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2005 05 14
Bathurst and Dupont
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Between March, 2002 and August, 2003 I lived in a railroad-styled second storey apartment in a small house on Bridgman Avenue, which runs east of Bathurst and a block north of Dupont. Compared to the motorized madness of Dupont and Bathurst, it has a small town innocence—it’s a street that is always waiting for the next train or the blooming enthusiasm of a child’s lemonade stand. The house is located across the street from an ample parking lot, presumably belonging to George Brown College’s Casa Loma campus. My front window framed, beyond the lot, a section of elevated track where freight trains appeared, moving fast during the day, and much more slowly at night. Though there was a misery about that year in the Bridgman apartment, the presence of the tracks mesmerized me in the manner of trains you see at the back of some of de Chirico’s paintings—a surreal presence that contains all desire—taking formless desire from one destination to another, with neither departure nor arrival points determined.

The rattle at night was like the scatter of marbles on a kitchen floor. Sometimes the noise was deafening, frightening enough to suggest the metal was metastasizing, as if it would morph itself uncanny, would behave like some clever digital version of itself. A shapeshifting entity across the street—a landscape where only Doctor Who’s Tardis could land. What, I sometimes wondered, could that train carry? Raw rubber, tiger pelts? All those car parts belonging to the film noir body repair garages below, on Dupont Street, where I felt sure I would meet Jean Gabin one day, smoking and planning a heist and getaway to Marseilles, St. Tropez, somewhere not Dupont Street, not Dupont and Bathurst?

Closer to that Bathurst/Dupont intersection, where I would walk on hot weekend afternoons in the middle of summer, I was often reminded of driving deep into the heart of the City of Industry, California. Wing’s Plum Sauce factory on Dupont has the same look as the nightmarish architecture of that exurban west-coast cartoon: miles and miles of salsa and plum sauce processing plants. Cars. Shift work. Ordinary life.

At the intersection, the cars get so close to us pedestrians waiting for the light that we think of them as anonymous hot-breathing entities. With this. we come to an idea, a minute, of urban foment. The ugly, the variegated, and the abandoned are all still there, at Dupont and Bathurst.
[email this story] Posted by Nyla Matuk on 05/14 at 02:07 PM

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