Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dinosaurs, Sir Walter Raleigh & The Simcoes

Budleigh  Salterton from the Jurassic Coast

UK TOUR DAY TEN (BUDLEIGH SALTERTON): The tenth day of The Toronto Dreams Project's UK Tour took me to a small, seaside town with an awesome name: Budleigh Salterton. It's probably most famous for being the site of a super-important painting called The Boyhood of Raleigh. Sir Walter Raleigh grew up in these parts; the painting shows him and his brother sitting on the beach as children, listening intently as a sailor tells them tales of life at sea. Raleigh would go on to become one the giants of the Elizabethan age — "aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy, and explorer..." He searched in vain for El Dorado, popularized tobacco in England, and spent two separate stints in the Tower of London before finally being executed. (Clive Owen played him in the second Elizabeth movie.) According to Wikipedia, the painting — by the famous Victorian artist Sir John Everett Millais, who made the trip to Budleigh Salterton to do it — "came to epitomise the culture of heroic imperialism" all the way from the height of the British Empire in the 1800s to its final days after the Second World War.

Here it is:

Off in the corner of the painting, you can see just a little bit of Budleigh Salterton's iconic red cliffs. They tower over the beach on either side of the town, stretching off into the distance as far as you can see. And they're incredibly important, too. In fact, they're a World Heritage Site. It starts a few kilometers to the west and continues east along the cliffs for 150 more — an enormous stretch of the southern coastline of England. There's a footpath you can walk the whole way. I did about 8 kilometers of it, and it was spectacular; from the top of those cliffs, you can see the whole enormous stretch of coastline spreading out around you.

They call it "The Jurassic Coast". And that's because this is the only place in the world where you can see the entire archeological history of the dinosaurs from start to finish: from the strange, reptilian beasts that came before them all the way through to their final days. The record spans 185 million years. That's about a third of the entire evolution of animal life on our planet.

The way it works is that the further west you go, the further back in time. And since Budleigh Salterton is near the western edge of the Jurassic Coast, the cliffs here are the oldest. This red earth is from nearly 250 million years ago: The Triassic Period. Back then, this spot was part of the super-continent Pangaea — not that far, actually, from what would one day become Toronto. Budleigh Salterton was in the middle of a desert region; that's why the dirt is so red with iron. It was roamed by the bizarre reptile ancestors of dinosaurs, crocodiles and birds. Creatures like rhynchosaurs (squat, mammal-like plant-eaters with sharp beaks), thecodonts (kind of like tall alligators), labyrinthodonts (huge carnivorous amphibians) and bromsgroveia (relatives of the ancestors of crocodiles).

They've even found footprints from those beasts in the rocks around here. I got to see some of them at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. They have rhynchosaur fossils on display, too.

The beach at Budleigh Salterton
But the region wasn't completely dry back then. When it did rain, nearby mountains fed rivers that swept through the desert. Big pebbles from those riverbeds are still here. In fact, they're everywhere. You can see them in the cliffs; they erode out onto the beach. That's what Budleigh Salterton's beach is made of: big, prehistoric pebbles instead of sand. You can see some of them in the Raleigh painting, too.

And of course, those ancient pebbles were here 200 years ago — which is when the history of Budleigh Salterton overlapped with the history of Toronto. Pretty much as soon as the Simcoes got back from founding our city in the very late 1700s, they bought a summer home in the seaside town. Today, it's still there — though very much renovated and modernized — on a hill overlooking the beach. It's even called "Simcoe House". There's a plaque and everything.

On my first night in town, I headed to the Sir Walter Raleigh pub, where I got to meet a bunch of people from the local Fairlynch Museum. We talked about the Simcoes, The Toronto Dreams Project and the connections between the history of Budleigh Salterton and the history of North America. There are quite a few people in England with a passionate interest in the Simcoes — I'll write more about that in a future post — and the Fairlynch is planning to embrace the connection. They'll be incorporating the Simcoes and the founding of Toronto in a new room dedicated to the ways the history of their town has overlapped with the history of North America. And it looks like among the very first things to go on display will be copies of the three dreams I've written for members of the Simcoe family.

The Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast, looking east to Sidmouth
RAF WWII base on top of the Jurassic Coast cliffs
The South West Coast Path
The mouth of the Otter at Budleigh Salterton
The mouth of the Otter at Budleigh Salterton
Across the Otter from Budleigh Salterton
The red cliffs of Budleigh Salterton
The beach at Budleigh Salterton
The beach at Budleigh Salterton
The Sir Walter Raleigh Inn in East Budleigh
A dream for John Graves Simcoe at Simcoe House
The plaque at Simcoe House
A dream for Elizabeth Simcoe at Simcoe House
A dream for Francis "Castle Frank" Simcoe at Simcoe House
Old-timey Budleigh Satlerton, via Fairlynch Museum
Michael Downes shows me around the Fairlynch Museum
Michael Downes shows me around the Fairlynch Museum
My dreams for the Simcoes at the Fairlynch Museum


Read more posts about The Toronto Dreams Project's UK Tour and the connections between the history of Toronto and the United Kingdom here.

You can learn lots more about the red cliffs here and the prehistory of the region here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Death & The Simcoe Boys

UK TOUR DAY NINE (EXETER): Death was no stranger to the Simcoe boys. In fact, it started to claim people close to them before they were even born. Both of their older brothers died as babies. The eldest was buried just a few weeks after he was baptized. The second was born and died the following year. Sadly, that wasn't unusual. This was the mid-1700s, when infant mortality was still a familiar tragedy in England. Luckily, the next two Simcoe kids — the future founder of Toronto, John Graves Simcoe, and his younger brother Percy — survived their first few dangerous months. But then it was their father's turn.

They were just toddlers when war broke out. The Seven Years' War would prove be one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history — the first truly global war. The major powers of Europe clashed across their own continent and in their colonies all over the world. The boys' dad — John Simcoe — was the Captain of a ship in the Royal Navy. So when the war started, he was sent across the Atlantic, to Canada, to fight the French. He served under the legendary General James Wolfe — but a few months before Wolfe launched his famous surprise attack on Québec City at the Plains of Abraham, Captain Simcoe came down with pneumonia. He died near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and was buried at sea.

So now, the young Simcoe boys were being raised by a single mother: Katherine Simcoe. Up to that point, they'd been in the countryside, but after the death of their father, their mum moved them to the same city where she'd grown up: to Exeter, one of the most historic cities in all of England, originally founded by the Romans sometime around the year 50. It's nearly two thousand years old.

And on Day Nine, that's where The Toronto Dreams Project's UK Tour took me: to explore the hometown of the man who founded our city — to follow in the footsteps of his family, to leave dreams for them there, and to visit the spot where his story ended. Because it's in Exeter that all three of those surviving Simcoes eventually died.

Young Percy was the first to go. On a June day in the summer of 1764, he and some friends were playing in the River Exe. It flows through Exeter on its way south to the Bristol Channel — and that stretch can be very a dangerous place sometimes. On that particular day, something must have gone horibly wrong: the river got the better of the young boy, who was still just 10 years old. They tried to save him, rushed him to shore and rubbed his body with salt. But that didn't work, of course. Just a few years later, that "cure" for drowning was discredited as a superstition.

The River Exe, near where Percy Simcoe drowned
They say John Graves Simcoe might have been there to see his little brother die. His biographers write that it's "quite likely" he was playing in the river that day, too. And now, suddenly, he was an only child. It was just him and his mum left.

She was the next to die. But first, she seems to have done all she could for her only remaining son. When he graduated from the local Exeter Grammar School, she paid to send him to one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the entire world: Eton College. It's just a few hundred meters from Windsor Castle; nineteen British Prime Ministers have gone there. (I'm planning on heading there in a few days, too.) After that, Simcoe was off to Oxford University, and then to join the army. And since this was back in the days when most people had to buy their way into being an officer, his mum paid for that too.

Soon, Simcoe was making a name for himself by following in his father's footsteps: fighting in a North American war. This time, it was the American Revolution. And as commander of the Queen's Rangers, Simcoe was quickly becoming one of the rising of the Briitsh army.

So that's where he was when his mother died. It was during the first year of the war. Her death was long and painful. A friend wrote to Simcoe when it was all over: "Your poor mother's death was truly a release her last disorders were so exceedingly painful that no friend could wish her continuance." She passed away at her home on the Cathedral Close — a row of buildings standing across the lawn from Exeter Cathedral. Her only child was thousands of kilometers away when it happened. But exactly 30 years later, John Graves Simcoe would die in one of those very same buildings.

By then, of course, he had earned a place in Canadian history by founding Toronto. And he'd seen plenty more death. He killed men during the Revolution. And watched his own men die, too. Then, his little daughter Katherine (named after his mother) died in Toronto when she and our city were only about a year old. He named his next child after his father; he died, too, when they tried an early, rudimentary, and incredibly risky inoculation against smallpox.

