Saturday, August 3, 2019

Dvine Dining

July 2019 - Stratford-Toronto ON

Stratford ON 2019


Saturday started with breakfast in our Stratford B and B.

Coconut rice pudding with mango.

Egg, cheese, mushrooms and prosciutto wrapped in strudel. There wasn't anything gluten free on the menu, despite my including dietary restrictions on the booking form, so the chef scrambled some eggs served with gluten free toast.

We then spent some time reading as there were showers in the air. We headed out around 11 for a walk to the river.
I included a list of activities to do around Stratford in last week's post, and I will copy it here as well.
We waved hello to the prime ministers, no new ones added this year.
Visit Castle Kilbride right next to the prime ministers.
Visit the Terre Bleu Lavender Farm.
Tour a Mennonite home with a train and buggy ride and visit the town of Elmira.
You can even find a Homeless Jesus sculpture in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Have a light bulb moment 💡and grab a coffee in a shop where Thomas Edison lived.
Visit a National Historic Site of Canada church and graveyard.
And, of course, go to the theatre (2018 version), see the wonderful Shakespearean grounds of the Festival Theatre, visit the Perth Museum and stroll along the Avon River with its swans and Shakespeare gardens.
The theatre performances are great, read the NY Times 2019 review.

Incorporated as a village in 1853, a town in 1858 and city in 1885, Stratford grew rapidly during the last quarter of the 19th century due in large part to the establishment of two railway engine repair shops. The first town hall and market was destroyed by fire in November 1897. The cornerstone for a new city hall was laid in November 1898 and the building was opened in 1900. The new City Hall on the site of Stratford's former town hall marked a notable addition to the late-19th-century streetscape. Under threat of demolition in the 1960s, and again in the early 1970s, the building was saved by a citizens' group. Stratford City Hall was renovated in 1974 and remains in municipal use today.

When the area was first settled in 1832 by English, Irish, Scottish and German immigrants, in almost equal numbers, starting in the 1820s but primarily in the 1830s and 1840s.
The town and the river were named after Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Stratford was incorporated as a town in 1859 and as a city in 1886.

The swan has become a symbol of the city. Each year twenty-four white swans are released into the Avon River. 

The town is well known for being the home of the Stratford Festival previously known as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival; while Shakespeare's plays are still produced, theatre in a wide range of genres is offered each year, from May to October.

Walking the street beside the Avon river, houses go for $1.5 million if they back onto the river.

This is a 70th Anniversary Dutch-Canadian Friendship Tulip Garden.
The gardens are a way to celebrate the first gift of 100,000 Dutch tulip bulbs sent to Canadians in 1945.
They were a symbol of appreciation for the role Canadian soldiers played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

After the occupation of Holland by Nazi armies in WWII, seven hundred free men of Dutch birth used Stratford as a military training base. This memorial was a gift of appreciation from the Netherlands for Stratford’s hospitality. The participation of the Perth Regiment in the liberation of Holland in 1945, adds to the close bond between our countries. The pair of hands symbolizes Canada’s support; the dove is symbolic of the Netherlands. In 2017 a new plaque was placed by Princess Margaret.

So gorgeous out so we visit the gardens.

The Shakespearean Gardens are framed by a pergola, the Perth County Courthouse, and the oldest double-arch stone bridge in Ontario, this little jewel contains 60 varieties of herbs, flowers, and shrubs, all familiar to Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and mentioned in his plays. Wander through knots of blooms bordered by thrift and boxwood and along the stone walls among fragrant rose gardens, and then rest on iron benches in this sanctuary along the river bank.

Back along York St. in search of something cold.


Lunch done, LOL we head back to the B and B.

We got our readers and read until we both felt like taking a nap!

Dinner reservations were early, 5:30 so that we could enjoy before our theatre performance at 8 PM.

The Revival House (formerly the Church Restaurant) in the former Mackenzie Memorial Gospel Church occupies an ideal location, only a short walk from the town’s famous theatres.

The blue door takes you up to the Belfry Bar.

The largest architectural alteration was the introduction of a commercial kitchen into a former crawl space. Some original footings remain intact in an area of the crawl space that now houses the restaurant’s wine cellar. The pews were used to create seating platforms around the dining area’s perimeter. Also adorning the interior are original light fixtures and stained-glass windows.

We both had steak frites and shared a plate of asparagus and tomatoes.

I;m baffled by the reviews for The Merry Wives of Windsor set in the 1950s in small town Ontario. The reviews rave and John and I were bored to tears. Touted as a rollicking comedy we did not find it funny. The theatre was half empty and judging by the audience's response at closing, they weren't that impressed either.


The B and B owner was happy to point out that they had a couple of gluten free breakfasts. We both had and enjoyed the "chiffon" pancake.

Packed and we headed home the long way and then enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing. We had spaghetti and homemade (frozen) sauce for dinner.


John golfed and I just did this and that!


