Late to rise this morning (about 8-ish) and then off to find breakfast. We received a recommendation to try Eggspectations down the road so we dutifully set off. The menu is extensive. Eggs done any which way with anything you like. They were very keen on eggs with pancakes and maple syrup. And there was a whole page of things with hollandaise sauce. Eventually I settled on grilled chicken with poached eggs on an English muffin but without the hollandaise sauce. Glen had pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes. Must say, it was pretty tasty.
Unfortunately we haven’t found the food to be as cheap as we thought it would be. Prices look ok but then you add tax and you’re almost (and in some cases at) Perth prices. It could have something to do with us being Downtown and not out in one of the suburbs. We shall have to investigate further. Oh, and then there’s tipping and today we haven’t had any meal/service that has deserved 20% so we’re giving 15% instead.
A spot of shopping at A&F after breakfast. I was intending to buy three things but after waiting for Glen to get out of the change room I changed my mind and put them back, saving myself about $50.
At about half past 12 we headed to Town Hall for the unveiling of Ai Weiwei’s animal/zodiac heads sculptures. We listened to the little press conference, which was delayed because the embattled Mayor, Rob Ford, was running late. Unfortunately, Ai Weiwei couldn’t be there because he’s stuck in China. The Chinese government has taken away his passport and according to one of the councillors doing the talking, he’s under constant surveillance. The councillor also called him the most influential contemporary artist alive today. We think that’s a bit of a big call.
So anyway the councillor said some things, then the Mayor (including how he really loves astrology. See the video) and then an art director. It was all very nice and then the sheets came off the heads and they were visible for everyone to see. They’re pretty cool animal head sculptures. The snake is the most unusual and quite intimidating. I liked how when you look at the rat head, Town Hall is directly behind it. It was a beautiful day so spending it looking at public art was a great way to spend part of it.
We went into a new residential building to enquire about apartments for rent. Here we discovered that hydro and water (which we had seen written on various things) doesn’t mean water and water and everyone had got it wrong. Instead it means electricity and water because the electricity is generated by water (hydroelectric). Who knew?
We had lunch at a recommended Japanese restaurant but the food wasn’t that great. The most interesting thing was watching the two guys at a table near us teach each other magic card tricks. They were pretty good but so very earnest about it all.
We then walked for miles to get to Bloor to decide we definitely didn’t want to live there. Then we found ourselves outside the Royal Ontario Museum which was advertising a Mesopotamia exhibition. Glen wanted to have a look so we went inside.
We decided to get a two year membership to the museum. I went and asked what kind of big exhibitions would be happening over the next two years, which drew blank, bored looks from the two people at the desk. One of them eventually trotted out some information, which looked like it was painful. I felt like asking if they really wanted us to become members or not. When we eventually decided that yes, it was a good idea, we then gave them our details. It almost became too much for them when one woman, who hadn’t been helping us initially, made an issue of us not having a fixed address, despite us already telling the person we were dealing with and agreeing that we’d come collect the passes when they were ready. (And why can’t they give the proper passes straight away? The Zoo can do it and that’s in Perth.) Talk about drama! We were finally given temporary cards and entered the museum…
…only to be told by a security guard that the Mesopotamia exhibition doesn’t open until the weekend.
We had a quick look at some of the other things around (by this stage our legs and feet were very, very sore). I was really impressed by Ropy Lava from Hawai’i, which looks like metallic fabric all scrunched up except it’s made of rock/lava. The Buddha of Light was also pretty awesome, as were the totem poles, and a photographic exhibition called Genesis, which displayed black and white photos of untouched parts of the earth. My favourite was a photo taken at night of a lake in the Amazon that was filled with caimans, though you could only really see their glowing eyes. There must have been hundreds, if not thousands, in the lake. Some stunning places featured.
Next we caught our very first Toronto subway train. We bought seven tokens (they’re so tiny and cute), deposited one each in the slot, and then caught the train about eight stops to near where we’re staying. It was before five but already starting to fill up. It’s probably going to be like London’s Underground. God awful.
We had to search a bit for dinner tonight, which took us towards an as-yet-undiscovered part of town. We went to a place called Beer Bistro and had some overpriced food and smelly cider (which both tasted good). We made ourselves laugh by trying to say, “Little Italy,” very fast. We failed.
And that was it. It didn’t feel like a very full day but when it’s all written down it’s quite a bit. No wonder my feet hurt.