Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tourists In Our Own City


Barbara: Yesterday, every single person in my family had the day off. Or could take the day off. My kids are working hard this summer and always on weekends (which is when Phil and I usually take our breaks), so it is rare rare rare that we all have a free day and then make a point of spending it together. A “play day”, if you will.

As Deb mentioned in her earlier post, Picasso and Paul, there is a gorgeous exhibit at our major art gallery—The Art Gallery of Ontario (or AGO)—featuring Pablo Picasso’s masterpieces from the collection at the Musée National Picasso in Paris. The exhibit features a retrospective of work from Picasso’s entire career, many of which were in his private collection until he died, including private sketches. Being lovers of modern art in general and of Picasso in specific, we knew we HAD to go. The stars aligned, the free day presented itself, and off we went for a day of hometown adventure.

We decided to head downtown so we could also grab a bite to eat before going to the gallery. Now we could easily have gone to one of the lovely restaurants inside the AGO itself, but we decided to take advantage of the gallery’s fortuitous location in the heart of Chinatown. As we drove into the city, Stefanie googled restaurants. She found an excellently rated place a few blocks from the gallery. We parked the car and did something we (and by “we”, I mean Phil and I, because the girls, of course, walk everywhere) walked this part of the city.

There are so many areas I visit in the city—visit so often that I take them for granted. But this area is one I usually drive—along Dundas Street past the long sweeping avenue of University, which extends down to the water in one direction and up around the beautiful Queen’s Park government buildings in the other. But this was the first time Phil and I walked it. It was a sultry-hot day and the streets were crowded with people. As we made our way to the restaurant, we decided this is what it might feel like if we were tourists in Toronto—seeing parts of the city that we never really notice, trying a restaurant we would never otherwise try, and then seeing a world class exhibit.

Here are a few photos of our tourist adventure in our own city:

The food was delicious at Spadina Garden, spicy and robust.

This is my attempt to take a photo of us as a gang of tourists, but I pressed my video instead—and thought this was so funny, I had to share!
video

The AGO itself is stunning. One of my favourite places in the whole city. Frank Gehry did the redesign of the architecture several years ago.


The exhibit was stunning. It felt intimate and immense all at the same time.

And this is us relaxing afterward. What is it about going through a gallery that makes you so tired afterward??? We decided it was the intensity of your focus, taking it all in, absorbing and processing. It’s a lot for our sometimes lazy brains!



Deb: I am so glad for your adventure to this wonderful exhibit. We adored it, as you know. We took our meal in the AGO at Frank and it was wonderful as it was the weekend and, as a result—brunch!!!!!! Art. What would the world be without it? I loved seeing some of his realistic stuff! 

30 comments:

  1. Awww sounds AMAZING !!!!! and look at you girls all gorgeous :)... Ya know its weird when I saw the video I remembered Hangover 2 teaser...lol DONT KNOW WHY!
    Awwww Its so amazing to watch any form of art...I love art!!! Everything about it...!!!
    And Gosh the food looks YUM!
    Glad you guys enjoyed !! :)

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    1. It WAS amazing! And I know, isn't that video the most ridiculous???

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  2. What a great way to take advantage of the family together and our city on such a hot muggy day!! Those days are precious as you sound like a very busy family with heavy work schedules.Good for you for doing something so interesting!!! It looked like lots of fun!

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    1. Oh, it was sooo muggy. which made it feel even more like a tourist adventure. Sense memories, maybe?

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  3. Loved the day off and all the photos. You all look wonderful.

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  4. That is the best way to spend the day. Just pretend that you are a tourist :)) I really had to think when would there have been a time, when I had to pretend to be a tourist. I have moved a few times so, it was a while back. I think I would go crazy if I would have to stay in one place for too long. But that's beside the point. Now I forgot what point I was trying to make, oh well till next time.

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    1. And seeing your own place through fresh eyes really helps with that. I find, anyway. Felt like a true adventure!

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  5. This gave me a serious chinese food craving! Tempted to send my husband out to the bad chinese restaurant round the corner...

    I went to the Picasso museum in Paris so I know what a great day you must have had! He's amazing, I'll never forget seeing 'Guernica' in a museum in Madrid, I must have stared at that painting for a whole day. I read that in his later years Picasso would go into the the most expensive restaurants and pay the bill by handing over a drawing on a napkin that he had done quickly at the table. Every artists dream :)

    Btw- what a beautiful family you all are, your daughters are stunning!

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    1. Thanks, Samara! One of the cool exhibits was his lover's photos of the creation of Guernica. Fascinating. What a mind. And what visions.

