The Year that Was: We won’t presume to have seen it all, or read it all, or eaten it all. And so, a digested list of good things that happened in and around the GTA and the universe this year. Okay, in and around this year.
Arrested Development, the DVD: A show everyone can love, and a replacement for the Office DVD, which we watched until we could watch no longer. “Unlimited juice…This party’s gonna be off the hook.”
The Big Smokeless: Less cancer is good.
Church Rock: It was a year of good concerts in churches. From the Magnetic Fields and the Hidden Cameras at Trinity St. Paul’s, to Emily Haines at the Church of the Redeemer, pews are better than beer-slickened floors. Most of the time.
David Bezmozgis: Torontoist happened upon Tapka, his brilliant short story in the New Yorker a year or two ago, and thought, who the hell is this guy? The mag’s bio cited TO as his place of residence, but we’d never seen him in any of the city’s book review pages. And then, out of the blue, a triplet of stories in all the mags of renown, and a great book that Torontoist bought twice over (once for the TOist Dad), Natasha and Other Stories. Plus a piece in last week’s NYTimes magazine. Brilliant and local.
The Drake: Where did we ever go to hear Sean Cullen sing songs off the cuff before? And were the couches as comfortable?
Dundas West: As reported by Eye, it’s nice to have a new nabe to gallery stroll in, or beer drink in, or wander aimlessly in. Dundas West just might be it.
Green Bins: The one innovation that truly did make Toronto more of a ‘World Class City.’
H&M: The rest of the world has frugal, fast fashion, and now Toronto has it too. Even if we never shop there, it may force the competition to lower their prices for the same factory fresh wares.
Le Gourmand: Did you know that lunch for two at Le Gourmand (two wraps, two coffees and a cookie) costs the same amount as lunch for two at Quiznos (two medium sandwiches, a bag of chips and a soda)? Fast food is losing its edge when it’s not even cheaper than delicious gourmet alternatives. Further evidence.
Mark Lombardi: And accompanying, entirely unpretentious gallery talk at the AGO. Muy refreshing to see cool art close to home. Also cool, the Liz Aggiss/Bill Cowie 3d-stereoscopic video Men in the Wall, at Trinity Square Video. And coolest, video embroidery, courtesy of 640 480 at Zsa Zsa Gallery.
Mayor Miller: We kid because we love. It’s nice to have a smart, genial, honest, public-transit riding, well-coiffed city head.
Penguin Classics: Canada gets a canon, or at least a marketable, bound, representation thereof.
Private Clubs: So immature and so cosmopolitan at the same time. Be it the Spoke or the Dominion or that women’s club with the funny name. Toist will be convening a new, members-only club in our garage. Details forthcoming.
Psychogeography, Murmur: Strolling with strangers, or listening to them on your cellphone. Both are a great way to discover Toronto.
Round Toes: Finally, the pointy-toed frenzy is abating, a bit. For a while there you couldn’t buy a pair of ladies shoes that didnt have spikes for toes. Thank goodness for ballet flats.
Santa Cruz: More parties, more local personalities, more awkward people writing anonymous love notes to each other.
Spacing: Three issues deep, and three issues neat.
Stollery: Have you noticed that Frank’s Stollery did away with its tacky new sign, in favour of the classic, entirely preserved neon sign beneath it. Hurrah for well-tailored simplicity.
Tasty Restaurant: Same dingy facade, new southern fried food…including cheesy corn bread.