The list of lasts

The following is my list of lasts from the Before Time (pre-COVID-19)—the last time I ventured outside my neighbourhood on transit and had in-person contact with other people. It really sums up the people, places and things I love—and really miss.

Last time I saw my parents: November 3, 2019 at the Elm Hurst Inn (Ingersoll), for our extended family pre-holiday brunch (they headed to Arizona that week and returned home in March)

Last time I saw my sister, brothers, sisters-in-law and nephews: December 26 at my sister’s house for our annual Boxing Day feast (brother-in-law was in New Zealand; saw him last at Elm Hurst Inn brunch)

Last time I saw a close friend: Dee, on March 11 at Presse Café at Bloor/Yonge

Last hug: March 11 (see last time I saw a close friend—we totally forgot to do the elbow bump)

Last time riding TTC: March 11 (see last time I saw a close friend)

Last reading I saw: March 6, Studio 180 Theatre’s The Cane at Buddies in Bad Times

Last brunch: March 7, with friends Brenda and Kerri at 7 West Café

Last play I saw: March 7, ARC’s OIL at Geary Lane

Last thrift shopping: March 4, with my friend Lizzie in the Bloor/Lansdowne area, finishing at Value Village

Last dinner out: February 27, in the Distillery at Mill St. Brew Pub with my friend Myriam, before seeing Lucid Ludic/Why Not Theatre’s Brain Storm at Dancemakers Studio

Last hair cut: February 25 at Top Cuts, with Rhonda at Avenue/Lawrence

Last art show I saw: February 23, Winter Stations at Woodbine Beach

Last gathering: February 22, friend Zoltan’s birthday party at his/Lizzie’s place

Last movie I saw: February 17, Portrait of a Lady on Fire at the Varsity

When was the last time you saw loved ones in person? The last hug you gave/received? The last movie you saw at a movie theatre?

p.s. Since I wrote this post and scheduled it for publishing, the Government of Ontario announced that Toronto and Peel will be heading into stage 2 today (Wed, June 24). Now, as we’re gradually able to be together again—still following public health measures—we can finally look forward to some firsts.

Friends, food & finales

You know the holiday season has officially started when then invites start landing in your Inbox. For me, this started a few weeks ago.

There are gatherings with various friends and acquaintances, family and the inevitable office party. Yesterday, it was a family gathering – the annual pilgrimage to Ingersoll (which I hear is no longer the cheese capital of Ontario – and that makes me kind of sad) to the Elm Hurst Inn for the annual Xmas brunch. We’re talking serious brunch here, folks, and I’m a big fan of the brunch. The all-you-can-eat menu includes a mamosa (you can also order a la carte from the bar), an omelette/waffle station (where you get to choose your ingredients for the omelette), salad bar, fruit and cheese, various hot dishes from breakfasty items to roast beef, chicken and pasta – and, a dessert table that features various cakes, pies and other treats, as well as pre-made cherry crepes and a chocolate fountain. As tempting as it is, I tend to avoid the chocolate fountain – I’ve seen how some buffet patrons neglect using toothpicks in these things, and it strikes me as one of the least hygienic things in the buffet universe.

Other than the family catch-up and food, the highlight of my brunch experience was my 10-year-old nephew Colin inviting me to come shoot pool with him and his brother Stephen (12). The boys even supplied the loonies (likely garnered from the parents or mine) and, since there were three of us, we played two on one – Colin and I vs. Stephen for game one and the boys vs. me for game two. I lost us game one when I sunk the eight ball too soon, but redeemed myself in game two. We had to wrap then, since we were due to head home shortly after.

This past Friday/weekend also included some non-holiday get-togethers. Met my gf’s Lizzie and Kat on Friday night for some catch-up over food and pitchers of Keith’s at Jack Astor’s – always a pleasure. Saturday night, I met the Willow Quartet gang at Whistler’s Pub after their final performance; a more subdued event compared to the opening night party – but nice and relaxed, and all of us happy with the production. And I was very grateful for the drive home, courtesy of SM Margot “Mom” Devlin and her husband Shaun, who also dropped set designer Ed Rosing off at his place. And we didn’t even have to tuck and roll on the way out!

So now comes the challenge of scheduling and otherwise sorting out of this embarrassment of holiday invitation riches. This would be another instance where a clone would come in handy. Alas, I can’t be everywhere, so I’ll just have to do the best I can.

What are you up to this holiday season?

Willow Quartet – two more performances!

Hey – quick note today.

If you haven’t seen Willow Quartet (and why the hell not?), you have just two more chances to see it: tonight and tomorrow night. It’s wrapping up its run at the Papermill Theatre at Todmorden Mills (67 Pottery Road) on Sat, Dec 3 – and rumour has it that Pottery Road access from Broadview is open again! In any event, you can also get to it from Bayview if you’re driving; TTCers, walkers and cyclists can get down Pottery from Broadview.

For reservations, call 647-342-7454 or go online at

I’ll be hanging out with the WQ gang on Saturday night at the closing night party – wow, I can’t believe it’s just two to go. In the meantime, I’m eagerly anticipating hanging out with my girlfriends Lizzie Violet and Kat Leonard for dinner tonight. And Sunday, I’m off to Ingersoll for the day. Why Ingersoll? Because that’s where the Elm Hurst Inn is located – and that’s the mid-way location for my dad’s side of the family and us GTA folks for our annual family Xmas brunch. And the Elm Hurst does some serious Sunday brunch, my friends – check it out at: