The Contrarian

I could barely get to sleep most Tuesdays. Wednesdays meant two back-to-back radio news shifts, and endless possibilities. I’d leave Laval at 6 in the morning to make it to class on time.

He was known to most as Coach, and as I learned today, Contrarian by some. With tears welling up in my eyes, I also learnt more about Ross Perigoe from the people who knew him best; his friends, colleagues, sons, and siblings.

Many gathered at Eglinton St. George’s United Church in Toronto to honour the life that was lived by our beloved Coach. Day 1 of JOUR 330: Advanced Radio, the Ph.D. told us we were to call him Coach. I didn’t know how serious he was until I began to roll my ‘R’ in preparation for his name, as he shot a discerning look my way. Immediately “Coach” shot out of my mouth, and it would remain that way for the rest of the time I knew him.

He was Coach, and we were a team. The radio newsroom was the field, and with Coach’s guidance we never struck out. There were times when I may have been close, but Coach would be there with words of encouragement. He believed in us; in all of us, especially when we didn’t believe in ourselves.

When I got an interview for an internship at CBS Radio in New York City, Coach was the first person I called. When it was my turn to wear the Assignment Editor’s hat, I sat by Coach collecting my thoughts, and going over the show’s rundown. It was tax time. Almost in unison, Coach and I looked up and said The Beatles’ Taxman must open the show. And, so it did. It isn’t possible to listen to that song without thinking of him.

I spent last summer in the Rockies as a Podcast Producer for The Banff Centre. My love for radio, and all things audio, grew under the loving care of Coach. His passion and enthusiasm were infectious, and shared by many; myself included. We were similar in a lot of ways. I, too, tend to take the opposing view in discussions, for argument’s sake. We would speak about matters dear to the heart, and how he had a long distance relationship with his wife, as well.

I was very moved, by the way people spoke about Coach; how he affected their lives, and everyone else’s sitting in that church. I thought about how I would be remembered. What impression will I leave? Will my journalism career be as enduring? Will my long-time friend go on about the good old days hosting Sunny Side Up, and our j-school adventures at my wake?

In part, my tear stained cheeks were owed to the fact that tomorrow marks 5 months since the passing of one of my uncles. Like with Coach, I can’t believe he’s gone. He remains a steadfast fixture in my thoughts, and at times in my dreams. A recurrence in these episodes of rapid eye movement, is how he has made it known that he’s okay. I have a hard time believing those I love have passed on. I am going to resign myself to the belief that it is because those we lost don’t ever truly leave us. I will take comfort in that.

I will also take comfort in knowing I could give back to Coach, and that his legacy will live on through the Ross Perigoe Memorial Scholarship.

Towne380 Pulls a 360‏

It’s been nearly a decade since it all began. I was 14 when I started working [at Moe’s Bar and Grill]. I was their coat check girl.

Illegal and underage

I’d get home at 2 or 3 in the morning after Tuesday’s Ladies Night, where I had an entire staff of siblings. The busboys, waiters and bartenders took to treating me like their little sister. Periodically, they came to keep me company or bring me hot chocolate.

The only reason my parents allowed me to work such an unconventional shift each week was because my brother was among the busboys. Those long nights cemented our relationship. He confided in me, and our brother-sisterly bond grew. But, this story isn’t about me; it’s about Shawn.

When we were younger, Shawn epitomized cool in the eyes of my other brother, cousins and myself. We look[ed] up to him, and not just because he was taller than us, and still is.

Out with the old

Last night, Towne380 was born. It stands where Moe’s stood for many years; where Shawn began and is now the manager and partner in the modern dining venture.

Towne380 is what Laval has been waiting for. From the team that brought you 40 Westt, Towne Hall & 40 Northh: Towne380 is the very latest from the creative force behind Montreal’s best.

Expectations, etc.

It’s sophisticated, and elegant, all the while, providing a welcoming environment. The expansive bar is host to great martinis and cocktails. The open concept kitchen allows you to feast your eyes on the daily arrival of fresh seafood, ensuring quality and superior flavor unmatched elsewhere.

The succulent array of meat is aged and prepared to perfection at their flagship location: 40 Westt. A variety of options are available at this lavish Laval eatery.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘It’s her brother’s restaurant, of course she’ll spout a positive point of view!’ So, go ahead, judge for yourself.

Towne380 opens to the public on November 30th, 2011.

Sleepless in Southern Ontario

As I walked into Keele subway station to begin my day, I crossed paths with others who were putting an end to theirs.

Tuesday afternoons in Concordia’s CJ building flash across my mind. Guest lecturers regaled about what we were in for. Long nights, early starts, weekends, the works! Was I ready? I would soon find out.

I arrived at Islington station.. 25 minutes early. There were other people waiting for the bus, as well. What were they waiting to get to? As the rain pitter-pattered in the distance, I wondered where my fellow passengers were headed. It’s something I often think about; where people are going. If I had a day off from school and Carrefour Laval would be swamped, I thought “Don’t they work?” Or, I’d have a late start in my post-secondary studies, and as I walked to the bus stop, I questioned whether all these people could be home for lunch? What occupied their days? What did they do?

Or, has a less than pleasant encounter with someone of the rudest kind set you off? It’s a quick write off– “What a bitch!” But, I tend to ponder what happened in their day or their life to make them have such a reaction. I digress, ah, the mind wanders so early in the day [at the time of this drafting].