We had tickets for the ROM Royal Ontario Museum but woke to rain and fog.

So instead we did some redecorating. Our photo from Mazatlan that I had enlarged on canvas finally got hung in our Mexican themed bedroom.

It cleared and we did a short jaunt downtown. A new Tim Horton's concept opened in the Exchange Tower called the Innovation Cafe. A week later they are still lining up out the door.

We happened upon the the Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Legacy Celebration at Nathan Phillips Square to honour residential school survivors and their families.

This six-foot-tall turtle sculpture was unveiled this week. It represents many First Nation creation stories as it embodies Turtle Island, also referred to as Mother Earth. The turtle stands on a three-foot-tall boulder, which will list the 17 residential schools that once operated in Ontario.

We had roast chicken, potatoes and carrots for dinner.

Wednesday was my birthday!!

Our weekend in Stratford was part of my present along with my fabulous shoes I received last week.

AND my Frida cushion, #2.

John golfed and I returned a library book and then wandered over the AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, one of my favourite places to hang out on my own. There are so many galleries and different exhibits.

A new Korean store opened in Royal Bank Plaza, they sell macarons along with other Korean food products.

City Hall.

Queen St. West.

McCaul St.

AGO- a new exhibit was being set up.

My cheese platter and prosecco.

General Idea was a collective of three Canadian artists, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, who were active from 1967 to 1994. As pioneers of early conceptual and media-based art, their collaboration became a model for artist-initiated activities and continues to be a prominent influence on subsequent generations of artists
Their AIDS logo, a later work appropriated from Robert Indiana's shopworn “LOVE” sculpture from the '60s, became the General Idea brand.

August 2009 - Philadelphia PA

Using found clothing and plaster casts of body parts, Valérie Blass creates work that defies simple definition. She works with models and specific textiles, moulding these materials to create fixed tableaux. Blass also incorporates casting, carving, and assemblages of objects into her sculptures, drawing on realism, minimalism and Cubism to explore what she calls the “in-between” spaces of abstract, human and inanimate forms.

And John came in with birthday flowers!

Pork belly with cauliflower fried rice and our current favourite marinated tomato salad.


We decided, after much dialogue, to do a late lunch and then see the exhibits at the ROM that we missed on Tuesday.

We took the subway to St. George, taking bets on the closest correct exit, and again, chose the wrong one! NOTE!! Use the Bedford exit for the Museum Tavern and St. George exit for Bata Shoe Museum!

Settled at the bar and the bartender and John waxed eloquent on the merits of the mussels...the bartender then had to return, red-faced, to say they were out of mussels...

Ahi tuna ceviche, my usual, but not up to standard today. The tuna had "cooked" a little too long in the citrus and there was too much filler.

Good view of the ROM.

Giant tube of paint advertising the exhibit In the Times of Rembrandt.
Click here to hear and see the descriptive audio tour.

I'll do a complete post on this exhibit another time as this was a fun showing.

Famous guitarist Kirk Hammett, of the heavy metal band Metallica, has created one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of classic horror and sci-fi movie posters. This exhibition explores Hammett’s significant collection and examines the connection between artistry, emotion, and popular culture through a selection of works from 20th-century cinema.

It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.

Great movie projections on the wall.

He also has his extensive guitar collection on display.

From here we went to In the Age of Rembrandt, link to an article about the exhibit.

For the first time in Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents In the Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, an extraordinary collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Opening Saturday, June 1, 2019, the exhibition features 70 works by major artists of the period including Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, and Jan Steen. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), In the Age of Rembrandtshowcases the technical brilliance, naturalism, and layered meanings characteristic of 17th century Dutch art, from the scientific precision of a floral still life to symbolic details in a scene from daily life. The ROM is the exhibition’s exclusive Canadian venue.

I was most interested in the Rembrandt pieces.

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, 1632

The Reverend Johannes Elison, minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Norwich, England, is shown in the painting on the left. His wife, Maria Bockenolle, is shown in the companion painting on the right. Both figures look directly at the viewer and wear long, black robes with ruffled white collars. Maria also has white, lace-edged cuffs at her wrists. The minister wears a black skull cap and sits beside a table covered with books and papers, while Maria wears a broad-brimmed, black hat over the traditional white cap worn by Dutch women.

Since we had time to kill we strolled along Bloor St. a section known as The Mink Mile due to the high priced stores that line it.

Outside of One Bloor East, we came across two towering cylindrical figures slink around one another. The sculpture’s reflective steel encasement is contrasted with hints of red and orange that emerge at rupture points between the cylinders. The artwork, Safe Hands, is by Israeli-born artist Ron Arad and commissioned by Great Gulf, the developers of One Bloor East.

It reminded us of those construction tubes put up when demolishing a building to
safely move the debris to the ground.  Which I just learned is called a remodeling debris chute, wasn't far off!

The installation is officially described as “two 31-metre-tall stacks of metal tubing will sway back and forth like dancing robotic arms. At times the pillars will seem close to toppling over, but passersby can trust the artwork to stand strong—hence its name, Safe Hands.”

