Family Toronto

Edgar the Bernedoodle

aka the Bernegoof

Okay, not really, I just came up with that today.

I stopped to take a picture of the city from the park – it’s cool and windy and the lights and the clouds look really pretty.

Picture of downtown Toronto skyline at night taken from the hill at Riverdale Park East.

And I swear the dog saw me pull out my phone and take a photo. Then he walked out in front me, sat down, and posed.

Same as the skyline photo with a large cute dog front and centre

I didn’t really even have a choice. So I thought I’d make this late evening post about the dog.

From day one:

bernedoodle puppy's face takes up most of the photo - he's sticking his tongue out.
One of the very first pictures I took of him – in my dad’s van that we went to pick him up in.
bernedoodle puppy lying beside pale, slightly hairy legs; you can see a pale wooden floor.
This gives you an idea as to his size back then.

…to today – uhm just look up a little

Oh wait – same pose again from October:

Same as last photo but dog is much much bigger

Both his parents were bernedoodles too – and so while the breeder thought he would end up about 45-50 ish pounds, I think he mostly sucked out the Bernese Mountain Dog genes and not so many of the poodle genes. He started off about 5 kg when we got him at about 2 months old (about 11 pounds) and weighed 35 kg in September at the vet visit, (about 16 months later; about 77 pounds).

He is definitely mostly my dog, though Q is getting more and more used to him. Especially as Edgar is becoming less and less jumpy and over-eager. And Edgar loves Toby but will spend ages barking at Toby when I leave for work or to go out or what have you. Sigh. Really not sure how to work on that one but we’re trying!

Edgar and I did a puppy class and then two levels of obedience. The obedience classes were at Dog Logic – and I really cannot say enough good things about Madelayne and her team. He goes to day care there too now occasionally especially when we’re both going to be out of the house for a long day! And it’s so much fun to see the photos they post on IG and that they send to me when he’s there.

Bernedoodle dog sitting up with a bright blue wall behind him. A small white dog is photo-bombing from the left side.
He’s being photobombed by Mikey – who has known Edgar since they were about the same size!

There are a couple of things we’re still working on:

First, not jumping on people when he’s excited to see them! This is especially true for friends either visiting the house or if we bump into them on the road.

Second, getting him more used to me brushing him. I really suck at this so we’re starting from scratch again – I’m going to try using a lick mat and some frozen peanut butter and just a couple of minutes at a time and we’ll see how it goes.

Third, I want to incorporate more “training time” with him on a daily, or really every-other-day, basis. Going over what we already know, adding a few things here and there (working on stay as I increase the distance between us; definitely working a bit more on leave it again – ahhhh garbage day walks are always fun; that sort of thing).

Sometimes there’s a lot of Sheryl Crow going around in my brain but I am very happy Toby finally agreed that we could get a dog and I am so very happy that dog is Edgar.

A selfie of a lady with kind eyes and grey hair and a round face and a scruffy looking bernedoodle

Oh and if you want to follow him on IG you can: @edgar_fluufle

Diversions Food Review Toronto

Eating around the world

I do well with lists. I like checking things off.

Left to my own devices, I will stay inside and never leave the house. Now I have a puppy. I leave the house several times a day. I have spoken to more people – STRANGERS! – in the past 7 months than I probably have since 2012 when we moved into this house.

Toby likes going out. And Toby loves trying new and different places to eat.

So I thought I’d combine the two – a list and going out to eat.

What better list than ALLLL the countries of the world?!?

Well, probably lots. There are honestly loads of better lists to use to pick restaurants than “an alphabetical list of the countries of the world.”

First of all, not everyone agrees as to what is “a country.” And seriously, this is not at all supposed to be political (not the blog, the eating out!). But if the list didn’t have Palestine on it I wasn’t gonna use it. This is my favourite list though – it recognizes Palestine and Kosovo (to the Mighty Q’s great relief).

And second, wow there are a LOT of countries that start with A. And not a lot of restaurants for all of them in Toronto. So Toby suggested, 1 country per letter and just keep cycling through the alphabet. I think that’s actually what I’m going to work with.

But wait…why eat around the world at all?!?

Okay, let’s step back a minute. I was born in Toronto Ontario Canada. In the early 1970s. I basically grew up with the story that Toronto is the most multicultural place in the world.

It turns out it is actually not just a story – see here: BBC Radio – behind the stats; or here: BBC Travel: the city of 140 languages; about half our population comes from elsewhere AND half of the immigrants to Canada come here: wiki.

But of course it’s not all honey and love and equality. Most people have heard of Little Italy or Chinatown. But we also have a Little Jamaica, and a Chinatown East, and Little India. I live near Greektown. And then there’s Koreatown. And so so many more. So the idea came to me to get out of the house and explore the city a little more. To entice Toby, and maybe some friends too, I’d link it to food.

Start at the beginning

So – I started at the top. With Afghanistan.

Map Of Afghanistan And Surrounding Countries

I googled “best [country] food Toronto.” I relied heavily on reddit: specifically /FoodToronto. And this is obviously not a new idea. There are other blogs dedicated to this: Eat the World TO, Global Toronto Eats, even a food tour! But hey I am still gonna do it my way.

