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2005 12 23
One of the most surprising discoveries when we moved to the West end was the 504 street car. Hardly a "rocket" the street car drifts at the speed of flotsam in the slow moving tide of downtown traffic. Still, there is a modest spectacle in this transit orbit.

Bordered by a coffee shop, a convenience store, a Days Inn, a MacDonald's, and topped with the overhead cable netting of the street cars, the intersection of Queen, King and Roncevalles could not be much uglier. When the street car continues East on King however, it turns to reveal Lake Ontario. I often notice other riders looking up from their papers, books, or magazines to look out over the water. On many gray mornings there is nothing to note other than a stream of cars on the Lakeshore, the dirty inflatable structures of the tennis club and the fading of the lake into the nothingness out beyond the concrete breakwaters. There are days when a foggy horizon reminds me of a large Christopher Pratt painting.

On sunnier days, the view can be so striking you can hardly believe it's real. Whitecaps run like birds over the water, clouds sit on the horizon like fat sheep and then it is gone. Brick townhouses and apartment blocks slide into view as if unseen stage hands were changing backdrops for the next act. Occasionally, glimpses of sun dappled water break between the buildings but soon even those sights are blotted out by the city.

Similarly, Westward views can be equally remarkable. Sunsets through clouds, and illuminated towers against purple dusk skies are all reflected on the Lake. It is a moment of unintentional beauty. A strip of land too small to build on that has left a view of the water through hydro wires and phone lines. It is a sight line preserved by its lack of use to developers. I hope to find more useless land and preserved sight lines in the city.
[email this story] Posted by P. Rogers on 12/23 at 06:43 PM

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