Yesterday we kept pretty busy; Margaret had a short nap, but I was using that time to sort and upload pictures to Flickr, and didn’t want to take time to blog. Even yesterday afternoon, we felt the end of our vacation creeping up on us.
Sunday, though, we made our first stop the Allan Gardens, a conservatory a few blocks east of our hotel. We had a hard time getting into the conservatory; it turns out that bits of it are closed, and the doors that are open to the general public are hard to locate, and there’s hardly any signage (Margaret and I are willing to consult — at very reasonable rates — with any institution that wants to spruce up its signage, because we’re so weary of laboring to decipher unintelligible signs, or negotiate the total absence of signs). Once we got in and clarified the permissible boundaries with a cheerful painter, though, we relished exploring the garden’s displays of beautiful flora. Margaret noted that plant life suggests not so much an evolutionary theory of intelligent design as of whimsical design, pointing to the “Old Man of the Andes” cactus and the transgressive excess of some of the orchids.
From Allan Gardens we headed northwest to the Royal Ontario Museum, partly on Michael’s recommendation, and partly because I had seen posters advertising the exhibition of “Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the Renaissance in Florence.” Unfortunately, through a bewilderingly complex chain of confusions and associations, I had mistaken the venue for the Florentine exhibition, which (as you can see perfectly well if you clicked on the link) is the National Gallery in Ottawa — rather further than we’d intended to walk.
Fortunately, the parts of the ROM that weren’t substituting for a non-present exhibition of Florentine painting more than made up for that absence. The “Feathered Dinosaurs” exhibit (the link leads to the San Diego Natural History Museum’s site; the Royal Ontario hasn’t devoted much web-savvy to publicizing this exhibit) presented tons of information and conundrums about saurid and avian evolution, all of which tickled Margaret and me. We don’t resist evolution, nor sponsor any of the theologically-motivated rivals, but we do take a fascinated interest in the rhetoric of factuality, conjecture, error, and polemics in controverted scientific topics. We’d have bought a book and some tawdry promotional gear from the exhibit, but the only available book was too expensive and too technical for our target readership. ROM seems not to understand the commercial power of a fascinating exhibit (and anything involving dinosaurs).
The ROM also has a handsome Art Deco room, some beguiling medieval representations of the Madonna and Child, and the prospect of a tremendous addition when the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal (designed by Daniel Liebeskind) is finished (walk-through movies here).
We found a late lunch, Margaret and I each took a nap, we headed out for dinner, came back to the hotel (ascertaining that Si’s first day at his first job went very smoothly), and reluctantly yielded to the inevitability that we had to sleep some before our last morning of Toronto vacation.
That’s now. And believe me, we’ve had a spectacular time, and we’re going to remember these days vividly, and we’ll miss the delightful time we had here. Now, though, off to breakfast and packing. . . .