Wandering

28 July 2019 – My feet are wandering, as they tend to do, but more obediently than usual. This time they are trotting along with others, all of us on a neighbourhood tour of “lower Mount Pleasant” (close-ish to the south-east end of False Creek).

The guide is pointing out evidence of the social, industrial and built heritage of the area: remnants of the vernacular residential architecture of the 1910s, for example (gables, wood cladding and off-set front doors) …

or …

remnants of mid-century shop signage. (Bike Woman is listening to our guide, who is out of frame to the left.)

I am also listening, I am, but while my feet are obedient wanderers, my eyes are rebellious wanderers, and they keep leading my mind a-stray.

Here we are being shown one of those early homes, still surviving and freshly painted.

Only my eyes bounce off the bright paint, weave through the tree branches, and fasten on that bit of street mural beyond.

Now we’re being told more about the history of this house, and the (woeful) state of heritage designation in the area. My eyes instead slide along the building’s side wall and hop over alley space to contemplate the shipwreck in turquoise waters, ‘way down there.

And so it goes.

Another intersection, more information, and, though my feet are behaving themselves, my eyes are still on the prowl.

Look! A whole exuberant dance across that white wall over there, nicely framed by modes of transport: a sturdy truck up close, a sleek auto-share vehicle across the street, and guy wheeling his bike through the doorway.

Next, a neat little square of mural, far end of that parking-lot grid, tucked behind the hydro pole …

and, later, a huge full-wall’s worth of faces, with the vacant lot offering an unobstructed view of every detail.

Nothing distant about this one! We’re on the pavement right in front.

Smack-dab under the dog’s whiskers, and still, the guide manages to ignore him.

She is just not a street-art kind of gal. (I shouldn’t beat up on her — we all edit what we’re going to notice and not notice, otherwise we couldn’t get through the day.)

She does mention the company, though: apparently Mount Pleasant Furniture does a roaring business renting props to movie shoots in town.

Their doorway window gives just the tiniest indication of how many props must be on offer.

Tour over, and my feet, eyes and mind are now free to wander in unison.

Feet stop while eyes and mind enjoy this real, live dog on Main Street, patiently waiting for his human to abandon the delights of the Cartems “donuterie” and take him home.

Feet stop again just across the intersection.

Eyes read, mind again enjoys this street ode that I have read before …

with summer tree-shade bringing the text to life.

I do pause, one further moment.

And then — feet, eyes, mind, and everything in between — I wander on home.

 

7 Down, 1 Up

17 November 2016 – Sounds like a crossword puzzle command, doesn’t it? But it’s not, it’s what happened today when I went walking with Mary C ( As I Walk Toronto ).

We’re in Leslieville, happy to follow our feet wherever they choose to go, and — no surprise here — they choose to walk a lot of alleys.

Which takes us past a lot of garages.

I become fascinated with ones that are … how shall we put this? … a little down on their luck.

Brilliant, dramatic, but decidedly down on their luck.

Like this one.

peeling door, in a Leslieville alley

And this one. From peeling red, to peeling black & blue.

Leslieville alley garage

Lots of stern instructions here, but they forgot the important one …

Leslieville alley garage

namely, No Tagging.

“Bang” says the garage door, in large letters. Bang?

Aha, check those cute little mousies, in the lower right.

Leslieville alley garage

Mouse (Right) has Mouse (Left) at gunpoint.

A second round of weather!, this time on a field of turquoise …

Leslieville alley garage

then a garage sporting a whole lot of turquoise.

Which is weathered, but not weather!-ed.

Leslieville alley garage

Then a little more turquoise (along with Memories of Insulbrick) …

Leslieville alley garage

and finally, out on a city street, whole great whooping stripes of turquoise.

very harrow, very exuberant Leslieville house

After 7 Down, we have hit our 1 Up.

Up-tempo, up-energy, up-humour, up-up-up.

  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "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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