So I already mentioned earlier today that Torontoist is going out of business because it's not as lucrative as the US cities that have blogs on the Gothamist network. What I said about that relates, in large part, to this:
Last night I was at the premier of Toronto Stories at the Royal Cinema on College Street. This was kind of a big deal: Toronto Stories was shot in Toronto, by Torontonians about Toronto and (as far as anyone can tell) is the first fictional feature film with the word Toronto in the title. This was the first public screening of the film. Bruce McDonald was there. Richard Crouse was there. But there is a very good chance that you weren't. There were, by my estimation, 100 or so empty seats for the first screening.
Now I haven't lived, or even been, to every city but I think that if this had been Halifax Stories, or Winnipeg Stories, or Sudbury Stories that the theatre would have been packed and, very likely, it would have been a major, red carpet event with the Mayor in attendance and weeks of local media interest. I have heard many Quebecers say that English Canada needs to keep Quebec in confederation because we have no culture of our own. That's not entirely true. We have our own culture, English Canada (in case you don't go to Canadian films, read Canadian books, watch Canadian television, listen to Canadian music) has its own unique voice. It's own distinct culture, but most English Canadians are not a part of it, most
English Canadians are really participants in American culture, while still claiming to be proudly Canadian.
English Canada has it's own stars, it's own directors, it's own artists and musicians and writers. It operates as a community - by the time you go to 5, 6, 7 or so events you'll start noticing that you keep running into the same people over and over: That the audience for many of these events is made up of people who are themselves - actors and filmmakers, writers and musicians and, unlike the Hollywood set in the US, you can be a member of that community just by walking through the door and introducing yourself.
Anyway, enough ranting: Toronto Stories is a collection of four very different short stories about lives lived in Toronto, all tied together by a common thread. It is running at the Royal Cinema on College St. through Dec. 18 and will be playing in other cities across Canada in 2009: You've missed the premier but you can still go and see Torontonians tell stories about Toronto. Don't go see it out of obligation though. Go see it if you believe in Toronto and in Canada. Go see it if you think our city is unique and has stories worth telling in its own right.
p.s. Look for my name in the "Special Thanks to" part at the end of the credits: A few years ago I walked through the door and introduced myself. = )