We went to the Dundas Place Arts Festival yesterday and although there were more people than I expected there could have been a lot more considering this city has a population of 400K! Still it was great and we had fun. It was a lovely and perfect day for the festival. The first thing we came across was the salsa dancing outside of Che Resto Bar! So nice! I took a video and wanted to share it on Facebook but can’t figure out how to get it from my phone to photos on my computer. I don’t do FB on my iPhone but I was able to share it on Instagram.
Reg and I bought 4 books for $10 from Roy McDonald’s collection which they called “Roy’s Remains”. I always thought he was a prominent local author but turns out he only wrote one or two books. The fact that people thought he was a famous author was a local myth. He was actually an eccentric person who did busking in the form of poetry readings outside of Joe Kool’s and Toboggan and was dubbed the Mayor of Richmond Row for a time. He loved to meet people and would talk to everyone but what I learned yesterday was that he was a voracious reader! The number of books he left behind was phenomenal! There were shelves and shelves as well as a whole trailer full of them on the street out front of Attic Books. He wrote in the cover of each book where and when (including the time of day!) and how much he paid for it along with the name of the sales person who sold it to him! He wrote in them and made notes and marks and underlines and arrows in many of them. I bought a book that he had purchased two copies of for himself – first the hardcover book and then the paperback which is the one I bought. He even bought one as a gift for another person. He had written in the paperback that he had purchased the hardcover first which he had in storage but he it was so good he bought the second copy. It is called How To Read a Poem, (by Edward Hirsch) – something I’ve wanted to learn more about for some time now. The other book I bought was a hardcover called The Art of Growing Older, by Wayne Booth. Both of them have writings and poems written by famous poets and writers so I’m interested in reading them.
I looked Roy up on wikipedia and found he had been a drunk and lived quite a raucous life for awhile in Montreal but gave up the booze on his own and stayed sober when he moved to London. Contrary to popular belief he wasn’t homeless. He lived in (and owned) a house on Wellington Road at Whetter. It was the house he grew up in. One of the books I looked at he had written in it that he had to buy from the bargain bin that day (it had a tag on it 5.99) because he only had $14. Wow! It’s as though books were like eating for him. More important than food!
At first, when we bought the books, I assumed he was a prolific and respected author but when I found out different once I got home I felt a little ashamed for being so taken with the idea of owning books he had owned. But then, as I thought about him over the evening and nighttime, my mind changed and I started to really think about what an interesting and important person he was just for being him. People loved and respected him because he was so friendly and interested in meeting and talking with, and listening, to them. He was also referred to as a philosopher and that he was. He loved to chat with university students who went to the bars on Richmond Row. Often his clothes were shabby – he didn’t spend money on clothes much apparently, and he would sometimes repair them with duct tape. His beard was long and at one point reached below his waist. There was a quote where he said that his was the longest beard in Woodstock in 1969! 🙂
He died peacefully in his home at the age of 80 in February of this year. The article didn’t say how long it took for him to be found but someone eventually called the authorities because he hadn’t been seen in weeks. I hope he didn’t suffer. It’s kind of sad such a social person had to die alone. And it’s obvious he too struggled with the fact of aging as evidenced in the book I bought. He only bought it in 2014 so it was obviously something on his mind and possibly he wasn’t accepting it all too well either (as I am). In fact he had quite a few books on self discovery and self-help. Not the usual schmaltz you see on the popular shelves but a very large number of books on philosophical topics about life and living. So I’m happy I got a couple of his books after all especially considering they were topics I am interested in! Kind of amazing how I found these two books out of the huge number that were there!
We also went into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and the first doctor I saw on one of the plaques was Dr David MacLennan! Wow! I worked for him at UofT – well I should say I took care of his payroll and other expenses as he was professor emeritus and still had an office in the BBDMR (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research). It was so cool to see it and read about him. Other than Dr MacLennan there were other names of doctors I recognized from when I worked at UWO (now Western University) and a few from UofT – probably ancestors because there are professors there now with the same last names who are likely descendants! It was so cool and so interesting and I never even knew it was here in London. Can’t believe we lived here for so many years and never went to see it before.
I chatted with Sandra and Chris and Dan Tamborro at the TAP (TAP Centre for Creativity) tent. Dan was doing live painting and there were a couple of easels set up for passers by to try it. A few did throughout the day but I tell you, if this had been TO it would have been so crowded it would have been difficult to get a spot to join in. Sad – London has a way to go before it ever matches up to the enthusiasm for community events like in TO. But bonus for us as we get to enjoy it without the huge crowds. 🙂
I’ve registered for Dan’s Urban Landscapes in the Core again which will start on October 2. I just love the opportunity to paint outside with other artists and I love Dan’s work!