Back In The Fast Lane

I mentioned back in October that I had taken a part-time job, but I hadn’t mentioned what exactly I was going to be doing.

I’m working as a data privacy consultant … as in, that person who writes those internet privacy policies you never read.  In most organizations it usually falls under the purview of legal, but not always … and I’m a case in point.

Although I can work from home, I decided at the beginning of the year to start a new habit of going downtown into the office once a week. The idea was that I would be more likely to hear about new projects and issues that might have a privacy impact and so far, it’s been working great.

I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seat just dying to know more {sarcasm intended}, but as you can guess, I had an ulterior motive in deciding to work downtown.

In the dead of winter, it would give me a reason to get out of the house and take advantage of being in the downtown core to visit some of its heritage buildings.

At a high-level glance, Toronto is a city of high-rise towers, but snuggled in between those towers, are wonderful relics of the past that could be completely overlooked amid the mountains of glass and steel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Former Toronto Stock Exchange built in 1937.  It now houses the Design Museum.

In spite of the punishingly cold winds over the past month, I’ve strolled the streets at lunchtime to snag a photo or two. Ok – maybe “strolled” isn’t exactly the best word since I have been practically half-running to prevent frost-bite.

I’m really enjoying the energy of being in the heart of the financial district again.  I haven’t worked downtown since my 20s when I started my career fresh out of university. It’s changed a lot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Dominion Public Building was built in the early 1930s and is primarily occupied by the Canada Revenue Agency.  It is not an optical illusion – the building really is curved. The Canadian government recently put the building up for sale.  Interested?

All the above-ground parking lots have long disappeared as more towers have sprouted in their place.  I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the traffic is heavier and even certain subway stations lack familiarity after undergoing renovations.

I no longer understand the labyrinth of underground paths, and after getting lost on several occasions, I have resorted to staying above ground in spite of the cold.

In my 20s, I rarely explored outside the immediate area I needed to know and now, over 30 years later, I’m discovering unexplored treasures …. like the Hockey Hall of Fame.

True, it wasn’t housed at this location way back then, but this old Bank of Montreal building from 1886 has been there all along.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A few months ago when I featured Brookfield Place on a Thursday Doors post, I mentioned that there were 12 heritage buildings incorporated into the Brookfield office complex.

This former bank building is another one of those old structures that was swallowed into the massive complex.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An interesting piece of trivia is that this building is one of several in the city reported to have ghost sightings.  The resident haunter is the late Dorothy Mae Elliot.  It is believed that she was despondent over a lost love and that she was killed herself on the second floor of the bank in 1953.

If you like ghost stories, you can read more about it here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think I might need to add a Toronto ghost tour to my ever growing list of things to do.  I continue to be amazed at the things I discover in my own city.

96 comments

  1. Discovering wonderful sights, within a close area you work in, is a bonus to the job, Joanne! 🙂 The Hockey Hall of Fame housed in an established bank building, with its ornate appearance is a great “find!”
    I studied the surrounding buildings and enjoyed seeing and learning “more” about Toronto!

    Like

    • Glad you’re enjoying Toronto on my virtual tour 🙂
      I’m really enjoying this journey I’m taking through the city. I’ve lived here for so long, and yet I’ve seen so little of the city and know even less.
      The challenge of course is that because it is a large city, there is a LOT of ground to cover 😉

      Like

  2. It’s nice to get out of the house now and then, isn’t it? Since I gave up my salon to work at home I appreciate my trips downtown so much more. What a beautiful city, I love the Hockey Hall of Fame building and what a sad ghost story. Thanks for the interesting read this morning, Joanne.

    Like

  3. I am actually fascinated by your new part-time job. Congrats! You’re still ‘in’ in the new age of technology (really… when you were in your 20s would you have ever guessed you’d have this job decades later??). Your photos of old/new architecture flows smoothly with your post of trying something new in an old city with youthful exuberance. Excited for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pam, I had not intentionally prepared this post with that connection in mind, but now that you mention it, it seems to have been a theme in my life for a while.

      I often sit back and reflect on my life … trying to see it through the eyes of 16-year-old me looking forward. You’re right. I could never have imagined it in a million years!

      Like

  4. Thanks so much for the tour. Those buildings are amazing. I love all the details that went into the old buildings like the one that is now the Hockey Hall of Fame.
    I’ve not run into any actual ghosts, but my mom lived in a haunted house in Indiana for part of her childhood.

    Like

  5. Love how the old and the new work so well together in the Stock Exchange building. As for writing policy… policy and procedure are my everyday, making sure I stay in the parameters…things like that. I appreciate that most people think it’s a bit boring but after a seminar on eSafety for kids and hearing how social media works with law enforcement I can see even more how important this stuff is. We even heard a story about how the Canadian authorities worked with the Australian authorities to help out a kid at risk some where in the USA.

