Back to Farmington

Here we go…

We head to the Pearson Airport in Toronto this morning and take a 12:10pm flight to Boston this afternoon, arriving at 1:45pm. After clearing customs and grabbing our bags, we will meet our bus driver, Reinaldo, and head back to Farmington.

We should be home between 4:30pm and 5:30pm, depending on customs, luggage, and traffic.

See you in Farmington!

Wednesday at St. Clement’s

In our last day in Canada, we attended classes at St. Clements and talked to teachers about curriculum and the differences and similarities between our schools and programs.

We used our reflection time this morning to write thank you notes to the program leaders and distinguished guests  we’ve met on this trip. The girls decorated boxes (containing daisy scarves) on which they also wrote words of thanks to their host sisters.

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Busily writing Thank You notes

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Writing thank you notes and wrapping gifts

As chaperones, we had a farewell lunch with two of our main contacts at the school. We were delighted to then see small groups of our students also randomly select this exact same eatery near the school for impromptu farewell lunches with their host students. By the time our meals had arrived, the entire gang had coincidentally assembled for goodbye lunches. Great minds think alike!

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Uncle Sally’s impromptu farewell lunch

Everyone has headed home to finish (begin?) packing for our 8am departure to the airport tomorrow, with farewell dinners and bonding with their host families tonight.

 Our final photo of the day is Dan taking a selfie with the St. Clement’s moose. I bet there will be more taken tomorrow!

 

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Dan and the Moose

Last Full Day in Canada

Today is our last day in Toronto and we will be spending the day visiting classes at St. Clement’s. It’s going to be a bittersweet day. Many of our girls are tired after almost two weeks in country full of busy days, adventures, and often walking 4+ miles/day. Many are looking forward to the routine they enjoy at Porter’s, getting to reconnect with friends and family, and jump into second semester. I dare say that we will all miss Canada and the connections we have made at St. Clement’s, where we have been welcomed with kindness and friendship.

Tuesday: Entertainment One & AGO

Today was my favorite day of this remarkable trip. We met two remarkable women, both leaders in their field. They were inspiring!

First, we met Tecca Crosby, Senior Vice President, Creative Affairs, Entertainment One Television. In addition to being a remarkable leader in her field, Tecca is an ANCIENT!! Entertainment One is a leading global production and distribution company headquartered in Toronto, and with offices all over the world. Tecca was generous with her time this morning, introducing us to the astounding portfolio of projects she has brought to the screen (including a sneak peak at a new show hitting the small screen in two weeks), and regaling us with delicious stories of her time at Porter’s (Tecca was part of the legendary bra protest – read the history of the school for more details). Of her many projects, I was most excited that Tecca was instrumental in creating and then writing my favorite show, Slings and Arrows

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Tecca at Entertainment One

After a quick lunch, we walked over to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario), an astounding 480,000 square foot art museum that includes a collection of more than 80,000 works. Our dynamic guide gave us a  wonderful tour, leading us through a look at the history of art in Canada (as per our request). In addition to being informative, our guide led fantastic conversations while introducing us to provocative First Nations modern pieces, a breadth of Group of Seven work, Impressionist masters (not fitting our theme, but she gave us a quick peak through their current special exhibit of Monets, Van Goghs, and more), and several works by Emily Carr (another inspiring trailblazer).

After our tour, we met our second leader in her field, Christy Thompson, Chief Exhibitions & Collections. And like Tecca, Christy has a special connection to our group in that she graduated from St. Clement’s! Christy brought us to the Conservation Department (a part of the museum that most AGO employees have never seen, including our wonderful guide who joined us). While we couldn’t take photos in this part of the museum (for fear of spoiler alerts reaching the outside world), we can tell you that we saw a Reubens being restored, a robot exhibit from the ’80s that is having its programing updated, and sculptures being mounted for safe exhibition. It was an amazing privilege to get this behind-the-scenes understanding of conservation.

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With Christy Thompson at the AGO

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More Inuit Art

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Inuit Art

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Inuit Art

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Modern First Nations Artist commenting on the once old-fashioned AGO collection – commissioned for the relaunch of the museum

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A First Nations piece about the arrival of Columbus

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Enjoying First Nations art

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First Nations art up close

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Considering First Nations art

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A wonderfully thought-provoking piece

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An installation piece exploring First Nations in the Great Lakes area

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A closeup view

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And even closer

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A piece exploring the 200 or so endangered species around the Toronto area

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The Group of Seven

Examples of Group of Seven artists work, as well as contemporaries working in similar style. As you can tell (by how many I’m including), these are some of my favorites:
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A Salon-style room featuring works from the vast collection:

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The Building itself is a work of art, featuring a recent update by Frank Gehry:

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Gehry staircase

In addition to the galleries, there was art everywhere, including hallways:

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And an exhibit of world class art that belongs to Toronto Public Schools, and had previously been languishing in closets or was unsafe in school hallways:

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Masterpieces that had been on the walls of local Toronto schools

Outside the AGO, we’ve been seeing cool art all over the city. Here are two examples:

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The CTV television station on our way to meet Tecca Crosby

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Sewon spotted this on her way to dinner tonight

Ellie and Anya at the Leafs game:

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The Leafs

Kendall and Charlotte’s host parents curling tonight:

Shirley & Willy

Tomorrow is our last day. We will be sad to leave Canada, but happy to reconnect with Farmington.

Tuesday in Toronto: Entertainment ONE and AGO

Toronto greeted us with freezing rain today as a reminder that we’ve been so very, very lucky when it came to weather on this trip.  The gloomy sky didn’t dampen our enthusiasm, though, for two big events.  First the group travelled to the headquarters of Entertainment ONE, the largest media production and distribution company in Canada.  We met with Tecca Crosby, a Porter’s Ancient and Vice President of Creative Affairs.  She told us about her time at Porter’s in the late 60’s, at time of political upheaval, when Porter’s was a very different school. Tecca also discussed how she had moved forward in her career, and the students had a chance to talk about their favorite shows and ask her questions about her career.  I wish we had more time, but it was an extraordinary honor to meet with a successful executive.

Group picture with Tecca Crosby, VP of Creative Affairs at Entertainment One

Group picture with Tecca Crosby, VP of Creative Affairs at Entertainment One

After lunch we travelled to the Art Gallery of Ontario where we had a tour of Canadian art.  We focused on indigenous art, as well as the works of the Group of Seven.  The art explored themes including the history and culture of the First Nations and Inuit people, the displacement caused by European colonialism, as well as the startling natural beauty of Canada.

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Tour at the AGO

Tour at the AGO

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In addition, we were lucky enough to have a truly unique opportunity.  We got to briefly visit the AGO Conservation Department, where the conservators use diverse artistic and scientific knowledge to restore works of culture which have been damaged over time, as well as determine how best to display them.  It’s very rare for visitors to a museum to be allowed “behind the curtain”.  They did request that we not take any pictures during that part of the visit.

Tonight 4 of our students are engaging in another type of truly Canadian culture.  Anya and Ellie are attending an NHL game, the Leafs vs. the Sabres. And Kendall and Sewon’s host parents are competing in the East York Curling Club Tournament!

 

Tuesday: Entertainment One and AGO

We’re nearing the end of our time in Canada, and today is going to be exciting.  In the morning we’ll be visiting Entertainment One, a media/entertainment distribution company.  We’ll be meeting with Tecca Crosby, Senior VP of Creative Affairs and a Porter’s Ancient!  This is an amazing opportunity to meet a graduate who has gone on to great success in the world of business.

In the afternoon we’ll be heading to the Art Gallery of Ontario for a tour, as well as (with a little luck) seeing some of their Conservation department.