Another new ice cream spot, Japanese, I had taken a photo of their sign a few weeks ago.

Taiyaki NYC is a Japanese ice cream joint with origins in New York City.

The place is named for the fish-shaped waffle cakes that act as cones for the soft serve, which comes in flavours like matcha, black sesame and red bean. And served with a cookie straw and a skewer of chewy little rainbow mochi, little, tiny rice cakes.

Ed Mirvish Theatre, I prefer the previous name of Pantages.

On the surface, Waitress might seem like a frivolous musical centred around pie. Song lyrics by Sara Bareilles – of radio hit Love Song fame – brim with baking references, flour and sugar are tossed around by the ensemble and mobile pan racks double as dance partners on stage. But under its sugary lattice crust and upbeat musical numbers is a devastating story about domestic abuse, adultery and the lack of options for unwanted pregnancies in America’s South.

Click here for another preview.

The show was fun, great sets and choreography, it was quite long at 2.45 hours.

A great day out, our walk, about about 13K steps.

We walked to Queen St West and immediately got the streetcar home - thirty minutes.


John golfed and I went to St. Lawrence Market Gallery.

Toronto Brews Exhibit
Craft beer may be all the rage today in Toronto, but the city has a brewing tradition that began over two centuries ago. Through artifacts, artworks, archival images and videos, you can explore this rich legacy in the Market Gallery's new exhibition. The story begins with tiny breweries established in the early 1800s, then covers the scaling-up of the industry in Victorian times, the impact of Prohibition, the rise of Canada's macrobrewers in the first half of the 20th century, and ends with a look at the microbrewery movement since 1985 and contemporary craft-beer culture.

Steak, baked potatoes and roasted vegetables.



I started reading The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan and hope to finish it this weekend.

Beth hosts Weekend Cooking where you can post anything food related.
Saturday Snapshots is hosted by A Web of Stories.
Sunday Salon


  1. So much great stuff here! Love that gigantic yellow ice cream cone! Beautiful black and white photo. Love how your Mexico photo looks on the wall. And the sculptures and street art!

    Too bad the play wasn't better. But happy birthday and cool shoes!

    I love roasted veggies. Glad you were able to get some GF breakfasts.

  2. There is so much packed into your post that I never know where to begin.
    Amazing adventures and photos and wonderful list of what you did with links!! thanks for that
    Being a gluten free vegetarian, I find eating out difficult when I travel. I end up with a lot of potatoes, rice, and gluten free pizza.

  3. Stratford is a great place for a weekend visit ... we haven't been there for many years, should go again.

    best... mae at

  4. Great post! You have some beautiful pictures here. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I did see signage about the Legacy Celebration when I was in Nathan Phillips Square.

    The city hall in Stratford is very impressive.

  6. I'm fascinated with the Shakespearean Gardens. Wouldn't that be a fun place to visit for all of those who love Shakespeare? They could probably spend a month there.

    The church converted to a bar is an intriguing place, too. With the decline of mainstream Christianity, there are lots of beautiful churches here that are unoccupied. That would be a great project for someone.

    Japanese ice cream! Wow. Beautiful to look at.

    You do more in a day than most people do in a year.

  7. Thank you for the tour, delightful as always!

  8. Wow, so much to see! Lovely gardens, yummy food - I'm ready to go!

  9. Was this all in one week? Amazing, you have been busy paparazzi :) I loved the Shakespearean Garden & the statues, & The Rembrandt exhibition - looking forward to your post about it! Frida cushions look colorful & beautiful... Can you really walk with those fab shoes!?? Happy belated birthday!

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes! I haven't worn the shoes yet, but they feel really comfortable.
      Yes, this is a typical week for us.

  10. What beautiful pictures! I've never been to Canada but I'd like to visit one day.

  11. That Belfry Bar is so beautiful, what a great place to have a restaurant.

  12. Happy birthday, belated, hope ti was great. Well you got those awesome shoes! As always I love the tour and the food and exhibits!

  13. Should have caught on last week when you were talking about the red shoes that it was a birthday present!! Belated Happy birthday:):) Completely forgot - during World War II, Canada is where the Royal Dutch family escaped to, and if I'm not mistaken princess Christina (the youngest) lives in Canada. The painters, butter, and windmills are the Dutch signature. My friend, who married an American about 8 years ago, asked me last year, exasperated, "I met a Dutch person, and she was this well known artist - is every Dutch person an artist??"
    Also, I love the dove between the two hands - sculpture, and the tubes-installation! My sense is that the flowers is one of Rembrandt paintings, but I can't remember that one. Many thanks for this ultra-interesting post for All Seasons, Jackie! Happy to see your hubby seems to be doing well, going out with you:)

  14. Thank you for the bday wishes,Jesh. I think the flowers are the work of a female painter Rachel Ruysch.


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