Thursday, December 10, 2009
ossington and on
Scene from a psychogeography walk last week:
The display greeted the group of walkers as they emerged from a neighbourhood park onto Brock Avenue. Nearly every traditional and commercial symbol of the holiday season was present amid the carefully constructed carnival of lights. The jolly big elf, snowmen, penguins, gift-loaded trains, nativity scenes...little was left out of this west-end front yard apart from an illuminated thank you note from the beancounters at Toronto Hydro. It would have taken a supreme show of willpower from any bypassers not to stop and observe the display and find subtle touches that would be missed by others.
Just as remarkable was the simplicity of the lights next door. Knowing there was no way to compete with the neighbouring display, the house on the right opted for simple yet colourful strings of lights to provide a cozy December glow.
The evening's stroll was billed as an “Ossington horror walk,” due to the street’s recent notoriety as a bar/restaurant/hip strip. Before the others arrived, I wandered back and forth along Ossington from Dundas to Queen, peering into windows to invoke terror in the hearts of well-dressed bright young things eating dinner or enjoying a nightcap…
Darn it, the lie detector went off. The truth? I snapped pictures of kitchen equipment and interior design displays. Might have freaked out one diner at Pizzeria Libretto as I gazed at their window-side meal.
There were also reminders of the priorities of life.
After surveying artwork at a gallery opening that doubled as our meeting spot, we set off and immediately headed west. Soon we were in a land of homey holiday decorations on streets lined with the odd DeSoto.
Two more shots from the display mentioned earlier. Much rather have a lawn crawling with themed light sections than yet another inflatable reindeer pulling Santa from the chimney.
Mechanic Avenue tossed up a few surprises. First, a wall of doors…
…then religious figures glowing with a righteous fervour…
…and a simple way to hang tree decorations. Consider this a form of recycling!
From Mechanic we headed towards the train tracks and along the proposed route of the West Toronto Railpath. After a panic-stricken moment involving a sudden fear of heights, I might have needed a spot to sit for a moment. Though promising, it was for the best that I didn't test out this chair on Lansdowne.
We joined the current stretch of the trail at Dundas and Sterling. Behind the Nestle plant we jumped up to see if we could view any chocolate products rolling off the line. Graffiti lined the path as we headed toward Bloor—what sort of hunch did the artist have while creating the work above?
One shot from the path that I wish had turned out better: a long exposure of a smokestack that stood out against an eerie, unearthly blue-black-yellow skyline.
Friendly vaccuums smiled as we passed them on our easterly journey along Bloor Street.
The night wound down with a nightcap at Hurricanes on Bloor near Ossington. It was a familiar sign—there were several locations in Essex County, including one in Amherstburg (now Shooters) and one in Sandwich (still around). While snacking on nachos and wings, we glanced at the various screens, one of which provided an odd mix of music videos as the bar's soundtrack.
Oddest pairing: Metallica's version of the Bob Seger classic Turn The Page (which some found disturbing)...
...which was followed by...
ABBA ABOUT TO BE EATEN BY A SNOWMAN! AAAAAHHHH! AAAAAHHHH!
Full set of photos - JB