Thursday Doors: Speak Friend

This week I have only a single door to share, but the building is unusual enough to stand on its own.

Early Sunday morning while most of the city was still sleeping, Gilles and I were downtown to see the departure of the 21st annual Friends For Life Bike Rally to Montreal, in support of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.

I couldn’t be more proud of our son, Jordan, our son-in-law, Dempsey, and ‘adopted’ son, Trevor, who have been actively involved with the Bike Rally for several years, including being on the Executive Team which plans this primary fundraiser for the Foundation each year.

Dempsey, Kari, Trevor, Jazz, Jordan
There were plenty of hugs, kisses, and best wishes for this crew before they rolled out on Sunday morning.

All this week they have been riding an average of 100 km a day, camping each night along the way, and tomorrow afternoon the 200+ riders with 100 support crew will be rolling into downtown Montreal.

However, this is all just a preamble to explain what I was doing downtown when I discovered this old Victorian house across the street from the park where the Bike Rally was gathering.

How could I not be distracted by a building with a giant pink octopus climbing its walls?

Described on its website as a “sports bar for nerds”, this is the Storm Crow Manor.

I’m not sure the entrance says ‘Welcome’ to me but it’s certainly intriguing.

With images of aliens covering the upstairs windows, the Manor is clearly channelling a sci-fi meets Hallowe’en kind of vibe.

While the doorway might not scream ‘welcome’, the “Speak Friend and Enter” sign says it all for me. The language of “Friend” is universal.

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Visit the posts of other door aficionados around the world via Thursday Doors at Norm 2.0.

132 comments

  1. I love everything about this post! First, the biking rally and wonderful photo of “your guys” and friends. Yay for them. And then the building, with its door and pink octopus and adorable signs. I think my favorite one is “Live Nerds.” I’d stop in there for a beer just ’cause I know I’d love those folks in there.

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  2. 100 kim a day?? Wow, am impressed! The black frames and red curtains are to me reminiscent to the Adams family. Yeah some Halloweenish too … hard to pinpoint when they want it to be a sportsbar? Or, a bar for nerds? Sorry, I can’t make up my mind! How are you doing yourself Joanne?

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    • It definitely had an Addams Family vibe to me. I suspect the ‘nerd’ part comes when you go inside. Someday I’ll have to check it out to verify 🙂

      It’s been a great summer on my end. I hope yours has been too!

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  3. Wow, Joanne, great cause, and great door…although more than just a door.
    A little creepy, but how creative. And so great that they speak “Friend.”

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  4. You certainly have every reason to be proud of your family. It is great to see the ‘millennial’ giving back to society. I suppose they too often get labelled as the ‘generation of entitlement’…

    By the way, what a wonderful door… Looked very intriguing. It’s the kind of door that lures you in, just to have a look at what’s hiding indoors.

    Great post.

    Lieve

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  5. Thank you for sharing the work of this Team and their Fundraiser. I cannot imagine 100km a day and camping each night. What giant pink octopus? Hee hee. Definitely an intriguing door. An unusual building although I get an inviting vibe:)

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  6. Love that purple octopus! We have had one here in Portland forever. It used to be hanging onto the side of a Greek restaurant but when the restaurant closed, the purple octopus was sold and relocated to a barber shop!

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    • I am immensely proud of them.
      I think Millenials often get a bad rap as whiny and self-absorbed and yet my experience is the opposite. If my sons and their friends are any indication, they are articulate, hard-working, and passionate about their causes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s great to see their commitment to this cause…outstanding, every one of them.

    I like the idea of a place for nerds but the octopus legs flailing behind the building look suspicious and warn of danger lurking within.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A wonderful cause and a fun way to give to the community, Joanne. No wonder you’re proud and filled with love. And great Manor! What a gem in the middle of the city. It looks like a weird place. Next time you’re there, you have to go inside. 😀

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    • The Manor is definitely on my radar for a return visit. With an exterior like this, the interior is bound to be something to explore 🙂

      I am so proud of my sons and the men they have become. Having a demanding career outside of the home, I’ve often despaired about my failings as a mother, however when I see the men they’ve become I realize I had to have done a thing or two right 💕

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just the description ‘sports bar for nerds’ sounds like an oxymoron 🙂

      The world needs more young people like this who care about others and are willing to do their part to make a difference within their community.

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  9. That house is amazing. It’s incredible the gems we stumble upon sometimes when we’re not even looking for them.
    A Montreal to Toronto bike ride was on my bucket list back in the days before…well, you know. Bravo to the riders! I hope they all make it in safely and raise tons of money and awareness for something that seems to have fallen off the radar these days.

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  10. First of all bravo to Jordan, Dempsey and team! If I recall you supported the ride one or two years? I hope the week has gone well for them.
    Now sign me up to meet you at that bar. Absolutely love the quirky design. As you say hard to resist a giant octopus climbing the wall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good memory, Sue. I did participate as a volunteer, but it was 4 years ago! Scary how time flies. It was a very special experience so I imagine it’s that much more powerful for the riders.

