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2005 05 19
Shaw and Bloor West
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Between March, 1998 and March, 1999, I lived on Shaw Street in a second storey apartment in a house just south of Bloor Street West. At a party a year after I moved out, I met a young doctor who told me he lived at Shaw and Bloor Streets at the top of a house that has a green door. I realized he had moved in when I left. His girlfriend approached us, and thanked me for the comb I’d left behind in the bathroom cabinet. The whole experience was uncanny, in German unheimlich—literally “unhome-like.” It was a bit like meeting a stranger who would later turn out to be a vampire—a familiar narrative in horror. They are strange at first, and then they get very familiar with you. Remember Robert Blake’s character in David Lynch’s film The Lost Highway? “I’m at your house right now. Go ahead, call me,” he says, handing Bill Pullman’s hapless character a cell phone at a lavish party.

The two-block stretch along Bloor West between Shaw and Ossington might be one of Toronto’s most multicultural: at the time, you had an Italian-run auto body repair, the Sudanese Community Centre, a Pakistani-run fast-food outlet, a Somali falafel takeout, a Portuguese butcher, a Greek-run video rental, a Greco-Roman “diner” (they of the hybrid menu, and recently celebrated in books about kitsch culture!), a Japanese restaurant, a Korean martial arts school, and no fewer than two Marxist bookshops carrying such library-worthy authors as Norman O. Brown and Herbert Marcuse; Louis Althusser; others. Those two blocks should be closed from traffic for a Sunday morning market every week, 11 to 3—a new Petticoat Lane selling cheap luggage, nightgowns, socks, corduroys, umbrellas and purses; lipsticks in pink and orange hues, panty hose, Tupperware, vases, sugar bowls, skipping ropes.
[email this story] Posted by Nyla Matuk on 05/19 at 01:17 PM

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