By MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor Barakah, Simerg and Simergphotos)
When I left home (Monday, November 9) to run an errand, I went northbound on the Don Valley Parkway (DVP), and had planned to drive back south along the same route, and take the Wynford Drive exit that brings you to a T-junction, 200 metres east of the Aga Khan Museum entrance. But instead of taking the DVP, I decided to drive on Don Mills Road, and then turn left into Wynford Drive, and drive past the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Park and the Aga Khan Museum before getting home. The Museum now opens from Thursday through Sunday, and the full parking lots at both the Ismaili Centre and the Museum made me wonder what was going on — perhaps a community event I wasn’t aware of.
That hyped me up, and I drove into the Aga Khan Museum Parking lot, and managed to find a tight spot to squeeze into near a huge truck. Many vehicles carried US license plates. A gentleman politely asked me to walk on the pedestrian pathway on Wynford Drive. A volunteer I met on the way refused to answer my simple question, “What is going on?” citing a non-disclosure agreement! Such secrets make me really really mad!
Then a few metres away, I met another gentleman who told me that the shooting of the action comedy film, “The Man from Toronto,” was underway, starring Woody Harrelson, a Primetime Emmy Award winner who has been nominated for three Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards! After about a minute, as I got closer to the Ismaili Centre, I watched and photographed a scene being completed, which had to be retaken. It was a 45 second event!
An Ismaili standing outside the guardrails alongside me explained that earlier when he was taking his daily routine Aga Khan Park walk, he was asked to remain away from specific areas. Then he told me that as he glanced up at the museum wall, he was bewildered to see the original bilingual “Aga Khan Museum” sign in English and French now reading “D.C. Art Museum.” He said that for a moment he was in a state of shock. He saw people walk in and out of the museum doors, and only got a sigh of relief when he was informed that the new sign was for the movie shooting!
After taking photos of the “new” looking wall, I walked across the Aga Khan Park to the Ismaili Centre, and met an American alongside some cars that I think included, a vintage Mustang. I learnt from him and others I talked to that the preparations for the shooting event had begun 10 hours earlier, and everything went according to plans. The date of the release of “The Man from Toronto” has not been finalized but it will be interesting to see the scene(s) when the movie is released. The Aga Khan Museum security guard who kept on following me from the Museum building onwards, as if I was a security threat, marred my otherwise enjoyable few moments at the Aga Khan Park under clear and beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures!
Coronavirus, you may try to deter us, but we have our winning ways!
Date posted: December 9, 2020.
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About the author: Malik Merchant is the founding publisher/editor of this website, Simerg (2009), as well as two other blogs Barakah (2017) and Simergphotos (2012). Formerly an IT consultant, he now dedicates his time to family projects and his 3 websites. He is the eldest son of Alwaez Jehangir Merchant (1928-2018) and Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant who both served Ismaili Jamati institutions for several decades in Mozambique, Tanzania, Pakistan, the UK and Canada in both professional and honorary capacities as teachers and missionaries. Malik’s daughter, Dr. Nurin Merchant, assists him as an honorary co-editor of the three websites. She received her veterinary medicine degree with distinction from the Ontario Veterinary College (2019, University of Guelph) and now works as a veterinarian.