The Ron in Toronto

I’m in Toronto, Canada, at the moment, which is somewhat of a second home for me. My lovely partner Linda is a born and bred Torontonian, and although we both now live in Sydney, Australia, we try to travel back here at least once a year to visit friends and family.  Our current visit was unplanned and not for the usual reasons we like to be here though… Linda’s father Ron passed away a few days ago. He’d had a number of health challenges for quite a while, and although he always maintained a positive outlook and a cheery disposition, things had been getting increasingly difficult for him over the last few months. Early on Wednesday morning Toronto time, the day before his 82nd birthday, Ron decided enough was enough and passed away quietly in his sleep. May he rest in peace.

Although I never got to spend as much time with Ron as I would have liked, he was a lovely gentle man, and every time I met him he was always smiling, always taking an interest in those around him. He was always curious and interested in the world around him – I used to say to Linda he was like an excited little kid trapped in an older person’s body. We spoke on the phone every so often, and apart from always asking about the weather (he was, after all, a Canadian!) he always took a great interest in what was going on with Linda and I, where we were travelling to and what was happening in our world. As we Aussies would say, he was a genuinely good bloke.

I found this timelapse video of Toronto called Toronto Tempo, and I think it’s rather beautiful. I’m posting it here as a bit of a tribute to Ron.  We’ll miss you mate.

Toronto Tempo from Ryan Emond on Vimeo.

The Vegemite Taste Test

I was just doing a tidy-up of my hard drive and I found this video that I’d almost forgotten about, so I thought I’d put it up on YouTube so I know where to find it in future.

Back in 2006, I spent a year teaching in Oakville, Canada, as part of a teaching exchange.  I really enjoyed the whole experience, which was life-changing in many ways.  In fact, I’m back in Toronto at the moment and despite the -24 degree temperatures this really is like my second home.

When you go on a teaching exchange you act as somewhat of an ambassador for your country, taking whatever opportunities you can to share some of the culture of your own country with the locals.  So one day, I decided to let my Grade 9 BTT101 class experience the classic Australian taste of Vegemite.  Most Aussie kids grow up with Vegemite, a yeast based spread that usually goes on toast, crumpets and crackers.  Seeing the reaction of non-Aussies makes me realise that it’s somewhat of an acquired taste, but it’s savoury, salty, yeasty taste is actually quite yummy when you’re used to it.

Of course, I managed to tie it into the syllabus, teaching a lesson on computer basics and the concept of input, processing and output… I brought a toaster and a loaf of bread into class, and we dicussed how bread was the input, the toasting was the process and the toast was the output.  Input, Process, Output.

Of course, once we had made some toast we couldn’t waste it, so out came the Vegemite and the kids had a taste.  Although I love the taste of Vegemite, apparently these Canadian kids didn’t think so.  Still, although they weren’t big Vegemite fans, I was pleased that they at least tried it.

Fortunately I captured their reaction on video. 🙂