Sep 25 2012

Days of Future Passed

Published by at 3:47 pm under Dogs,Friends,Memories


Long ago and far away

I have been keeping in better touch with my former neighbor Patrisha since she lost her beloved dog Hamish, so I have recently learned more news about my old neighborhood.

As you may remember, I used to live in the woodworking shop of a Victorian coffin factory. My front door opened onto the building’s courtyard, and to get to my place, you passed through a slightly creepy brick passageway like the carriages of old. Living in an old factory had its advantages. The brick walls were thick, muffling the city sounds while keeping in heat in the winter and coolness in the summer.

In the picture below, you can just about see the passageway leading to my place on the far left:

The former factory was home to a thriving and eccentric community of artists, filmmakers, photographers, architects, woodworkers (though not coffin makers), and, well, eccentrics. It is also enviably located within walking distance of the Lake and in sighting distance of the CN Tower, not to mention its proximity to the delights of Queen Street and King Street West.

Shortly before I moved back to California, a building of fake lofts began construction at the corner of the street, to the horror of the coffin factory dwellers and those in the Victorian rowhouses beside it. How ridiculous is it to build a building of pseudo lofts across the street from a building of authentic ones – thus ruining the very artistic atmosphere and look they were trying to imitate? I had a feeling even then that the coffin factory’s days as an artist community were numbered, and they are.

The owner of the building is planning to build two huge, hideous towers where the (very modest) parking lot for the building is and in the secret garden overlooking the train tracks where the lovely Rita and I used to play:

Then the whole building will be made into condos, so adios to all the artists who currently live there. Apparently many have already moved. Patrisha is so sad at the changes to – I almost wrote “destruction of” – the street that she is seriously considering moving back to her native Scotland.

Ever since the recession, or economic downturn, or whatever you want to call it, especially in an election year, I have often thought that I should have stayed in the coffin factory, surrounded by friends and neighbors, within a pleasant train ride of Kelly and Joy and a streetcar ride from Mike and his lovely family, where I would have medical coverage and access to delivery food of any ethnicity you can think of. True, there are the sweltering summers and the freezulating winters and the whole ridiculous liquor store business, but still…it’s sometimes hard not to feel that leaving might have been a big mistake. Sometimes I think of how my life might have been different or better if I had stayed. Coulda, woulda, shoulda – can anyone ever resist playing that game?

But hearing this news, I realize that if I had stayed, I would be homeless in a very expensive place – not notably cheaper than San Francisco, as far as I can tell – and that would be very scary indeed. At least as it is, I can always camp on my siblings’ property and they will always be here to help me out whenever I need it. Maybe I’m not such a bad decision maker after all.

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Days of Future Passed”

  1. Guy Charbonneauon 26 Sep 2012 at 2:46 am

    There’s always a reason why we do certain things and make certain decisions, we don’t always know the reasons until later, this is your answer to your earlier decision.

  2. Jenniferon 26 Sep 2012 at 9:23 am

    You wouldn’t recognize Bathurst now. Scads of Highrise condos just around the corner from where u were. We have a Feather Factory at the end of the street and they kicked all the artists out to make condos.

  3. Mike Charbonneauon 26 Sep 2012 at 9:34 am

    We’re always so busy moving forward it’s nice to stop to look back and think “what if?” Most of the time—not always, but most—you discover it was the right decision all along.

  4. suzyon 26 Sep 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Jennifer – Wow, that’s a lot of shocking change in a short period of time!!

    Mike & Guy – You’re both so right!

  5. Joyon 27 Sep 2012 at 4:00 pm

    You have a wonderful close-knit family…..you are a very lucky girl – make the most of it.

    Maybe they would like to move to Canada?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now that would be the answer………hmmm

    jx

  6. Suzyon 28 Sep 2012 at 7:36 am

    I don’t think so. My brother and Rob have lived in California since they were 18, and Megan and I have spent most of our adult lives here. We’re pretty happy where we are.

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