acquaintances

Monday evening at 6:00 p.m. I had cycled past Dundas and Sterling, on of my usual routes, on my way home. I saw media trucks and a reporter doing an interview.

Tuesday morning at 6:00 a.m. in the taxi on the way to a shoot, I heard the news that a cyclist had been killed at Dundas and Sterling.

This morning, I read that cyclist was Jenna Morrison. She has been labeled many things: yoga teacher, mother, life partner, four months pregnant, dancer, nonjudgmental, a spiritual person who loved life.

To me, she was an acquaintance.

I used to take classes at the studio she owned in Kensington Market. Now Spiritwind Internal Arts. I remember her because she was welcoming, interesting, vibrant, and attractive. Simply, a lovely person.

Because of the line of work I am in, I have many acquaintances.

That cab ride yesterday morning took me to The Alzheimer Society where I spent the day making more acquaintances. I was shooting a public service announcement on the importance of early diagnosis.

It was a powerful day.

People with the disease gave testimonials about their experience. They spoke about shame, pride, anger, frustration, hope, hopelessness, acceptance, denial, befriending the disease and the importance of treatment and support and getting the most out of the life they have left. They were accompanied by their spouses who double as caregivers.

There was much laughter and a few tears.

A thirteen year old girl, Sarah, participating in the video project, spoke about her grandfather's struggle with dementia. When asked if there was one thing she could tell people who are dealing with the disease she said, "Cherish the moments you have with them, because one day they'll be gone."

Like Jenna Morrison, I am glad to have made her acquaintance.



Toronto cyclists are invited to meet at Bloor and Spadina at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 14. The group plans to ride to the site of the accident.

Vote Crack Back


I enjoy being somewhere I've never been before. A different bike route home, getting groceries at a new grocery store, an ethnic restaurant on the other side of town. Sometimes my work takes me to these places. Cities like Paris (France), Santa Monica (California), or Alexandria (Ontario).

I have an affinity for small towns because it is where I come from. I know what they are. They are a unit, a community, an entity. A small town is a solid place to be from. But growing up in a small town on the prairies I left me thinking, there must be more to it than this.

There is.

There is plenty to see, to do, to feel, to eat, to touch, to hear out there. Wherever there is. The world is your oyster. That's what being from a small town teaches you. It teaches you that you can go anywhere and talk to anyone. Or maybe that was just my dad. That's what he does. I love him dearly and marvel at his skill. He will talk to anyone. At length. Anytime. About anything.

But the thing is...where you are, is where you're at.

So now I live in the city that Canada loves to hate. It's busy and congested and smelly and it has a lot of great restaurants. And on an evening of an election for our new mayor, I wish I were in a smaller place. A simpler place. I really don't need that much.

But I voted. Where I live. In Toronto. I did my civic duty. Will it make a difference?

What struck me in Alexandria were the simple, bilingual signs: "Re-elect Grant Crack for Mayor"

I have no doubt if I were to dig deeper into this community I would find a cast of characters rich enough to complete a hearty collection of short stories, an anthology of plays, a film crammed with local, admirable wonders.

Fargo (North Dakota). I vacationed there as a teen.

Enough said.

About Alexandria:

North Glengarry is a township in eastern Ontario, Canada, in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. It is a 69% rural area located between Ottawa-Hull, Montreal and Cornwall-Massena. The current township of North Glengarry was created on January 1, 1998 by amalgamating the former townships of Kenyon and Lochiel with the villages of Maxville and Alexandria.

The township comprises the urban community of Alexandria (population 3,287) and the rural communities of Apple Hill, Athol, Baltics Corners, Breadalbane, Brodie, Dalkeith, Dominionville, Dornie, Dunvegan, Fairview, Fassifern, Fiskes Corners, Glen Robertson, Glen Sandfield, Greenfield, Guaytown, Kirkhill, Laggan, Lochiel, Lochinvar, Lorne, Maxville, McCormick, McCrimmon, Pine Grove, St. Elmo and Stewarts Glen.

Alexandria is served five or six times a day by the Montreal-Ottawa VIA Rail trains which almost all stop there, in each direction.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Glengarry,_Ontario