Monday, February 11, 2008

Beat the February blues

How to shake off the February blues in Toronto.

1. Go to Montreal ... just kidding! Toronto is as much fun as Montreal these days. I feel its boundless creative energy, especially now that Mayor Miller is endorsing events such as Nuit Blanche, Luminato, Contact photography Festival, etc. There are art galleries sprouting all over the city. You can find some more established ones here but check the web for those in your area.

2. Hang out at the numerous restaurants/lounges/clubs that offer live music. My latest discovery is The Cadillac Lounge. My first time there was for Michael Winter's book launch. See photos I took here. I've been back there with friends to see Jack de Keyser sing. I still like The Reservoir Lounge for its intimacy and it's always a thrill to be greeted by a flirtatious Rod Stewart look-alike. The Orbit Room is still my favourite among the numerous nightclubs along College street as it's got great music and accommodates all age groups.

3. Enjoy Sunday brunch with friends. Every neighbourhood in Toronto has its special breakfast places. I love Sunday Jazz brunch at Regal Heights Bistro. Another great place for breakfast (served until 2:00 pm) is Boom.

4. Dance the night away. At Babaluu or Lula Lounge if you like salsa. Or dance at any of these lounges/clubs I mentioned above.

5. Go for walks in Toronto's numerous ravines (with the amount of snow we've been getting, you can even get your cross-country skis out).

Yeah, that's how busy you can get in February. As long as you dress warmly, it's fun and costs less than going south.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Today there's a new moon. It's the first day of Chinese New Year. Just like the first day of January, Toronto is covered in snow. Every rooftop, tree, sidewalk is white, a smooth white that leaves one breathless. By the end of the day, there is a white mist hovering over the city, giving it a sad, romantic look as if couples should hug and kiss in this white landscape to complete a perfect picture.

I haven't done anything to celebrate the new moon. I've lost the little bit of Chinese culture that my parents tried to teach me. This is perhaps the casualty of generations immigrating and immersing in new cultures. Or perhaps the melding of an increasingly global society. I feel as if I don't belong anywhere and yet I belong everywhere. Toronto has that ability to make you feel that way, with its multicultural mosaic, its openness and acceptance, the way everybody seems to have a connection to another country whether it's Ireland, Israel, or India.

I still have the evening left to celebrate Chinese New Year. This is what I will do: I will make some Chinese rice crackers for my children. And I will dance and sing love songs to the moon.