Roncesvalles

So - I made it. I've officially been a resident of Toronto for 5 weeks. Andrew and I landed a main floor spot in the Polish neighbourhood of Roncesvalles, which, I've been told, is pretty lucky for two Westerners to steal on their first lease signing in the big city.

A bit about my experience so far:
We have four jobless Irish guys that live above us, and, they seem to perpetuate the stereotype of 'Irish partying', especially without having the obligation to get up and hit the office in the morning. Just the other night, the noise started around 3am (I figure that the bar lights had shut down so the fiesta was continuing upstairs). I was fed up with all the ruckus, so I took a broom and started slamming the end into the roof until I, aggravatingly, put a hole in the roof. Turns out it wasn't our neighbours upstairs, but it was the two bar slingers BELOW us. So.. Andrew took his turn at our semi passive-aggressive approach, during what's now 4:30am, and stomps on the floor. The dudes hear us and make some nasty and unoriginal comments about me, which turned into a heated meeting outside the communal laundry room haha. (All the dust settled the next day after proper introductions/apologies were made).

There are also certain outdoor characters I continue to see on my block. There's the guy who wears long shiny blue shorts and always always always has his hand down his pants. There are also the guys that pace the parking lot behind our living room window. From their constant strut across the pavement, it's hard to tell if they've really tapped into a certain meditation or they are constantly high. My gut feeling says the latter because there is a lot of grunting and smoking involved. 

On the brighter side, I've fallen in love with this little independent coffee shop nearby called "The Seventh Sister's Cafe". In the morning, the 4 tables in the place are filled with old Polish neighbourhood folks chatting with each other across their coffees and local newspaper. There's no wifi, so nobody is in there with eyes glued to screens, and the staff keeps track of how many coffees and sandwiches one has purchased in an old school stamp card kind of way. Love it. Also.. the sandwiches are SO good.

I'm also really digging this Toronto thing called 'Bunz'. For non-Torontonians: Bunz is a group online where people post things they don't want anymore and offer them up for a trade. It's sweet... Andrew and I (because we both only brought to Toronto what we could fit in our tiny cars) sourced out pretty much all furniture and house things in exchange for bottles of wine and gift cards. That system rocks Toronto!

I had two back to back awesome gigs this week. The first one was in Port Credit (had never been there before! Very trendy seeming..!) with a sax player and drums. The audience was super generous; one guy bought the whole bar a shot. The following night I played with two crazy great musicians at a bar called N'awlins --- piano trio blues for three hours! I'm actually trying to wrap up this post right now to head back there to listen to the Blackburn family heat it up with their r&b tunes.

The first couple weeks here were hard. I've had a different headspace being a resident here as opposed to being a touring visitor, however, this last week has been much more uplifting (despite the results of the American election and the loss of our beloved Leonard Cohen... both events have weighed quite heavily on me). It feels like September in November, and little gold nuggets of big city sparkle keep showing (like the day after Halloween, thousands of carved pumpkins were lit up and displayed in a park nearby, and I just thought it was such a cool small town notion, but magnified in pumpkin carving numbers because this city is huge. It warmed my heart!).

Early next week I'm headed back home, out west, for a two week tour. I'm bringing out a KILLER guitar player friend of mine - Bryn Besse - and we are playing a bunch of dates throughout Alberta and BC from November 17th - 28th. So if you're in the area, or friends/family of yours are, come on out!! I have lots of new material to share and it's been awhile since I've played in some of these spots, so I'm excited!

Alright, I'm chugging back the rest of my coffee here. Gotta go.
Much love,
Jenie

3 comments

  • Kerry Pitt

    Kerry Pitt Fort Saskatchewan

    It sounds like you live in an area of great inspiration. I wonder if the musician culture and your familiarity with Toronto and some of the musicians that abide there, is making it an easier transition. You write well, which may seem odd since you are a songwriter, but not all. Songwriters can write in contemporary fashion. Imagine Jim Morrison writing a recipe down. Anyway, please be well, Judy says hello, look forward to the next update.

    It sounds like you live in an area of great inspiration. I wonder if the musician culture and your familiarity with Toronto and some of the musicians that abide there, is making it an easier transition. You write well, which may seem odd since you are a songwriter, but not all. Songwriters can write in contemporary fashion. Imagine Jim Morrison writing a recipe down. Anyway, please be well, Judy says hello, look forward to the next update.

  • Ian Royce

    Ian Royce Blue Mountains

    Great to read your blog and hear about your escapades in the Roncey Hood! My daughter Lana lives at Indian Road and Parkside. She probably haunts the same Portuguese coffee shop as you do! She works at Alternative Thinking, Bathurst south of Bloor.

    Great to read your blog and hear about your escapades in the Roncey Hood! My daughter Lana lives at Indian Road and Parkside. She probably haunts the same Portuguese coffee shop as you do! She works at Alternative Thinking, Bathurst south of Bloor.

  • Steve

    Steve Holmes Point/Pefferlaw

    Hi Jenie and Andrew, let me know what you might need or would like, Deb, Lil and I probably have something you might use or need, see you Sunday, cheers. Steve, Deb and Lil.

    Hi Jenie and Andrew, let me know what you might need or would like, Deb, Lil and I probably have something you might use or need, see you Sunday, cheers.
    Steve, Deb and Lil.

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