Adam and I arrived in Toronto at 11 AM and walked to an all-you-can-eat KoreanÂ barbecueÂ Â place that didn’t open until 11:30 AM. Â Toronto has about the same population as Philadelphia but has the air of an administrative capital as well as one of business. Â It’s probably a cultural center of some renown but there was none of the detritus that normally comes with being a cultural hub like posted bills, street performers, or the patina of wear that a city soaks up when its lifespan is measured in centuries. Â Toronto’s over 200 but there’s little to indicate this is the case. Â Even the brick buildings of the Old City looked like they’d be reconstructed for historical purposes and every other window was dotted with a window-mount air conditioner hiding the fact that the structure looked like antiquarianÂ PotemkinÂ village.
We met up with Lori/Howitzer, a higher up on my photographic hit list, and dickered about to kill time until the restaurant opened.
There, each table was fitted with a gas-powered burner with a replaceable cook surface. Â The servers presented trays of meats soaked in a tenderizing soy brine making this the highest sodium meat meal I think I’ve had.
I’m amazed that the model hasn’t been sued out of existence by sufferers of food poisoning. Â The tongs used to place the meat are the same used to remove them, under cooking is trivial and cross contamination can easily occur if one orders vegetables as well. Â There was some impromptu pyrology as the color of the flame changed over the course of the preparation starting as a propane blue and moving to a deep yellow as salty drips started hitting the basal flame source. Â Otherwise the food was fine but slow, like having a meal where every 3 minutes one received 1/3 of a chicken finger.
We walked around Toronto a bit more and after crossing the main square where an anemic Filipino-pride celebration was being held found a clutch of Falun Gong practitioners in front of a statue of Winston Churchill that looked like it was fashioned from wax bits placed via slingshot.
Near this area the bird population was dense. Â The fountains attracted a healthy supply of seagulls and any city worth a darn has pigeons. Â Most of the light posts in the area had spikes on the top but these were poorly placed and in no way stopped birds from landing. Â The bird below was on a concreteÂ abutmentÂ and I took a sequence of pictures each a step closer than the previous. Â I got about a foot away with the picture below before I decided not to press my luck any more.
I left Toronto around 3 and had to make a slow trip to Montreal which is a bit less than six hours away. Â My Montreal host was indisposed until 10:30 PM so I drove at the speed limit and stopped at rest stations if I had even a hint of bladder pressure. Â When I crossed into Quebec all the signs switched to French including stop signs, an oddity as my host informed me that even in France the stop signs simply say “Stop”. Â Also, every previous Canadian host warned me about Quebec’s drivers. Â I quickly learned what this meant as I repeatedly found drivers pass me on the left, return to my lane, and then slowing down. Â I’m a heavy user of cruise control so I’m confident my speed wasn’t changing and my GPS unit confirmed this. Â I arrived a bit short of 10 and my host was home. Â We chatted for a bit and then I turned in to prepare for a day of poutine and Anglophobia.