When Toronto says good-bye to summer, it’s a long drawn out affair that’s studded with events, festivals, and all manner of celebrations to soften the transition. Naturally, attending all these affairs requires a vehicle that can squire me around town in style, and what better candidate than the 2017 Subaru BRZ?
No doubt about it, the 2017 BRZ – in nothing less than Pure Red – was ready to rumble. Slightly refreshed for this year, these wheels were a touch more burly and lithe; the lowered front bumper lent a sneering, moody air and a natty sliver of a spoiler perched petulantly on the business end. From my driver’s viewpoint, tucked into the snugly accommodating and sharply appointed cockpit, the bright red hood stretched out sinuously, promising chills and thrills.
Of course, the main event in Toronto is always the film festival, drawing in glamorous celebrities from around the globe. Entire city blocks are cordoned off, red carpets flow through streets, squadrons of business-like black SUVs carry their precious cargo from one gala to another. Once in a while, you might even actually spot a movie star!
With its small footprint and nimble ways, the scarlet BRZ was ideal for coiling and creeping around the lesser-known enclaves of the city, where SUVs dare not tread. Up and down gaudily grafitti’d pathways, seemingly no broader than a starlet’s IQ, we glided past shadowy figures. Some, seeking refuge from the spotlight, scurried away, wrapped in smoky clouds of mystery. Others glanced tremulously into the BRZ, perhaps hot on the trail of a luminous A-lister. We left them in a swirl of raucous vibrato, to draw their own conclusions.
Then it was time to catch our favourite jazz pianist at the inaugural Kensington Jazz Festival, in one of Toronto’s notoriously car-averse ‘hoods. We ploughed down the avenue with panache, the BRZ nipping and tucking through the blundering crowds. Except for one father and his son crossing at the corner of Baldwin and Augusta, circling around the cocky sportster. “That’s a Subaru?” Dad exclaimed, his eye catching the Pleiades badge. We teased the gear shift, glanced at the gas pedal, and busted forward, holding mystified Dad in our condescending gaze.
And from the west end of the city, a high-Spiritus (as in vodka) Polski party beckoned, turning back the clock to the time when Slavs ruled the street. All of Roncesvalles was turned into a huge beer garden, with gaps for the occasional confused taco stand. Since every Polski in the city (and then some) was in attendance, parking was scarce and could get ugly. Of course, in the BRZ, we were on a mission, especially when there were pulled pork pierogy to be had. Up and down the warren of one-way streets, past the grand mansions of High Park to the semis of Sunnyside, the BRZ wound its frisky way to our secret parking spot – perhaps the last one for miles. We easily thrust into reverse, quickly spinning into position and claimed back our turf.
As I strolled down Roncy, the delicious rustling sound of the Polski language filled my ears with warm childhood memories. There were wallops of spicy kielbassa, dancing maidens, peppy accordian music, while the potent stink of cabbage made me giddy with delight.
Sitting down to a plate of piri piri pierogy, I wondered if tradition could be tampered with. What about the potato and cheese dumplings I’d grown up with? Could a little tweaking with fiery sauce make a good thing even better?
I had to admit, it could.
Just look at the BRZ.