(james benedict brown) on the road

Snapshots: a Saturday in Toronto

Posted in Uncategorized by James Benedict Brown on 12 August, 2006

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I walked from Dovercourt along Bloor, heading east towards the city centre. Bloor is very much like Mill Road in Cambridge, the city in England that I grew up in. This semi-suburban stretch of the broad and largely straight road is busy with ethnic food stores, take away restaurants and cheaper rented accomodation. The sun is out, and it’s a beautiful morning. In the distance I can see the skyline of downtown Toronto – that, I admit, is not like Cambridge, but nonetheless I seem only capable of seeing the similarities today. I walk almost as far as Bathurst Street, by the famous Honest Eds discount store, and turn right. I pick up some postcards in an architecture book shop and ask for a recommendation for a breakfast joint. I only half listen to the recommendationss (I’m really really bad at that) and then, criss-crossing through the residential streets and dotting back and forth across the streetcar lines, I walk south towards College Street. Remarkably, I find one of the cafés that the cashier recommended: Aunties and Uncles on Lippincott Street. Find a seat at a big table outside on the pavement, I attempt with some futility to hop on to someone’s wifi connection, and enjoy the first cup of coffee with a plate of Belgian waffles.

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This end of Toronto strikes me as particularly colourful in the sunshine. When I first came here in January, everything was (understandably) grey and muted. Now the sharp sunlight is picking out the detail in the old shop fronts, and casting precise shadows from the mature trees that line the streets.

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I have to make a diversion through Kensington Market to pick up some rather tasty wool for a certain someone back home. Last night Kensington was deserted; now the streets are buzzing with the young and the trendy. This ‘Community Vehicular Reclamation Project’ is getting a lot of attention – surely something I’d expect to see in Montréal, not Toronto?

On every corner, there is a surprise. With a spring in my step, I find the wool store I’ve been seeking, and prepare to dent the credit card.

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