Things to do in Toronto – Art Gallery of Ontario (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario for my birthday. And go I did. I was off to a bit of a late start, but I wasn’t going to rush today. It was MY day. I got to the bus stop and as I walked out to meet the bus, another car drove by and splashed water all over me. Not a great way to start the day, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. I had packed a lunch and was going to make the most of this crappy looking day. I’ve had to borrow many photos here since they are not permitted in the gallery, but I’ve attempted to give credit where credit is due.

The staff was extremely helpful and gave me some advice on what I should do on my first trip. I arrived around noon and there was a highlights tour at 1 pm. I thought that would be a great way to get to see the gallery and it was only an hour long. I started off in the Thomson wing since it was the closest to me. It took me almost the whole hour to go through.

Some of the pieces that I was drawn to in this section were in Section 108, a collection of death articles. This included mostly carvings and jewellery such as pendants. “Death Stealing A Child” – Circle by David Heschler is a good example. Also a Skull Pendant w/ Entombed Skeleton was intriguing. The attention to detail was amazing and somewhat grotesque. Today some people wear such items to get a rise out of others, but when these were made, they were meant as protection from the devil or to scare people into submission of the church. Another favourite of mine in this area were the Chinese Snuff Bottles (Sec. 111), especially #93. Yes, there are that many of them.

I also went through a photography collection of Abel Boulineau. This collection had been discovered by an intern at the AGO (See? Interns are good!) . Originally thought to have belonged to another photographer, the intern found a photograph of Auberive and on the back it said “Ou je suis ne” or “where I was born”. Knowing that the photographer who was thought to have taken them was not born there, she delved further and found the name of Abel Boulineau.

Pope Gregory XV by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1621

Time for my tour! I joined about a dozen people on the tour with our guide Adrienne. We met in Walker Court and then proceeded to Section 121, part of the Tanenbaum Centre for European Art. One of the first pieces we were told about was the bust of Pope Gregory XV by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1621. A very impressive piece indeed.

From there we passed through to the Grange area, which has big windows, not something I’m used to seeing in a gallery. We took the elevator up to see this piece: X. It was apparently brought up from the depths of the gallery. It had been commissioned by the AGO and incorporated many different pieces of art that are displayed in the gallery itself. It kind of reminded me of Dali.

I could go on for days. Needless to say, I spend at least 5 hours there and was able to take my lunch along, take a tour and not pay a dime. Nothing much in the gift shop was up my alley. I was going to make this a really long post, but decided to let you go for yourself. One of the things that really drove me to go back was the Art Chat that I attended and the book that I got from it, Highlights. Gave me a glimpse of everything.
Sorry it’s so late, but I’m getting better at this…honest. 😉

Things to do in Toronto – Art Gallery of Ontario (Part 1)

A few months ago, I received an invitation to the #AGOChat back in August of this year. I’m ashamed to say that after living in the city for more than 25 years, I’ve never actually visited the Art Gallery of Ontario. It took me moving to Hamilton to actually take the time to do it. This year for my birthday, I’m going to the AGO.

AGOChat Breakfast

AGOChat Breakfast

At the Heart to Art Chat at the AGO, they invited a cross section of people to get their opinions. In attendance were members of the gallery (current or past), some that had visited before and some that had never been, such as myself. First thing I have to note is that they served a wonderful spread and everything they used to serve it was recyclable or bio-degradable. The other thing that was nice to note is that they didn’t run out of anything. At some events, you go to get something and they’re gone. Not here. It was nice to see that level of detail.

After the opening introductions and the reason we were there, we broke off into focus groups. There were about five during the day and I met some amazing people. Some of the sessions I attended involved how social media can play a role in improving the experience of the Gallery. They wanted to understand:

  1. Why people come to the Gallery or why don’t they?
  2. What keeps them away or what keeps them coming back?
  3. What is missing? What do other Galleries do?

…and much more.

AGO Post Its

AGO Post Its

And if all of this wonderful stuff wasn’t enough, they gave us great swag! Included were:

AGOChat Swag

AGOChat Swag

  • water bottle
  • Highlights book of art work
  • coloured pencils
  • eraser
  • ruler
  • mouse pad
  • a reusable bag
  • and (my favourite) a notebook!

