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2005 08 25
Written Toronto, pt. 3
One of a series of excerpts from works containing seminal (or just plain interesting) descriptions of design features in the city.

Margaret Atwood, in The Blind Assassin, includes a nifty comment on Toronto's streetcar tracks that anyone who's ever ridden a bike or rollerbladed to work here will appreciate (though my favourite part of this excerpt is her deft, historically accurate use of the term "ratepayers" instead of "taxpayers"). And do read Robert Fulford's excellent August 2000 National Post column for more on the relationship between Atwood's writing and the city.

Construction of streetcar tracks at Yonge and St. Clair
(Toronto Archives, 71-3572)

(Note on copyright: These excerpts are designed to fit the category of "fair dealing" under Canadian copyright law, as they are part of a running commentary on representations of design in Toronto. I realize, however, that copyright law is vague on this matter. If any authors, or owners of these authors' copyright, object to having their work included here, please contact Robert Ouellette to have it removed.)

Fictional Toronto Star report, from Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin (Random House, 2000):

[Referring to an accident in which a young women has died after driving off the St. Clair Avenue bridge]

It was the police view that a tire caught in an exposed streetcar track was a contributing factor. Questions were raised as to the adequacy of safety precautions taken by the City, but after expert testimony by City engineer Gorden Perkins these were dismissed.

The accident has occasioned renewed protests over the state of the streetcar tracks on this stretch of roadway. Mr. Herb T. Joliffe, representing local ratepayers, told Star reporters that this was not the first mishap caused by neglected tracks. City Council should take note.
[email this story] Posted by Jeremy Keehn, The Walrus Magazine on 08/25 at 09:27 AM

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