In the end, John Graves Simcoe died in much the same way his father did. He had just been awarded one of the most prestigious jobs in the entire British Empire — Viceroy of all of India — but before he could leave, he was needed in the fight against Napoleon. On the ship over, Simcoe fell seriously ill; it was probably the damp conditions on board. He was rushed back to England. To Exeter. To the house of his friend, the Archdeadon, who lived in one of those buildings across from the Cathedral. John Graves Simcoe had travelled thousands upon thousands of kilometers in his life, but it was there — only a few meters from where he mother had died, and a few hundred meters from the spot where his brother had drowned — that the man who founded Toronto finally drew his last breath.

The Cathedral Close, where Simcoe died
Ontario Heritage plaque on the Cathedral Close
A dream for Simcoe on the Cathedral Close
Exeter Cathedral
Knights died for the Cathedral tourists
Exeter Cathedral
Dreams for Simcoe & his son at their Cathedral memorial
A First Nations figure on Simcoe's Cathedral memorial
Detail of Simcoe from his Cathedral memorial
Exeter Cathedral
Badass pulpit
Exeter does death up right
Marking the old entrance to Exeter Grammar School
A dream for Simcoe at the Blue Boy statue
A dream near the spot where Percy Simcoe drowned


Read more posts about The Toronto Dreams Project's UK Tour and the connections between the history of Toronto and the United Kingdom here. I'll be posting lots more during the trip! And you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The First Canadian President

UK TOUR DAY EIGHT (THORNBURY): This is Thornbury. Today, I left some dreams there. It's a town way over in the south-west of England — right near the Severn River, which marks the border with Wales. It's lovely little town, filled with shoppers today, and particularly proud of their floral displays. It's got plenty of history, too. This is where they found one of the biggest hoards of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain, buried here in the 300s. The oldest building in town is a church from the 1100s. And right next door to that is Thornbury Castle, which was built in the 1500s. King Henry VIII even stayed there with Anne Boleyn, right after Henry had the original owner — the Duke of Buckingham — beheaded for treason near the Tower of London.

But that's not why I came here. I made the trip to Thornbury because it almost played a big role in the history of Canada. This is the town where John Rolph was born. And for a few brief days during the winter of 1837, it looked like John Rolph might end up being the very first Canadian President.

The Rolphs were one of the most important families in Thornbury — a line of lawyers and doctors and landlords who owned a bunch of the buildings in town. John Rolph was the son of a surgeon; he was christened in that ancient church and grew up in the late 1700s with 17 brothers and sisters. But in the early 1800s, his family moved to Canada. And as soon as he was done school, the young Rolph joined them. Eventually, he'd follow in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather, becoming one of the most respected doctors and lawyers in Upper Canada. He even co-founded our very first medical school.

But it's his politics that we remember him for. By the time he was in his early 30s, Rolph was one of the leading Reformers in the province. He fought in favour of stuff like democracy, equal rights for American-born citizens and the separation of church and state.

It was a bitter fight. These were the days when the Lieutenant Governor could pretty much ignore the elected assembly whenever he wanted to. And he was backed by the most powerful Upper Canadians: the Tories of the Family Compact, who loved Britain, hated democracy, and could usually count on the Governors to give them what they wanted. People who spoke out in favour of reform tended to get arrested, exiled, or attacked by angry Tory mobs.

Still, in the 1830s, it looked like things might finally change. The Tories back home in England had lost power for the first time in decades; now the left-leaning Whigs were in charge. They sent a brand new Lieutenant Governor to Toronto: Sir Francis Bond Head. He was supposed to be a big supporter of reform. And at first, that seemed to be true. His very first act was to appoint some big-name Reformers to his Executive Council — including John Rolph.

John Rolph
But Bond Head wasn't a Reformer at all. The Whigs had screwed up. To this day, there are people who think they must have confused him with his cousin and appointed the wrong guy. The new Lieutenant Governor wasn't planning on listening to his Executive Council. In fact, he praised the Family Compact for their "industry and intelligence" while dismissing the famous Reform leader — and former mayor of Toronto — William Lyon Mackenzie as "an unprincipled, vagrant grievance-monger".

It took only three weeks for the Executive Council to get sick of being ignored. They all resigned in protest — even the Tories. And the Legislative Assembly backed them up, refusing to pass any bills that had anything to do with money until Bond Head gave them an explanation.

