Sunday, September 24, 2006

A walk through downtown Toronto

After dinner, we took a walk through downtown. The parish is at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor, which is one of the main drags of the city, with cafes and internet lounges and discount shops and bookstores galore. We walked East, past Spadina (just north of which, if I recall correctly, is a little B&B I stayed at with a friend back on my firist visit in 2002) and then cut through the U. Toronto campus to the Newman Center [The Newman Center was once run by the CSPs, but they ceded to the Basilian Fathers in the 1930s or 40s, who eventually let the Archdiocese take over the ministry at some point]. This part of the walk brought memories flooding back of World Youth Day 2002.

Illuminated portraint of John Henry Cardinal Newman on the outside of the Newman Center. My batteries were low so I didn't try any other shots.

We'd been hosted at the Newman Center (and slept in dorms at Wycliffe College just down the street). I recall the energy of the daily prayers and catechesis there quite fondly -- our three Bishop catechists were Bishop Linus Roach of Leeds (now the chairman of ICEL I believe), Archbishop Exener of Vancouver and the then newly appointed Archbishop Dolan of Milwaukee. Just down from the Newman Center at Queens Park was the beginning of the ecumenical Way of the Cross with Pope John Paul II.

Our dear late Pope is a lot on my mind this evening!

And boy, the U. Toronto campus has such an English feel about it! :)

We continued through Queens Park back on Bloor to Yonge (ducking into a used book shop where I managed to leave with only a paperback collection of Shakespeare's Sonnets nicely priced at $1 Cdn), then traced our steps back.

A weird display on Bloor St. ... a table with a Lamborghini on top, supported by, no kidding, four tea cups! Go figure ...

Overall, a nice post prandial jaunt in the brisk fall air.
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assiniboine said...

Ahem. It didn't take you back to when I walked you down Hoskins Street past the Newman Centre and into Trinity College Chapel? (The High Church Anglican college. Margaret MacMillan, author of "Paris, 1919: Six Months that Changed the World" aka "Peacemakers" and "Women of the Raj" is the Provost). Here is an interesting sign of the times: until very recently students at Wycliffe (the Low Church Anglican seminary) were forbidden to set foot in St Thomas's Church Huron Street ("Smokey Tom's) and now the rector is a graduate of Wycliffe.

As you came to the end of Hoskins Street to University Avenue (the street you turned north a block to Bloor Street) you would have seen a rather ugly Edwardian college building across Queen's Park: that's Victoria College, where Northrop Frye was principal. Immediately to its south is St Michael's, where Marshall McLuhan was on the English Faculty. And of course on your left as you walked towards Bloor Street was the Royal Ontario Museum, where Christopher Ondaatje endowed the Ondaatje Gallery of Oriental Art immediately after his brother Michael won the Booker Prize for "The English Patient." (Jealous, a wee bit?)

I am amazed that the church whose rectory you are boarding in is at Bloor and Bathurst. I have never noticed it there, and I have clearly walked right past it scores of times en route to St Mary Magdalene's to hear Healey Willan's choir. You are just a stone's throw from St Anne's on Gladstone Avenue, whose Byzantine mosaics I sent photos of a while back.

And if you get downtown to St Michael's RC Cathedral you are right next to Metropolitan United Church, Canada's "cathedral of Methodism," endowed by the Massey family -- yes, those Masseys: Massey-Ferguson farm implements; Raymond Massey of "Dr Kildare," "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" and "The Prisoner of Zenda" fame (you walked past Massey College, where Robertson Davies was the Master from 1961-81, as you proceeded from the Newman Centre to University Avenue). Massey Hall, the hall which was the principle concert venue before the Thomsom family built Roy Thomson Hall) was also a gift of the Massey family.

Obviously it's time a paid a visit of my own!

assiniboine said...
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assiniboine said...

"And boy, the U. Toronto campus has such an English feel about it! :) " Funny you should say that: when our Indian Orthodox friend was living in Montreal working for Air Canada he visited Toronto and did the obligatory trip to the top of the CN Tower but generally disdained Toronto as "too American"! Perhaps he had absorbed a certain amount of Montreal snootiness about Hogtown.

Gashwin said...

Hehe that's possibly quite true of our mutual friend.

I'm about to go take another walk downtown. Will report more later in the day.

Of course I recalled our visit in Toronto (I mentioned the B&B, for instance?). :)