On a warm Monday evening in July, strolling around my neighbourhood after dark, I gained a new appreciation for the community where I live. For years, I have experienced the fascinating residential and commercial streets of Toronto, both historic and modern. However, I had never carefully examined them at night. My home is in the heart of the Queen Street West District, with its rough edges, historic architecture, and gloriously tacky streetscapes. After sunset, these ordinary streets become magical.
My impressions of the city must be taken with a grain of salt. I am a fanatical urbanite and unrepentant “Torontophile.” I believe that there is nothing as great as Toronto in the summer, with its myriad of sidewalk cafes, clubs, patio restaurants, and music or theatre festivals. There are so many happenings that I cannot even begin to explore a small percentage of them.
Cottage country has no allure for me. I will leave the tedious hours of driving, the annoying insects, and the endless labours of a cottage to those that enjoy such endeavours. For me, the peace and quiet of the countryside is fine for a week. I can read or contemplate the sins I intend to commit when I return to the city. Running around naked in the woods is not my idea of decadence.
Practising the art of decadence requires talent. It also requires opportunity, and the city offers boundless venues to wallow in its sweet earthy delights, even if they are only in the participant’s mind.
The Entertainment District at Night
Condo at 50 Camden Street, at the corner of Camden and Brant streets.
St. Andrew’s Playground, viewed from Brant Street, north of Adelaide Street.
Camden Street, looking east to Spadina, from Brant Street.
Richmond Street West, from Brant Street, looking west toward Portland Street.
The corner of Queen West and Spadina Avenue.
Queen and Spadina
Alleyway on the east side of Brant Street.
Spadina Avenue, looking south toward Richmond Street.
East side of Spadina Avenue, between Queen and Richmond streets.