Saturday, August 16, 2008


Summer in Toronto is a seemingly endless stream of street festivals. This is a city of neighbourhoods and it seems that every four square blocks now has its own festival. The one that Collette and I always make a point of attending is Taste of the Danforth. Danforth Avenue is the heart of Toronto's Greek town so we are talking souvlaki, tazaki, ouzo and dancing .. so Opah!

This has been a crazy summer for weather in these parts. Any given day can go from warm and sunny, to hail, to funnel clouds, to pouring rain, to hot and humid. There have been tornadoes, there have been high winds and there have countless lightning strikes. The weather dudes on TV call this weather "unsettled" I call it: Build an ark and kiss your ass goodbye.

So that means when we got down to the Danforth it was pouring rain. Collette had brought her boyfriend (the D-80) and I had brought my Canon XL-1 ... a few grand worth of electronics that needed the tender protection of a covered patio .. the fact that there was souvlaki and beer is entirely coincidental.

The best thing about any street festival is that close off the street. The best thing about The Taste is that when you close off the Danforth it becomes magically lined with stalls selling souvlaki, spinach pies and baklava ... oh, it is a good thing there are many blocks to walk, you definitely need the exercise.

By the time we got off the patio the sun was coming out so we were able to wander around in comfort. This is a big festival. They close off something like eight blocks and you can have as many as half a million people milling around in there. The advantage of the weather was that it kept a lot of the crowds at home with the widescreen TVs and Kraft Dinner where they belong.

The nice thing about the Danforth, it is by no means exclusively Greek. There are some good Irish pubs there, a pretty snazzy Tex-Mex place and Allen's, home of the best burger in Toronto. But except for our escape from the rain, the whole point of this excursion was to wander down the center of the road, doing complex calculations that would put the maximum amount of food in our bellies in the shortest period of time.

We came across a dancing/singing troupe of young people from London Ontario ... which proves the brave if not foolhardy nature of the Greek people. I mean ... London .. on maps it says "Here there be people who got lost on their way to Toronto .."

They were pretty good, two girls doing the singing and the rest of them dancing, recreating a "tavernas" experience, which is when they would go out to taverns and sing and dance and flirt .. we call it clubbing .. often done with less clothing from what I can observe.

By the time these kids were finished their performance, the rain was back, reminding us that Toronto has somehow been transported to Rangoon .. and it's the rainy season. So that meant it was time to pack up the gear and go home.

Still, our bellies were full, our ears were filled with music and as the rain slashed down across Greek Town we knew we would be humming the Zorba theme and shouting opah! Only Collette reminded me that we really couldn't break any plates ...

Taste of the Danforth '08 from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Gaina said...

'The weather dudes on TV call this weather "unsettled" I call it: Build an ark and kiss your ass goodbye'. Haha, so you're getting the same weather as us, eh?

Still looks like a good day out despite the rain :)

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