June 4, 2007
Like the soon to be finished NE corner of Yonge & Dundas, I remember walking past the ROM numerous times and seeing the big construction facade of the Michael Lee Chin crystal. Well this weekend, four years and $270 million later, the crystal was finally completed and they held a Luminato event to celebrate its official lighting. This was the first time I had heard of Luminato, which is Toronto’s festival of Arts & Creativity. After arriving downtown in the afternoon, we wandered around and ran into another Luminato event in Yorkville. Apparently it was the Summer of Love, which kind of made sense because they were giving out flowers which people were putting in their hair and there were all sorts of other hippie things around.
The whole ROM event was kind of confusing, because there was a free FCFS event, and a ticketed event, except it wasn’t clear which was which. Eventually it seemed like you needed tickets to actually go into the museum, but if you just wanted to enjoy the celebration you could simply show up. Anyways, we lined up for free tickets. Joe, Horace and Peter had mentioned to me earlier in the day that the line was crazy, 2-hours long; but fortunately by the time we got there, it was down to about 20 minutes. We got our tickets, met up with Nelson & Kitty’s friends and slowly made our way over to Spadina for some dinner.
We settled on going to Madison because they had TVs on which we could watch the Sens game, but the drawback to that was that the only place we could find with enough seats was a non-AC’d, non-patio part. We were joined by Victor, Peter, Horace, Richard and some cheap pints. After dinner, we moved to the AC part and enjoyed some gossip about the newly arrived Ben and some pool action. Eventually by 9:30, we decided to head back out to the ROM since we couldn’t figure out how to waste a couple of hours of time before the Architectural Opening.
Since the concert started at 9:30, the street was already packed. We couldn’t make it into the “official” area, so we instead stood around and watched a screen of the action. I saw various people taking pictures of the “screen”, because they couldn’t get near enough to the real thing, which I think is kind of funny. It was a very eclectic show with a variety of performances from various genres. I recognized a couple of performers (Eva Avila, Jann Arden) but I couldn’t figure out who many of them were. It was also annoying because half the time, they would append the name of the performer to the bottom of the screen, but then they wouldn’t do that for others. There was also a running theme of Time allowing humans to continue living even though they haven’t been very good to the planet; potentially educational to kids, but I thought it was pretty dumb. Why should a museum, which records history, talk about the future?
After the 75-minute concert, we went over to Future Bakery for some desserts and to kill some time. Ben had 4 tickets for the 2AM entrance, while Richard and his friend also had tickets; so they were going to tour the crystal that night. I went with Victor the next day after some lunch at Sushi on Bloor, and even then there were a huge number of people in line. They said they were letting in 700 people every half an hour, and the museum was definitely crowded (although not overcrowded). The empty crystal itself held a lot of people, and many of them were posing and taking random pictures of walls. I didn’t think the crystal was overly spectacular; the insider were just rooms which didn’t have rectangles for sides. It would have been better if it was made entirely of glass, and we were walking on glass floors and looking through glass wall.
Anyways, even though we didn’t go early in the morning, walking around through the museum was tough work. After two hours, we left, grabbed some BBT at the Tea Shop 168 at Yonge/Bloor and headed back uptown.