There's an old joke, funny because it's true:

How do you get a bunch of drunk Canadians out of your swimming pool?

You say 'Pardon me; would you drunk Canadians mind terribly getting out of the swimming pool?"

But this morning, at about 3:20 a.m., it became not funny because it was true. Finding a small group lined up stupid-early for the Toronto International Film Festival public box office -- three hours and forty minutes before the first possible sale of tickets outside of the pre-Festival coupon-based ordering system or the Visa screening series at the Elgin theater -- two security guards asked a small group of eight people to please leave the basement of the College Park retail complex, home to one of the Festival's box offices, until the building re-opened at 5:30. There was no shouting; any hard feelings came out sighed softly; everyone grabbed their things and moved to the outer door. The movie-drunk Canadians -- bearing their catalogs and wish-lists and blankets -- got out of the swimming pool.

I'm not relating this second-hand.

The Toronto International Film Festival's different from Cannes or Sundance. You can -- security-induced shuffling aside -- walk up to the box office and buy tickets, without being a member of some elite, without traveling to some remote, exotic location. It's kind of awesome that way. And for the past few years -- even though I've had press accreditation -- I've stood in those early lines so I can be there when the box office first opens.