As I sit here on Canada day weekend listening to fireworks exploding in the distance I figure there was no better time to pay homage to Gord Downie. His tragic diagnosis of terminal brain cancer is no secret and the outpourings have been coming in ever since. I can attempt to recreate these glowing tributes but instead I think I will focus on how the Hip have influenced me since the late eighties:
- Food-They taught me to eat my chicken slow and, as a Christian, to be wary of coconut cream.
- Relationships-I’d like to meet a Thompson girl (even if she doesn’t give a fuck about hockey) and bring her down the highway to balmy Bobcaygeon for some Willie Nelson and wine.
- Fashion-Even if you loathe the leafs, it’s still OK to wear a 50 mission cap (which I willingly did as part of my university years).
- Geography– Give me a map and I can point out the 100th Meridian, dot a map at Chagrin Falls and tell you what’s in Sarnia.
- Travel- My ultimate goal on most road trips is taking the last American exit while looking for a place to happen and making stops (usually at triple Ds, James Beard winners or iconic eateries) along the way.
- Writing– The hip allowed me to feel fully and completely comfortable about using two synonymic adverbs in the same sentence even in the midst of less than anti-social poets.
- History- I learned about both the heroic trek of Jacques Cartier and the travesty of David Milgaard on the same album at a time where eating gluten was still cool.
- Zoology– I’ve long to become lionized by using my pigeon camera (or maybe my iphone) to take a picture in Central Park of an emperor (or at least a king or chinstrap) penguin or the ghost of Gus the Prozac prescribed polar bear.
Speaking of Canadiana, it is currently one of the hottest food trends in the GTA. Aside from the expansion of popular Western Chains into the east, there is a smattering of restaurants which serve fare reflective of our country’s expansive geography. Originally, I was going to summarize an eatery which fell along the foodie tundra which exists on King between John and Blue Jays Way. Parlor, which opened in late 2014, had an ironically American name, most likely due to the fact a speakeasy with the Canadian spelling exists a mere 300 metres away. Otherwise, it aimed to be as Canadian as the Hip themselves. I went a couple of times and was treated to one of my favorite cocktails in Toronto…their smoked maple manhattan. Alas, when I went to pull up the restaurant’s menu on the website to write this blog, it was nothing but a blank page. When I checked opentable it reported the restaurant as permanently closed. A phone call answered by a befuddled voice on the other end confirmed the closure and left me wondering if Ry Cooder was invited to sing their euology.
Like the Tragically Hip, I guess good things need to come to an end and although my perfect segway was ruined by the closure of Parlor, I suppose I could use this blog to set up my recent trip to New Orleans which reminds me I should start writing it before my memory gets muddy.