Toronto

Lately I love/hate Toronto. It’s definitely my home and I really love where I live but I’m not so keen on the politics. I’m old enough to understand that people generally become more conservative when they get older but to me the more “conservative” someone is the more selfish, mean-spirited, bitter, materialistic and paranoid they are. At one time I identified as liberal, but lately I identify more with the New Democrats. I still don’t like any of the parties because at heart I’m a socialist and happy about it. Lately I wish I could just live and let live a bit more. If I’m not careful I’ll become an embittered old man.

Toronto to me is rough and refined. It’s beautiful and ugly at the same time. I don’t want some generic suburb of perfection to live in. Maybe that’s why the Junction Triangle is so great, although even it’s changing quickly. So far it’s pretty good after ten years, and hopefully, if I’m lucky, by the time we don’t like it anymore because it’s just too affluent we can get lost and be old radicals in some obscure place.

Right now I love things like this empty intermodal transport container. It’s sitting on a chunk of land that use to be McBride Cycles back in the day, when that got ripped down it was an empty, brick strewn wasteland surrounded by a frost fence, then it was sort of cleaned up and became The Junction Flea Market (aka Hipster Central) and now it’s the parking lot for the soon to be constructed Duke condominiums. In the background to the right of the frame on Dundas Street West just before Keele Street you can see the cool building that’s a Salvation Army shelter. To the left of the frame is a residential neighbourhood. This is sort of our neighbourhood’s Parkdale. This part of Dundas Street West contains a whack of low-rent, sketchy apartment buildings as well as a few weird store fronts for various whack-job religious sects, some cool old and new legitimate businesses like Dog Lounge and Cool Hand of a Girl, some used appliance stores, a strange aquarium store that we’re sure is a front for some other illegal business, laundromats, and a shit-ass bar called Shox. Despite it’s sketchy overall look and feel I really like this stretch of road. I’m 100% comfortable wandering along it and I usually find something pretty interesting to look at.

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The shipping container is something I’m drawn to. I think it’s because of several factors but the sculptural work of Kim Adams and the Photography of Robert Polidori are probably my main reference points. I’ve also been relatively interested in them since people have begun to make houses and stores out of them. These containers are also–like most of everything I’m truly drawn to–rather pedestrian and utilitarian. I still think about carving, photographing, constructing, performing, and setting up shop inside one of these every time I see one. This one is interesting because it was used as a booth during the Junction Flea and someone took the time to finish the interior off a bit. It’s even better empty and derelict in this mysterious space.

This place below is located in front of the small mall that use to have Zellers in it on Dundas West just after it heads north at Roncesvalles. Now all that’s in there is a liquor store, a really crap Loblaws store, and the carcass of the Zellers. Target decided it was too skid row to move into. This is the back of a tire dealer that’s in a separate building closer to the actual street. It also contains a really shitty donut store… but hey, is there really any donut store that’s not shitty? It was once Firestone and I took pictures of it then, but now it’s something else. This is the slightly American feeling colour scheme of that business. Orange, white and blue. The orange is approaching cadmium, so to me this is reminiscent of the American flag. I’ve shot this wall many times over the last ten years. In fact I’ve probably posted about it before too.IMG_1328

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