    Like

    • I spent all day writing procedures and as you say, people think it’s boring stuff, but done correctly, I think it gives people direction and perspective. Unfortunately, I think too often they are used as a *weapon* rather than a *tool*.

      It’s nice to hear the success stories though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The building I work is an ex female chronic ward. There are some stories, I tell you. I am a boring non-believer, and have not experienced any issues there. Our building was refurbished so maybe thst drove the ghosts of these poor souls out. Some of the other buildings have not yet been touched. They are uncomfortable to visit, mainly because it reminds you of what really occurred in these institutions.
    Toronto and Melbourne are very similar in many ways, except for the weather. Today we have 37°and hot north winds. I am staying home with the dogs as taking them to work with me is not an option.
    Thanks so much for showcasing Toronto. You are becoming an amazing photographer.

    Like

    • Thank you! It’s so encouraging to get nice comments about my photos.

      I’m not sure I would call myself a non-believer or not. On weeks like this one when I’m home alone, and I swear there is someone else in the house, I genuinely want to believe it is only the result of an overactive imagination!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • woohoo – you used ‘amazing’ and ‘photographer’ in the same sentence about me!

      Today I was a half-frozen photographer, in gale force winds, trying to take photos of big waves on Lake Ontario before the predicted massive ice storm started.

      I didn’t make it back to my car before the rain started and I had to add ‘wet’ to ‘frozen’.

      Remind me again of why we do these things?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember the excitement of working in downtown San Francisco – however it didn’t last long. I didn’t like the commute. Traffic in the bay area is ridiculous!

    Like

    • That’s why I’ve been opting for taking the subway. It’s pretty fast, a lot cheaper than parking downtown, I get to read in both directions, and I don’t have the aggravation of fighting traffic.

      Like

  8. I took on a new role in May last year in the Financial District, working for a large bank. For the first time in my 20 years in Canada, I’m working downtown.

    I did spend a couple of years at Yonge and Bloor, but this is the first time in the downtown core. For some reason, I’ve not been able to explore the area at all. As of tomorrow, I’m moving my primary office opposite the Rogers Centre…. another area I haven’t explored.

    It’s good you’ve been able to walk around and take those lovely angles. We should meet up one day for lunch and talk about the old days in D+H… 🙂

    Like

  9. I remember the post with those old buildings incorporated into the new one. It was very cool. The bank building is so beautiful. As an admirer of architecture, I’d be sprinting through the streets with you, snapping photos 😀

    Like

  10. Sign me up for the ghost tour. I’m willing!

    Toronto has such beautiful buildings. It’s no wonder you chose to work downtown one day a week. I would be braving the cold as well to get photos of the amazing structures and architecture in the city. It seems to me you have fodder for an endless number of door posts.

    Like

    • So very true, Mary. I’m at risk of boring everyone with all the endless photos I’ve managed to take of doors, buildings, windows, and statues that have caught my interest.
      I haven’t traveled much in the past 2 years, but I’m making up for it by playing tourist at home 🙂
      I have looked up the ghost tours – and there are several. Not surprisingly, they are primarily in the warmer months. It’s on my list!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How lovely to have the chance to get out and explore your city. And talking of ghosts, I am busy writing about Lincoln which I visited last September (I know, these posts are taking an age to write) and in doing so discovered there are a lot of buildings that I walked past that are haunted. Supposedly…

    Like

  12. I worked in the downtown area of our city for a few years a long time ago and really enjoyed it! I usually used my lunch hour as a chance to explore all the nooks and crannies so it did wonders for my diet and exercise regime too. Now, I actually like getting jury summons so I can have an excuse to wonder around during the (usually generous) break period. I’m looking forward to reading about the haunts of Toronto!

    Like

  13. Sounds as if you have found a nice balance between working at home with a hit of downtown vibe. The best of both worlds. Thanks for the virtual tour. I see a visit to Toronto in my own future. And when I do, I’m definitely going into that bank! Thanks for the tip!

    Like

    • Thanks Judy. I had some reservations about accepting a job and disrupting my comfortable retirement, but so far I’m enjoying the intellectual stimulation and interaction with the business world again.

      Like

    • It is so easy to get lost in all the detail. I’m sure there are stories in all the symbolism.
      I’ve been checking out the ghost tours offered in the city and there are several – not surprisingly, mostly in the warmer months. It’s on the list!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, yes. Do a haunted Toronto ghost tour! I love those sorts of adventures. And considering how beautiful the downtown looks in the unhaunted parts, I bet the ghost-y parts are to die for. [Bad pun!]

