Festival in the City : Our Long Walk To and From the St. Vincent Concert

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Last weekend saw the annual North By Northeast Festival held in Toronto, that years ago began as a music fest, but now includes Music, Interactive, Comedy and Art (My pal Meghan managed the Interactive component this year). For the past few years, as part of the festival the city has hosted some excellent performers for free shows at a public outdoor space called Dundas Square. This year Nick and I ventured over on Friday night to catch St. Vincent.

While being a very popular area of the city, we don’t really have much cause to go to Dundas Square very often, so hadn’t been there in a couple of years. It’s a pretty long walk over but since it was a lovely evening weather-wise, we decided to put on our comfy shoes and trek on over.

Here are the pictures we took on the way to and from the show, and tomorrow I’ll post the shots I took of the actual show and the excellent people watching that surrounded it.

Our walk over took us by an old school where the top photo of Nick was taken.

We had to cross University Avenue, which is so wide that the change of lights causes you to stop on the island halfway across, where this sculpture was …

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Approaching Dundas Square …

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There was a band on-stage that wasn’t my cup of tea, so we walked down Yonge Street a bit. Yonge is the longest street in the world and a street along which I walked pretty well every weekend when I was a teen, as that’s what the teens of the suburbs of Toronto did then … go downtown and walk along Yonge Street.

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We passed what was formerly the Pantages Theatre, and now known at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. Built in 1920, it began as a 3370 seat vaudeville venue and became a movie theatre over the years and eventually closed down in 1986 for renovations. At that time the layers of soot and paint that obscured the former opulence of the magnificently painted vaulted ceiling were carefully removed, and the place reopened as a live theatre in 1989, where Phantom of the Opera was staged for a decade thereafter. I’ve been in there once after the refurbishing and it is very beautiful in deed. If you’re interested in reading a good story about the history of this building, there is one here.

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Then we turned east on Victoria Street, and came upon Massey Hall. It too is an old theatre having first opened in 1894. I saw my first concert and many more after that in this old building. There is a wiki page about it here if you’d like to know more about its long history.

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We popped into Fran’s across the street from Massey Hall for a beer. Anyone still alive who grew up around the city has probably been to one of the Fran’s Restaurants in their lives. This particular one has been there for a decade and contains some of the old fixtures from some of the others that have now closed done. The original one, located at St. Clair and Yonge Street, first opened in 1940 and closed in 2001. There’s a wiki page about Fran’s here.

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By then it was nearly time for St. Vincent to hit the stage, so we ventured back to Dundas Square.

We passed The Senator Restaurant. Until moments ago when I checked out their website, I didn’t realize that this was Toronto’s oldest restaurant. I’ve never been and now I’m very interesting in checking it out sometime!

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After standing throughout the concert, we surprisingly felt we had the energy to walk all the way home again.

Here’s a robot we passed on our way out of Dundas Square …

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I got this photo of a girl waiting for someone somewhere along Dundas Street …

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Here we stopped for a dimly lit shot of me and a graffitied wall …

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By the time we got to Spadina Avenue we were walking very slowly …

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We did eventually stumble up the walkway of our home and almost immediately into bed. That was a lot of walking and standing!

Thank you for coming over and reading about our adventure. As mentioned, I’ll post photo of the St. Vincent show tomorrow. I hope you’ll come back to see them.
xo loulou

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