Mes Amis Canadiens Imaginaires

Happy September, denizens! I do apologize for my rather spotty visitations throughout the glorious month of August. Last month of summer and all, you understand. Plus, I’ve mentioned work woes enough throughout the month that I’m sure you all get the drift.

And then, in the final throes of Monthus Augustus, I abandoned the States yet again. This time, it was to the country right above us. Yes, it was time to visit those delightfully bilingual friendlier-than-us/cleaner-than-us/saner-than-us neighbors, the Canadians, eh? (I know, that was a stereotypical “eh,” but what are you going to do aboot it? Okay, I’m sorry; I’ll stop now).

Plus, it was time to meet some “imaginary friends” I’ve made here on teh Interwebz. Yeah, I’m one of those nerds who makes friends online. I’m also one who talks about my online friends like they’re “real.” Sometimes, I talk about Dr. Crusher in the same way…you know, saying things like, “Yeah, I hate when doctors cancel appointments at the last minute. Once, my doctor failed to even show up for an appointment, but later she explained that she was trapped in a warp bubble.”

Uh, so yeah, these friends in Canada are actually real and, even better, they weren’t trapped in any warp bubbles this weekend! So we flew up Saturday morning and by that evening, we were consuming delectable foodstuffs and libations and enjoying a relaxing summer evening get-together as though it was perfectly normal that we’ve all known each other for about a year…but this was the first time we’ve physically been in the same room. And I can honestly say that it was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. There’s something magical about sharing in-jokes with imaginary friends that I don’t think most people will ever experience or understand…but I wouldn’t trade Saturday evening for all the latinum in Quark’s bank account.

Ain’t the Internet grand?

Everything else about the weekend was, of course, icing on the big geek cake of happy that was Saturday evening. We got up early Sunday and headed over to the Royal Ontario Museum, or the ROM for short (and yes, I do point out the acronym because of its DS9 geekiness). Additionally, the building itself looks like an alien crash site and earns even more geek points for being the primary setting for one of the better discoveries I’ve made during my 50BC09 adventure.

Last communication from the lost vessel indicated that it was going down somewhere over Toronto...
Captain, our shuttle's last communication indicated that it was going down somewhere over Toronto...

The museum took up most of the morning, but once we were finished, we had no real itinerary other than wanting to see the city. I’m a big believer that the best way to really experience a city is to walk it. That would be the most logical reason behind walking from Buckingham Palace to Tower Bridge the last time I was in London (the less logical reason is that I just really, really wanted to do it). So we walked from the ROM on Bloor Street to Queen Street, which is apparently where the hip, young people like to hang out.

I don’t know so much about the “hip” but there sure was a ton of young people. A screaming, squealing clusterfuck, in fact, of pre-pubescent girls gaggled around the Much Music building, making more high-pitched noises than should be humanly possible either to make or to hear. I rather snarkily asked, “What, are the Jonas Brothers in town?”

And the answer to that question was yes. Leave it to me, she who is utterly clueless as to who or what the Jonas Brothers are…yes, leave it to me to find them in Toronto. Suddenly, the entire block was a-rumble with some of the shittest bland-pop music I’ve heard in a very long time, and not just because it was being nearly overwhelmed by the roar of girly screeching that surrounded the building. Needless to say, we couldn’t get away from there fast enough.

Hey, Doc, where the frack are we?
Hey, Doc, where the frack are we?

Otherwise, Queen Street was fun with a funky Camden Town vibe mixed with Georgetown urban chic. What made it over-the-top for me, however, was the discovery of a comic book/action figure store. I’ve encountered many a comic shop here in the States in which the odd action figure is sold. Never, however, have I encountered an actual action figure store. Row after row of tasty poseable goodness. I found a Viper pilot more super-charged than the coffee of the same name along with a wickedly fun Mirror Universe doctor. They’re still MOC at the moment. Starbuck’s not going to be long for her protective casing though. I’m still contemplating what to do with Mirror McCoy.

Afterward, we ambled back up toward Bloor, stopping off at the Art Gallery of Ontario, or the AGO. Methinks this was my favorite of the two museums we hit. I guess I’m much more into art than old bones not of the McCoy variety. The highlight of this stop had to be the surprise discovery of a piece done by Odilon Redon, one of my favorite French Symbolists. I’ve never seen one of his pieces in person, so the thrill was exquisite, even if it was one of his later oil paintings rather than one of the charcoals I adore from his oeuvre.

Finally, it was dinner time. I can honestly say I have never had an Italian meal quite as delicious or as filling as the one at Spuntini’s. Plus, as we discovered on the restaurant’s wall of stars, it ranks high enough to be on the radar of three Scream stars, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and the ever-Canadian Neve Campbell. Now that’s Gen-X appeal!

Food coma soon ensued and the next thing it was Monday morning and almost time to leave. But not before discovering two awesome used book stores and stocking up on literary geekanalia. A little triskaidekaphobia trivia, a photo book of Ontario, and a new Richard Matheson collection to add to the shelves, and before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport. No poutine before we left, which I know some consider a crime…but we did finally partake of some Tim Horton’s. It’s a sin to have maple doughnuts that good.

All in all, a wonderful trip. Honestly, the major reason I wanted to go in the first place was to finally “meet” my imaginary friends and make them all the more real. I’m so glad I did, because I don’t think there could be any cooler people in Canada than them (and maybe Terri Clark, but I think I’m biased a bit on this one). Plus, Toronto proved to be a groovy weekend destination, with lots of different things to discover during aimless meanderings…and they’ve got blue water on their shoreline! I swear, I don’t know what we’ve done to our portion of the Atlantic that’s made it look like raw sewage from the air, but I was beyond delighted to see the vibrant blue of Lake Ontario from the sky.

So there you go. That’s what I did on the final weekend of August. Oh, and I aged a year…but that’s incidental 😉