It’s been a long time since I’ve been in Toronto. First it was the academic year that kept me busy in Hamilton most of the time. Then, after my last set of exams finished in April, I went off to Miami. Then back to Hamilton for a summer school semester of Organic Chemistry. Then New Haven. Then Greece. So it seems like it’s been forever.
That’s why I didn’t hesitate to go on an impromptu outing to the Harbourfront, a neighbourhood in downtown Toronto on the northern shore of Lake Ontario. The area has been transformed, having served as the setting for the 2015 Pan Am Games and, currently, the Parapan Am Games.
Tent structures have been erected in Ontario’s Celebration Zone to serve as venues for food, drinks, and cultural community showcases. In the leftmost side of the above photo, you can see the structure erected for the purpose of ziplining (which was closed by the time we realized what it was…), rock climbing, and adrenaline jumping.
I took a long walk along the waterfront, enjoying the bustle of activity and entertainment springing up all around us. For instance, a group not listed on the musical itinerary suddenly took to WestJet Stage:
And then there were those having fun on the water in somewhat unconventional ways, thereby drawing crowds of interested passerbys (including me…can you rent one of those? I have to find out.) :
One of my favourite aspects of walking up and down Queens Quay West during these festivities is that the street never looks the same. The area is a haven for artistic expression. As I was walking back up the street, I noticed a crowd of people gathering. Figuring that it was a street performer, I stopped to watch, curious.
His name, as he announced cheerfully after a performance, is Jonasun. He hails from Japan and travels the world doing both stage and street visual art performances.
There was only one mishap during the entire segment of his performances that I watched: he dropped one of the balls that he was holding. It bounced out onto the street. He looked sheepishly at us and went carefully to retrieve it. Promptly returning, he dropped down and did ten push-ups.
“Bad. Bad!” He admonished himself to the amusement of the crowd. There was a grin on his face as he got up and continued thereafter as if nothing had happened.
The mistake was not repeated.
As I left the circle that was engrossed in watching Jonasun, the sun dipped downward and it began to grow dark. And that’s when the city really lights up.
Along the street itself, street lamps flickered and lights shone out of the windows of towering office and condominium buldings, the chrome elements of the facades reflecting light off of each other.
And, of course, rising far above the cityscape is our city’s most iconic landmark, the CN Tower, the base of its observation deck lit in a striking emerald hue.
I felt an immediate urge to seek out a lookout point to watch night settle over the city, but the clock is ticking. I resolved to return to fulfill that promise to myself very soon.
It’ll be a while before I leave again.