He refused. Instead, he dissolved the legislature and called an election. Then, he openly campaigned for the Tories in what proved to be one of the most corrupt elections in Canadian history. There were bribes and threats and riots. Polling stations were placed in Tory neighbourhoods; returning officers were handpicked for their conservative sympathies. Bond Head — who was supposed to be neutral — called the election a battle between "the forces of loyalty, order, and prosperity" and the "selfish and disloyal". The Tories won in a landslide.

For some, like Mackenzie, it was the last straw. And Rolph agreed.

The two men hadn't always worked well together. Mackenzie was a radical; Rolph was a moderate. In fact, a few years earlier, when Toronto officially became a city, the choice for the first Mayor came down to Mackenzie and Rolph. When the council picked Mackenzie, Rolph resigned his seat in protest and retired from municipal politics. For a couple of years, he stayed out of politics entirely — focusing on his medical practice instead — until Bond Head offered him the seat on the Executive Council.

But now Bond Head's decisions were beginning to make Rolph more radical. He'd won a seat in the corrupt election — and with Mackenzie defeated, he was essentially the leader of the party — but he was outraged at the way it was run. In a letter to his fellow Reformer, Robert Baldwin, Rolph denounced the "violence, bribery and corruption" of the election, the "malicious official misrepresentation, and ultra tory returning officers..."

"[T]here is not," he wrote, "a baser or more unprincipled government in the world than the one we are now enduring here..."

And while Rolph was hard at work opposing the government in the legislature, Mackenzie was hard at work on his plan to overthrow the government completely. He travelled across the province, giving speeches, building support, arguing in favour of armed revolution. He wrote a declaration of independence, published a new constitution and called on citizens to rise up against their colonial overlords. "Canadians," he wrote, "Do you love freedom? ... Do you hate oppression? ... Then buckle on your armour, and put down the villains who oppress and enslave your country... Up then brave Canadians. Ready your rifles and make short work of it."

William Lyon Mackenzie
Many Canadians answered Mackenzie's call to arms. And not just in Upper Canada. Similar things had been happening in Lower Canada (Québec). In early November, the Patriote rebels launched their own rebellion. And for a while, it looked like they might just win. Scared, the government there asked Bond Head for help — and he responded by sending every single soldier in Upper Canada. Toronto was left almost completely undefended.

Mackenzie seized his opportunity. In early December, his army of volunteers assembled at Montgomery's Tavern on Yonge Street just north of Eglinton. By then, he had already started to plan for what would happen if his revolution was successful. There would need to be a temporary government until elections could be held. And since he was looking to establish a republic  — something like the one in the United States — that government would have a temporary President. Someone, preferably, respected by both sides. Someone like John Rolph.

Rolph, it seems, agreed to the plan. If the rebels seized power, the doctor from Thornbury would become the very first Canadian President.

But they kept Rolph's involvement a secret. While Mackenzie prepared to march his army down Yonge Street, Rolph stayed in the city and fed the rebels information about the government's plans. Bond Head was refusing to take the threat seriously, but Colonel James FitzGibbon — hero of the War of 1812; the guy Laura Secord ran to warn — ignored his orders and prepared the city's defenses anyway. In response, Rolph convinced the rebels to move the date of the revolution ahead by a few days.

That just confused things. Mackenzie wasn't there when the decision was made; he was away getting more recruits. And when he got back, he was furious. In the end, it seems that Rolph and Mackenzie met in secret and hashed things out: the revolution would begin two days earlier than originally planned. But that meant there wasn't enough time for everyone to get there. So when Mackenzie's army marched down Yonge Street, it wasn't as big as they'd originally hoped.

By then, the bloodshed had already started. The night before the march, the rebels shot and killed a Tory who tried to ride through their checkpoint and a Tory judge shot and killed a rebel after the judge had been arrested by the rebels. He escaped and warned the Lieutenant Governor. While a panicky Bond Head rushed to get his family on a steamship out of town, Colonel FitzGibbon continued to take charge. By morning, the bells of Toronto were ringing. Hundreds of volunteers raced to defend City Hall and the Parliament Buildings.

That's when Bond Head turned to John Rolph for help.

The rebels of 1837
While the army advanced down Yonge Street, Bond Head tried to stall. He decided to send emissaries north to meet with Mackenzie and suggest a truce. But it wasn't easy finding someone to send. He needed men that he trusted, but who weren't Tories — otherwise, the rebels might just shoot them. So he asked the same moderate Reformers he'd once appointed to his Executive Council: Baldwin and Rolph. He had no clue that Rolph was secretly working for the rebels.

