The Cabbagetown Festival is on today and tomorrow. It hasn’t happened for a few years because of Covid, so what a joyful re-entry! The weather is perfect, not too hot, and the streets are packed — garage sales everywhere, and Parliament Street, which is shut down for pedestrians for many blocks, lined with street food from every country on earth — Argentina, Vietnam, Mexico, and Ethiopia, to name four. There’s music on every corner, actors on stilts, face painting, juggling. The crafts fair fills the park by the Farm, as usual, and at the Farm itself, as I walked by, there were line dancing lessons. I don’t shop, but I do buy food, and yes, I did buy Christmas presents for the boys — soccer jerseys, Mbappé for Eli, Messi for Ben. Don’t tell them.
Most of all, the crowd on the streets, surely the most diverse anywhere on the planet – a woman in niqab, swathed in black, walking near a man with a beard and a lot of makeup wearing a kind of bathing suit, near a chic gay couple holding hands, near a Sri Lankan family of six, near my elderly Irish neighbour bent double pushing her walker … It goes on. My ‘hood. At noon, every festival, there’s a tradition of getting notables to cut a cabbage. This year, many cabbages were cut by our political notables, who were all there. I note that our city representative, mayor, federal, and provincial reps are, respectively: a gay black man, an Asian woman, a black woman, and a gay Asian woman.
Proud of us.
Perhaps you can’t see, not my best shot – it’s a big drumming group called TDot Batu. What noise! Thrilling.
Before the actual festival there’s always another marvellous event, the Cabbagetown Short Film Festival, produced for 32 years by my neighbour Gina. It started with short local films and now has entries from around the world, an incredible diversity of short films from Afghanistan, Spain, France, Lebanon, Chile, the Netherlands, the States, and even Canada … Documentary, drama, animation, comedy — phenomenal.
The next night — what a busy week, overwhelming at times — the potluck held usually twice a year with the Word Sisters, a group of women in the publishing business: editors, agents, publicists. I always ask myself why I, the only writer, am there, as they know everyone in the business and I do not. They’re a marvellous bunch. The publishing industry may be in trouble, but some lively hardworking women are determined to keep it going.
Including this one. The cover images for the new book arrived today, and I like them. I’ve asked for a tweak so can’t share with you yet, but we’re getting there. And further to that, I asked my neighbour Marion Voysey, who does head shots, if she’d do a session with me. Nothing could entice me less than having my picture taken for an hour and a half, but we were in the garden and Marion made it easy. “Chin down!” she kept saying. “Relax your mouth!”
So all good. On the other hand, the paper reports that the Conservatives are ahead of the Liberals in every demographic including with young people. Young people! How is that possible? A NYT article today, Why is Joe Biden so unpopular? I will try not to think about the alternatives to Biden and Trudeau, too horrifying on this lovely day. May people come to their senses. Can you imagine, my friends, Prime Minister Poilievre? Imagine him at an international summit, a man who only knows how to throw dirt and rail? I may heave.
No, put it away, eat another piece of corn, another peach. Summer is nearly over, but the festival continues. Onward.