Remembering the Canary


While looking for a photograph to illustrate this post, I was saddened to learn that the Canary Restaurant in Toronto had closed down.

This is very old news. Indeed, as the first anniversary of the closure approaches, I’m almost ashamed to admit it. It just goes to show the sort of unfortunate apathy that closes little gems such as this one. But I still thought I’d belatedly mark its passing.

The Canary Restaurant captured my attention primarily due to its location: at the corner of Front Street East and Cherry Street. It is hard to describe to non-Torontonians just how uniquely isolated this intersection is. It’s old Toronto — the building the Canary Restaurant operated in used to house one of the city’s oldest schools. But it was well east of the downtown core, in an ancient industrial area that had long ago shed most of its factories and associated workers. The streets are deserted as the city and private developers attempted to stage several resurrections in the form of new condominiums, housing and commercial development. Each failed, until now. In the meantime, the tenacious little restaurant that could, operating in an area of the city it had no business being in, in one of the most photogenic old buildings of the city, became an icon, and attracted a fair amount of curious (and hungry) visitors during the weekend. It was almost the reverse of the canary in the mineshaft.

But you can’t run a business that’s busy just two days a week. The Canary got by thanks to new business from Toronto’s developing film industry, but that’s been on the wane of late. Finally, as the latest attempt to redevelop the area actually got shovels in the ground, the closure of Front Street and the Bayview extension robbed the restaurant of most of its weekday business. So, finally, the owners shut the doors. It might come back, once the street reopens and new residents start arriving, but unless the old owners come back, I doubt it will be the same.

I profiled the restaurant just over a year before it closed, and I posted the article on my blog here. I count myself fortunate that I was able to experience this unique Toronto institution before it passed.

Say, What?

Mitt Romney surprised pundits by pulling out of the Republican primaries. I have to say that I was a little less than impressed by his speech when he did so. Here’s a quote:

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

Translation: a vote for Clinton or a vote for Obama is a vote for the terrorists.

My thoughts on this are a little hard to get across in print without swearing. It’s somewhere between ‘a—hole’ and ‘you arrogant son of a b——’. So, take your pick.

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