Rolling out the Roti For Caribana

The debate could go on for hours. Long into the night, likely with much ranting and arm-waving, the people of Parkdale are always willing to argue over which neighbourhood roti shop is the best. In an area where residents are alarmed if they don’t wake up to the smell of curry, preference is based predominantly on location and proximity, but the fact that each roti shop offers a different style of roti also plays into each person’s choice. Many of the ‘Dale’s roti shops are also long-standing family-owned businesses, so allegiances can run deep based on how long each customer has lived in the neighbourhood.

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When The City Finally Slows Down

Sometimes, this city just offers too much to do.

I’m not complaining, mind you. But it’s been an overwhelming summer. It’s said Toronto is a city of festivals and pretty much every weekend from late May until the end of September, there are multiple things to choose from. Just about every neighbourhood has a street festival now, there’s Caribana, Gay Pride Week, the Outdoor Art Show in Nathan Phillips Square, Doors Open, Taste of the Danforth, Taste of Little Italy, the Vegetarian Food Fair, piles of cultural events at Harbourfront, the Beer Festival, the CNE… it just goes on and on.

All of this culminates in one weekend of craziness. This past weekend saw two marathons (Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Run for the Cure), Word on the Street, the literary festival that takes over Queen’s Park, and Nuit Blanche, a 12-hour all-night art event that encompasses most of downtown. Pity the fool who tries to actually drive anywhere.

Nuit Blanche slipped under my radar last year, and I wasn’t super psyched about it this year, but as one of the 3 zones was in our neighbourhood, we wandered around to check out a few things. We watched parkour athletes climb and then descend the nearby train bridge, we wandered the Gladstone Hotel looking at the exhibits there. Then we headed east, stopping at galleries along the way until we got to the Great Hall where we stood amazed at what appeared to be a storefront filling with water and being taken over by giant fish. We picked up a chunk of carpet from where a group of artists covered a road on the CAMH property with the stuff, then headed to Lamport Stadium to see a giant inflatable locust. This was probably the most fun and interactive piece we experienced – kids were climbing all over the thing, crawling under it, bouncing against it. It was nothing more than a giant balloon, really, but people were truly having fun, including a group of drunk girls who repeatedly bounded into the face of the thing only to bounce back and end up on their butts on the astroturf.

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