      Let’s make it a date. The next time you’re in Toronto, we meet at the Storm Crow 🙂

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  11. Speak Friend and Enter….that was on the door to a gaming store I went into last month. I like the welcome but had never heard it before until this post! And then Trent said it was from Fellowship of the Rings. Can you say, ‘out of it?’ Yay for your guys being involved in that bike rally! Such a great thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Whoa! I need a pink octopus for our house! I don’t think I qualify for “nerd” but I do speak friend. I would love to go inside and check it out! Just curious… why does Jazz’s shirt say Port Hope/Toronto and the others say Montreal/Toronto? Good on the crew for participating in the ride!

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    • Good eye! There are 3 different ride options – Toronto to Port Hope (1 day), Kingston to Montreal (3 days), and Toronto to Montreal (6 days).
      Like the others, Jazz normally does the Toronto to Montreal ride but this year, in what I consider to be a mean-spirited move at his job, Jazz could not get all the days off work he needed to do the full 6-day ride … even though this is an annual predictable event.
      I say shame on them! Jazz is a dental hygienist. This is not life-and-death work.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been to the Storm Crow and it’s a really cool bar inside! The decor and theme, including the menu and drinks, are so unique!

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    • I’ve seen pictures online and I want to go too. This looks like an interesting place! The tables outside with games on them pretty well said it all … this is a place to gather with friends and have fun.

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  14. Congrats to Jordan, Dempsey & crew for once again tackling this challenge! Brian & I passed a number of cyclists last Sunday on Highway #2 between Bowmanville & Newcastle on our way out of town. I am now thinking this may have been their group????

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    • You probably did see Bike Rally cyclists since their end point on Sunday was Port Hope. Early in the afternoon you would have caught the fast riders (like Jordan and his group). Later in the afternoon would be the slower riders.
      There is supposed to be a 5 o’clock cutoff each day for the riders to get into camp but I don’t know how strictly it’s enforced.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is one of those cases where the fundraising part of the event is only part of the story.
      The camaraderie and sense of community that comes from involvement is so powerful. There’s a certain sense of loss when it’s all over and everyone goes back to their normal lives at the end of the rally.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It sounds like an amazing event, Joanne. I loved seeing all the smiling faces.
    That old Victorian is fabulous! Thank you for all the photos that set my imagination alight. I like the name Storm Crow too. The house is exactly the kind of place where my Fiona Finch character would live. I thought of her the moment I glimpsed the photo. She hasn’t gotten her full story yet. You’ve only met her in that short collaboration with Rob Goldstein where I was venting my ghoulish neighbor woes. Hugs on the wing!

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    • Thanks for giving me context on where this expression came from. I couldn’t place it at all … although I’m not much of a LOTR fan.
      I can claim to be only nerd-ish but hopefully that would be enough for me to gain entry 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • The whole idea with the saying is that the brilliant wizard, Gandalf, worked for hours trying to guess the password. Monsters were attacking and they needed in immediately. One of the hobbits then asked what it meant by “Speak ‘Friend’ and Enter” Gandalf realized he was putting too much thought into it and said the word “Friend” and the door opened…. So even more nerd than I originally said 😉

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  16. So much here. First I love those shirts! That is an awesome fundraiser. I love the house but like you, I’m not sure I am nerd enough for it. Still I want a pink octopus climbing my house. (That would make my neighbors nuts!)

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  17. Hi Joanne – Congratulations to your son, son-in-law, and their friends, on their bike ride. Very nice shots of the Manor and what a nice discovery on your Sunday morning.

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    • I’m constantly amazed by the little treasures I find in our city. I was unfamiliar with the Barbara Hall Park, the AIDS memorial, and the work of The 519 … all directly across the street from the Manor.

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  18. Wow, Joanne. You must’ve been stoked to stumble across that place which is so out of the norm, even the Norm 2.0. The purple octopus seems out of place with its more gothic elements, but certain attracts attention.
    Congratulations to your son and his friends. I’m impressed they could ride so far so well done. I used to work as a communicator for HIV/Sexual Health at our local area health service. As a writer/communicator I take the work I can get where I live and I spotted an ad for this job 3 days a week. It a 12 month contract and I learned so much. We don’t hear much about HIV/AIDS here anymore despite what’s happening in the global arena. Treatments have improved a lot and the spread has been contained here. Our politicians seem to have a single focus on stopping the boats and that’s about it.
    Hope you’ve had a great week.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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    • Thanks Rowena for the thoughtful comment. You’re right … we don’t hear much about HIV/AIDS anymore.

      The good news is that it’s not the automatic killer it used to be. The bad news is that the drugs are very expensive and with the ongoing health issues it causes, those affected often have difficulty with maintaining jobs and therefore meeting basic subsistent needs like food and shelter.

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      • Thank you for filling me in on that, because it’s been such a long time since I was working in the field and I only hear the odd snippet on the news, which doesn’t necessarily present a balanced perspective.
        I have an auto-immune disease which is at a chronic level and I haven’t worked full time in years, although we have our kids and it’s been important to be there for them and my writing and research satisfy my need for intellectual stimulation, even though we could do with more income.
        Twenty years ago there were organizations to help people living with HIV/AIDS with things like meals, cleaning etc. However, these have cut back a lot. The need isn’t so pressing, which is a good thing but makes it hard for those who are struggling to make ends meet and cope in general.

        Liked by 1 person

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