Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chapter 2: Union Station

In case you are wonderin' what is going on with this post....click here.

In Chapter 2 Joe Fiorito takes a look at one of Toronto's most well known characteristics: "neighbourhoods." Fiorito gives us a case study of his own neighbourhood in Toronto, that of Parkdale. He investigates the distinct characteristics of Parkdale that seperate it from the rest of the city. These characteristics include the presence of poverty, Polish flavour, problems of prositution and commercial establishments.

Fiorito got me thinking about what makes my own neighbourhood where I grew up in Aurora different from others? Well, I would start with the houses and people.

The houses are built in the late 1940s and early 1950s in a residential subdivision. But I would point out to those sticking up their noses towards the "traditional cookie cutter housing subdivision". I find houses built in the 1950s and 1960s as well as the early 1970s have more character than those built in the 1980s and later. Why? Probably this has to do with the owners having had the opportunity to put their own toches to the lots and buildings they own. Its amazing what landscaping and building projects can do to change what might have looked like traditional "cookie cutter" housing.

People? On my street growing up were people of all ages. Both young first time families just moving in to seniors lived on the street. However, everyone was willing to help out when needed. It used to be that when someone needed there roof reshingled the neighbours would pitch in for the price of a couple of beers, snacks and a day of comraderie. Needed to borrow a ladder or some tools? Just ask anyone of your neighbours!

Perhaps the best part of it is the overall flavour that has seeped in from the surrounding town of Aurora overall. There was not a time when I walked down Yonge Street that I didn't see someone I knew or stopped to have a quick chat with someone I knew. Sure Aurora may have grown to 40,000 today, but the town still has the small town feeling.

I may have moved from Aurora on two occasions to both Ottawa and New York City. But nothing seems to compare to Aurora's draw. Sure I loved Ottawa's capital city flavour and the hustle and bustle of New York City. But sometimes there is nothing like returning home to where you grow up. Perhaps it is the sense of familiarity and history I have with Aurora over New York City (I would try living in Ottawa again though!) that drew me back to Aurora after having issues in New York City.

Hmmmm....a comparison between New York City, Aurora & Ottawa sounds like a whole other blog entry to me. I might investigate this in the future.

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