The Smoke on the Horizon

My old 'hood in South Riverdale was an eclectic mix of rowhomes that in the 1901's-9's housed the Irish bricklayers that built much of the neighbourhoods in the Eastend of Toronto. The passage of time had not been kind to the street or the houses. I did exactly what you should never do, bought the nicest house in the worst neighbourhood. The bars on all the first floor windows should have been a clue.

I don't know when the Colgate factory was added to the streetscape, but I tried to convince myself that the towering, belching and foaming factory was not unlike the Swiss Alps I saw surrounding Lausanne in Switzerland, when I was backpacking through Europe.

The stacks from the factory dropped phosphates all over our gardens and one summer I grew sunflowers and they sprouted to insane proportions. Some days mounds of foam would spill out of the loading docks and blow down the street like bubbly tumbleweeds.

It's over 20 years ago that I lived on that street, the factory was torn down when the jobs went south to the US. A new townhouse development is planned on the land and the old rowhouses are just 1901 facades sitting infront of highly polished new hardwood floors, granite countertops and jacuzzi tubs.

Toronto is always changing and the city has torn down much of it's 19th century heritage, but I don't think the belching heap of industrial mess that was the Colgate factory is missed. I guess we like the idea that where we work and where we live should be separate.

Looking at my drawing today, it reminds me to look for the beauty in the everyday. It may not be here tomorrow.