Introducing… Tulip!

It’s been a tough year for Vince and myself without our beloved Sophie, but the fates have now smiled on us 🙂

A Little Backstory

This past year I’ve had my name on well over 30 different Ontario dog breeder wait-lists for a puppy. Last week I received an unexpected email from Karen Anderson of Royal Frenchies, one of the many kennels where we’d been on a puppy wait-list (we were originally the 26th family on the waitlist and it would be an estimated 2 years before there would be a pup available.). Karen asked if we might be interested in a grown, 2-year old dog, rather than a puppy, which they had in their kennel. Royal Frenchies had imported this girl from The Netherlands for breeding in their kennel, but it turns out that the dog is infertile and unable to conceive – not a desirable situation when your business is breeding and raising French Bulldogs! What was the kennel’s loss, was our gain…. of course we said YES!!

Enter into our lives and home the beautiful Tulip, a red fawn French Bulldog. Her Dutch kennel name is Thyra (pronounced Tier-rah, with a strong roll on the letter r), but the breeders called her Tulip – much easier to pronounce and remember. We may shorten this to Tuli (too-lee) but the jury is still out on that one. Anyway, here she is!!:

This is Tulip’s bio from the Royal Frenchies website before they became aware she had a hormonal issue and couldn’t conceive.

Settling In

Tulip just came to us this past Wednesday, and some of you have already met her. She is still settling in, but so far she’s very comfortable here. Tulip’s a lovely, calm, independent girl who loves attention…. she’s come to the right household! She’s a perfect fit and we just love her to pieces:

Sophie will always be our Number 1 girl, but we are so happy and fortunate Tulip came to us. We will give her the best life any dog could ask for. Fingers crossed for many happy years ahead!

Remembering Sophie

Dearest Sophie: it’s been a year today since we had to say goodbye. We love and miss you so much, more than I’m capable of putting into words. You were wonderful and special, and will never be forgotten. Never.

We’ll meet you under the Rainbow Bridge someday, but until then you’re always in our hearts.

Today’s PhotoWalk

It was a beautiful day today, so naturally I went for a photowalk with my trusty camera. I wandered down to the Esplanade then back, capturing the city on a Saturday afternoon. Here’s a few shots from earlier today:

Toronto Pride 2021

Well, here we are. One year later and still no physical Pride events, here or elsewhere for that matter, thanks to COVID-19 and the state of the world these days <boo, hiss….>.

Regardless, I’ve been thinking about how I could mark this year’s non-event. I could pout and rage (which I feel like doing), but it would be more productive and positive to put together some little tribute to Pride and celebrate in my own way. (By the way, if you’d like to see my Pride retrospective from last year, you can check it out here.)

Rainbow Flag Raising at City Hall

On June 1st this year, the City of Toronto proclaimed Pride Month and raised the Rainbow and Transgender flags at City Hall. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s ceremony was pre-recorded and held virtually. In the video below, Mayor John Tory is joined by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre), Grant Gonzales and Yuri Hernandez from Pride Toronto’s Board of Directors, and Pride Toronto Executive Director Sherwin Modeste. They share messages of solidarity and reflect on milestones being marked this year by Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, including the 40th anniversary of Pride Toronto and the 30th anniversary of the City proclaiming Pride Day.

YouTube Livestream Virtual Parade

On Sunday, June 27, 2021 from 2:00-3:00PM, there will a live “Virtual Pride Parade”. Personally, I can’t imagine it, but if interested, it can be found here. Myself, I’m waiting for the real thing next year.

Toronto Pride: Looking Back Once More

So after touching on a couple of things from our current, grotesquely hobbled Pride (and no, I won’t go off on my usual rant), I’ll go back in time as I’m wont to do, to Toronto Pride weekends of the past. Specifically, I thought I’d reminisce a bit about those wonderful GCDC (Gay Community Dance Committee) dances at The Masonic Temple, aka The Concert Hall, at 888 Yonge Street (corner of Yonge and Davenport).

