Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

OSRcon in Toronto   2 comments

I spent the weekend of August 9-12 in Toronto at the second OSRcon, organized by Chris Cunnington and sponsored (sort of) by Trollhalla member Carter Soles.  It’s a small gaming con with an attendance of less than 100 people, but they flew me in and gave me a hotel room to be Guest of Honor, and I was very happy to go.  I’ve never been to Toronto before.  It’s a lovely megalopolis–a strange mixture of old and new side by side.  The old stuff is all bricks and granite; the new stuff is all steel and glass.

It was all role-playing gaming.  In the two days of the Con, I never saw s single board game or card game being played.  I brought a few decks of Magic along, just in case there was nothing to do, and I needed a pickup game, but I don’t think anyone else at the Con even had a deck with them.

I brought my camera too, and I took some pictures.  The order in which I took the pix is pretty much a chronological record of what I did at the Con.  So let me start putting them up.  One thing I have to say.  Although I don’t take the best pictures, I like the ones I take better than I like the ones taken of me.  I kinda hate how old and silly I look.  In my mind I’m Harrison Ford.  In reality I’m Don Rickles.  Sheesh!

This is a very poorly organized and constructed blog, but I wanted something online before I head to GenCon for a week.  This is the rough first draft of the adventure.  I’ll polish it up and make it prettier when I return from GenCon in a week or so.

Some people say, if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.  Talking about this blog, I say, like Nike, Just Do It.  This one isn’t done well, but it’s here as a record of my travels and good times.  Ken St. Andre is no perfectionist.

I’m in a food court at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on my way to Toronto. I had to spend several hours there between flights. The architecture was bizarre. Dallas is so big that you have to ride a train between terminals.

The escalators are huge at Dallas. I spent a lot of time on this trip looking up.

Here’s a shot of that train I was talking about.

My flight was late. Here I’m in Toronto. These three came and got me at the airport. From left to right: Brendan, Chris, Carter. To meet them I think I had to walk a mile through the airport from where the plane landed, and go through Customs, all at 2 o’clock in the morning. Such are the adventures of my life.

Friday morning, I walked past this bizarre building. It is the Robarts Library of the University of Toronto. My path to the Con from my hotel took me right through the heart of the campus.

The little black thing in the center of the photo is one of the evil black squirrels of Toronto. It was the most ferocious wildlife I saw (not counting Man) on this trip.

Toronto seems to be full of these ancient Gothic towers. I took this shot at sunset walking back to the hotel. Should have gotten more pix from Friday, but my batteries were dying.

I ate most of my meals at the Fox and Fiddle restaurant and bar. It’s a very lively place inside at night–the karaoke there is excruciating.

Looking down Bloor Street on a wet Saturday morning. I managed to get more batteries for my camers. Thanks, Brendan!

Looking the other way on Bloor Street. It rained a lot in Toronto while I was there. I didn’t care. I was having a ball.

The strangest building on Bloor Street–the Royal Ontario Museum (the Rom). I thought it looked like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

The angular part of the museum was a post-modern addition to the original grey brick construction. Apparently the main attraction inside was Dinosaurs.

That’s the C.N. Tower in the distance. It’s the Canadian version of the Space Needle. I saw it a bit closer while heading to the airport on Sunday. Very tall. Revolving restaurant.

The very first Tarzan illustration–under glass–on display at the Merrill Collection at the library. I have been a life-long Burroughs fan, and it was a pure treat to see all the ERBiana they have (I didn’t see anywhere near all of it.) at the library that hosted the convention.

The library was doing a display of Edgar Rice Burroughs material when I arrived–almost all Tarzan. They had pulp magazines in a display case. This Blue Book is from Tarzan the Untamed where he’s in Pal-Ul-Don.

It appears that I didn’t actually photograph much of the gaming convention itself.  I was far more interested in the library and the displays they had upstairs.  Really, I did spend most of 2 days in the dungeon playing games, but when the camera came out, it was books and bizarre sights I chose to photograph.  Other photographers were there, and perhaps I can insert some of their pix into my own.

Big little books featuring Tarzan of the Apes.

My favorite pulp magazine of all time was Planet Stories. I used to own some of them. This is Planet #1–Golden Amazons of Mars. What were they thinking?

The Dragon Queen of Jupiter, a Leigh Brackett story I’d never heard of before. Oh, I so wanted to take the mag out of its cellophane wrapper and read those old stories.

Tarzan in Blue Book magazine. and Tanar of the Earth’s Core. I love pulp science fiction magazines, and I got to see some great old covers in the Merrill collection.

First editions on display in the Osborne collection of the Toronto Public Library.  The theme was insects in Children’s Literature.

Painted walls of Toronto. I don’t have any idea why this magnificient scene of birds and a rhino was on the wall of a cheap diner not far from the library.

Griffin-guarded entrance to the Toronto Public Library where the Con was held on Saturday around 2 p.m.

From the edge of the lobby, you can just see the skeleton of a gigantic dinosaur. The head is at the left.

Looking into the museum. Top right corner is dinosaur neck and head. I was trying to photograph something smaller and bizarre in the center but people walked into the path of my photo. Grrrr! It’s what happens when you’re too far away from the target.

I got into the lobby of the ROM. This little dinosaur skeleton was there to greet me, or perhaps to eat me.

On Sunday morning I found a troll–a great black stone troll on the street across from my hotel. He was apparentlhy sad to see me go.

Here I am at the Toronto airport saying goodbye to my friends Carter & Brendan. My bags are on my shoulder and in my hand, and there are 9 hours of air travel ahead of me.

My adventures weren’t quite over.  The airport was confusing, and I wound up at the wrong gate, and after hours of waiting I hear an intercom announcement that’s last call for my flight at a different gate.  I have shoes off and coins on the ground as I was figuring out what to do with my Canadian change.  I gathered my things and ran through the airport, shoes untied, bags half open and made it to my gate, last person to board.  On the run, the battery of my phone jounced out and so did a paperback book and sci-fi magazine.  They found the reading material, and I got it back on the plane, but the battery was lost.  Oh well.  One pays for one’s pleasures, and it was a small price–that along with a sore backside from 6 hours in a plane and another 3 waiting in airports–for the most fun weekend I’ve had in years.

If you’ve ever been to Toronto or attended a really small gaming convention that was all role-playing, go ahead and leave a message?