Monday, February 25, 2008

bessarion or bust

Exiting Bessarion
This post was made possible by the lobbying efforts of former mayor Mel Lastman. Without his dogged perserverance to have the Sheppard subway line built after the provincial government cancelled plans to build an Eglinton line, this might have a post about a psychogeographic walk that started at Caledonia or York Centre stations.

I doubt I've used the Sheppard line more than twice since "Mel's Folly" opened in 2002. Both were out of curiousity, since I usually require a car for most destinations along its length (hi IKEA!).

Turned Heads at Bessarion
According to the TTC's 2005-2006 statistics, Bessarion had the second-lowest ridership of all subway/RT stations, with an average of 2,130 passengers a day (the bottom was Ellesmere, with 1,960). Spending half-an-hour in the concourse on a weeknight while waiting for other intrepid psychogeographers lent credence to the numbers, with more passengers depicted on the walls than live human beings passing through. Definitely not enough traffic to support a shuttered newsstand near the ticket booth. The numbers should improve once commuters move into planned developments on the old Canadian Tire warehouse lands south of the station.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Bessarion Escalator
The long escalator ride to the surface. From the station we headed east along Sheppard, tempting to check out the mountains of snow at the development site.

Wall of ice
Under the former Petro-Canada station at Provost was a wall coated with runoff. We continued along to Leslie, then headed north along the Don Valley Trail. The depth of the snow, combined with a few tracks left by other walkers, led us to roam the valley single file. Bridges provided brief rest breaks and a chance to survey the landscape.

Sheppard or Alamosa?
Decisions, decisions...

Illuminated Pottery
We emerged from the valley on Alamosa Drive, finding several heated driveways with no trace of snow. One home placed a spotlight on the pride and joy of its pottery collection.

Finch Gurney
We hopped on a bus at Finch and headed over to Yonge Street. Entering the subway station, we noticed a gurney next to a staircase. Turned out there had been a stabbing a few hours earlier.

Rhythm of Exotic Plants
Downstairs we observed the station's most prominent piece of art, Krystyna Sadowska's 1965 piece Rhythm of Exotic Plants (view another of her works on display in the city). Some of the group proceed to a bar near the station, where it was karaoke night. Among the tunes was an outsider music-esque version of Elton John's I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues.

All photos taken February 7, 2008. Another set of photos from ysuchislife. - JB

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