Tuesday, September 15, 2009

one fine thursday night in the city

Royal York Hotel by Night

It's been awhile since I've written about a psychogeography walk. Blame it on an inability to keep track of time—I've been lucky to post photos from recent strolls within a reasonable amount of time. Let's see if this entry will break the cycle...probably not, but it's worth a shot.

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Last week's walk began at Union Station, where I positioned my mini-tripod to snap the shot above of the Royal York Hotel.

Simcoe Street Underpass (2)

From Union, we headed to the new underpass on Simcoe Street south of Front. The abrupt truncation of the bike lanes at Front was noted. It's grey, spare and nothing that will invoke dramatic oohing and aahing.

We stopped at Roundhouse Park to see if several vintage train cars destined to be displayed in the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre could be viewed. They were there, but under wraps. The roundhouse was a hive of activity, thanks to a raucous crowd that we initially thought was a film festival tie-in party at Steam Whistle Brewery. It turned out to be a fundraiser for St. Mike's Hospital that involved caged, costumed dodge ball matches.

We wandered into the new Leon's store at the north end of the roundhouse. The proposal had raised fears of a big box merchant ruining the historical structure, but the furniture chain has adopted well to the refurbished space. The high wooden ceiling and brick walls create a welcoming atmosphere that beats a suburban cookie-cutter store. As the store closed, we watched an employee close the giant bay doors one by one, as if the last train had departed for the night.

At the side of the store, a caped dodge ball player was having an awkward conversation with a young woman. This superhero wasn't saving the day.

Parking Entrance in Orange

A neat design covering the window above the entrance to a Cityplace parking lot, as seen on Spadina Avenue.

Viewing The Globe and Mail From Cityplace

A view of Globe and Mail HQ from Cityplace. The shot was taken from Telegram Mews, a street presumably named after the newspaper that originally occupied the Globe's present home.

Underpass of Blue Lights (1)

We ran into several spots around Cityplace where roads and passageways led to temporary dead ends. Several people emerged from the blocked off portion of Fort York Boulevard, but none were willing to tell us how they slipped in without attracting security guards (which was annoying, since a new park within the construction zone cries out for visitors). We headed down into a passage under Spadina that was bathed in blue, only to reveal a set of gates at the other end.

The walk wound down with a westward trek along Front and Wellington. Settling into a faux Irish bar for a drink, we compared the weightiness of three grand prizes offered to Guinness drinkers in a worldwide contest to celebrate the company's 250th anniversary: a trip into space, a voyage to the depths of the sea, and a recording session with the Black Eyed Peas.

I know which prize I'd want.

All photos taken September 10, 2009. Full set of pictures on Flickr.

Shameless Self-Promotion Department: Two posts on Torontoist—a look back at three Toronto Sun columnists who ran for public office and how cows aided the war effort. - JB

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