Those dances were great. From roughly 1981 until 1992, they went from 9:00 PM to 5:00AM; there weren’t that many after-hours gay clubs at the time, so it felt slightly radical to be able to dance almost until dawn. There was a major GCDC dance event (and they truly were Events with a capital E) at least a couple of times a year, and the Toronto Pride GCDC dances, especially, were the highlight of the year. The GCDC dances eventually attracted up to 2,000 party-minded people, raking in up to $10,000 each time. As I understand it, the money was split among community groups who gave back to the gay community.

The Masonic Temple in its remodelled form. I took this shot during Toronto’s Doors Open event, May 2015. Sadly, the former Temple/Hall has been converted into office spaces for trendoid companies.

Gay Liberation on the Dance Floor

Our gay community was quite different at the time; it wasn’t the diverse cultural melting pot we see on Church Street today. Even so, the dances were incredible as they brought together so many segments of our community at the same time. Those dance parties were galvanizing, unifying and liberating: they consisted of gay men and lesbians who simply wanted – and loved – to come together to dance.

The dances were apolitical and simply all about fun, dancing and good times, yet they also helped shape Toronto’s gay and lesbian community into what we enjoy today. At the Masonic Hall/Temple, men had the main floor of the Hall, which was massive (I well remember the towering speakers, pulsing lights and lasers), and the lesbians had their own DJs, bar and party in the lower level. There was, and still is, a second floor balcony where you could climb up to get out of the mass of people, and just observe the goings-on on the dance floor below:

A small segment of the upper balcony in the Masonic Temple, May 2015. Massively remodelled for the current office tenants.

The music at those GCDC dances was great. Personally I’ll never forget sweating to Jimmy Somerville’s cover of Never Can Say Goodbye at more than a couple of the events. Here’s a sound sampler on Mixcloud from the November 1, 1986 GCDC Dance at the Masonic Temple, themed I Never Touched The Witch:

As an aside, Mixcloud is a great site if you want to hear what was actually being played in Toronto’s gay clubs at the time. On the Mixcloud page above, there’s two October 14, 1995 sets by DJ Allan Kaufman at Club Colby’s (formerly Katrina’s), and a June 1983 set by DJ Greg Howlett at Club Mystique (after-hours club behind the Manatee on Phipps Street). Oh, I do remember dancing in those clubs back in the day <heaves heavy sigh>… but I digress…

I still remember so well, sadly, when the GCDC dances came to an end once and for all. Appropriately themed The Last Dance, the Masonic Hall played host one last time to the very last GCDC dance at Pride, June 1992. And, of course, I shouldn’t have to tell you what the very last song on the setlist was that night: queue Miss Donna and Last Dance:

GCDC’s Last Dance souvenir T-Shirt

I’ll never forget walking back home at 4:30 in the morning after The Last Dance, up Park Road to our place on Huntley Street, my mind and body still electrified and energized by 6 hours of 130 beats per minute. I remember having a bittersweet mixture of afterglow from the great party combined with the knowledge that a GCDC dance would never happen again.

This weekend I have again proudly hung my Rainbow Flags on the balcony, and will try to get in to the spirit of things. I can’t help looking ahead to next year, though, when things should get back to relative normality. If that’s the case, we’ll have a Pride unlike any other… it will be a hell of a party. Until then, I remain waiting in anticipation… 🙂

Happy Pride, Toronto!!

Essential Lyrics #3: Stamp Your Feet

Here’s the third installment in a series of posts on song lyrics that have lifted or inspired me. This one’s from a true musical veteran – Miss Donna Summer:

Stamp Your Feet

S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground
S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground
S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground
S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground

Woah, yeah

I’ve been round so many times before
Broke my back, been split open so oft
Tried to make it to the finish line
Been knocked down, get up every single time
They’re up in your face, they don’t think you belong
Man, you got it, you got it goin’ on
What breaks the weak just makes you strong
You got game, baby bring it on, bring it on

I said stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t going, you ain’t goin’ down
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t goin’, you ain’t goin’ down

Rain comes in every player’s life
Gotta stay in the game, not on the sidelines
Gotta throw down, you gotta stand and fight
Keep your eye on the prize, don’t get caught up in strife
Go, go for the shot boy, make that play just right
Braggin’ about your swag won’t get you through the night

I said stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t going, you ain’t goin’ down
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t goin’, you ain’t goin’ down

S-T-A-M-P You got game
S-T-A-M-P You got fame
S-T-A-M-P You got name
S-T-A-M-P Do that thang
We ain’t going down, oh no!
Make me proud! Stand up and fight!

