Tuesday: An overview and the ROM
Wednesday: Cafe Boulud at The Four Seasons Hotel , Drake 150 in the Financial District, Intercontinental Hotel Lounge
Thursday: The Aga Khan Museum
Dillon’s Gin and Good Earth Winery, Beamsville, Ontario
Langdon Hall Relais & Chateau, Cambridge, Ontario
Last week I was in Toronto and I want to share some of the wonders of this lovely, modern and energetic North American city.
Toronto is a city of subtleties, so I think visitors should walk around slowly and absorb the details; you can see a Victorian house next to a glass skyscraper. What is very evident is how much growth is going on downtown and everywhere throughout the city. You might say Toronto is on a roll. And what makes this city a success: innovation, diversity and culture. Canada more than any other country says that immigration will help the country navigate the future, build the country, keep the economy strong.
Although Toronto’s public museums are relatively few in number, there are three that tell many stories. They are The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and the Gardiner Museum (a splendid ceramics museum). I have been to all three in the past, but this trip I only visited the ROM, because this year is the ROM’s 100th anniversary.
The museum looks at the world through the lenses of cultural and natural history. So in that regard, I visited the dinosaur display, which is so well done, I wish I had an 8 year old with me that day, it was perfect for a child to enjoy.
But the basic reason for my visit that day was a new, informative and very interesting cultural exhibit: Cairo Under Wraps: Early Islamic Textiles. There were almost 80 early Islamic textiles from the 7th to the 14th centuries. New to the museum were artists/architects drawers under the displays that a visitor could peruse, filled with artifacts of clothing and textiles. There were coptic tunics, shrouds finely woven with Arabic writings, often quoting Allah.
Most of the pieces on display were meant for the royal household. There were some other media such as glass, metalwork and coins. What was fascinating were the children’s coptic tunics, which were actually burial tunics. Also, the pieces of fabric had finely woven and delicately embroidered Arabic writings, these were mostly shrouds for burial.
The founding director of the Royal Ontario Museum, C.T. Currelly, collected some of the earliest pieces, so it seems appropriate that in this centennial year they are on display.