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Retail held up by nails

We’d have a lot more empty stores in Toronto, if it weren’t for the pampering industries. The collaged pictures are all from a short walk along the Beach’s Queen Street East today. There are no repeats. Every shot was of a different store.

Rummaging at Ends

Like some kind of retail supernova, Ends has expanded to include two of Harold’s adjacent stores, just before the business shrinks away to nothing and the lights go out, June 15th (or so).

Attuned to the cosmic nature of this unfolding event, I was in the right frame of mind to notice the infinity mirror arrangement in one of the outer stores.

Of course there are piles and boxes and racks of clothing bargains, but there is also Harold’s rather large collection of wooden foundry forms. It the 70s, these were very stylish things, used to add character and texture to sterile office spaces and even residences.

Some large …

The wooden forms were part of the casting process, when industrial parts and pipes were moulded in iron. Some pieces are quite sculptural. Purists leave them with their patina. Some add jazzy paint, while others clean them up and varnish them.

Some small.

I have no idea about prices, but my guess is that they are highly negotiable, right now.

Showing Kathleen around the Bazaar

Danica, Kathleen and I spent quite a while in The Blue Crow Gallery where Kathleen bought a couple of nice finds. Then we went and interrupted Tom’s lunch break at Broken Leg Furniture Repair. Some of you will know Tom from this great video.

I love the look of Tom’s workshop … it’s like a Dutch master genre painting.

Eulalie’s doesn’t open until 3:00 on Saturday, so we looked further for food.

Aha! Activity in Pony Lane, the art lane behind Gerrard Street.  A patio deck is being framed in behind the Two-headed Dog sports pub. It will be open for business in a couple of weeks. We went around to the front door for lunch.

Passing the back of Andrew Horne‘s studio (artist/proprietor of the Flying Pony Gallery/Café), I got a shot of both murals. Often, a parked car is in the way.

After lunch, there was time for a pop-in to the reception going on at GAS. Hours fly by on this street, there’s so much to discover. We could easily have stayed longer, but Kathleen had an appointment with Maggie the Doberman, who needs her walk.

MacMillan Orchards today

Slide show: Kathleen, Danica and I, foraging …

There’s only one thing wrong with MacMillan Orchards. You want to buy everything in the store, it all looks so good. We did well enough, but the only regulator was the space we have in our freezer.

Fiddleheads are in season, but the star purchase I am looking forward to is our chunk of 7-year old cheddar. Product list

There used to be a few of these roadside operations in the area, but they are either already gone or soon will be. Greg MacMillan kindly came to the counter and gave us a bit of history. His Dad, now 90, started the business. BC Produce, which used to be just down the road, closed last year. The land will go to developers.

Greg said younger generations aren’t willing to put in the hard work, getting up before dawn, hauling produce and so on. We were VERY happy to hear him say that the MacMillan Orchards store is going to be around for a long time to come.

Let me round this post off with photos of the next door neighbour’s place and the farm fields out back, squeezed by ever more roads and pressured by suburban expansion.

Slide show

Danica on the scene

Our reporter was first drawn to the Global TV mast. LOOK at the height of that thing! Why not drones?

Photos by Danica

She discovered that more than 100 bricks from the facade of Smiley’s (on Danforth, just west of Main) had tumbled to the sidewalk and into the street. An elderly man was taken to the hospital with head wounds.

It’s bad enough when newer buildings throw window glass at pedestrians, but now the older ones are getting into the act, hurling bricks!