Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here are ten reasons, in no particular order, why you should both move downtown and walk around in those magical hours between late night and dawn:

  • At the corner of Bloor and Sherbourne, not far from the Glen Road exit to Sherbourne station where crack deals are brokered, I saw two transients and then a peculiar old woman come up out of the Rosedale Valley. Not only is that a strange place for anyone to be at 10 pm, but it's a very, very steep climb that I'm not sure I could make in complete darkness.

  • Go for a run (or a walk) in the true middle of the night, a time that's too late for the night and too earl for the day, and follow the yellow line in the middle of the street. See how long you can keep it up.

  • Listen to the work cars in the subway tunnels from above a ventilation grate.

  • Sit in a Tim Horton's anywhere on Bloor Street and watch the eccentrics clean the store and burly TTC employees bellowing about who's doing the 63 run in those sharp maroon jackets.

  • Yesterday at 4 am the windswept intersection of Spadina and Dupont, there was a Ryder truck parked on Dupont at the northwest corner. There were large cords running out of the truck into Dupont station. Inside the truck, which was open, strange men were operating machinery that made it seem like they were about to blow up the truck.

  • Get to know who sleeps where on the streets. There is a very distinguished-looking older man who, also because he stands, almost doesn't look homeless when you pass him on Bloor around Bay. At King and Jordan, the first street west of Yonge, for as long as I can remember, a few native guys have eked out an existence. Just looking at that corner makes me cold.

  • What do skyscrapers look like under a dense fog? Not much different than the Don River valley. Both are non-existent.

  • Bloor Street East is a very underrated stretch of architecture and grandeur. The sidewalks are wide, the scenery beautiful and some of the buildings true gems.

  • Queen's Park at night. I could go on forever about this park, about five-sixths of a kilometre in circumference, and every incline, decline and variation in terrain within. A few people camp out there but because the entire Queen's Park Crescent (the legislature is one half, the park another) is a black hole, you may not know until you get a little too close. Every time I go and run there late at night, though, I have to wonder who exactly it is that needs to be scared. The scariest thing I have ever seen at Queen's Park was what looked like a man with a metal detector glowing a bright red. It could've been a dirty bomb for all I know.

  • Anywhere by the lake, preferably uninhabited, is awe-inspiring. Large bodies of water at night, at least to someone who is accustomed only to lights, is eerie. Go and stand by Lake Ontario one night and look across at the lights on the Islands. Bonus points for going to the Islands on a cold winter night and looking south.
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