The Unofficial FutureRuby Guide to Toronto , Part 1: What’s That Smell?

The Unofficial FutureRuby Guideo to Toronto

Last year, for RubyFringe – the offbeat conference for Ruby programmers hosted by the local Ruby heroes at Unspace – I wrote a series of articles about Toronto for people who were coming to the conference from out of town. In the series, I pointed out places of interest near the conference hotel (the Metropolitan downtown) and little tidbits of information that might be useful to an out-of-towner.

This year, Unspace is holding another conference for Ruby programmers. This time, it’s going by the name FutureRuby and once again, I’m posting a series of articles that collectively will make a quick little Baedeker about Toronto for the non-locals attending the conference. My hope is that even people who’ve live in this city all their lives will find it useful and entertaining.

Upon arriving in Toronto, you may notice a certain funk hanging in the air. The strength of said funk will vary from block to block and will come from one of two probable sources.

Probable Source Number One: Gene Simmons’ Man-Musk


The first probable source of the smell lingering around town is Gene Simmons. Yes, that Gene Simmons. Gene has bedded many women:

  • His current long-term partner, Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed
  • The woman with whom he cheated on Shannon in that video that popped up on the internet last year
  • Former live-in partners Cher and Diana Ross
  • “Over a thousand women”, if his interview on NPR is to be believed

While his Rock God status helped him land the ladies, I believe that what really draws them in his the musky aroma he exudes.

Gene will be in town on the FutureRuby weekend in his capacity as Grand Marshall for the Honda Indy, which will take place around the Canadian National Exhibition, a short drive west of the conference hotel. An event featuring fast-moving, big, throbbing machines needs a grand marshall to match, and who could fill the role better than he?

The Honda Indy will run from Friday, July 10th through Sunday July 12th, and it might affect you in the following ways:

  • You may be exposed to Gene Simmons’ man-musk.
  • It may take longer than usual for you to get downtown if you’re flying in from Toronto’s main airport, Pearson International Airport, on Friday. Lakeshore Boulevard, one of the major roads leading into town from the west, will be used as part of the Indy track and will be closed.
  • You will hear the echoes of race car engines all weekend. It’ll be a constant hum in the background during the day – not too annoying, but I thought you might want to know what that sound was.

Probable Source Number Two: The Garbage Strike!


The even more probable source of the smell is the garbage. As of today, Friday, July 3rd, the strike by Toronto’s municipal workers is in its 11th day. It affects a number of services, including Parks and Recreation, services at City Hall and garbage collection. There little to no smell downtown, but as you go to neighbourhoods where food makes the lion’s share of the trash, such as Kensington Market (where Sunday’s post-FutureRuby party is taking place), it sometimes gets a little ripe.

If the strike goes on for another week and into FutureRuby:

  • Consider yourself warned about some potential stink.
  • If you’re from out of town, walking around the city and have some trash, please don’t litter or stuff it into our Saran-wrapped garbage cans; hang onto it and dispose of it at your hotel.

How Will I Get to FailCamp if the Ferries aren’t Running?

FailCamp, one of the events associated with FutureRuby, takes place on the Toronto Islands (Queen City Yacht Club on Algonquin Island, to be precise). The problem is that the island ferries are run by the striking city workers and are out of commission.

Worry not – Queen City Yacht Club has provided the use of the Algonquin II, a launch that can shuttle almost 50 people back and forth between Toronto Harbour and FailCamp.