I was late for a lunch date with Charlize Theron at Sassafraz, as I waded through the people in the narrow, but bustling Yorkville laneways.
Cumberland St. was awash with urbanites yapping on cell phones, wearing white after Labour Day and photographers snapping shots of attractive women by water fountains.
The sun was hot, and augmented the golden hue of Yorkville’s iconic restaurant, Sassafraz, my starting point.
And obviously I’m not really having lunch with the South African beauty, but a man can have his Head in the Clouds, can’t he?
Or so I think, but my MP3 player has another perspective, playing “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers.
Still, with the anticipation of the Toronto International Film Festival bubbling to the streets like a hot spring I decided to check out the most common spot for a chance encounter with a celeb.
Outside of Theron, running into Petra Nemcova, Evangeline Lilly or Kate Beckinsale would be preferable — they’re all reported to be at TIFF — and honestly I’m not picky.
So instead of stepping into the chic resto I took my fiancée to on our second anniversary, I chose to walk north along Bellair St.
A myriad of stores mingled with scaffolding weaving around the buildings like the webs of social spider colonies.
I thread a needle with my path, passing lunch-goers, Starbucks-toters and a man in a kilt.
The Offspring muse about “Self Esteem”, and I think the gent in the kilt has to have an ample amount.
Even better, a red blur flashes in my periphery as I walk onto Yorkville Ave. A double decker bus with Kings Cross written on it adds to the United Kingdom theme.
Also flashing me is the sun. It’s high noon by the time I turn onto Avenue Rd., and a Porsche-Corvette-limousine procession sits idle in a hotel roundabout.
Their motors are silent, but my stomach is definitely revving for food. I park myself in front of a hot dog stand outside the ROM and fill up.
I pull my earphones out and take in the sounds of the city. The constant flow of traffic sounds like Niagara Falls, and a speaker outside the museum blares drumbeats. In my moment of taking in metropolitan music, I look at the roof of 180 Bloor St. West and notice spotlights targeting the plaza in front of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.
The Klieg lights were everywhere as I finished my lunch, and sauntered through a small walkway by the Pottery Barn back to Cumberland.
By this time, the street was gushing with women and vulture-like construction workers with scurrilous grins on their faces.
My MP3 player seems to never surprise with its sense of humour as the R&B group En Vogue cooed, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”. Adding to the soul of the ’90s urban music, Fatboy Slim kicks my eardrums with “Rockafeller Skank”.
Right about now, I think it’s time for this funk soul brother to check out of this chichi froufrou-shopping district.
Though the people in Yorkville don’t seem to be projecting the film festival glamour yet, the subtle signs of lights, camera and action are there.
And as for my date with Charlize Theron, well I’ll have my people call her people, and we’ll reschedule.