View of MacLennan Avenue and Summerhill Avenue taken from the pedestrian bridge, May 3, 2020. All photos in this post copyright Jamie Bradburn, 2020.
Hi, how’s everyone doing?
Hopefully you’re riding out the pandemic as best as you can. My coping mechanism has been plenty of walking through residential neighbourhoods, both close to home and in other parts of the city. Besides aiding my mental health, it’s been a way to discover/rediscover the local landscape. Low traffic on residential streets helps with the ballet pedestrians perform to achieve good social distancing – with enough practice, you develop a good rhythm in dodging others for the greater good.
For the first summery day we’ve had, I tested my skills in Rosedale.
There were two boxes of books by the curb close to where I parked. My porcupine assistants Qwilly and Qwillamina chose these two to take home.
I started the walk by wandering up and down dead end and limited-access streets, going back and forth between Glen Road/Summerhill Avenue and the train tracks. This limited the number of other pedestrians, giving plenty of space to take in the blossoms. Locals were taking advantage of the sunny weather to spruce up their landscaping.
A home with an artistic touch.
Walking west along Summerhill Avenue, foot traffic rose as I approached Summerhill Market. Outside, a guitarist played “Puff the Magic Dragon” and an ancient former ambulance clumsily tried to park. Inside, shoppers could treat themselves to single rolls of toilet paper for $1 each. On my way out, the ancient former ambulance clumsily exited the parking lot, turning on its siren as it headed east.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Nor can you imagine signs like this one, posted on the pedestrian bridge at MacLennan and Summerhill.
Issue #1: while intended to promote social distancing, the placement of the giant “STOP” sign suggests the opposite.
Issue #2: if the graphics are taken literally, the sign suggests that optimal social distancing is achieved by one person hovering above another. Gravity has other ideas.
The porcupines decided to provide a lesson in proper social distancing.
One safety measure nobody was using at MacLennan and Summerhill were the cups of flags spread around the intersection. Found across neighbourhoods in north Toronto, I’ve rarely seen them used. They fall into a long tradition of solutions to road safety issues whose value is more symbolic than practical (or push most responsibility onto pedestrians).
Next, Rosedale Park, home of the first Grey Cup game.
The most common sign in Toronto’s parks during the pandemic.
I’m not sure how much sense this sign makes at the moment, given that plenty of playground equipment, including some pieces in Rosedale Park, is covered in police tape to prevent usage.
While the amenities were left alone, people in the park were mostly observing current distancing conventions, whether they were sunbathing or doing other contemplative activities. I also noticed people who, rather than use the benches, brought fold-up chairs to rest in.
The park’s Little Free Library was full of material, including a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Moving on, I zigzagged down to the architectural gems along Beaumont Road. More time to appreciate the blossoms.
There were CDs hanging in the windows of Oakhaven, once home to Emmett Cardinal Carter.
The Proctor Residence, at 3 Beaumont Road.
A friendly reminder as you head north along Glen Road.
In the Little Free Library outside Rosedale United Church, a selection of parenting guides, books om Christmas and opera, a Penguin Classic of early Christian writing…and another book in the Fifty Shades series.
As Fifty Shades books have appeared in nearly every LFL I’ve seen across the city lately, I think the good people of Toronto have quietly decided that dumping their copies of this series is a good civic project during the pandemic.
Next, Chorley Park, where the switchback path leading into the Don Valley has not, as some residents feared, led to the end of Western civilization.
At one of the gateways to the path, a Heritage Toronto plaque outlining the odd history of Chorley Park.
I then drove over to the Summerhill end of David Balfour Park, which is closed due to the rehabilitation of the Rosehill Reservoir. The construction hoarding along Summerhill Gardens is filled with hopeful messages.
At journey’s end…the entire Fifty Shades series!