2011-2012 Week 4 slides GEOG 4280 The City

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GEOG 4280 3.0 | Imagining Toronto
Department of Geography
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
York University
Winter Term 2011-2012
Week 4
The City of Neighbourhoods
Week 4
25 January 2012
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
1
“If it is true that forests of gestures are manifest in the streets,
their movement cannot be captured in a picture, nor can
the meaning of their movements be circumscribed in a
text. Their rhetorical transplantation carries away and
displaces the analytical, coherent proper meanings of
urbanism; it constitutes a “wandering of the semantic”
produced by masses that make some parts of the city
disappear and exaggerate others, distorting it,
fragmenting it, and diverting it from its immobile order.”
[Michel De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
2
“[Walking is] a spatial acting out, a kind of narrative, and the
paths and places direct our choreography. This regular
moving from one point to another is a kind of mapping, a
kind of narrative understanding. Paths link familiar places
and bring the possibility for repeated actions. Different
paths enact different stories of action. Walking is like a
story, a series of events, for which the land acts as a
mnemonic. aimless walking represented a radical
insubordination to capitalism.”
Mike Pearson & Michael Shanks, Theatre/Archaeology.
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
3
“I seek a poetry that is vital, alive in responding to the city
dynamically and dramatically, and one that urges its
readers to move off the page to create meaning in the
poem—and constructs a meaning that is activated only
when the reader has engaged with the city in a like
manner. A poetry that rereads the streets, the signage, the
geography and cultural atmosphere of Toronto in its very
structure. That is, not a poem about the Humber River, but
a poem that attempts to become, in its rhythm, language,
sound effect, the Humber. Not a poem describing walking
through Kensington Market, but a poem that creates the
psychological experience of walking in Kensington
through verbal dissonance, register shifting, typography
and juxtaposition.”
[Stephen Cain, from “Annexing a Space for Poetry in the New Toronto.”]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
4
Toronto is …
 “a score of cities joined together by geographical
propinquity.” (Hugh Garner, 1970)
 a place where “an antique administration drags on / Like
a bunch of small villages rolled into one.” (The Brothers-InLaw,” 1966)
 a city where “the streets proceed tiresomely through the
neighbourhoods in which each house tries to be more
ordinary than the next.” (Stephen Marche, 2005)
 A place where “underneath the flourish and ostentation” of
the new Toronto is “the old city, street after street of thick
red brick houses, with their porch pillars like the off-white
stems of toad-stools and their watchful, calculating
windows. Malicious, grudging, vindictive, implacable.”
(Margaret Atwood, 1988)
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
5
“Toronto is not a city in the modern sense of a unified whole.
[…] Toronto is, instead, a linked series of towns held loosely
together by the gravitational force of its downtown core
and the pinned-in-place effect of the surveillance rod we
call the CN Tower. […] There is a physical centre, in the
sense of a summoning of vectors like a centre of gravity,
but there is no normative or mythic one, no single agora or
narrative.”
Mark Kingwell, “All Show.” In Toronto: A City Becoming, 2008.
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
6
“Toronto has no social classes—
Only the Masseys and the Masses,”
B.K. Sandwell, 1952.
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
7
“Our lives in the Forties and Fifties were insular and “unreal”—
unconnected to the WASP reality of Toronto, unconnected
to the rural reality of Canada. We knew almost nothing
beyond the Village, the downtown department stores
where we’d sometimes wander on Saturday afternoons
and charge clothes to our fathers’ accounts, and the bits
of northern Ontario where we summered and wondered at
the people who stayed there after Labor Day.”
Erna Paris, “Ghetto of the Mind” in The Toronto Book.
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
8
“Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not like the projects you see on
TV, with drive-by shootings, Chihuahua-sized rats, and kids
falling down elevator shafts. The Jungle is just a worn-down
kind of place where the kids run wild and herds of cats live
out back by the garages. It’s right on the edge of an
industrial wasteland—factories, a steel mill and a strip mall
a couple blocks down. Some kids at school call the place
Welfare Towers, which is a lie. People here work. Most of
them. They’re just not rich.”
[Graham McNamee, Acceleration.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
9
Textures of Kensington Market
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
10
Soon she was in the midst of the market area. It was a narrow,
labyrinthine network of streets and alleys. Even in the cold
air, the smells were so strong she could taste them on her
tongue. Chickens and rabbits and pigeons in cages, fish
and rotting garbage, cooking cabbage and meat. The
little tilting houses were pushed right up to the sidewalk,
which was covered with pickle barrels and half-frozen
rotting lettuce leaves and a steaming pile of what might
have been chicken guts and newspapers written in an odd
squiggly script.
[Lauren B. Davis, The Stubborn Season, 2002]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
11
When Chayelle came to us as stepmother I was six years old.
We lived in rooms over the synagogue on Bellevue
Avenue; and Yankev with his wife, Henye, and their
daughter, Malke, who was a dipper at Willard’s
Chocolates and engaged to be married to a druggist,
lived around the corner from us on Augusta Avenue. Their
youngest son, Pesach, lived with his wife, Lily, in the
upstairs flat of his father’s house. Their other four sons were
domiciled with their wives and children around and about
the city.
