My Neighbor is an Opera Singer

La, La, La Traviata I’m not sure if this is auspicious or not, but my next-door neighbor is an opera singer. She has a lovely daughter who typically wails as her mother belts out songs, in alto, every evening. In … Continue reading

A Walk down Bloor Street

It was a beautiful, sunny day today and I decided to take a walk down Bloor Street and snap a few shots.

Here’s a shot of Dolce & Gabbana’s whimsical window display. You can see me reflected in the glass pane as well as traffic moving along Bloor Street.

Dolce & Gabbana

Here’s Michael Kors’ elegant window display consisting of women’s handbags:

Michael Kors

 

And the classic Tiffany & Co. looked like this:

Tiffany and Company

I can’t recall which well-known store the following mannequins were from, but they appear to blend with the buildings and street appearing surreal.

Mannequins and Buildings

As I turned away from Bloor Street and onto Queens Park, I saw this odd, striped, huge, Sphynx-like face (minus the body) in contradistinction to a woman working on a ceramic piece and contemporary buildings in the background.

The Gardiner Museum

When I later turned onto a side street, I noticed this flashy blue car. If you look closely at its front tire, you’ll notice what appears to be a red, embedded, wheel locking device. The traffic signs, apparently ignored, can be seen through the window.

The Blue Car

 

Enjoy the sunshine!

The Ontario Legislative Building

Today was “Doors Open” in Toronto meaning that about 150 buildings were open to the public. I decided, therefore, to visit The Ontario Legislative Building, not too far from where I live.

Walking through Queen’s Park, I took a picture of the statue of King Edward VII seated on a horse. The equestrian statue, originally standing in Edward Park in Delhi, India, was “erected on the present site through the generous subscriptions of the citizens of the area” reads the plaque placed before it.

IMG_0784

The Equestrian Statue of King Edward VII

IMG_0786

The plaque

A statue of Queen Victoria stands near the Legislative Building’s entrance where the public was admitted.

IMG_0787

Her Majesty Queen Victoria /1819-1901/

Friendly, knowledgeable, and fluently bilingual guides wearing green T-shirts welcomed me. “If you have any questions, ask anyone in a green T-shirt,” a young brunette wearing glasses prompted cheerily. There were policemen guarding the premises, too.

When I asked this handsome man in uniform whether he’d let me photograph him, he said, “Take as many pictures as you need until you’re satisfied.”

IMG_0797

Handsome policeman I

IMG_0799

Handsome policeman II

The impression I got the moment I stepped inside the Legislative Building, designed by architect Richard Waite and built between 1886 and 1892, was one of magnificence and splendor.

Attention to detail is everywhere. The ceilings are very high (some with chandeliers), balustrades are carved from wood, and the building’s west wing (rebuilt in 1909 after a destructive fire) boasts of a marble floor displaying a delicate mosaic pattern reminiscent of mosaics I once saw in Modena, Italy.

IMG_0857

Fine mosaic floor

One of the most impressive features of the Legislative Building is its stained glass ceiling.

IMG_0806

Stained glass ceiling

Historical portraits depicting political personalities dating from the distant past to the present adorn the building’s walls.

“Doesn’t he look like Napoleon?” a visitor asked me as I snapped this shot.

“Yes,” I laughed, “he does!” realizing that this was probably what prompted me to select this portrait among all the others.

IMG_0836

Napoleon lookalike

This colourful room is the one which the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David Onley, uses for celebrations.

IMG_0838

The room of the Lieutenant Governor

As I exited the room through the wooden door you see on the left, I saw this intriguing antique cabinet.

IMG_0846

Antique furniture adjacent to the Lieutenant Governer’s room

The pièce de résistance, however, is the Legislative Chamber “with its richly carved details set in mahogany and Canadian sycamore.” This is the chamber in which Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) “debate and pass laws for the Province of Ontario.” (Source: www.ontla.on.ca)

IMG_0812

The government’s seats

IMG_0822

The Speaker’s chair

IMG_0820

Chamber door detail

For more information about The Legislative Building, visit www.ontla.on.ca.

 

 

 

 

The Grace and Andrew Masa Breakfast

Whether you’re new in town or an old pro, the best breakfast place in Toronto is surely Grace and Andrew’s at the Masa Restaurant adjacent to the Comfort Hotel, Downtown, 15 Charles Street East.

‘Good Morning!’ booms Andrew’s voice as I walk inside.  ‘How are you today?’ comes the genuine question.  Andrew, born in England with a Grenadian background, has a passion for cooking that he cultivated from his youth becoming a chef.  He’s lived in Toronto for thirty years.

‘How are you, Luba?’ asks Grace as I sit down on a comfy chair at a smooth table with clean lines next to the elegant, wooden, hanging decoration lit by candle-like lamps.

Grace, born in Toronto, is steeped in the tradition of restaurateurs.  Her father, the late, reputed Danny Mangos, owned many restaurants and raised Grace from her youth to understand and appreciate the art of running a restaurant.  Once a manager at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Grace, an accomplished chef, is specialized in organizing buffets and banquets.

Aside from Grace and Andrew’s unique, warm welcome and genuine hospitality, they offer a wide selection of excellent breakfast choices.  The Continental Breakfast comes with: Croissant, Toast, Orange Juice/Apple Juice and Milk, $6.99; The Full American Breakfast offers: Bacon, Ham, or Sausage, 2 Eggs (any style), and Home-Style Potatoes (note that these are Andrew’s and that he developed their perfect, golden, crispy exterior and spicy flavor) with a choice of Muffin, Danish, Croissant, and Toast, $10.99; Eggs Benedict; Eggs Florentine; Omelets; Pancakes or French Toast; and numerous side orders.

Don’t stay out in the cold.  Brrrrrrrrrrr!  Come to Grace and Andrew’s for a healthy and wholesome breakfast with a big-hearted welcome.  You can safely expect future developments from these two, fine chefs.  Stay tuned.

Masa Restaurant

Image title:  The Masa Restaurant

Photographer:  Luba Rascheff

2014: Make It Your Year

In a few hours, it will be 2014.

Personally, I’m feeling quite upbeat about what lies ahead in the New Year.

As I ride out the ice storm–or, more precisely, what’s left of it, viz., the arctic cold wave–my thoughts are leaping ahead. In a warm and cozy setting, my thoughts are clearly in the future.

Resolutions

Although speculating about the future and making resolutions can be risky, it’s worth it.

Be bold

Let’s be bold and resolve that:

  • 2014 will be our year
  • Great things will happen
  • Our positive state of mind will contribute to our success
  • Creative thinking will bring out the best of us
  • Energy is abundant (we don’t need to take it from others; we have our own supply)
  • Transformation is a given

A glass half full

When we permit ourselves to be positive and expansive, we see the glass half full. This lets us believe that more and more good–great, even–things are coming our way.

Resolve with me

I resolve that 2014 will be my year.

I believe I’m worthy and that great things will happen to me.

I know that change is a given and transformation is inevitable.

I accept the bounty that is rightfully mine.

Happy New Year!

Toronto Ice Storm

Image title:  Toronto in the Ice Storm

Image author:  Luba Rascheff