Toronto Winter 2015

I’m publishing this a few months too late since it is a post about things I was up to this winter. I haven’t been as diligent with my blogging while in the final stretch of finishing my thesis. Even though I spent most days working away on my thesis, I still had some great times with friends that I want to remember.

Window view

Parties!

To celebrate New Years I went to the annual Devos party. This time it was in Brantford at their new house. It was great to see friends from Maranatha again and to see Dave and Shirley’s new place. I counted it as the fourth Devos new years party I’ve been to! This year for the first time we didn’t follow the tradition of running to the stop sign and back in our bare feet.

Another party I went to was Andrea and Cameron’s engagement party in February. It was a chance to meet up with an interesting blend of architecture and highschool friends. I got a ride there with Emma and it was snowing like crazy. On the way home we had a little scare when we spun out on the road and were pushed lightly into a snowbank. We would have been stuck for hours if we had to call CAA, but miraculously there was a Tim Hortons a stones throw away where a guy and his buddy with a tow truck were chatting in the parking lot. They towed us out of the snow bank right then and there free of charge. Hooray for kind and generous human beings!

That same night I went to Wilson’s birthday party that was in a Condo event space in Liberty Village. It was great to meet new people both inside and outside of Grace Toronto church. The evening went by too fast. Nothing quite passes the time like a glass of wine, good conversation, a DJ, and dancing!

In March I went to a party celebrating spring at an architecture colleague’s apartment that they call the ‘Loft’. It was a musical talent showcase and social evening. There was some amazing music that included some Tabla drumming that originates from northern India and Mark’s musical talents on guitar.

Hotpots and other delicious meals!

On January 20th I went to Rachel’s place for a Hot Pot dinner with Rachel, Vikkie, and Jacky. It was a long time coming because we had talked about it since the four of us went hiking in the Adirondacks last August. When I told them that I had never had hot-pot before, they decided they would remedy that by having a gathering in the new year when I would be back from Africa. Hot pot is asian cuisine that involves a big pot of boiling broth in the middle of the table and then a bunch of raw meet, seafood, vegetables (mushrooms and greens),  and noodles to throw in. After they are ready then you fish them out and dip them in a dipping sauce that is a mix of all sorts of ingredients like soya sauce, garlic, raw egg, oyster sauce, peanut butter, and the list goes on. It is a fun way to share a meal! It reminds me of hot oil fondu. I guess this is the year of hot pots because a few weeks later I was invited last minute with John-Paul to another one at Joe’s place.

Hotpot

For the Winterlicious festival in Toronto Vikkie, Petra, Joy, and I went to Czehoski on Queen West. The food was delicious and I liked the atmosphere. I didn’t know this at the time because it was winter, but apparently they have a cozy little rooftop patio.

I joined a small group at my church (a.k.a Grace Gathering or GG) when I moved to Toronto in January and we met every Wednesday evening and went through a study on the book of Mark that was following the Sunday sermons. We  always shared dinner together before jumping into the study. It was a great way to grow more relationships with people at my church who live mostly in my part of town. To celebrate Melissa’s birthday our GG went to the Real Jerk on College street for Jamaican food. Yum!

Events!

On January 22nd I went to Toronto’s Design Offsite festival (TO DO) opening party at a shop called Smash in the Junction. It was a really awesome space. I arrived too early (a common fault of mine in the architecture scene because early means arriving before midnight) but since people intrigue me I approached and spoke to a bunch of strangers. I met an interior designer and a guy who writes for a neo-noir webseries called Haphead. Finally some archi-folks arrived and it was nice to reconnect!

That following Sunday after church I went with a group of people from Grace to Come Up To My Room, an alternative art event at the Gladstone Hotel. This was the fourth time I had seen either this exhibition or their twin event Grow Op, and I was a bit disappointed by this year’s exhibits. One of my favourites was Fiber Optic by Lizz Aston, a layered hanging textile. Another one I liked was Lazer Harp by Menalon and The New Beat that allowed people to play notes by putting their hand across a set of laser strings. I did wish the piece was more spatially engaging though like the sculpture Andrea and I came across in Montreal. There was an exhibit called In A Space that I didn’t care for as a collection, but there were one or two pieces I liked such as big crumpled up squares of black paper that were then re-opened and exhibited like art pieces, and a scarf with perfect geometries that was hanging on two nails to distort the forms.

Fiber Optic

Bent geometries

On February 4th I went to an exhibition and panel discussion at the Urbanspace Gallery called Mapping Ground: Representing the Urban Imaginary. The lectures and discussion were very interesting and offered excellent precedents and new ways to think about my own work. The exhibition itself didn’t offer me much insight. To me the maps seemed curated as art pieces rather than as functional maps (I even noticed that the maps were colour-coordinated although each was created by a different contributor). I think the maps lost something by being separated from the original work that would have included associated legends, diagrams, and other information.

Sports!

I actually remained quite active over the winter. I joined a soccer team made up with a few people from Grace that I have played for in the past. This time it worked out really well because many of my teammates live in the east end and could give me rides to games. We remained undefeated until the playoffs! Unfortunately I injured my back and was unable to play in the playoff games.

I took advantage of the short winter by going skating quite a bit. Monarch park is close by and has a skating rink with unsupervised public skating every morning. I would often go at nine and start my work an hour later. There would usually be only one other person there. I would just dance around while listening to some tunes on my phone.

Vikkie and I went skating together twice. The first time we went to Greenwood Park where they have an ice rink with an ice path beside it. It’s a nice option because there is no barrier around it and so it’s possible to skate anytime. The second time we went to the rink at the Harbourfront Center. We met a quirky guy on the rink who spent hours and hours on the rink doing a bunch of crazy skating tricks on hockey skates and liked to skate circles around people. He was talented and so it was kind of fun to watch him though I think he got on some people’s nerves. Vikkie and I also picked up where we left off watching the TV show Once Upon a Time. This season the characters from the movie Frozen were thrown into the mix.

Skating 11001462_10153174905582845_1509153606_o (1)

On the first weekend of March I went skating on the Saturday with Tamar at Nathan Philip Square. It was crazy busy but there was a great energy and we had fun just skating around and chatting. The next day I went skating again, this time at Kew Gardens park at Beaches with Andrea and Cameron. It was so warm that we had to avoid a slushy patch of ice.

I had a few sporting firsts this winter. On a weekend in February I went cross-country skiing with Wilson, Esther and John-Paul up at the Mono Nordic Ski Club in Orangeville. I enjoyed it for the cardio and also the beautifully calm and scenic, snowy landscape. I’m glad I had the chance to cross-country ski since I didn’t have the opportunity to go down-hill skiing this winter.

Another first was playing ultimate frisbee. A team from my church asked me to play when they were short a female player. They knew that even though I couldn’t throw the frisbee well, I would at least be able to defend. I actually surprised myself when I dove for a frisbee in the end-zone and made an epic catch!

And that’s it for my 2015 winter fun!

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