Aga Khan Museum

Opened ten days ago, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto is one magnificent building designed by Japan’s Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Fumihiko Maki. Utilizing light as inspiration, light animates the building in myriad ways depending on the time of day or season. Maki incorporates historical elements from Islamic cultures into contemporary design. The $300 million Aga Khan Museum is the first museum in North America dedicated to showcasing Islamic Art. It offers visitors into the world of Islamic civilization across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China. Across the museum is the also newly-built Ismaili Centre Toronto designed by Indian architect Charles Correa. The…

rouge

Air Canada (AC) replaced their daily scheduled flights to / from San Diego and Toronto last month to what they categorize as their “leisure airline” called rouge. Introduced in July 2013, rouge flies to other destinations as well — to the south (Florida and Las Vegas), the Caribbean, and selected cities in Europe (Dublin, Venice, Barcelona, Athens, among others). At this time, they are utilizing only two types of aircrafts: the Airbus A319 and the Boeing 767-300, the older aircrafts retired from AC, with the interiors refurbished to include new slim seats (read: narrower and less leg room). The flight attendants are friendly and peppy, evidently trying their…

Lounging Around

Not all airline lounges are created equal. Most provide the basic of offering comfortable seating, flat screen television, free wifi and snacks. While a few airline lounges are unfortunately — for lack of a better term — lame, some however have taken the extra step of creating well thought out spaces by ingenious interior designers to indulge their premium flyers. These appealing lounges come complete with full bars (including sake bars!), made-to-order noodle stations in Asia (more than your cold sandwiches and peanuts) and private shower rooms with well-stocked toiletries. The competition for in-flight comfort and amenities has definitely expanded to the ground!

According to What?

Ai WeiWei’s current exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto is a powerful yet emotional, at times, commentary on society. Modern art that is relevant and one can easily relate to. The exhibit runs until Oct. 27, 2013 and is highly recommended. The Snake Ceiling is made of backpacks to commemorate the more than 5,000 school children who were killed due to the collapse of the shoddily constructed schools in the May 2008 massive earthquake in China’s Sichuan province. Moon Chest is comprised of seven chests made from quince trees. The circular openings align to show every…

Toronto: Ai Weiwei

I am welcomed back to Toronto by summer and Ai Weiwei’s installation at Nathan Phillips Square (running until October 27). Ai Weiwei is one of the world’s most prolific, provocative and significant artists of today. Circle of Animals / Zodiac Sculpture is his reinterpretation of the twelve bronze animal heads of the Chinese zodiac that once stood in the gardens of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial summer palace in Beijing. Designed in the 1700’s, the animal heads originally functioned as a water clock fountain, but in 1860, the palace was ransacked by French and British troops and the heads were…

Ottawa

Canada’s capital city and the fifth largest city in the country. I have been to Ottawa several times, but only a couple of them as a tourist. Guided Tours of Parliament Hill are provided free of charge that includes access to the Peace Tower, the House of Commons, the Senate, the Memorial Chamber and the library. Located steps from Parliament Hill is the National Gallery of Canada. The current building was designed by architect Moshe Safdie.