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Street walk through Toronto

Friday night Jake, Isabelle and I roamed the downtown core of Toronto for our youth-at-risk class.

We checked out some drop-in centers (Sketch, The Gateway, Seaton House, Sanctuary), Gay bars (Woody’s, Sailor’s, Churchmouse & Firkin), Other hang outs like Bovine Sex Club, Allan Gardens, The Falls, Hooker-Harveys, Boys town, and other nooks and crannies.

These are some pics I found off the web of a few of the places we checked out. I would’ve brought my own camera but didn’t want to look like a tourist.

From Graffiti Alley (Some good sets here and here)

Graffiti Alley Toronto


Woody’s – Isabelle forgot her id and couldn’t get in. We found out that by going through Sailor, which was way more sketchy, the establishments were connected at the back. No ID checks at Sailors!

Sailor’s

A guy came up to us and said Isabelle was cute. Then he turned to me and said “you’re cuter”. My wife’s a lucky gal!

Bovine Sex Club – It was really dark on the streets, but when we passed by this place it seemed to be even darker. Like it just sucked every bit of light that was once there. Doesn’t look so bad in the day.

Billboards throughout the downtown core remind us of everything we need and all that is beautiful for those moments we forget

Hooker Harvey’s on Jarvis – Jake and I doubled back to ‘check out’ the response we’d get from a prostitute. She was clearly underage. Immediately after, I felt like we degraded her just as much as anyone else that night would.

Filmore’s strip joint and ‘hotel’ upstairs – supposedly they’re celebrating their 25th anniversary right now and returning to 1981 prices.

Street chalk drawings are always a great part of downtown

The condom shack – this place has been around for ages. Has anyone in Toronto not been in here just out of shear curiosity? It’s crazy how many people looking underage were in there – they did kick one guy out though. Sex hops have sprung up everywhere now, it’s amazing how sexuality, as important as it is, has been brought to the very center of our culture.

I lost track of how many hemp and drug paraphernalia shops we saw

I don’t think a picture could have captured the atmosphere late at night at the Seaton House (Hostel for men) . It was the only moment I think any of us felt a bit panicky. 30-40 guys were loitering around like inmates. One guy started bolting for directly towards me. I had no idea what was going on. Sad thing is, I was relieved when I discovered it was because someone else was chasing after him. A real bloody fight was about to break out, and we just kept walking totally unsure of how to respond.

I wish I could share more, like the coked up gal up almost got hit by a car, the dude from the church of satan, the huge goth youth culture, the density of the gay district, the desperation at drop-in centers, the hope and beautiful places that were seen, but i’m still processing it all. We thought our prof asking us to go to the gay strip joint (remington’s) was a bit too far for us.

Anyhow, definitely an interesting night. Right now, this is my city, and I’m learning to love it.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • deana November 12, 2006, 5:27 pm

    I like the picture…very colorful! Are you collecting such alphabet pictures for new baby…”v is for vandalism”. haha

  • Alan November 13, 2006, 1:22 am

    haha that picture is hilarious

  • breathefire November 14, 2006, 2:39 pm

    I love graffiti.

    Something about the urban landscape that is very grounding and centering for me. In spite of the emptiness many of those things represent, I can’t help but feel the potential busting through the photos.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • joelpno81 November 14, 2006, 4:23 pm

    I tend to agree…For some reason those photos seem to draw me in–in a way that is more than interesting. I want to go there!

  • Lon November 15, 2006, 11:42 pm

    Thanks for dropping by all. Thanks for reminding me about the beauty beneath! It’s tough sometimes when you wonder what you as a single soul can do…

  • Sam. November 16, 2006, 4:53 am

    I’m liking the new avatar Lon!

  • Lon November 16, 2006, 10:57 pm

    hey Sam, i’m liking yours as well!

  • Mad Max November 17, 2006, 7:43 am

    We should set up a mutual appreciation club!!

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