Thursday, February 21, 2008

Queen Street, le pauvre

There was a terrible fire downtown here in Toronto yesterday. It was on Queen Street West, between Bathurst and Portland. Right now they're sorting out why it happened, and late yesterday they were still dousing potential 'hot spots'. A block of people were displaced from their apartments, and the businesses that lined the street have been brutally affected, with Duke's, a long-standing bicycle shop dramatically collapsing, and the Queen Street wing of Suspect Video(my favourite video store and a cultural institution in my own life) seems like it was gutted, as well as National Sound, another well-regarded longtime source of electronics. Preloved next door must have been harshly affected as well. It seems inevitable that the six-alarm blaze had an awful impact on every business in the block.

For me, this is so sad because that little block has always been a pleasant, inspiring walk along a street that is often a depressing mix of the overly sunglassed and the overly needy, peppered with the irritating, enthusiastic and threatening presence of teens. The independent and fun stores that line that portion of Queen are reason I used to place that strip in a rareified place and treasured my irritating and enthusiastic teenage walks down there. When a group of them have their presence suddenly nullified, it's a frightening and quick change. I just hope that the storeowners and residents there are able to rebuild with a relative amount of ease.

Daniel, the manager of that Suspect, has posted a pretty admirable response to the situation. Read it and help if you can. They want to replace their library of insane titles.

In happier news, I actually got kind of turned on by that new Lohan photoshoot. Move over Gosling,I have a new virtual paramour.

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