Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Go Near There!

Greetings Friends,

Before I moved to Toronto in August 2009, I spent 8 months in suburban Washington DC. While I was there, I did the usual tourist stuff: the Mall (Tysons Galleria, Pentagon City, oh, and that big white pointy thing with blinking red eyes), some of the Smithsonian museums; I even saw Marine One drop off President Obama on the White House lawn. 

My favourite destination by far was the newest DC museum, The Newseum, which happens to be located on Pennsylvania Avenue, right next-door to the Canadian Embassy. If you consider yourself a news hound, like I do, despite my rampant snarkiness and criticism of the media, this is definitely a place you want to check out. 

Some of the most interesting artifacts you'll find at The Newseum are sections of the Berlin Wall, and a Checkpoint Charlie watchtower, exactly like the one pictured above. You can read current newspapers from all over the world, and view all different kinds of interactive exhibits. The most impressive items are, without a doubt, the Berlin Wall sections and Checkpoint Charlie. Yeah, they're just hulking pieces of concrete, but it's what they represent that really blows me away. Either you're in, or your out; Communism 101.

I was originally going to snark up a storm about what's been going on here in the Toronto area this week. Right now, the G8 leaders are gathered in Huntsville Ontario at a swanky resort, and tomorrow, they descend upon the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the G20 summit, which for all intents and purposes, has brought most downtown activity to a grinding halt. At this very moment, downtown Toronto does bear a striking resemblance to a DMZ, with razor wire, hurricane fencing, law enforcement in riot gear, frozen zones, you name it. What more can I possibly say about it that hasn't already been said? Ok - one little itty bit of snark: I believe all non-life threatening surgeries at Toronto hospitals have been cancelled for the next 6 months due to the reallocation of tax dollars for the over-the-top G20 security measures. Of course, I am joking. Or maybe I'm not...

Interesting things are always happening here in Toronto. The Pope, the SARS epidemic, the use of Toronto city streets as  plausible stand-ins for New York City, and we even had an earthquake the other day. No, it wasn't the rumble of a subway train, trust me. I'm about a mile from the nearest subway station and the earth definitely moved under my feet this past Wednesday. Having never felt anything like that before, I was pretty freaked out.

What could possibly top the G8 and G20 summits? The Queen will be making an official visit to Toronto next month. I doubt the security will be as intense for her as it is right now. After all, she's a sweet little old lady and she always wears such cheeky hats in public. Who would even think about harming her? Good thing Henry VIII is centuries dead. But you never know. 

Have a wonderful weekend. And to quote the President of the United Federation of Planets from the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: "Avoid Planet Earth at all costs".


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