I was listening to CBC radio the other morning and I heard an inspiring piece about an art exhibition by ex-convicts from a halfway house in Toronto. The art was inspired by a text message to the halfway house inhabitants that asked “How would you like to be remembered when you die?” The art was the response and from the conversations it was interesting to remember once again that we are only divided by the circumstance of our lives. As one of the artists said “there are a lot of people out there that often do bad things – but they just don’t get caught. Yet these same people have no problem moralizing about the evils of doing bad things.”

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coffee anyone?

August 31, 2010

A great idea for anyone who loves coffee. The Indie Coffee Passport – allows the bearer to try great coffee at 24 independent coffee shops in Toronto including Manic, I Deal and Crema. $20 for 24 coffees? Sign me up!

welfare and health

December 22, 2009

Doctor Roland Wong has been filling out special dietary allowance forms for a few people on welfare at his Spadina clinic. He recently came under fire after a complaint from Toronto City Councillor Rob Ford that he is breaking the law by authorizing the allowance without properly checking the facts. The allowance gives people on welfare an additional $100 to $200 a month for buying healthy food. Doctor Wong states that he follows all the rules but refuses to interrogate his patients and treat them like criminals.

“If you put it all in perspective and taking a look at what Mike Harris has done in the past, then you realize that poverty is pervasive. And we know that poverty is the major determinant of health. Given that. how can we just let it go on?”

I applaud Doctor Wong for his courage to sign the forms when it would have been easy to ignore the people. Welfare recipients have been marginalized in this province since the Mike Harris days when Mike and his party distracted Ontarians Read the rest of this entry »

jembe masters

July 13, 2009

If you were at Afrofest on Sunday, you probably heard Mohamed Diaby’s Manding Foli Kan Don on the small stage (!) on the north-west part of the park. They were so hot there was fire on the stage. Mohamed had a few guests with him from Guinea – Cobra, Mito, Simbo and Soumah. Even Amadou and Amara joined in for a rhythm.

These drummers are in Toronto this week for a Guinea-style performance on Friday July 17. Want to hear what the jembe is supposed to sound like? Catch ’em if you can.

drums

June 3, 2009

It’s the time of year when you hear drums from all over the world. Check out rhythms starting this Thursday when the Muhtadi International Drum Festival kicks off at the Wychwood Barns on Christie Street.

The festival continues outside on Saturday and Sunday at Queen’s Park (north side of Wellesley). Hope it’s good weather. Can’t wait to see Amara Kante and Steafan Hannigan.

tati bistro

June 3, 2009

A couple of months ago, we had a really good meal at Tati Bistro in Toronto. I tried frites, black cod, grilled calamari and the french onion soup. All well presented and very tasty. The service was so-so with our waiter more interested in talking to a friend than in serving us. All in all (mostly because of the food) it was a pleasant experience before catching some Jazz at Glenn Gould studio.

A person I was with returned a few days ago for a six o’clock reservation (mostly to show off Tati to friends). They had to endure miserable service and attitude because one of the party was late by 15 minutes. While I understand the need for restaurants to turn two seatings in a night, there is no need for rudeness or curt behaviour.

Instead of the experience being a pleasant one, none of the party was impressed enough to consider venturing back. This really irks me because I liked the food at Tati. When will restaurants realize just how important the behaviour of the front staff is? Oh well, on to The Harbord Room.

empty bowls 2009

May 21, 2009

Beautiful, crowed and delicious as usual. This annual fund-raiser (vintage 17), held at the Gardiner Museum, is a collaboration between Toronto potters and Toronto chefs. Potters donate bowls, chefs donate soup, everyone is twice-happy and all proceeds benefit Anishnawbe Health Toronto.

I go for the soups, others focus on the bowls. This year’s highlights (in the mind of a pescatarian):

I heard raves (but didn’t taste) Chilled Alphonso Mango by Simon Kattar and Rhubarb and Strawberry soup from favourite Yasser Qahawish from Artisanale (ex-Law Society).