[Shirley Faessler, “Henye.”]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
12
Goodbaum and Mandelbaum and Birmbaum and
Applebaum. The names of Baldwin Street. What names!
Names to rejoice in. Names to celebrate. Goldberg and
Hershberg and Bloomberg and Rosenberg. And just plain
Berg. Altman, Lieberman, Grossman, Goldman […]
Gelman, Simon, Levinson, Liebovitz, Brodsky, Sroka,
Starkman, Salem, Seiden. And more. Mel Lastman became
Mayor of Toronto. Joe Berman founded Cadillac Fairview.
Arthur Kruger was Dean of Arts and Sciences at the
University of Toronto. Frank Gehry, architect, renowned
worldwide. Baldwin Street boys. Alumni of the ghetto.
[Alvin Rakoff, “Names.”]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
13
As I turn onto Kensington Avenue, I experience the strangest
sense of deja vu, an odd sensation of truly coming home.
Victorian houses, tarted up beyond their era in bold
primary colours, now sell vintage clothing. ... I go into food
shops where they immediately ask if I want to taste
something, a morsel of bread at the bakery, smoked
chevre from a cheese shop.
[Sarah Dearing, Courage My Love. Stoddart, 2001.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
14
May smelled great in Kensington Market. The fossilized dog
shit had melted and washed away in the April rains, and
the smells were all springy ones, loam and blossoms and
spilled tetrapak fruit punch left behind by the pan-ethnic
street-hockey league that formed up spontaneously in
front of his house. When the winds blew from the east, he
smelled the fish stalls on Spadina, salty and redolent of
Chinese barbecue spices. When it blew from the north, he
smelled baking bread in the kosher bakeries and
sometimes a rare whiff of roasting garlic from the pizzas in
the steaming ovens at Massimo’s all the way up on
College. The western winds smelled of hospital incinerator,
acrid and smoky.
[Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. Tor,
2004.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
15
The Market this night is deserted, after three, feral cats
comb for fishheads; diablerie
mists rising from sewer gratings, the moon through
scaffolding,
crescented.
There is the sound of breaking glass, Carol and I see clothes
drift from a window, inspirited –
ghosts; a junkie is tossing his girlfriend's dresses, black,
edged
in jessamine and picotee.
[Lynn Crosbie, 'Kensington Market (Summer 1987). In Queen Rat, McClelland
& Stewart, 1998.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
16
The least-scary bar on the street was called The Last
Temptation. Once again, the significance was lost to her,
but the names in this place were contributing to her state
of mind, functioning as subconscious signposts for a new
direction. A long-haired, leftover hippie sat at one of the
back tables with a guitar, playing for no one. He sang
about a woman gone crazy on the street, and since the
entire back wall was covered with an image of the one
she’d just left, Nova believed his song was being
composed on the spot and exclusively for her benefit.
[Sarah Dearing, Courage My Love. Stoddart, 2001.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
17
“Her Kensington Market had been ordered in an efficient
separation of products, and she labelled the main roads,
for simplified reference, as Fish Street, Clothes and
Vegetable Avenues. How much easier life could be if all
streets had such utilitarian names; a person would always
know precisely what to expect from an address.
[Sarah Dearing, Courage My Love. Stoddart 2001.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
18
She bought an assortment of second-hand clothes … a “fill a bag”
sale that supplied her with a small but charming wardrobe for
twenty-five dollars. … She dressed in her new used clothes, the
look stolen from some of the women she’d seen that day. Gap
walking shorts and matching taupe tee-shirt were replaced with
purple vintage brassiere. … The bra was the best, creating a style
of voluptuous and pointed tartiness that had always evaded her.
So costumed, she intered her new world. [....]
A sign by the cash register advertised a room for rent, fifty dollars per
week, and a quick inspection revealed a single bed, a rough
wooden chair, and an incongruous mauve bidet that challenged
green ivy wallpaper for dominance over the space. She thought
the bidet charming, thought it might make her feel she was living
in a Parisian garret, and paid in advance for a month. There was
no linen, but it was stifling anyhow, so she lay on the bare and
stained mattress, thinking with satisfaction, if only her husband
could see his Irish princess now.
[Sarah Dearing, Courage My Love. Stoddart, 2001.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
19
My humble abode is located above Neptune’s Nook Fish
Shop, which is owned by friends. … To get into my
apartment I enter through the back from a side lane. …
Even though most of my simple apartment is above, I have
this one special room downstairs, a converted storeroom
at the back of the fish shop. It is my little retreat from the
hubbub of the Market, well soundproofed and equipped
with a Hepa filter to blot out the stink of fish, bleach and
sundry Market smells.”
