The easiest method is also my favourite:
hang out at the gallery for three days.
You will learn, among other things…… that the gallery cafe has
a) an excellent salad bar, and
b) a patio
that AY Jackson was all for women in the arts, which is more than can be said for many other chaps in the business
that the Canadian Photography Institute is so worth spending at least an hour or two in; currently showing some important work in prints, installations and video
Prudence Heward didn’t paint sissies
the film by Rebecca Belmore recommended by the staff member who, when I asked a rather simple question, decided to answer by walking me through the gallery via all manner of hidden corridors and en route told me I MUST SEE THIS FILM BECAUSE IT’S SO POWERFUL, is actually astonishing.
another staff member who casually mentioned the experimental farm is worth seeing, that she loves the way the arboretum changes with the seasons
and a random someone who overheard my conversation about the arboretum and chimed in that if I’m looking for nifty places that are closer by, then I MUST go to the lanes
which I then did and found that there is a wonderful stationery shop in the lanes, great architecture, peaceful nooks, crannies, patios and outdoor art
you will learn, at the Royal Canadian Mint, that they commission Canadian artists to design their ‘art coins’, often via open competitions
and that the Olympic gold medal is silver on the inside with only a veneer of far-too-expensive-gold; the bronze is also veneer with silver on the inside (but this time to make it worth more than if it were entirely bronze)
if you’re lucky you’ll find the pub whose name I’ve forgotten that makes excellent fish tacos
and it’s not the Irish pub
or the fish place
you will crane your neck in one library and spend an hour in another discovering Lucy Lippard, writer and art critic who once wrote to her editor: “Herewith the twenty-two reviews. Hope they make whatever the deadline is. Slight delay as I had a baby last week.”
And you will find a hornet’s nest of diaspora loveliness at the International Pavilion... and this, by friend and sculptor, Erika Takacs.
a patio on a hill, where staff do everything to make you comfortable on a chilly day… heaters, blankets, so much kindness. the market of course… this is the super condensed version (sans cheese)
you will, like the goofy Canuck you are, embrace what’s Canadian
And fall in love in (at least) two languages.