Saturday, 9 October 2010

portrait room, humanities library, and gran baile?

Getting up early to go to the 7 am Gale presentation in the portrait room of the Law Library of Upper Canada was a bit of a shock to the system (not to mention the brain), although the walk downtown in the dark was magical, especially going through Queen's Park (all squirrels sound asleep, the sensible things). The Law Library is a magnificent Georgian-style building opposite the Sheraton--all oak panelling, chandeliers and, well, portraits. Thanks to Gale-Cengage Learning for the breakfast and coffee.

I really like the juxtaposition of old buildings and new in Toronto, especially in the university quarter, which I was shown round yesterday by my former colleague Miguel, a very experienced Hispanic subject specialist based at the humanities library. (He had faith in my abilities when he was in Oxford, for which I am eternally grateful.) The library itself has all the features that British libraries are only now beginning to aspire to--the banks of computers for readers, the provision of both informal and formal study space, cafes that help to make libraries not just places where you read but popular social venues, and 24/7 opening.

Some great events at the Congress earlier--including a moving documentary about the migration of Cuban farmers to the cities. It was clear how much the farmers loved the land and way of life and how let down they felt by centralised agricultural marketing schemes.

Tonight there is the Gran Baile at the Sheraton from 10.30 until the small hours. I'd like to go but am not sure I'll still be awake then. We'll see.

If I do go, my route will take me past the Royal Ontario Museum, above, which somehow looks even more of a disaster-zone than it must do usually, what with the building works and bollards on the opposite side of the street.

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