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Elevators of the future

I once lived in a downtown highrise within walking distance of work. It was great, but the “vertical rush hour” was frustating. So close to being home, but waiting for space in a crowded elevator. That was 30 years ago. Imagine how much worse it will get! Something must be done.

Something is …

Walking the Beach Hill perimeter

7,354 steps in an hour and a quarter. I wasn’t setting any records. Victoria Day was hot and parts of Beach Hill are steep. I took a few photos, but I’ll post just a couple with the map.


Love Crescent is at the bottommost, easternmost part of Beach Hill. Its pleasant curves are unboundedby sidewalks. No sidewalks on connecting Glen Davis Crescent either. These are low traffic streets, so they really aren’t necessary. This part of the perimeter has a mature suburban feel. Very pleasant.

Connecting dots

When I spotted the name Robert Amos on Open Culture’s item about readings of Finnegans Wake, I wondered … Robert Amos, art critic for the Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria? The same Robert Amos who did such a prescient write up on my mother, artist Helen Andersen, when she died in 1995?


Yes, that Robert Amos; a painter himself and maker of a delightful watercolour, now in the collection of Thorne Won, found in Helen’s effects.


The artists probably exchanged a couple of pieces. Before Helen’s time ran out, Robert Amos was helping select works for an Andersen retrospective exhibition that never happened. Perhaps some day.

Robert Amos is a hard-working, productive man with a very wide range of interests and many personal gifts. I have never met him personally but have been in email correspondence about editions of Helen’s lithographs. One day, I would like to shake his hand.

A quote worth keeping

Ad agency executive John Miller was an urbane gentleman. Invited by a supplier to go on a fishing trip for valued clients, John declined saying, “Where the sidewalk stops, so do I.”

Fine dining beside the Boardwalk


Danica drew my attention to the beautiful carpet spread on the grass for a friendly family of picnickers. Style! She aked if she could take a picture. They said OK and even offered to share a bite of kebab. We had to catch up with our Jane’s Walk, but a kind invitation.

bbq-signTechnically, it’s not permissable to bring your own portable BBQ to the park. Danica spotted this sign. You are supposed to book one of the city-installed BBQs and pay a fee.

Nevertheless, families do gather and cook all the time. It’s one of the nicest sights on the beach, seeing happy people playing and eating together, enjoying an affordable feast.

 I wish Toronto Parks would lighten up with their weird rules and concentrate on chasing the scofflaws who let their dogs run loose.

Jane’s Walk: Number Three

Politics in the park


Today’s walk kept us close to home as we trekked the Boardwalk from the Balmy Beach Club to the infamous restaurant complex by Ashbridges Bay. The theme was private ownership in public spaces.


Key things I learned.

A privately-owned family business now called Tuggs, Inc. was granted a monopoly on all concession sales along the Beach Boardwalk between Ashbriges Bay and Glen Manor. The deal was approved in secret and also broke city rules about sole-sourcing. The local councillor was defeated but Tuggs still rules all commerce on the main part of the beachfront for decades to come.


Personally, I try not to make Tuggs richer, avoiding the restaurant. Today I learned that they got me anyway, because I have had ice cream at the food trucks and coffee at a mid-beach food stand. Oh, oh. Both Tuggs. Now I know.

To his credit, a recently hired Tuggs PR guy came on the Walk, facing a potentially hostile crowd. He wants to ignore the bad deal that his employers are enjoying and consult community groups more about what Tuggs does with its control of business on the Beach. Lipstick on a pig?

Pantry Park is another hot potato, but the lease isn’t signed yet. In exchange for reliquishing an option to build a school in Woodbine Park, the City has told the school board that it can take over Pantry Park during school hours for use as a schoolyard. The existing schoolyard may now be sold, to raise cash for a debt-laden school board.


Both issues emerged from those disastrous years when the Harris government stopped funding support of municipal services and programs in order to cut taxes. Equally frightened of tax increases, city councillors simply sold their responsibilities to businesses. So doing, they gave up much of their power to represent the public interest.

Voters who consider only promises of “no property tax increases” are partly to blame, but so are non-voters who don’t even bother to go to the polls.

Post-park parable

An acquaintance recently told me of his visit to a small African country, now having trouble maintaining a democratic government. It was true, he said, that a tribal group representing 15% of the population had governed very badly. The problem is that 85% of the population had let them do so.