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Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, right, poses for photographs on the red carpet at the gala for the new movie The Fifth Estate during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, right, poses for photographs on the red carpet at the gala for the new movie The Fifth Estate during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

TIFF from the red carpet: ‘GLOBEANDMAIL’ stops Benedict Cumberbatch in his tracks Add to ...

By the end of the first day of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, I had bewildered Benedict Cumberbatch, given a mini-history lesson and accidentally flashed my bum.

The first was a red-carpet highlight: Cumberbatch stopped answering questions before the premiere of The Fifth Estate and instead fixed his attention on trying to decipher the upside-down “GLOBEANDMAIL” sticker on the back of my iPhone.

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As charming as it was, it wasn’t the first instance of naiveté when it came to recognizing iconic Canadiana. As the world descended on Toronto, the world was clearly confused by some things. Take the People magazine reporter standing next to me. He looked at the large crests emblazoned on the red carpet and asked unapologetically, “What’s Hudson’s Bay [Company]?”

I tried to hide the indignation in my answer. (”Well, it’s a department store now, but before that it was a fur company. It was founded in 1670, so it’s, like, 200 years older than Canada.” “It’s a very Canadian symbol,” the Toronto Life reporter cut in, justifying the sudden trivia-bomb.)

I tried to forgive the People reporter’s second slip when Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne appeared (”Who’s that?” “The premier.” “The Queen?!”) because only a few hours earlier I’d had one of my own.

I was a few blocks away from the theatre at 5:20 p.m. I had told my editor I would get there at 5:30, and vaguely remembered something about a carpet lockdown. Suddenly gripped by a fear that I wouldn’t get inside, I started jogging in six-inch heels.

This, we know, is generally inadvisable. But in my teens I once ran full-sprint in heels across a high-school parking lot just to prove that I could do it. This memory comes to mind easily and continues to fuel inadvisable behaviour.

And, well, my dress: Solid black with long sleeves and a swishy skirt, it was never meant to call attention. That is, until yesterday, when it met my purse during that fateful jog.

Slung over my shoulder was a fairly gigantic black carry-all (it contained bananas, several phone chargers and a pair of jeans for dramatic irony), and somehow the swing-swinging of the purse, combined with the swish-swishing of the skirt, caused the fabric to bunch up and. … Then there were two women and two identical, wide-eyed looks of alarm at the sight of my derrière. Then an “it’s okay, you’re fit!” which softened absolutely zero blows.

So, please: If you were in Toronto on Wednesday, somewhere on Wellington Street between Spadina Avenue and John Street, accept my apology. I’m really, really sorry. Happy TIFF, everyone, I’ll be packing shorts for the rest of the festival.

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