Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Margin Notes: Jane's Walk Moments

A black cat sat on a porch on Roxton Road in Toronto, Ontario, not long after the Jane's Walk passed the Il Gatto Nero restaurant on 1-May-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - There are always moments on a Jane's Walk that just don't seem like they should have happened. A mild example came on my first Jane's Walk on Saturday. After the Garrison Creek walk passed the the Il Gatto Nero restaurant in Little Italy at College and Crawford (which, for the record, is about the only restaurant in Little Italy that didn't impress me when I sampled it while living in the neighbourhood), we soon passed a house with a gatto nero (black cat) sitting on a porch.

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I didn't draw my camera in time for a surreal moment during the pedestrian walk on Saturday led by Dylan Reid. As the group was gathered along King Street West listening to a discussion of street furniture, a Hummer--I kid you not--pulled up alongside, waiting for traffic to clear. The woman in the passenger seat had her window rolled down, and immediately reached over to turn off the car radio in order to hear what was being stated, then seemed very disappointed after the light turned and the Hummer had to move on.

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The Grange Park Jane's Walk gained entry into the courtyard of the Phoebe Street Apartments on 1-May-2010

The Grange Park Jane's Walk was not planned to go beyond the borders of the park originally, but thanks to popular demand, Max Allen led us through the neighbourhood, and thanks to quick, impromptu negotiation by a local following the walk, we gained entry to the gated courtyard at the center of the Phoebe Street Apartments--appropriate, considering that under the original agreement with the city, this was supposed to be a public space anyway.

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A street hockey game was stopping to clear the laneway for the passage of the Lanes of Runnymede Jane's Walk on 2-May-2010

My favorite moment of the whole weekend came during the Lanes of Runnymede walk. Leader Madeleine McDowell had warned us that the walk would be like street hockey--when someone yelled "car!" it was time to clear the road. So, what do we encounter on one of the first laneways but an actual game of street hockey. As if we were a car, the young players removed the net from the laneway. I happened to be near the head of the group at the time, so I thanked the child that had held the net to the side and he asked me, "What is this, anyway?" It probably was the most people to wander down that laneway at one time in its history.

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A man worked on his very Greek house on Shaw Street in Toronto, Ontario as a Jane's Walk stopped to discuss the scene on 2-May-2010

Probably the best moments are the chance meetings with people in their own communities as the walk goes by. In my final Jane's Walk, we happened upon the owner of the above house working on his ornate Greek decorations. Why does he do it? "Why not?"

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