Sunday, May 9, 2010

Margin Notes: Hail, Tortillas, Orbison, Chevy

A Heritage Toronto walk gathered in front of the Regal Road School in Toronto, Ontario minutes before a storm squall including hail fell on 8-May-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Heritage Toronto walks are advertised as taking place no matter what the weather, but Saturday was the first time I experienced hail during one of their walks. Toward the end of a great walk through St. Clair West led by well-known librarian Barbara Myrvold, a storm front moved through with severe gusts of wind and a nice dumping of rain, which briefly turned to hail before switching back to rain.

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The rain had subsided enough by the end of the walk that I returned to St. Clair West to check out a new store called La Tortilleria. It's not the only place in Toronto that makes its own tortillas, but there are apparently now four locations of this chain where one can pick up a kilo of tortillas for $3. That would seem expensive in California, but for Canada, that's not a bad deal for a big stack of fresh, warm tortillas.

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In California, sunglasses are needed for the sun, but I learned from the NPR piece that was my weekly radio pick that Roy Orbison became known for them simply because he lost his normal glasses before a notable performance. Before that piece aired on WNED-AM in Buffalo, New York (which comes in weakly here in Toronto), afternoon host Mark Leitner allowed the filler music from NPR to play during what should have been a local station break. The music was an instrumental section of Orbison's "Pretty Woman." At some point, Leitner, who is more known for cliche than creativity, broke in by saying "Mercy!" (a lyric in the song) and then proceeded with an abbreviated local insert. That had to be the best recovery I've heard on a NPR station in years.

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Toronto Police's 1957 Chevrolet sat outside 22 Division on Bloor Street West in Toronto on 6-May-2010

I doubt the Buffalo police department parks its historic vehicles outside and unguarded very often, but Toronto does it. While walking in the Bloor and Kipling area of Toronto on Thursday, I stumbled upon the 1957 Chevrolet well-known from parades and other special events just parked along Bloor Street near a police station. In fact, I really can't imagine seeing that in any sizable United States city.

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