Hot Potato Dance


Hot Potato Dance


  • 1933 - 1968

Victoria University at the University of Toronto is just across the street from the ROM on Charles. My university days were spent there in first year Art and Archeology. One would think lectures would be held at the university, but no, lectures were held everywhere but. Archeology lectures were held in the basement theatre of The Royal Ontario Museum, which I must admit was better than walking to the Sydney Smith Building for philosophy tutorials, but there were still no windows. It was 1962. You couldn't miss the ROM as you walked down Avenue Road, passing the Home Economics Building and the 1903-built Annelsley Hall women's residence. It was a stand-out feature of the street with its imposing romanesque revival facade. I think the Royal York was the tallest building in Toronto at the time so you can imagine the impression that the museum conjured with its grandeur. We crossed the street, jogged up the steps and made our way down the spacious halls to the lower level auditorium.

Lectures were not always trenendously vibrant so one might fall asleep if the ride on the TTC from home had been long and tedious. While you were awake you could learn things: when the Kapuka Papuans held their cultural potato dances in the spring board floor huts they used for such occassions. If you really liked one of the ladies present you could pass her, unobtrusively, a hot potato. Yikes it was all so racy!

We also visited those superb galleries of Greek and Roman antiquities, not to mention the great Chinese collection being guarded by the lions outside the building. Those were the days! The hot potatos didn't work very well on the girls from Annesley Hall.