Back to the bus stop: The man in the jacket with the “security” badge puts me at ease. The guy in the red pants, though as admirable as his style sense may be, sets off the unease the security guard put to rest.

Why was I the only female travelling at this un-Godly hour? 5 men at first. Then 10. A girl appears. 14 of us in total. Final count: 15, excluding myself. Misery definitely enjoys company– I took comfort in knowing I was not alone in sleep deprivation.

At 1:42 AM, I open my eyes to find solely myself and an old Asian man on the bus. 1:43, he’s gone and now it’s just me.

I failed to nod off on the Mi-Way 1: the Mississauga shuttle bus that brings me from Toronto to Oakville. I am no stranger to long commutes. The journey from Laval to Montreal for college and then again in University prepared me well.

-I’d get a fair bit of reading done if I wasn’t so sleepy.
-No traffic– a rarity for the GTA (at any hour).

-Very little sleep.

The incessant sound of the abnormally loud windshield wipers was irritating. The lights could stand to be dimmed much more at that hour, (and, they got even brighter once the doors swung open). As handy as I think the automated voice that announces the impending stops is, she should be silenced this early in the AM.

Don McLean’s “American Pie” (a family favorite) played through the speakers as I walked into Tim Horton’s . A smile made its way across my face. It’s only 2:04. I’m eternally early. With a french vanilla by my side, I rest my head on my arms, and wait.

Fast forward 9 hours– I made it through my 1st day as a New Writer for The Weather Network. I wrote copy for a 10-year vet. I was nervous to hand it over, but she had only positive things to say. The crew is very nice.

There were moments I thought if I just closed my eyes I’d be done for. That’s when you know it’s time get up, make tea or go pee. Snacks are the be all and end all of staying awake . Gotta keep that blood sugar up! As tired as I may be, it’s nice knowing people are counting down the time until lunch and I’m on my way home for the day.

What happened with Much Music? Nothing. I’ll be MIA during my 2 week training period, but I shall fulfill my blogging duties from home, as a good Kimtern would.

Rain or shine, see ya next time!

To T.O. I Go

Today makes for a week since my arrival in T-Dot. And, like John Graves Simcoe before me, I have begun to discover Toronto.

A friend asked me whether I was going to blog about my move, and while I thought it was a good idea, I just didn’t know what else I would say besides the fact that I up’d and left my hometown. Then, it hit me– as a Hab transplant in Leafs-town, I have loads to say!

For starters, I compare everything in Toronto to Montreal (with Montreal coming out on top again and again). Those who know me, might say “You’re from Laval!” None the less, I was born in a Montreal hospital, therefore binding me to the city for eternity. In any case, I spent most of my formative years in and around Montreal whilst attending college and university in the city.

Quebec is not dubbed “La Belle Province” for nothing. It’s a beautiful place to grow up and will forever be my home. Travelling abroad and citing I’m from Montreal sends all who I encounter into a gushing frenzy with nothing but nice things to say. Case in point. Montreal has charm. Toronto is growing on me, but the city is so expansive; all intimacy is lost.

Getting to know a new city, one relies heavily on public transport. As I am used to Montreal’s award winning subway system [Best Transportation Company in North America in 2010] I have certain qualms regarding T.O.’s underground situation. For starters, they should adopt a plan similar to the Société de Transport de Montréal’s (STM) Opus card—a rechargeable card one uploads with money for individual tickets or weekly or monthly passes to ride the metro. The continuous usage of non-recyclable plastic by Torontonians for transport is inefficient and impractical.

F.Y.I.: The STM is now facing a short list of finalists in the race for Best Metro in the Americas.

Moving on, Montreal is renown for its palatable pleasures (clearly, a hands down win against Toronto). I checked out Caplansky’s, which doesn’t come close to Schwartz’s, but their smoked meat isn’t half bad.

The Royal Ontario Museum [ROM] leads to hours of enjoyment. Especially, the Water Exhibit which explores earth’s not-so plentiful resource brought to T.O. in part by the American Museum of Natural History and runs until Labour Day.

Conveniently, my relocation came at the same time as the Hot Docs film festival. Montreal is a city of festivals, but Hot Docs is the only festival like it in North America. The quick flash of my Concordia student I.D. (which thankfully does not expire for a few more years even though I’ve recently graduated) allows for free admittance to any screening before 6 p.m. If your school days are far behind you, fourteen dollars is a more than reasonable price to pay for top-notch quality documentaries.

Also, there are various districts like Distillery, or the Annex, etc. that are reminiscent of that Montreal je ne sais quoi.

I would like to leave you with a few pointers for parting from the parents.

The Kim’s Corner Survival Guide

-Find a partner who can cook.

That’s it. Just kidding! S/he must also have a job. I’m only joking, you need not lean on anyone when moving out on your own– it totally defies the independence you are most certainly seeking after flying the coop.

Lucky for me, my boyfriend (or opposite-sex common-law partner as my recently submitted Census form states) enjoys cooking, which works out great, because I enjoy eating. I am more than capable of preparing a delectable dinner, but if he receives such joy from cooking, who am I to deny him of that?

So far, my favourite thing about Toronto is living in sin with my fellow Montrealer [boyfriend].