Sunday in Toronto

We’re in luck again today! It’s a fresh and sunny morning in Toronto! To make it even better we have no plans, no obligations, no agenda. We intend only to absorb what is at hand. The strawberry jam and butterballs on this morning’s festive board in the lounge afforded a soothing recollection of forgotten times at my mother’s breakfast table. Two elderly couples seated next to us were overheard discussing the old Seigniory Club (now Montebello) and other railway hotels across Canada including Banff Springs and Lake Louise. Yesterday I read on a plaque attached to the front of the Royal York hotel that at the time of its construction it was the tallest building in the British Empire.

The building was officially opened on 11 June 1929 by The Viscount Willingdon, the Governor General of Canada, in “one of the most glittering social events in Toronto’s history.” The Toronto Board of Trade hosted a luncheon in the hotel’s banquet hall for E.W. Beatty and the board of directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway. After the luncheon, the Governor-General registered as the first guest of the hotel. During the afternoon, guides showed guests around the hotel. The day finished off with an opening ball at 9 PM (with over 2300 people attending). Several politicians and other notable people from the USA and Canada attended the opening of the hotel. The opening of the hotel was front page news in the Montreal Gazette on 12 June 1929. The hotel had 19,800 square feet of Canadian linoleum flooring upon opening.

After putting on the nose bag this morning we ventured through the hotel’s subterranean course. The prolonged but scintillating passage led us to Union Station through some very respectable alleyways, remarkably pristine, back onto Front Street immediately facing the main entrance to the Royal York hotel.

I intend to entertain myself this afternoon by blending in with the wallpaper in the main lobby. From that vantage I shall observe the world go by.

In the background there persists the noise of American politics. The alienation of America from worldwide approbation continues to grow as Trump astonishingly repeats his insanity and Americans seemingly continue to tolerate the danger unrestrained. The vulgar Republican supporters and the majority of spineless and rapacious Republican politicians prefer to adopt fiction to preserve themselves and their personal interests from the illegality of their party and the universal disgrace of its putative leader. The world meanwhile questions how Americans can pretend to represent democratic reality – much less universal inequality. It is a patent absurdity particularly in light of such preposterous assertions lately made by Trump that he (and they) nearly won both elections in which Trump was involved. Trump is characterized by his own colleagues as deranged and unhinged.

Americans diffuse this impenetrable embarrassment by acquainting their primary issue with the cost of oil. As much as I dislike the escalation of gas prices it is hardly an earthquake.  I recall when gas prices were 35 cents per gallon.  When the house I paid $78,000 for now trades for over $700,000. When labour was paid $2.50/hour instead of $25.00/hour. And this whining complaint of rising mortgage rates from 3 to 5 per cent is nothing short of laughable when I recall GIC returns of 18.5% per annum and private lending rates of 13.5% per annum.

It all contributes to my burgeoning reality. Mine is a distilled evaporation of disturbing influences. I do however have the advantage of two irrefragable ingredients; namely, time and experience. Oddly enough my hopes are prompted by what I anticipate to be the direction of youth. The combination of fuel efficiency, abandonment of religion and widening of cultural restrictions gives me comfort.