Notes from Accordion City

For those of you who live in Toronto, want to know more about Toronto or are just killing time at work, some Toronto links you might have missed.

Transit Toronto

The TTC — Toronto Transit Commission, the city’s public transport system of subways, light rails trains, streetcars and buses — may seem utilitarian in comparison to Montreal’s world-renowned Metro with its designer stations and rubber-wheeled trains and dull beside New York’s subway, but it’s a pretty nice compromise between the two. Living in San Francisco for a few months and enduring their sad excuse for a transit system made me appreciate the TTC in ways I hadn’t before.

My new appreciation still has nothing on the TTC’s legion of fans, who love the “Red Rocket” (the local nickname for the TTC) so much that they’ve created a weblog. In it, you’ll find news, photo galleries and even skill-testing questions like this one:

It is the summer of 1966, and you are standing at the corner of Danforth Avenue and Victoria Park. You have to get to Bloor and Islington later that day. The problem is, you have only one TTC ticket, and no money in your pocket. How do you get from Victoria Park and Danforth to Islington and Bloor in this situation? Can you think of the quickest legal route between these two points, using as few transfers as possible?

The blog entry with the answer begins with this line, which serves to underscore the obsessiveness of TTC otaku:

Most of you who replied correctly identified the TTC’s two zone fare system as the crux of this person’s problem.

Most of you who replied correctly? I’m amazed that even one person answered, never mind more than one, never mind correctly. The only thing more surprising than the existence of this site is the existence of a web ring devoted to public transit in the Greater Toronto area.

Once again, here’s the link to Transit Toronto.

Impostor shops

In the Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America, the female lead’s father runs “McDowell’s”, a burger joint that is named and looks suspiciously like a large, popular fast-food franchise. Sad as this seems, it’s even sadder when people copy the “look and feel” of Canada’s second-tier, second-rate franchises. I doubt that they’re fooling anyone by aping the graphic design of Coffee Time, home of crappy Bunn-O-Matic swill and stale sandwiches, or Mr. Submarine, an operation so below notice that it doesn’t even have a Web site. The Daily Nonsense has a special section devoted to these “Pseudo Shops”.

Global Pop Conspiracy

The Global Pop Conspiracy’s mission is to abolish genre segregation and bring all kinds of music to the Toronto masses clamoring for it. Rather than “enforce arbitrary and unnecessary divisions: rock ‘n’ roll versus r ‘n’ b; indie versus major; high versus low; b-girl versus twee boy”, they care about only one arbitrary division: “like versus don’t like”.

My friend Rob Bolton, a fellow DJ back in our days at Queen’s University (where he went under the unfortunate name “DJ Rave” — hey, it was 1991) and his pals are behind the Conspiracy, which is hosting DJ/social nights every week starting this Thursday at the Rotors Club (593a Bloor Street West, west of Bathurst). Doors open at 9 p.m., the cover is a mere $5, and yes, it’s a licensed event. I’ll going…who’s with me?

For those of you who can’t make it to the social, you can still get a taste of the GBC. They’ve got a great online radio station operating in both high-bandwidth and low-bandwidth modes. Give it a listen!

“Begun, the attempts to clone the movie have.”

The big Paramount Festival Hall theatre, a mere couple of blocks from my house, was the scene of an arrest when two teenagers were caught trying to videotape Attack of the Clones with a camcorder. The story is here.

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