The messengers found Mackenzie at Yonge and St. Clair, where his army had stopped to rest. And while Baldwin delivered Bond Head's message, it seems that Rolph pulled Mackenzie aside. According to some reports, he told the rebel leader to hurry the hell up.

In the end, of course, it didn't matter. It was dusk by the time Mackenzie's men got down to Yonge & College, where they finally faced off against the government's defenders. There was a confusing skirmish. As shots were fired, both sides broke ranks and fled. They say if the rebels had pushed on into the city, they might have been able to take Toronto that night. But now, they'd lost their chance. The next day, government reinforcements flooded in from Hamilton, Pickering, Niagara, Peel... Rolph could see the cause was lost. Mackenzie's army was going to be defeated later that same day. So Rolph casually walked to the edge of town, mounted a horse and then rode like hell for the American border.

He would spend the next few years in exile. Bond Head offered a £500 reward for his capture. The Lieutenant Governor denounced him as the "most crafty, the most bloodythirsty, the most treacherous, the most cowardly, and . . . the most infamous of the traitors..."

But before long, the Whigs had replaced Bond Head and the Reformers had swept back to power in the legislature. Rolph was pardoned and allowed to return home to Toronto. He even got back into politics, getting re-elected to the assembly and becoming a leader of the radical faction of Reformers: the Clear Grits. Over the next couple of decades, his power and influence would graduually fade. But he did live long enough to witness the coming of true Canadian democracy when Responsible Government arrived in 1849 and Canadian nationhood on the first of July, 1867.


Read more posts about The Toronto Dreams Project's UK Tour and the connections between the history of Toronto and the United Kingdom here. I'll be posting lots more during the trip! And you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Torontonian Television Legacy in Wales

UK TOUR DAY SEVEN (CARDIFF): The second stop on The Toronto Dreams Project's UK Tour was the Welsh capital of Cardiff. And while I was there, I went by the old Coal Exchange. It's a magnificent Victorian building right in the middle of the city, not far from Cardiff Bay. Once upon a time, this building was the beating heart of the world's coal trade. Some of the richest veins of coal on the planet were found in the valleys north of the city; Cardiff — which started the 1800s as a sleepy market town of about 6,000 people — became a booming metropolis of more than 200,000 by the end of the century. (So, about as big as Toronto was back then — in fact, both cities had just about the same population boom over that span.) At the height of the Industrial Revolution, Cardiff was the biggest coal port in the world. And the Coal Exchange is where all the big deals went down. Thousands of people flowed through the building every day. The trading floor was packed with hundreds of businessmen. It was here that history's very first million-pound cheque was signed.

But today, the building is derelict. Over the course of the 1900s, the Welsh coal mining industry collapsed completely. Now, there's not a single deep coal mine left anywhere in the South Wales Valleys. By the end of the 1950s, the Coal Exchange had closed. For a while, the building was used for other purposes — most recently as a concert venue for shows by bands like Super Furry Animals, Arctic Monkeys and Patti Smith. But it was falling apart. And last year, it was shut down completely. You're not even allowed to go inside anymore. It's too dangerous.

There were times went it must have seemed like all of Wales was going to share the fate of that building. As the coal mining industry collapsed, unemployment rose. Cardiff was hit hard — especially the area down by the docks, near the Coal Exchange. It was dangerous to set foot anywhere near the bay. "You just didn't go there," one resident remembers.

But in the 1980s, Cardiff launched an ambitious revitalization of their waterfront. Back then, Cardiff Bay spent the vast majority of every day as a vast expanse of unattractive mud flats, only filling with water during the brief hours when the tide was at its height. So the government built a "barrage" across the opening of the bay and let it fill with fresh water from nearby rivers. Now, Cardiff Bay is always full. And it's beautiful.

They followed that up with a whole series of new developments. Most importantly, the shore of the bay is now home to the Welsh parliament building — the Senedd — built after Wales voted in favour of devolution. Next door, they turned the old Victorian dock offices at the Pierhead Building into a museum and an extension of the parliament. Next to that is Roald Dahl Plass: a new square named after the famous Welsh children's author who was christened in a nearby church. Then, there's the Wales Millennium Centre, which rises powerfully over the square with a striking facade of Welsh and English text. It's home to the national orchestra, the national opera, the national theatre company, the national dance company, the national literary company... plus resautraunts and bars and shops. There are plentyof those overlooking the Bay today. And they provide free Wifi to visitors thanks to the City — as do the pedestrian-only promenades of the City Centre.

