The park is choice. I have always had a love from Trinity Bellwoods Park. But when I was a teenager, it was a darker, more angstful love. I would ride my bike from the cheery upper Annex at Bloor and Spadina and coast across Harbord, visit Beguiling comics (before it moved to Mirvish Village).
I would then cycle south-west, along Queen, past second hand clothing shops like Quiche Lorraine and what seemed to be gorgeously divey and mysterious drinking holes like Squeeze club.
I would wheel through the gates of the park, where I would pull out my camera and take pictures of homeless people, sleeping on picnic tables as flocks of pigeons took off around them.
In the distance, the smell of the pig slaughterhouse and the candy factory sent mixed messages wafting through the urban air.
The park was a bit shady. Filled with the usual Queen West suspects with their king cans of 50 in paper bags. I felt a bit of danger, a little rebellious. It made me feel like I was much more than a high school student at a ridiculously upper-crust all-girls' school. And I needed to feel that, you know?
But now there is condo fever on Queen West. Armed with photoshop stock art of 30-something mixed-race couples in khakis with i-books, the developers are marketing the converted lofts(ex: "The Candy Factory Lofts" ) to - well - the indie kids all grown up.
Boutiques selling 300-dollar one-of-a kind blouses, yoga studios practicing high-intensity yoga, and juice bars have santized this neighbourhood beyond recogniton. It is now "Alternative(TM)".
But I will still be across from the park where the well-heeled local dog owners ALL pick up the poo. The king-can crowd has left. The picnic tables are gone, I think.
For those of you who know the city, this is the first time I have left the Annex/Little Italy in my life as a tenant. I know, not much of a departure. But I thought I could breathe in a little Queen West vibe before they start to bottle it and sell it for nostalgia.