Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Group of Seventeen

Imagine how the lads' eyes lit up yesterday when I suggested a post-game outing to the McMichael Gallery. “You know, The Group of Seven… Tom Thomson… anybody?”

Needless to say, moments later, my wingman Dottie and I were hurtling through time, heading north from the Quality (questionable) Inn Airport, toward Kleinburg.

For those Toronto bashers out there (and I know who you are) I invite you to accompany me on a road trip north of the concrete jungle. I bet I know every dog-legged route from Bay Street to Georgian Bay. Like a drunken crow, I fly a different way every time.

Like my butt, the urban has sprawled a bit over the years. I passed a temple that makes the Taj Mahal look like a Clayton Park sidesplit. But the old landmarks are still in place. Believe it or not, barring rush hour, it only takes a few moments to separate one's self from the masses.   

Dottie and I arrived at The McMichael Gallery before you could say, “Eaton Centre”. It was a gorgeous afternoon and Dottie said, “If you think you are leaving me to roast in this car like a poodle on a spit, you are wrong, girlfriend.” So we headed into the woods. Tom Thomson would have done the same thing.

Woods? Toronto? Yes Grasshopper, woods. The Humber River Trail wends for 32 km, and for a portion, behind the artsy little hamlet of Kleinburg. Within seconds, Dottie and I were on the trail, in a forest, surrounded by early-blooming ground flowers. As tempting as it is to pick the prized provincial flower, with my luck the trillium police would be lurking, and I’d end up in the ol’ Don jail. Dutiful citizens, we kept walking.  

We followed the trail for miles, through forests, over wooden bridges, along the river and into the rolling hills that I love. It was peaceful, and sunny and I was in heaven. I even stopped to pee along the path and nobody was around to care, although I think Dottie was a little grossed out. We didn’t need to wander through the gallery to see the Group of Seven paintings. We were in them. Peeing.

Jack had a game at 5, so I had to get back. While others had spent the day shopping or hanging at the hotel, I had walked in the countryside for 2 hours with my dog, without seeing a single, solitary soul. Although, I could swear I saw Arthur Lismer's ghost sketching down by the river. Hope he didn't see me pee. 

All that, in ugly, crowded, crime-ridden Toronto. Imagine.