In the past 6 weeks, it seems like I’ve had more occasions to be downtown than the last 6 years combined.
Yesterday was a big day for the volunteers of the Friends For Life Bike Rally as we began packing for tomorrow’s start of the 600 km ride from Toronto to Montreal. Since the packing location was in my old stomping grounds, I headed down a bit early to wander around and see what had changed in my old neighbourhood.
Everything was so familiar … and yet, a little different.
The foot bridge over Rosedale Valley Road that I walked each day to and from the subway hasn’t changed. I loved this walk – especially in the fall when the trees in the valley were blazing with colour. In the summer, the air actually smells cleaner and cooler on the bridge up in the trees.
Down below, Rosedale Valley Road can be seen … easily one of my most favourite streets in city.
… and yet, the battle with the ubiquitous graffiti has changed and it is now street art … colourful and artistic.
Like many other sections of the city, the edgier parts of my old neighbourhood are going through a gentrification. Beautiful old buildings that were terribly neglected are now experiencing major restorations. I was relieved to see they weren’t simply torn down like derelict buildings so often are.
Prosperous businesses have moved into renovated locations giving the surrounding area an unfamiliar polished feel.
… but I was happy to find the little corner store I frequented was still there exactly as I remembered it.
The major point of interest in my excursion was the little church where Gilles and I were married 32 years ago.
I was thrilled to discover the doors were open and I was able to venture inside for the first time since our wedding day. It was a lot smaller than I remembered, but the memories of walking through those doors as a 20-some year old with my Dad so very long ago were as clear as … well, yesterday.