I can’t believe that it has taken me this long. Will report back when I’ve actually completed my journey. Happy birthday to me…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers.

Last year I wrote a series of blog posts (starting here)  in which I said that I wanted to get flowers this year… from a man. I had to qualify it since my friend Gwen corrected me and said that she had given me flowers. She did not disappoint.

She told all my guy friends attending my birthday to bring flowers. I received six bunches of them! She gave me a vase big enough to fit them. Here they are:

The six bunches of flowers I got from my guy friends on my birthday last year.
The six bunches of flowers I got from my guy friends on my birthday last year.

I wrote about this event here.

“I Have The Best Friends In The Whole World” or “Screw You Mark D’Arcy!”

Must tell tell you that I have the best friends in the world.

After wonderful Bridgesque posts, one of nearest and dearest friends did wonderful things for birthday. Had one friend who was in charge of looking after sorry drunk ass and making sure got home in one piece. Other is dear female friend.

In previous post had mentioned (screamed) that this year wanted to receive flowers from someone of the male persuasion. Leave it to someone of the female persuasion to come up with a plan to make this happen.

Birthday bash started great at Retro Road Show (must check it out of have not already done so, gentle readers). Then one of male friends shows up with flowers and favourite vodka. Think there might be a crush here, but still thank profusely. Scheming friend must have told him something. Then yet another male friend appears with more flowers, and another, and another…by the third, have realized a pattern; all men. Scheming friend has told them all to bring flowers to help complete new year’s list.

Once a few had given flowers and had figured out plot, scheming friend gives birthday gift to compliment the yang with the yin: a flower vase, large enough to fit all the flowers given.

So big thanks go to male friends who heeded call of even better scheming friend who made it possible. Special mention of course to drinking buddy who, though couldn’t get flowers because was taking care of my drunk ass all day, also made sure to make it homesafely and sayted that way when tucked in bed.

Thanks also go to those who made sure that my glass was never empty and sometimes made sure that there was more than one glass, sometimes three very small ones back-to-back-to-back at the bar in quick succession. Thanks go to the DJ who continues to play favourite song even though he despises it so. (“Drop the needle!”)

This is why one must state that have best friends in world. Don’t need Mark D’Arcy at birthday party. Friends covered it wonderfully. But if he decides to show up by Valentines, would be nice.

Thank you again to all for a wonderful birthday.

Bridget Jones – Where is My Mark D’Arcy?

Units of alcohol: not many due to medication

Exercises: not many due to back pain

Salads: Close to once perday

Still in search of dream job. After second interview, no response. So must not be dream job. It’s still out there.

So is my Mark D’Arcy. Have wonderful friends who all tell me am wonderful and beautiful, but can’t seem to have proper relationship with normal human male. Have tried internet dating, speed dating, friend set ups and more, but wonder if am meant to be singleton for rest of life.

For those not we-informed, Mark D’Arcy (played by amazing Colin Firth) is tall, dark-haired god with British accent, is top barrister in London law firm, can cook and most importantly, likes me “just as I am”.

Since birthday is next week, in true Bridget fashion, he will appear and save dinner disaster that am preparing for friends. Not that any ex-lover will show up asking to take me back in middle of dinner causing Mark D’Arcy to take him out into the street for brawl through Greek restaurant to defend my honour. But one can dream…

My Nana

Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Should would have been 87. So we’ll make sure to toast to her later today. For now, will light a candle. Her memorial is posted on my Princess’s message. She passed away just last month. Boy it was strange this Christmas with her not being there. But her spirit lived on.

On Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, there were always people over at my Grandmother’s house. We figured it would be just be me, my mother and brother and my uncle this year. A friend of the family said she was going to drop by later, so my aunt and her husband said they would too. She was going to bring some food, but I’d told her not to fuss since there weren’t many of us and it wasn’t going to be the usual gathering. She brought her daughter, my uncle’s girlfriend and her son came over too. His best friend from across the street came over and said that his mom was sitting alone and would it be okay for her to come over as well. Of course! Then the guy next door came over since his wife was working. So considering, we did pretty well. I guess Nan didn’t want us to be lonely on Christmas Eve without her there. And as my mother said on Christmas Day, “Raise your glasses to the founder of the feast. I give you, Mrs. Phyllis Mills” Bye Nana.