06:00am early Thursday morning, which surprised me -- I thought I'd be in bed until 10:00am! I watched the news for a while (can't remember if it was this or that channel), took a nice, hot shower, and slowly got myself ready for the day ahead. I think I was out on the streets by 08:00 or 08:30am. I walked around, this time heading west, to see parts of town I hadn't seen the night before. I walked towards Dundas St W, where the Art Gallery of Ontario is. Because it's under construction (or expansion), it has a temporary entrance on McCaul St. Seeing as how I had time to kill before the museum's opening at 10:00am, I grabbed me a cherry cheese danish at Tim Hortons. The first one was so good, I went again for Round 2!

The AGO's doors were open and I followed the employees' instructions as to where I was to start viewing the special exhibition "Andy Warhol / Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters 1962-64." Thanks to the Sutton Shopper program, I paid CAD$14.40 after my 20% discount on special ticketed exhibitions. (I just found this morbid contest that gets you free tickets to the exhibition: Spot the Hearse!) The exhibition was making its third stop at the AGO after having been shown at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The works featured in this exhibition are:
  • Empire (film)
  • National Velvet (painting)
  • Andy Warhol by Robert Mapplethorpe (print)
  • Troy Diptych (painting)
  • Couch (film)
  • Red Disaster (painting)
  • Silver Liz as Cleopatra (painting)
  • Blue Liz as Cleopatra (painting)
  • Screen Tests (film)
  • Elvis I and II (painting)
  • Sleep (painting)
  • Sleep (film)
  • Foot and Tire (painting)
  • Sixteen Jackies (painting)
  • Nine Jackies (painting)
  • Miriam Davidson (painting)
  • Haricut No. 1 (film)
  • Jackie Frieze (painting)
  • Jackie (painting)
  • Jackie (painting)
  • Five Deaths on Orange (painting)
  • Five Deaths on Turquoise (painting)
  • Five Deaths on Yellow (painting)
  • Five Deaths (painting)
  • Kiss (film)
  • Silver Disaster #6 (painting)
  • Blow Job (film)
  • 1947 - White (painting)
  • Tunafish Disaster (painting)
  • Saturday Disaster (painting)
  • Race Riot (painting)
  • Most Wanted Men No. 2, John Victor G. (painting)
  • Most Wanted Men No. 6, Thomas Francis C. (painting)
  • White Burning Car III (painting)
  • Self-Portrait (painting)
I used to be in a "I-love-everything-Warhol" phase: I visited his museum in Pittsburgh years ago; I bought collector Campbell's soup cans off of eBay; I have some reproductions of his soups cans; I even hand-painted a wooden table with a pixelized image of Marilyn based on one of his prints. Thinking Warhol was just too 'pop', I thought I had outgrown the phase. I was a little hesitant about this exhibition, thinking it was just another over-rated excuse to cite Warhol, but after walking through the gallery, I thought the exhibition was really good! Here are some words from Kathy Halbreich's Foreward to the exhibition's catalog:

"Warhol created a body of work [...] that persistently addressed American culture's often unexamined fascination with the surface of things [...]"

"[Warhol] used [silkscreen] to lift "hot" images directly from the media and coolly transfer them to canvas. Taking to heart his own declaration that he wanted to be a machine, Warhol adopted a mechanical method of painting as well as an approach that buried forever the traditional primacy of the artists's individual touch and pursuit of originality."

Being the consumerist victim I am, I purchased this t-shirt and this over-priced exhibition catalog (which included a CD of the exhibition's soundtrack). I then continued to the other galleries of the museum to see what was available for viewing.

To be continued ...

Royal Ontario Museum

Bata Shoe Museum


United Colors of Benetton

CN Tower

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