Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Wonders - March #4

I love CBC radio. I've been listening to and enjoying Q on Radio 1 every day this week. Host Jian Ghomeshi provides smart and funny commentary with a variety of guests from the arts, culture and entertainment sphere. His guests this week included Dan Savage and Jean Paul Gaultier, plus a lively discussion of whether the proposed ban on shark fin soup is in fact racist. Q airs from 10 am to 11 am and again at 10 pm here in Toronto.

I didn't know much about Detroit, but have heard bits and peices about how the decline of the auto industry and the mortgage crisis has caused a massive drop in population over the last 10 years. I had no idea that it's actually a 25% drop in population. 25%! This article explains the fallout and gives a glimpse of the future of this interesting city. line.

I've learned that few people know about the great performances put on by U of T. There is a range of theatre, music, dance and lectures which are all very affordable. $15 for a well produced play? You can't argue with that. I saw The Rocky Horror Show here a couple of weeks and it was fantastic. The next big stage production is Rent and I'm hoping to make it.  One show has sold out already, so it would seem to be a good idea to grab tickets soon. Noam Chomsky is coming in April, but sadly, this lecture is sold out. There is a full list of events on the U of T Tix web site.

Those of us in the Chinatown area are excited for the opening of Ocho at Spadina and Phoebe. Ocho is a boutique hotel that is providing us with a much needed non-Asian dining for the area, plus a bar, coffee house and a hotel with 12 rooms, which opens in June.

Ocho is a beautiful space which has maintained much of what looks like the original brick interior. Huge windows bring in beautiful light, and the furnishings are all warm woods, some of which has a vintage feel.

Dark Horse's arrival last spring singalled a change in the area, and Ocho is following through by providing a clean, stylish and comfortable space in an area otherwise void of such destinations. As Dark Horse has gained a loyal following, it is often impossible to find seating, so it has unfortunately become an unreliable meeting spot. Ocho is filling the gap with their own Espresso bar and casual atmosphere in the downstairs space. Upstairs is a lovely dining room with a bar at the back. There are small lunch and dinner menus that cover range of tastes and price points. They are open at 7 every day, and they do pastries and coffee on week day mornings, with the addition of a brunch menu on the weekends. And I hope you're sitting down, because there's going to be a patio!

I'm also impressed with Ocho already demonstrating a committment to improving the community by cleaning up that dark, seedy little park that is adjacent to Ogden Public School. Ocho staff clean up the park daily, and they have installed bright lights to deter night time visitors who have concerning intentions.

Please join us in welcoming Ocho to the area by stopping in for at least a coffee.

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