    Like

    • haha! I love puns 🙂
      A ghost tour is now on the list. I did some research last night and there are several … when the weather is warmer. Now I just need to find someone willing to go with me …

      Like

  15. Sounds like a great fit. We haven’t been to Toronto in much too long but now that we live in the Chicago area rather than Cleveland, it’s much farther away!! I would love to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, being a big, big hockey fan. But when it all began, I was a Montreal fan. Sorry about that. Of course now, I love the Blackhawks and I cannot deny it. 🙂

    janet

    Like

  16. I also remember working downtown when they decommissioned the old Toronto Stock Exchange in the late 80’s and preserved the facade for the Design Exchange. I believe that was a first and it set a trend in Toronto to preserve, at least the look of, some of Toronto’s heritage buildings. There’s another across the street, inside Brookfield Place.

    Like

    • I was familiar with the one inside Brookfield but I hadn’t known there were 12 in total which made up Brookfield.
      It’s been interesting trying to trace them all and see how they fit into the big picture.

      I hadn’t realized the TSE had been decommissioned so long ago! Visiting the Design Exchange has been on my list of things to do for a long time. Now that I’m downtown more often, I’m going to run out of excuses 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t think a lot of people would chose to go to work rather than work from home but it’s a brave choice and seems to pay off in spades for you. There are also a lot of negative things that come up from working at home that I think people don’t anticipate when they make that choice. Anyway, great scenery. That curved building is awesome too.

    Like

    • “Choice” is really the key word and I suspect that’s what makes a lot of people dislike their jobs … they aren’t given many choices. I consider myself very lucky.

      That curved building IS really awesome and if you knew where it was, you’d wonder how on earth I’ve managed to miss its existence all these years. Now that I’ve finally noticed it, I’m obsessed with it!

      Like

  18. I must admit, I like working NOT downtown because of traffic and parking, but I do envy you the sight of beautiful buildings and bustling city life. I know what you mean about the changing, too, as we lived away for seven years, and a lot changes in seven years. Apparently.

    Like

    • I believe there is one at U of T and some other interesting places as well. Not surprisingly, the old Don Jail is one of them.
      I’ve always thought that a ghost tour would be interesting, but I didn’t realize TO had one too.

      Like

  19. I’m willing to believe in the ghost story although ‘moans, screams and other eerie sounds’ is about par for the course whenever I’m in a bank. (It’s on account of my account) 😉
    Lovely photos and info, Joanne and inspiring as ever. I’d avoid any city in the Winter but you just get stuck in, even if it means losing yourself underground or facing extreme weather for the cause. 🙂

    Like

      • You are a hardy lot, you Canadians, especially with a tennis racket and ball in your hands 😉
        Poor lad. Hope your sports writers go easy on him. 🙂

        Like

        • I don’t follow tennis so I had to look up what had happened.
          Oops – bad sportsmanship doesn’t look good on anyone, but tennis players seem to have cornered the market on that one. Such a shame. From the reports I’m seeing on this end, he’s pretty devastated … a tough lesson learned on the international stage :/

          Liked by 1 person

          • I doubt he’ll do it again. He’s only 17 and a bit of a prospect apparently. Our own Tim Henman got thrown out of Wimbledon one year for something similar so he’s in good company 🙂

            Like

  20. This is so cool, that you have part-time work that dovetails perfectly into your blogging life. For you, AND for us! (Love the title, by the way.)

    When Reiner worked downtown Toronto at Adelaide and Yonge, he took the train to work. This meant he could walk the entire distance to his office via the underground malls. He couldn’t figure his way around and was much more comfortable above ground, no matter what the weather had to offer.

    Like

    • Glad you liked the title … it took me several tries before I landed on one that I could live with 😉

      I used to be able to get around The Path like an experienced groundhog. Now it’s all just a maze.
      … and everyone is moving SO FAST. I fear that if I slow down, I’ll be run down. Who knows … maybe in a few more months, that will be me too 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Yes, please add a ‘Toronto ghost tour’ to an upcoming post! I would love to read it.
    Thanks for a great tour of some of Toronto’s magnificent buildings. Wonderful photos!

    Like

  22. It’s been years since I’ve been to the Hockey Hall of Fame & I was not aware of the ghost of Ms Elliott. Love that you are getting to know your city on a whole new level!

    Like

    • Doesn’t it seem that the more we learn and experience, the more we discover we really don’t know much at all? That’s how I feel about my adopted city. I regret all those early years in Toronto when I paid little or no attention to my environment.
      Now I’m aware that changes have happened and continue to happen, but the details of what was there before is fuzzy. Nor do I remember details of all the events I attended and where they were … like the former TSE building.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Toronto is a beautiful city…I especially love the former Stock Exchange Building. Did they build that glass building all around it? My son would love the Hockey Hall of Fame. Great snaps, Joanne.

    Like

  24. Very cool images and best of luck on your new part time gig Joanne 🙂 If all else fails with ghost you could always call Jason from TAPS (Ghost Hunters).

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s