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  6. I think it's walking on the hard commercial-type floors that makes you tired afterward.
    So lucky to see Picasso's originals, you guys! I don't suppose the exhibit will travel to Saskatchewan? Though I believe I heard it will cross Canada.
    Love seeing pics of you and your family and am also getting lots of chuckles out of your wayback-pics, Deb -- some of those, I have the exact same ones of my own! (The kids at the party, for example).

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    1. It's amazing how much photos evoke, isn't it? Truly better than words sometimes. Maybe you need to come back, Kate, to see the exhibit???

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  7. Awwww...you three girls look like sisters. :D
    I want chinese food! Love it! :D

    And I think it's very interesting and exciting to re-discover the own city. Love doing that! And I love playing a tourist once in a while. *g*

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    1. Oh, Becki, the food was sooooo delish!

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  8. Barbara, it sounds like you all had a wonderful day! The food looks fantastic. I love the outfit you are wearing, very beautiful. Hometown adventures can be so much fun. My mother and I had the chance to go to the enormous flea market that my hometown has once a week. Usually we both have work or I had class, but this one time we were both free, so we went. It was so much fun and we bought some nice things too! Taking time to explore your hometown is so worth it! So glad you had fun, Barbara!
    And I too am a Picasso fan, although I must admit, one of my favorites is Salvador Dali. Amazing work and an interesting character. Here is a clip of Dali:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A
    Here is a quick bio of Dali:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR1ekrX8r6s&feature=related

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    1. Oh yeah, Dali is da-lish too! Thanks for this, Steph.

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  9. Barbara, it's really cool when you can play tourist in your own city. On June 2nd, Odin and I took a cruise along the South Saskatchewan River (something he's been wanting to do in the past five years). It was very interesting to see how the city was built up around the river, and how different buildings look when you are on the river.

    It looks like you and yours had a fabulous time! :)

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    1. What a great idea, Jo. We have great tours on our water here too -- you make me want to take one of them (I do love getting the dirt from the "people in the know" too. They always offer tidbits of info you might never otherwise pick up).

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    2. Jo! I did not realize you live in Saskatchewan and have a blog! Have just been and checked it out (disappointed there is no entry since Feb, but ... life is what it is, isn't it?) and see that your son has the same trait mine (Emil, diagnosed "borderline" autistic but I wonder if it isn't more than that) does, of needing to know ahead of time how things are going to be. When he knows what's going to happen, he can relax.

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  10. Woo!! That looks like fun. And yes I have done that before (been a tourist in my own city). It's amazing the different things you can discover when you really don't have time to think about it elsewhere :]

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  11. Your girls are GORGEOUS, Barb! So stylish (I'm jealous...)

    Anyway, I love running around unknown parts of Berea. When we moved out here we didn't even know our living area existed, so that was kind of like a touristy thing there. :D

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    1. That totally is a "touristy" thing. I never explored the university that I went to. I regret that now. It had a lot of beautiful buildings and parks, and yet I just ran through it, on my way to this class or that. Never really investigated. Never again...

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  12. Wow that looks like a great exhibit! Fun family days together are always the best, especially if they are close to home!! Beautiful pics!

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  13. Sounds like a very nice-looking family had a very nice day looking at very nice art. I'm happy you guys had such a good time spending the day together.

    My parents, daughter, and I took a Boston Duck Tour one spring. I loved being able to sight-see and not have to worry about what color the a**hole in front of me considered green at a traffic light. We had a good time.
    Last summer(?), I took my daughter to see the U.S.S. Constitution, which only cost about $5 each, and that was all public transportation costs. I love that we live in a big US history town, where so much can be free. Thanks, fed gov!

    The catch is all that muggy. How did you manage to survive?

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    1. Aren't you adorable, Dawn! And great counterpoint: tourist or traffic-bore??? And there are often way more things one can do for free (or little cost) in home towns than we realize. (the muggy was tricky, but thankfully the restaurant and the gallery were lovely and cool).

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  14. Barb-I love how you make time for family no matter what. I miss doing stuff with my kids. It's rare to get them together especially now with the baby and Amanda working all the time. It is so nice that you get to enjoy these outings!

    We love to go to NYC and explore sounds strange I know but I live in a very rural area of Upstate NY my first time to the city I was an adult and scared to death. I didn't want that for my kids so have taken them down there and met up with my friend Andy in Queens and he has taken us to the popular spots. Both my kids have now been to the city by themselves and it's second nature to them to navigate around the big Apple. Ricky is now twenty and Amanda is twenty three and you know where they talk about wanting to go again? Disney World : D

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    1. Ha! Mine too!!! Yeah, we do need to put aside our fears for our kids in order to let them embrace adventure. I think it makes all the difference. And, btw, I'm sure when my kids have kids, it might be trickier to see them and have special days like this too. But then there will be grand-babies :)!!

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