I searched high and low for photos of old Birdy’s Pub, to no avail. I can’t believe someone didn’t photograph it — especially the inside with those wonderful tables. Of course, back then we didn’t have cameras in our phones — nor did we carry phones around with us. Well, except for Maxwell Smart, maybe. When Fielding mentions the carvings on the tables you have to understand that in many cases, that’s just what they were: bas relief carvings that were sometimes a quarter inch deep . One in particular I remember was of a group of people standing around an old upright piano and singing.
The closest I could get is this photo. It’s obviously taken after Birdy’s was closed, but before it was torn down.
In the hotel itself was the Prince Arthur Piano Lounge, ruled over by the magnificent Suleman, and once again all searches for any image of it turned up empty. I spent many nights there with Samantha and our friends, sitting around the piano while Suleman played. He was completely blind, but except for his cane you’d never have know it.
I wonder where he is now. Damn — the people you think you’re always going to know and yet somehow lose touch with. You could fill a world with them.
Okay, let’s move on before I start getting depressed.
The Boer War monument is real, and still in existence, as is the fountain, although the fountain has been out of commission for some time.
Taking long walks through Toronto at night was a favourite past time for Paula and me. We even sat by some fountain or other dangling our feet in the water. No soaked dresses, though.
And for those of you unlucky enough not to be Browncoats (fans of Firefly), both the chapter title and Fielding’s final quote references this memorable scene from the first show (video is 40 seconds long).