Designing 007, the travelling exhibit currently showing in Toronto, is a solid way to spend an hour for Bond fans. Just be careful if you’re bringing your baby along.
Showing at TIFF’s posh Bell Lightbox facility, you can expect to be immersed in the costumes, gadgets, sounds, and artifacts Bond. It’s a great tribute to 007 – who turned 50 this year - and his highs (and lows) through the ages. While a few of the most impressive displays are recreations, which is disappointing, there’s plenty of authentic Bond pieces to keep you busy.
That said, I wish the organizers were a bit more sensitive to the needs of young families. We made the “mistake” of bringing a stroller with us. This is what couples with an infant do. At the gate, we were informed that strollers are not permitted in the exhibit. It’s not a TIFF rule, but a directive of the creators of the exhibition, we were told. (The creators must be a sensitive bunch because an even stranger rule is that you cannot carry your coat inside – you must wear it or check it!)
My wife and I were not pleased. There were no issues bringing a stroller into the recent Grace Kelly show (which was also at TIFF). So I had to check the stroller (at no charge I should add) at the coat check and walk the baby around while she slept in the bucket seat. At one point I was even asked if I had gained permission to bring the seat inside! Needless to say, I felt singled out and needlessly harrassed, but tried to laugh it off until I found the time to write this blog entry.
There would have been plenty of room to navigate a stroller through the show. It’s a ridiculous rule and, with the Christmas holidays approaching and more young families bound to come, I hope it’s revisted to save other parents the disappointment and muscle strain. While the ushers at TIFF were regretful and sympathetic, I wish someone higher up questioned the organizers beforehand and convinced them to soften their extreme entry regulations.
At one point, a woman who saw me handling (or fumbling) with the bucket seat said to me, “This must be the youngest Bond fan in here!” “Yes,” I chuckled, “my little Bond girl.” I couldn’t help but think if the baby was a paying customer, perhaps she would have been shown more respect.