Let me just start by saying that my feelings for this tour have NOTHING to do with our tour guide, Betty Ann Jordan. If you are into going on art gallery tours or seeing trendy Toronto – then you want Betty Ann leading you! She knows everything and everyone, and if this was my thing, I would have loved it. But this is not my thing, hence my feelings. However, Betty Ann does do custom tours of Toronto, and when I return, I would gladly have her be my guide on a tour customized to my interests.
I just need to be clear that Betty Ann is awesome, but I, personally, just hate being dragged around pretentious art galleries and overpriced accessory stores.
I know I kept talking about the Toronto Market tour I was going on, where I travel around to the great street markets where all the awesome stuff is around Toronto…but that didn’t happen.
Because I missed it. Oh well. I don’t want to get into the 15-20 minute walk through the maze they call the Convention Center here in Toronto, or that I walked in as my bus was leaving (at 2:05pm)…but the good part is there is another tour they can throw me on. Something about Deco or Art Deco –another couple said that by the description it was an architecture-style tour. I love architecture shots. Let’s do this! It’s this, or just explore the markets on my own (considering I live next to them), but let’s go with this. I bet I’ll see cool stuff.
Ok, I saw some really amazing photographs, and a couple historic places…but this “Deco tour” is mostly a quick paced art gallery-plus tour. So up my alley right? Yea, I wanted to smash my head against the pavement just as much as you probably do just thinking about art gallery tours.
And to make it better, its not big fancy galleries…its little pop-up galleries with pretentious curators who think you will never be as cool as them or the people they deal with, and the same pop-up galleries which will probably not be there a year from now.
It was hell!
Some of the artist’s photographs were amazing. I love art. I just don’t love being treated like I’m below art. Or like I’m supposed to have deep profound emotions to bouncing glass vials attached to strings hooked to motors.
Let me feel how I want and sometimes just enjoy a photograph, or piece of art, for no other reason than I think it is pretty. Not everything has to speak volumes. Sometimes things just look cool.
But I got to see ridiculously expensive, high decorative, (mostly I found personally ugly to hideously decorated) TINY, (you had to turn sideways between the bed and bureau) hotel rooms.
So your hotel is old and famous. Yea. Its still overpriced for no space and an elevator that doesn’t work so you have to walk up 5 flights of stairs.
But it’s trendy and artsy-farsty. So if you are into that….you will love it.
We also got so stop at…(oh my god, shoot me now, please!!!)… A SHOE STORE!
But not just any shoe store. A “famous” shoe store where the only art is the fact that some chic imports ugly shoes other people make (how does that make her an artist or worth seeing again?). Then she sells said ugly shoes for HUNDREDS of dollars.
If you saw these same shoes in a thrift or vintage store you would probably make fun of them and never in a million years even touch them…because they look so old and gross it is impossible to wrap your head around how they are new. Or how they are $430!
I do burlesque. I know the appeal of vintage and old style accessories. But I’d rather have not hand-me-down, grandma-threw-these-out, stained-looking shoes that I can actually walk in, thank you very much.
I kept trying to loose the group too, but failed miserably. They would walk way ahead, I would hang back and get street/city photos…hoping to “accidently” get left behind (I may have also mentioned to multiple people I may wander off so don’t worry because I know where I am)..but then, as I would stop to photograph a cool rug and concert board a guy from my tour would walk by me. DAMMIT!
Turns out they have stopped in some other “lets change our décor every month to be hip and charge way too much” hotel and NOW I have to go in and be polite and pretend I’m enjoying hearing a bunch of nonsense that I’m supposed to blindly believe are reasons why someone else is cooler than me.
It’s almost like being in church. Pretentious, more obnoxious church. I’m pretty sure most of these people are nice, but the hotels have this elitist clientele air, and though I understand it, especially from a business perspective, I still find it unnecessary.
But I’ve never been a person to follow the newest trend or have that ‘be seen’ need.
After the totally confusing trip to a show store, and realizing we are running very behind on our tour, we make an illogical impromptu stop at another pop-up galley then head down the street to a café-slash-galley-slash-cross-fit-gym…
I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been good so far, keeping my mouth shut, nodding and “Mmm-hmmm”ing agreeably, and trying to feign polite interest in this tour for the sake of the tour leader who is very knowledgeable about the places she is bringing us.
But oh my god I just want to kneel down and start smashing my face against a rusted chair on the sidewalk!
I grab up a moment of opportunity to politely excuse myself from the tour to ‘get ready’ for a shoot at the Toronto Festival of Clowns that I have that night. Granted, I may fail to mention that the festival is happening down the street from where the tour started, but no one needs to know that. I just need to leave because I can feel my snark clawing its way up my throat and I know I can’t contain my disdain for this psudo-posh follow-the-leader game anymore.
So after some apologies and Thank Yous for the tour, I make my way back to the Queen street bus to get back to the Chinatown area where I am staying to rest up and get ready for the night.
But, I see some great photographers’ work, and reinforce my previous theory that I hate pretentious art tours. And the best part of the tour? When some dumb person locked his bike, not in a proper space on the sidewalk, but in the road practically under the bus, and when the tour bus pulled out, the bike caught on the fender and bot mangled.
If touring art galleries is your thing, or you would like a customized tour of Toronto’s art and design areas, I do highly recommend our guide Betty Ann Jordan. She is ridiculously knowledgeable and friendly, and despite my feelings to being dragged through art galleries, I loved Betty Ann!
She does various tours (check website). To reserve space on a tour, or talk about customizing one, you can reach her at:
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.ch Going Nomadic’s Postseck out my photography website: http://LaGringaPhotos.com.