Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Toronto in January

I arrived in Toronto on Saturday. On a cold Sunday, we wandered around the downtown core. Despite it being stunningly cold (something I'm not used to), I was still able to admire the collision of Toronto's impressive mix of new and old architecture.

Immediately one of my favorite buildings, the Gooderham Building was built in 1892. It's commonly called the Flatiron Building.
The Flatiron abuts Front Street, where one can find several charming old buildings like these.
Toronto's local department store is The Bay, the main brand of Hudson's Bay Company.
One of the attractive entraces to The Bay. The second level leads to the large, modern Eaton Centre shopping mall.
The Eaton Center was named for what was once Canada's largest department store.

Saying good-bye to London

Time grew quickly short as I prepared to leave London last week. I had all sorts of grand plans to make one last browse through the British Museum, but suddenly, after a year and a half, my time was up, But on my final Sunday, I made one last trip to the centre. Above, Kingfisher House, my apartment building at Battersea Reach, certainly one of the nicest places I've ever lived.I always liked Liberty's Department Store. Some of it was constructed from old ship timbers.
Looking south on Regent Street. Just beyond the bend lies Picadilly Circus.
On the spur of the moment, I took the tube to Knightsbridge. Harrod's, when it's not jammed with tourists, is a marvel to behold. The Egyptian Hall is certainly like nothing in any other department store.
The Egyptian staircase.
Harrod's Food Court is sumptuous beyond words, and must be experienced. Bring lots of money, and take the time to savor it all, at least with your eyes.
There are several halls, each specializing in different fare. My favorite by far is the confectionary hall.

After selling my house in Los Angeles in 2006 (which I'll go into someday), I've been a rudderless ship. For at least two more months, that will continue as the fates now take me to Toronto.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Apollo Victoria

Last night I finally got around to seeing Wicked at the Victoria Apollo. The once 'super cinema' across the street from Victoria Station is probably the finest example of Art Deco theatre design in Britain. No, the green neon wasn't installed for the production, it was Emerald City destiny. The production itself is spectacular. I wondered how the lead witches would stack up to the original Broadway stars, and was not disappointed. Kerry Ellis (Elphaba) has a powerful voice and Dianne Pilkington (Glinda) is sorority-girl perfection. Oddly, in real life, Kerry is blonde (and not green-skinned) and Dianne is dark-haired. Thanks to the magic of wigs, they pull off the transformation.

The flamboyant, underwater-themed interior is described in the theatre program as 'a mermaid's dream.'