Published Sep 12, 2013In our annual Hangout Handbook, Exclaim! asks some of our favourite artists to discuss the hidden gems in their hometowns. Here, Fuck the Facts' Topon Das outlines his picks in Northern Ontario.
Finlandia Club and Hoito Restaurant (Thunder Bay, 314 Bay St.)
When you wake up in Thunder Bay, hungover as shit after raging at the the Black Pirates pub, you need to treat yourself to breakfast at the Hoito. It's a Finnish restaurant that deals in large portions at decent prices. There's even a scale so you can weigh yourself before and after. (www.finlandiaclub.ca)
Walmart (Kenora, 24 Mikana Way)
If you book a show in Kenora, it will be cancelled. So where do you end up? Walmart of course! There are probably way more entertaining places you could visit in Kenora, but you're poor as fuck, so all you want is a huge parking lot where you won't be bothered, easy access to a bathroom (aka shower) and an endless supply of dirt cheap snacks. All you have to worry about is the night guard driving by and laughing at you. That's right, even the guy spending his nights driving around a Walmart parking lot thinks he's made a better life choice than you.
OLG Casino (Thunder Bay, 50 Cumberland St. South)
One of the great dangers of touring is blowing all your money on coffee. In Thunder Bay, a few feet away from the Black Pirates pub, is the OLG Casino. Casinos are an oasis of free coffee. Sometimes I think they just put the games in there so you can kill time while you're waiting for the person that's doling out the free coffee to pass by.
Serbian Centre and Club (Sudbury, 231 Bloor St.)
There's at least one place in Canada that still spills the finest of ales like it's 1986; the ale being OV and the place being the Serbian Club in Sudbury. Comforting bright lights and the smell of old man tears are just a couple of the things that'll be putting all your senses to the test. If you hang out long enough you might even get to see the locals play a quick game of "Who's too drunk to walk up these stairs?"
Topon Das is the founding member of Ottawa grindcore outfit Fuck the Facts, who've passed through Northern Ontario more than a dozen times. They're heading east to Newfoundland this September.