[Vivian Meyer', Bottom Bracket. Sumach, 2006.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
20
Commerce, by which I don't mean
the Canadian Imperial Bank of,
but hand-to-hand transactions,
smiles on the faces of buyers and sellers,
a laugh here, a shouted joke there,
live fowl in splattered cages,
a counter with a hundred pairs
of fish eyes not-so-glassily staring out
from a stores' dark cavern
...
sun's glare streaming down on all of it
with the freshness of spring, with the warm magic breath of
living.
[Raymond Souster, "Saturday Afternoon at Kensington Market", from
Collected Poems, Volume Six. Oberon, 1986.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
21
“O those lovely black corrupt olives. Nowhere else have I
seen such generous ones winking at me with the moist
eyes of a thousand Fatimas. I lost my heart to them on my
first visit and haunt the place ever since. Fondly, I gaze at
them and the crowds diverse as the maps of the world.
They also hunger for sensations only this fabulous realm
can gratify.”
[Irving Layton, 1983. “Varied Hues.”]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
22
“The pigeons strutted stiffly, collapsed in clucking confusion in
their confining wire cages stacked one on the other at the
edge of the sidewalk, their acrid excrement spilling and
dripping like a thin grey gruel into the drain. The cheese
stores, narrow, crowded, brash with blaring radios, emitted
the rankness of age and curdle. Outside the vegetable
shops, quantities of discarded fruits and greens suppurated
in the heat like miniature heaps of compost. […]
Kensington Market, with its air of international peasantry,
with its hand-painted signs in Portuguese, Hindi, Italian,
with its promise of French pastries, Jamaican meat patties,
Jewish bagels, with its intestinal streets clogged by cars
and vans, with its implosive hothouse atmosphere, was a
disappointment.”
[Neil Bissoondath; A Casual Brutality.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
23
“On Saturdays Nadine, Carla’s stepmother, would take her to
Kensington Market, where laden with bags Carla would
wait, her body in an impatient and resigned burning, as
Nadine talked to the storekeepers, haggling an extra
piece of fish, an extra lime, an extra pepper, mistrustful of
the weighing of every item. […] Carla stood waiting, her
nose rejecting the smells, her throat gagging on rotten fish
and rotten vegetables, her face turning away from the
appalling blood stains on butchers’ aprons at European
Meats, her whole being wishing to be elsewhere.”
[Dionne Brand, What We All Long For.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
24
“The Market is no neat theme park of Shopping Past. It is a
living, bruising, sweaty history. [....] To my knowledge, the
residents of the Market today are almost all recent
immigrants too poor to do otherwise, university students
playing poor, and a handful of sophisticated urbanists
who, for some reason, want to live among the Market’s
racket and odours.”
[John Bentley Mays, from Emerald City.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
25
“They don't bother to venture off Kensington Avenue, so they
ignore the food, the privilege of abundance, never stop to
think that the food nourished the formation of the Market,
the way it does all life. Tradition and history and
community are irrelevant to these searchers of fun wear.
Their parents see a vast selection of cheese, bread, and
cheaper produce but less convenience than a
supermarket, terrible parking, crawling traffic. They see dirt
and E. coli, Poor-Peopleville, and wish for just a little more
regard for their needs please. Kensington Market provides
them with once-a-year entertainment shopping ...”
[Sarah Dearing, Courage My Love. Stoddard, 2001.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
26
“On the business side of things, Cyrus York has recently
embarked on an ambitious project to redevelop the city’s
Kensington Market, a ramshackle collection of vegetable
merchant stands and drug-dens sitting on top of the most
eligible real estate in the city. His associates have been
applying gentle pressure on the Market’s landlords,
compelling them to part with their properties. The threat—
barely whispered—is that he is prepared to make formal
complaints to the fire marshall about all the regulations
currently being flaunted. Thus will come crippling
renovation expenses to destroy them all.”
[Sean Dixon, 2010. The Many Revenges of Kip Flynn. Coach House, 11.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
27
“Underneath, like all markets, it possessed an ancient
rhythmic hum created from trade, community, basic
needs met, marriages -- or at least couplings -- made. This
same music turns into white noise at a modern mall, some
special secret element removed by its enclosure or the
attempts at convenience.”
[Sarah Dearing, Courage My Love, Stoddard 2001.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
28
It is the strangeness of the past persistent, the past persisting
into a future which probably has no place for it.” Turning to
Toronto’s Kensington Market in particular, she adds, “But
most of the market dealers were of a generation that is
gradually passing away. And the customers were mainly
fairly recent immigrants and those of us who like to drop in
on the past, occasionally, when we have time.
[Adele Wiseman, Old Markets, New World.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
29
This is my refuge. It is where I can be invisible, or, if not
invisible, at least drunk. ... The smell from the market
doesn't bother me. I've been here before, me and the old
lady. We know the price of things. Which is why I feel safe
in telling stories here.
[Dionne Brand, “At the Lisbon Plate”. In Sans Souci and Other Stories.
Women’s Press, 1989.]
Week 4
25 January 2011
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
30
Week 4
25 January 2012
GEOG 4280 | Imagining Toronto
Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris
31
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