Cardiff Bay
In 2014, Cardiff certainly still has many problems: the monumental developments don't seem to have done much for the residents between the Bay and the City Centre: that area is still rundown and uninviting, divided by the grand, new, featureless and deserted Lloyd George Avenue. But the Bay itself seems to be thriving. It's "a waterfront reborn" as our own Globe and Mail puts it

Of course, if you watch much television, there's a good chance that you've already seen those new Welsh icons. Because Cardiff Bay has become home to one of the most popular shows in the entire history of television. A show originally created by a Torontonian.

It was Sydney Newman who created Doctor Who. I've already written a full post telling the story of how he grew up in Toronto and worked at the NFB and the CBC before spending a few years as the Head of Drama at the BBC. While he was there, he came up with the idea for the science fiction series — and put together a groundbreaking team to produce it. His Canadian ideas have played an important role in the television show the London Times once described as "quintessential to being British." And now, 50 years later, that legacy is still being felt in Wales.

The BBC studios where the show is currently filmed are right here on Cardiff Bay, just around the corner from the Senedd and Roald Dahl Plass. Other locations around the city are frequently used for shooting the series — even the bits that are supposed to be happening in London. (A city pretending to be another city on film? Something Torontonians are familiar with.)

The most notable of these locations is Roald Dahl Plass. The square has played a big role on the reboot of the show: as a frequent landing place for the TARDIS and as the central location for the spin-off series, Torchwood. But it's hardly alone. The entire bay is a familiar sight to Doctor Who viewers. The lobby of the Millennium Centre has been used as the lobby of the futuristic New Earth hospital and as the reception for an alien health centre on a quarantined planet. Just around the bay, there's the restaurant where the Doctor faced off against an alien disguised as the Mayor of Cardiff. A little further along is the retro diner he visited on a trip to the 1960s United States. Just beyond that, the home of two of his most recent companions: Amy and Rory. Rose didn't live very far away, either. Or Donna. Or Clara. Or Craig and his baby, Stormageddon.

Even the Coal Exchange has become part of the recent history of Doctor Who: the building's parking garage was used as a location for one of the show's most celebrated episodes ever ("Blink") and the lavish interior played host to an alien fight club on an episode of Torchwood.

As a result, the show has helped to give Cardiff a new kind of international profile — a way to showcase the revitalized bay to millions of people around the world and to tell a new story about Wales that has nothing to do with coal mining. And that, in turn, has helped to grow the economy in other areas. Tourism is now bringing billions of dollars to the Welsh economy every year. And it's still growing. In part, that's thanks to the country's stunning natural beauty — even the valleys of the coal field are turning back into lush, green Edens after more than a century as a Mordor of black smoke and slag heaps. But it's actually Cardiff that's leading the way.

The latest big tourist attraction is another new addition to the bay: The Doctor Who Experience. A sleek warehouse on the waterfront gives fans a chance to see artifacts from the show, including old costumes, villains and props. Its nerd heaven. In its very first year, the Doctor Who Experience had already earned a nomination for a National Tourism Award. And they figure it'll attract a quarter of a million visitors every year. Yet another way to bring tourism dollars to Wales.

In fact, the Doctor Who connection is the reason I first decided to come here myself: to leave copies of a dream for Sydney Newman in some of the places around Cardiff that his television show has helped to make famous — including the house of the Doctor's current companion, a shrine to the spin-off series Torchwood, and on the set of the time-travelling TARDIS at the Doctor Who Experience itself.


Doctor Who Experience Cyberman
The 1980s TARDIS, Doctor Who Experience
A dream for Sydney Newman on the TARDIS
The shrine to Torchwood
Shrine to Torchwood, detail
A dream for Syndey Newman at the shrine
Clara's house
Clara leans out that same side window
A dream for Sydney Newman at Clara's house
The cathedral green from Matt Smith's first episode
Llandaff Cathedral, also from the Van Gogh episode
A dream for Sydney Newman where Matt Smith debuted
The Coal Exchange
The Pierhead Building
The Millennium Centre
Ellipses for 3 Docks on the Bay
The church were Roald Dahl got christened
Lloyd George Avenue
Cardiff also has way too many seagulls

 Read more posts about The Toronto Dreams Project's UK Tour and the connections between the history of Toronto and the United Kingdom here. I'll be posting lots more during the trip! And you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too.

Even the students doing this school project have noticed some of the failures of the revitalization. Definitely worth a watch.

It was actually while watch an episode of Torchwood that they tipped me off to the other Toronto history connection in Cardiff that I've written about this week: when they visited the sculpture in memory of the Scott Expedition on the bay. You can read my post about that here.