Signs of Toronto

When a city is walkable, there’s always people. And when there are people, they’re always saying something. It’s the din and the noise and the hustle and the bustle that make you remember you’re part of something bigger, something more than yourself.

Being elbowed painfully in a crowd rushing to office or having the end of a high heel ram into your big toe can jolt you out of that reverie and cut you down to size too.

A city can be impersonal. A city can be lonely.

Dundas Square, Toronto. A space full of people, kids of all ages rushing through the fountains, concerts and street musicians in the evenings but rather empty in the morning.

But sometimes, a voice reaches out from the crowd, a sign stands out that’s distinctive in some way. The distinction tells you there’s a person behind the words, a thinking mind somewhere, someone trying to talk, to imagine, to speak in a way that goes just a little bit beyond the utilitarian purpose of what the sign is meant for.

That’s the urban poet for me.

I spotted these signs walking around Toronto last week. They all stood out in some way.

Spotted this in Kensington Market, Toronto.
Would you like a haircut here? Also, Kensington Market, Toronto.
Fashion? Kensington Market, Toronto.
Bike Sauce! Toronto.
Entertainment District, Toronto.
The CN Tower, Toronto.
Karan’s got swag but no apostrophe. About 147 floors above the ground on top of the CN tower, Toronto.
Tough!
Anyone up for this? Chinatown, Toronto.
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25 thoughts on “Signs of Toronto”

  1. Wonderful!
    “Constant work, constant writing and constant revision. The real writer learns nothing from life. He is more like an oyster or a sponge. What he takes in he takes in normally the way any person takes in experience. But it is what is done with it in his mind, if he is a real writer, that makes his art.”
    The quote is from Gore Vidal, and obviously you are an artist! People see these things every day – you have put them in perspective. But, that’s what a writer does!

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  2. These are fantastic!!! I’m exhausted and inarticulate now, but your first two posts on your homepage hooked me. Thanks again for commenting on my FP post.

    Like

  3. Hi Bottled Worder:

    Thanks for visiting our blog and liking our “Go West, Nathaniel” post. I recognized your name immediately because I’d read your blog when you were recently freshly pressed — congratulations! Enjoyed your Toronto photos — great city! Had a wonderful time there years back — beautiful city, fun things to do, friendly people. As a native Chicagoan (now living in L.A.), I felt right at home in Toronto — the lake, the ambience, the spirit. Wishing you all the best.

    Regards,
    Silver

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  4. Wow, I love your writing in this. It gave me goosebumps! You really seemed to capture my exact thoughts when I’m in the city. You did a fantastic job.

    Like

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