Friday, August 03, 2007

Hidden Kensington

Al and Shawn

We were standing around in Bellevue Square Park taking photos of the memorial statue of Al Waxman, when Jamie looked at the preview window on his camera and said, "The statue has redeye. How is that possible?" We examined the statue more closely and saw that someone had stuck red gummi bears in its eye sockets. This picture above cracks me up. Al looks like an evil zombie about to leap on me and eat my brains, while Shawn is all, "Whoa, hey, easy there, big fella."

When yesterday's Psychogeography walk struck out from Grange Park in the direction of Kensington Market, I figured it would be pleasant but devoid of surprises. I mean, I've been shopping for groceries and drinking pints on patios in Kensington for twelve years. I'm there practically every day. What could we possibly encounter that I hadn't seen before? To my amazement: plenty.

The discoveries began when we went up onto the roof of the parking garage, something I'd never thought to do. From here we could see the sukkah behind Anshei Minsk synagogue. I'd had no idea that it was there, nor even what it was; Jonathan helpfully explained it to me.

Todd led us down not one but two back alleys that forked into other back alleys and led, ultimately, to beautiful, architecturally-interesting new houses, hidden deep in the greenery behind Kensington's shops. Also, in plain sight on the roof of a house on Dundas there is a tiny handmade model of the CN Tower which I had never noticed before.

It was a hot, thick summer night, the weather driving people out of stuffy apartments and bedrooms and into public spaces. In the park in Kensington, a crowd of teenagers sat and lay about on the grass under the trees; one girl played an acoustic guitar, another had two cats on leashes. The city had declared a heat alert and so the swimming pool just south of Dundas at Bathurst was open till one; at ten it was full of splashing kids and old people. In the adjoining park, hipster couples, retired people and immigrant families with small children wandered through the dark in the dreamlike heat, or sat on blankets or benches.

We walked on, south. We found the beer garden at Factory Theatre & learned that Summerworks is just beginning. We roamed the condo-filled area south of King, and Shawn pointed out, as a spot of historical interest, the building that Owen Pallett's boyfriend was living in when Owen wrote "This Lamb Sells Condos." We saw a skunk, which luckily was wholly unconcerned with us.

A few more photos, mostly dark & grainy, unfortunately.

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