Signs of Fall

28 October 2016 – As established readers know, & the rest of you are about to learn, I am shameless about puns. Even when they are dead-obvious groaners. Case in point: the title & content of this post.

The Tuesday Walking Society is out in force, all two of us, starting south on Roncy (Roncesvalles, when it is trying to be dignified) & planning eventually to turn east on Queen St. West and then … just keep going.

I stop almost immediately to gurgle endearments at this cat. The surrounding parking-lot signs just add to his raffish charm.

Roncesvalles parking lot, s. of Dundas West

Stomp-stomp for a bit, and then Phyllis nudges me, chortling, “A huge pumpkin — on Garden Avenue!” I agree it is terrific, a true sign of fall, and on exactly the right street corner.

fake pumpkin, real fruit & veggies

Upon inspecting it up close, we realize it is fake!

We decide to roll with the punch. Just a bit of Hallowe’en decoration, we agree, and look — everything else this greengrocer has on display is absolutely real.

First sidewalk sign of the day.

in front of a Roncy bakery

We admire the word — it doesn’t exist, but ought to — yet resist the temptation. Too early in the walk for treats.

Next up, more fall fakery, but come on, admit that you love it.

bike on Queen West nr Roncy

An old geezer watches me take the photo, squints at the bike, rocks on his heels for a moment, and rasps, “Now, that’s really pretty.”

Striding down Queen St. West by now.  A coffee shop catches our attention, but not our patronage.

on Queen West

Still, if you happen to be addicted to both offerings … what bliss.

Bliss comes in many forms. Some have a hole in the centre.

more temptation

I stop mid-stride for this doorway alcove.

Why am I so enchanted? I think I’m still imprinted by that walk on Sherbourne (previous post), where I saw bird (etc.) forms everywhere. Here, I see a moose. Phyllis is not convinced.

moose, sort of

“Look,” I argue, waving my arms. “Left antler turquoise, right antler blue-striped, and he’s hugging Claret Guy With One Sad Eye.”

I’m still thinking about compassionate moose when I am again stopped mid-stride. By now we are in the heart of one of Toronto’s Little Tibets, and therefore awash in various meditative offerings …

Plus this.

in the Queen West Little Tibet

I love it. Take that, Tibet-stereotype!!

Now a Mysterious Gap in this account of our walk. Next post will fill it in, I promise.

Meanwhile, hop-hop, and on to Queen West & Dufferin, and the railway underpass that when constructed in the late 1890s was known as the “Queen St. Subway.” We know the date & the original name — plus the name of the mayor and city engineer — because all this information is chiselled in stone to commemorate what must have been, at the time, an epic next step in technology, transportation, city expansion and Progress in general.

underpass, Queen West & Dufferin

That’s not what I notice first, as we walk through the underpass. First I see that saucy 21st-c. mouse, only afterwards the stately civic pride of the 19th-c. stone signage below.

(You squint. You ask yourself if I intend this blur as an artistic effect. Don’t be silly. I was merely incompetent at taking the shot. But I do like the mouse, and his culture-contrast with the stonework below.)

Next, just a big old fun mural, complete with happy guy in cherry-red shades.

Until you read the tribute line above.

a Queen-West RIP tribute

Notice one RIP, and you start noticing more of them. Too many.

More Queen West kilometres under our heels, & more signs. Like this admonition …

Queen West nr Ossington


and then this riff (sort of) on an old Beatles song.

Queen West east of Ossington

Who could argue?

Meanwhile, Back on Sherbourne Street …

I have such helpful readers! Back yourselves up to my previous post (The Show on Sherbourne) and revisit the mural at Sherbourne & Queen St. East. Where I originally confessed I couldn’t decipher the artist credits, you will now see the three names nicely filled in. That bit of editing is thanks to reader filo21, whose comment on the post supplied the missing information.

My second thank-you is to Rick H., who commented quite perceptively on my breezy but lazy “certified Whatever” tag for the west end of the Birdo Tenso mural. Rick sees it as “a close relative of the Hornbill-esque bird” at the mural’s east end, and I think he is absolutely right.



Leave a comment


  1. Another breezy ramble on your turf, with your quirky noticing eye. A pleasant Saturday am treat.

  2. Always enjoy your diary of walks – somehow I have missed one of two – how remiss

  3. Another one of your fun walks! I always look forward to them, and your eye for the details – especially the quirky bits!

  4. a donut world indeed! 😀

  5. nice post as usual 🙂 where’s the parking lot featured in the first pic exactly?

    • I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t exactly know — just off Roncesvalles but I didn’t write down location & my camera at the time didn’t do it for m. Sorry!

      • thank you anyway! i guess a walk down on roncy is now in order for me 🙂

      • Absolutely! each walk by each person is a whole new event, so go make your own discoveries — but if you do find that cat, give him (her) my regards

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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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