On January 14, Toby and I and the Mighty Q and some friends (people came along! wheeeee) met at Bamiyan Kabob on Overlea Blvd. in East York. Inexpensive and cheerful – think hard tables, plastic chairs, picking your food up on trays etc. – and the food was really really good and three of the boys (7, 11, and 48 years old) all really liked their mango smoothies too. It was busy. We grabbed a table for the 9 of us and almost all the other tables turned over while we were there. A mix of ages and races and genders and everything.

barg kabob on rice with some lettuce and chopped tomatoes
barg kabob
kofta kabob with rice, lettuce and chopped tomatoes
kofta kabob

Even Q ate it. Well, not the lettuce 😉 Turns out he liked the barg best. I ordered it because I had no idea what it was. According to the website it’s filet mignon. Kid has good taste.

And then across the “street” in the little plaza-type place, there was an ice cream shop. Remember we had 3 kids with us.

Anyway – why not have Afghan dinner and then Thai dessert?

Ice cream is rolled out on a tabletop that is chilled to -19 degrees Celsius. Then rolled up. That’s it in a nutshell. The Mighty Q got smores (complete with marshmallow). I got blueberry cheesecake with whipped cream and white chocolate. I don’t even remember what Toby got but I’m sure there was fruit involved. And no pictures even. Clearly we’ll have to go back.

Next up I think is Belgium. Moules…. lambics…ales… steak frites.

My brain is already thinking things like “so many different types of “Chinese” food – what the heck are we gonna do?!?!?” But one thing at a time I guess. January was Afghanistan. March will be Belgium. If you have a favourite “country” restaurant in the GTA let me know!

Diversions Toronto

Tourist in my home town – The ROM

India’s painted and printed cottons

In the many months since March 2020, I have been back to my office twice: both times on a Sunday to pick up things I needed. And then IT asked that everyone come into the office during September 2021 for updates and to make sure everything was still working etc.


Grey haired female with a periodic table of elements mask and a TTC stop in the background
Waiting for the bus for the first time in 18 or so months

So I got up, showered, put on office clothes!!, and waited for the bus. Overall the day went pretty well. Only a few of us went in. Toby encouraged me to get a nice lunch as a treat. And then I left work a little early to take advantage of being downtown and walked up to the ROM.

The benefit of a membership I think is that I do not feel compelled to see.all.the.things! I can look at what’s happening, chose one thing and then just see that and leave. And that’s exactly what I did.

The exhibit is on until January 2, 2022 so you can definitely still go and see it. It was pretty nifty. All about cotton and how artisans in India created and advanced their craft time and time again.

The colours and patterns were stunning. And so interesting to see the differences of the fabric made for different markets!

Both of the above were made in India but for export to different markets: Egypt and Japan. There was also Sri Lanka, Iran, Indonesia and of course Canada:

Made in the 1990s from Indian design for Canadian market

There was also a discussion of how local makers took inspiration from Indian chintz but also made it their own:

From Indian chintz to Javanese batik

And from Indian chintz to African prints. The ROM exhibit explained that in East Africa, women first dressed in printed cottons imported from India but by the 1970s they had switched to their own designs.

There was also a little section showing how some of the dyes were developed.

If you have a smart phone you can listen to a free descriptive audio tour of the whole exhibit with 10 or so stops. As someone who has a bit of working knowledge of fabrics from my own forays into knitting and basic sewing and cross-stitching (and some embroidery) I was just amazed by the variety and the obviously huge amounts of work involved.

I was pretty impressed and happy with my little visit. I checked the ROM website again afterwards and found a few links to talks and interviews they have posted to youtube about Post-Independence revival of India’s craft industries and with the curator of this exhibit. I love that they made it easy to dive as deep as you want to go on the topic. I’ve added the “Ethics of Production in Historic Chintz” to my future watch list!

I recently decided that I want to do a deep dive into fungi and lichen so I’m off to the ROM website again to see what they’ve got…

Diversions Toronto

Tourist in my home town – Grange Park

NOTE: I took these pictures in October 2019. I thought they would be good to share now during physical distancing so we can remember what’s waiting for us all when we’re done.

Tucked away behind the Art Gallery of Ontario and OCAD University is the most lovely little oasis.

At one time it was basically the back yard for The Grange (which was the original home of the AGO and has it’s own long history) and now it’s a lovely spot to wander, listen to kids playing on the playground, or water gurgling through the splash pad (in summer) or from the fountain:

(there was a person who was obviously quite fond of the fountain hanging around it and every time I went to take a picture would try and move into the shot. I’m not sure if they wanted to be in the picture or just stop me from taking it but I eventually got this photo)

I really love the way Toronto can pull off nature in the middle of the city!

And of course, the love affair with Henry Moore continues:

Large Two Forms - Henry Moore
Large Two Forms – Henry Moore

The Henry Moore Sculpture Centre in the AGO is the largest public collection of Henry Moore’s work – and he gave most of it to the gallery.

Diversions Toronto

Being a tourist in my home town – Visiting the AGO

Now that the weather isn’t so unbearably hot and humid for me I thought I’d try and go out for a walk during my lunch break every once in a while. The Art Gallery of Ontario is just around the corner from my office so I figured that’s a great place to start.

In September I went and saw a photography exhibit called “women in focus.” It was lovely.

Here are some of my favourite photos:

This one is from Lotte Jacobi – I love the way the movement is captured. I keep expecting the dancer to keep going!

I just want to know what she’s thinking! This is called “Sea of Ice (Genevieve)” from 1935.

This is a print from Violet Keene Perinchief – originally from England but moved to Ontario and “found commercial success as the manager of the Eaton’s photography studio” before setting up her own shop. The eyes. Really, that’s it. Just the eyes.

Taking pictures of photos behind glass isn’t a strength of mine obviously. Here’s a better version of the above photo:

More from the AGO in the future that’s for sure, especially because now I have a membership.