Bikes, Box, Building & Progress

15 August 2016 — Not quite as hot today, not quite as humid, so I’m out marching around town, getting some things done, frisky as a colt I tell you.

Cast an appreciative eye on this decorated bike basket — a common enough sight, but no reason not to enjoy each one.

decorated bike basket, College St. nr Bay

An equally appreciative eye for this traffic signal box at College & Elizabeth streets — again, fairly common, these murals on utility boxes, but always a pleasure.

College & Elizabeth streets

Then I look again, first noticing that here on the north side of College St., Elizabeth St. has turned into Dr. Emily Stowe Way. “Suffragette,” I think, somewhat vaguely; “pioneer in female medical education and care.”

Next I step closer, read the banner on one of the mural figures …

detail, utility box College & Elizabeth


Dr. Stowe (1831-1905), denied university entrance here because of her gender, studied & qualified in New York City. She then came back home to open a private practice in Toronto in 1867 — the first in Canada to be run by a female doctor.

She then spearheaded the drive for female medical education that led to the creation of the Women’s Medical College in 1883, a facility that also offered outpatient medical care for women by female practitioners. It was another first, and the beginnings of what eventually became today’s Women’s College Hospital — a major research & teaching facility that still places core emphasis on women’s issues.

I turn north on Dr. Emily Stowe Way, expecting the ageing red brick pile that houses the hospital.

Except it’s no longer there. A soaring new complex has replaced it, complete with open courtyard and sleek welcoming signage.

courtyard at Women's College Hospital

They honour their past, I see: three decorative arches from the old red brick pile are now feature sculptures in the courtyard.

old arch, in hospital courtyard

But they honour their past in more ways than that.

Dr. Stowe would be proud of the building’s elevator doors. This one, for example …

elevator door, Women's College Hospital

and this one as well.

elevator door, Women's College Hospital

I am quite elated, as I leave the building to continue my morning rounds.

Hurray for Dr. Emily, I think, and for the hospital’s fidelity to its founding principles.

Down on Dundas St., closing in on Yonge, I’m back to the earlier bicycle theme. This time a whole row of them, tidily locked up in a Bike Share platform. More bike “art,” too. And another marker of social progress.

Bike Share stand on Dundas west of Yonge


See? Take your pride for a spin.

Then I’m off to market to buy parsnips & wheat germ & stuff & stuff. All very mundane. But I’ve seen delightful things this morning, so even parsnip-buying takes on a bit of sparkle.


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1 Comment

  1. LOVELY!


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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