When you’re in the film photography community, you celebrate things differently. I mean, sure you’d do the usual birthday traditions with your family but among your film photographer friends, you get together for a photo walk. No? Maybe it’s just the Toronto Film Shooters group. The morning started particularly cold, but at least it kept the traffic light or it was actually the early hour. The trouble with being in Milton there’s no easy way I’d like to drive into Toronto, plus having to leave my car somewhere and needing to loop back to the start doesn’t always jive with my general flow of the day. So it was an early start to catch a subway around 8 am to be at the meeting spot well before the start. The station near empty with one train on the other platform waiting, a few passengers staring at me as an announcer mentioned something about Line Two in a garbled voice repeating on a regular loop. That combined with the first little bit of the train right being rather inconsistent and the same announcement at all the stations we stopped at made it seem more like I was in a Silent Hill movie that the Toronto subway. But after we got past Bathurst it seemed smooth sailing. At least the weather had warmed up a bit as I took the short walk south on Broadview to the Rooster Coffee House.
John the guest of honour was the first to show up after I arrived. See this whole meetup was to celebrate his birthday. See, John is one of the founding members of the Toronto Film Shooters in the sense he attended the first event back in the Summer of 2013 and even planned the second walk in the fall. But the even today came from the mind of Bill Smith, another one of the usual crowd. Despite the cold weather, well it wasn’t as bad as the winter event earlier this year, there was a decent number. Probably a good eight or ten showed up. Not bad for a limited invite-only event. But it certainly was colder than when we did the route back in the Spring of 2018. Down in the valley and across the parkway we went. Stopping off in the Riverdale Farm. Then through Old Cabbagetown, with a stop at the Wonderpens Studio shop, a space I had yet to visit, being a big supporter of Toronto’s amazing pen and stationery supply store. My freshly repaired Nikon FE taking the cold like a champ. I decided to just run with a single camera and three lenses to go along with it, the 28/3.5, 35/2.8, and 105/2.5 and a couple of rolls of Ilford Delta 400, a roll of Eastman Double-X, and a roll of Panatomic-X. The only film I didn’t get around to using was the Panatomic-X. The clouds never went away.
We took lunch at The Stout on Carlton, a lovely Irish pub with an amazing Kitchen and an even better Beer list both craft beers on Draught and in Bottles. It also proved a welcome respite from the chill. At least the wind had died down. After lunch, I split off from the group, as I promised my wife I would be home in the late afternoon and still needing to make a run at Downtown Camera. I decided to walk back into the downtown along Carlton, then cut down to Gerard through Allan Gardens, a spot in the city I never visited before until then. While it looked rather sombre in the winter, it probably would be even better in the spring and summer. After getting a couple of rolls of film at Downtown Camera I headed back home, the subway ride back being much smoother. And still managed to make it home before the sunset.
You can check out all my photos from the day over on Flickr. If you want to join up with the Toronto Film Shooters group, head on over to Facebook. We welcome anyone who loves film photography and lives pretty much anywhere at this point. You’re even welcome to back the trek into Canada to attend one of our events!