Quotes from Streets: Weed Day!

On the first light almost as an afterthought a handsome and much younger man handed Streetgirl a small plastic bag stuffed with weed.

“Oh,” she squealed, “thanks so much.” He smiled brightly as if surprised by her genuine gratitude.

A few lights later another man rolled down his window and passed her huge pre-rolled marijuana joint and the pleasant passenger reached across to contribute a box of take away sushi, tempura shrimp included :). When Streets remarked that someone had just given her a bag of pot the woman responded “Weed Day!” with a chuckle.

(Mind you, this is not a common occurrence, but cool for Streetgirl who suffers anxiety, easily treated with a puff or two, yet can’t afford to go pot shopping and only eats sushi at the end of the month when splurging with an order out from the Japanese restaurant three blocks down, great food, reasonable prices.)

Fire on the Balcony!

Pyromania is an impulse control disorder in which an individual repeatedly fails to resist the desire to deliberately start fires, in order to relieve tension and gain instant gratification.  Setting fires induces euphoria in a pyromaniac who may tend to fixate on institutions of fire control like fire houses and firefighters.

January 2020 -The siren rang while I was sleeping; admittedly, I recently taped over the alarm inside my door to tame down the tone which was deafening, but I still hear it. We residents have become resistant when it comes to the threat; there have been many false alerts these past few years. However, when I heard over the intercom firefighters were battling a blaze on an 8th floor balcony and that we should all stay in place until further notice, I was concerned. That’s my floor! Certainly it is the work of the man who lives upstairs somewhere above my friend’s apartment at the end of the hall! It’s not the first time that balcony has been lite by flames dropped from overhead and we think it was the resident pyromaniac himself who knocked on Norm’s door late one night last year to say that he’d been looking down and noticed my friend’s fake tree was on fire. Just a small flame and extinguished without professional aid, but later, upon investigation, we found a piece of charred paper in the plant container. Not simply an accidental incident caused by a tossed cigarette butt, but a deliberate deed. Difficult to pinpoint, the culprit is quick and elusive, dropping off his firebombs before ducking back under the cover of his balcony and no-one is quite sure which floor he’s on but several have seen him at work and the superintendent has been informed more than once. His response to me was to put it in writing, so that’s what I am doing, but if the whole place goes down in a blazing glory, how will he feel and who would be to blame? Our lives are at stake! Continue reading “Fire on the Balcony!”

Untold News!

December 9th,, and I was going to take the Lawrence West Subway to Eglinton West and stop to say hi to Sue who would be  panhandling at the Ramp before going home; she recently confided that she could  have cancer and that sucks! However, the sidewalk out front of the station was packed and a stressed commuter informed me that southbound trains were not running the two stops to St. Clair West; a growing mass waiting to board shuttle buses blocked the entrance.

Time to take a detour! Went up the street to wait for the 109, short bus route and an easy option, as it stops in front of my building, but often delayed on both ends, particularly where the construction and destruction of the expansion makes for traffic chaos. If it didn’t show up fast I’d walk the way which I normally do.

At the stop a few people waited with me, no one quite sure when the next bus was coming as the shuttles kept rolling by. A young woman sat on the bench, slumped over with a half-eaten bag of Cheetos on the ground beside her. It was obvious to me that she was nodding out and in no hurry to go anywhere! No-one took much notice until she started hacking away and I asked if she was okay, causing her to stand, mumble and shuffle perilously in place. When she raised a can of what appeared to be air freshener to her mouth and took a deep huff we all moved back and stepped out of the shelter.

“Don’t do that girl. It’ll make you sicker,” I said, even as I knew my words would have no effect upon her habit of inhaling toxic substances, and then the bus came and I got on with the other’s leaving the poor soul behind.

On board I overheard, as clear as it was a rainy day, a TTC driver who was hitching a ride tell our driver that it was “a bomb threat” causing the subway shutdown and adding that workers were tired of “this” happening, which implied not an isolated incident. Other passengers heard this too, prompting the middle aged black woman who lives in my building and was seated across from me to launch into a blame game, the extinction of The Lord’s Prayer in our schools, lost values and too many immigrants, and finally, it was Trudeau’s fault that immorality ran amuck in the city; to which, at that point, I felt compelled to reply, I don’t get into politics with people. There was no mention of a bomb threat on the evening news and since subway closures are a norm in Toronto who would have known?


Hogtown – Stepping On The Go!


I’ve been a fan of Front Street since stepping off the overnight VIA Rail departed from Montreal for the first time, summer 1980. I had come to Toronto to perform at the Zanzibar on Young Street, or to visit my eldest brother who lived downtown with several other post-graduate students, can’t recall which.  If it was the latter, being hungry after the overnight trip, he likely bought me lunch at St. Lawrence Market. Sitting on a stool eating peameal bacon sandwiches was trendy at the time, as was the exploitation of the female body; an expanding business manifesting from burlesque, striptease and topless go-go girls, to the full blown lucrative phenomenon that was table dancing and I was a key player. One arresting teenage mistake, followed by a jury trial, resulting in a criminal conviction paved the way down that deviant path (but that’s another story).

There was no golden glass skyscraper dominating the scenery in the early 80′, but the Royal York Hotel had been standing proud since 1927 and Union Station opened the travel hub that same year with Prince Edward snipping the ribbon. By then the city had become a thriving industrial center and there was a need for both. They called it Hogtown! The stench and squealing long dissipated; Toronto was built on the brutal butchering of hundreds of thousands of pigs beginning in the 1860’s. Today, the William Davies building at 145 Front Street East is all that’s left of the sprawling stockyards, packing, and processing plants. The Company was the first Canadian meat exporter and the largest food producer of the era, killing and shipping millions of pounds of salt-cured pork annually for decades. (No disrespect to his descendants, but for the benefit of those who do not condone the practice of eating meat, you could say that William Davies got what was coming to him when he died after being butted by a goat in 1931; well into his 90’s after a full life fat off the hog.)