I said stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t going, you ain’t goin’ down
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t goin’, you ain’t goin’ down

Stamp your feet, stamp your feet
Stamp your feet, stamp your feet

S-T-A-M-P! No, no, no, we ain’t goin’ down
S-T-A-M-P! No, no, no, we ain’t goin’ down
Right till the ending, we’ll make it through life
Better stamp your feet on the,
Stamp your feet on the ground

Songwriters: Danielle Brisbois / Greg Kurstin / Donna Summer
Stamp Your Feet lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Day Trip To Wards Island

As part of my stay-cation this week I took a day trip across the lake to the Toronto Islands – Wards Island to be exact. For some time I’ve wanted to photograph the quirky little cottages in all their splendor. When I arrived I was not disappointed; there was plenty to work with. Here are a few of today’s shots:

Wards Island

Happy Victoria Day!

Here’s some reasons to be glad we’re Canadian on this most uniquely Canadian long weekend.

Pictures That Perfectly Sum Up Canada And Its People

Canadian Police Clash With Citizens
Police In Montreal Protest A Labor Dispute By Not Wearing Their Work Pants
Christmas In Canada Is Sometimes Difficult
Canadians Are Notorious For Being Kind
Honest Commuters: Attendants Were Missing And The Automatic Gates Were Broken – This Is The Result!
Police Officer Stops To Buy A Drink From A Little Girl At A Lemonade Stand In Kenora, Ontario
Canadian Victims Of Theft
Canadian Police On The Job
Everything About This Says “Canada”
The Reason Why My Package Wasn’t dropped Off At My Door
This Moose Literally Followed Me Home
Most Canadian Thing Ever
Another Typical Sign
In Canada, Sometimes Even The Robbers Are Polite
And Meanwhile, In Canada…
Quite Possibly The Most Canadian Picture Ever Taken
Friendly warning
A Beaver On His Way To Assassinate Someone
And Lastly, In Canada…

HAPPY VICTORIA DAY, CANADA!!!

It Drops Today…

New London Grammar: Californian Soil

The long wait is finally over…


Early Reviews

Pitchfork
Pitchfork is generally a trusted source of music criticism, but is known for being unnecessarily contrarian to provoke attention. They give the new album a 6.2 out of 10 rating:

https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/london-grammar-californian-soil/

AMG (All Music Guide)
A more fair review, they give the album 4.5 out of 5:

https://www.allmusic.com/album/californian-soil-mw0003438436

The Rainbow Bridge

I encountered this piece the other day while looking at a Yorkshire Terrier site. I instantly thought of our beloved Sophie and started to tear up. I’ve often heard of The Rainbow Bridge in the world of dogs, but had never come across this piece until now.

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown


From the “Memories” page of Judawn Yorkshire Terriers site: http://www.judawnyorkies.com/

Essential Lyrics #2: Lovers In A Dangerous Time

These are my favourite lyrics from Bruce Cockburn: Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight / You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight is just brilliant. Lovers… was also later covered by Barenaked Ladies, who did a beautiful job:

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by?
We never get to stop and open our eyes
One minute you’re waiting for the sky to fall
Next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This fragrant skin, this hair like lace
Spirits open to thrust of grace,
Never a breath you can’t afford to waste

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time,
Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

We were lovers in a dangerous time
We were lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers, Lovers, Lovers
Ohhhhhh
Lovers in a dangerous time

Songwriter: Bruce Cockburn
Lovers in a Dangerous Time lyrics © Rotten Kiddies Music Llc, Bro N Sis Music Inc.