the things I do

The idea was simple: volunteer a few hours at the Daily Bread Food Bank. Christmas is the time they receive the most donations so they have Public Food Sorts to help clear the backlog.

Food sorting on this scale is one of those activities that on the surface seems like it might be a bit dull, but once you're doing it, is actually fun. Tearing into donation bags, boxes, etc., categorizing the contents, packing a box and putting it on a trolley. Once the trolley is full all the boxes get barcodes and digitally scanned before being taken back to the warehouse. It's satisfying like Tetris is satisfying. And Tetris is satisfying.

After a morning of such excitement I could have taken the TTC home, but instead chose to walk. Daily Bread is on Islington and according to the internet it's a 10km walk home, but I inevitably meandered, doubled back a few times and made my stroll oh so much longer.

First step, walk away from the city!

Stupid? You ask. Nay! I say. How else am I going to get a good look at the GO/VIA rail yards?
That's the city, way over there.Fun fact: Canadian trains are multi-dimensional!
I didn't have any specific goals on my walk, just see some of the city I hadn't seen before, and walk along the waterfront for a time. Success on both fronts.

There's that city I live in.
I took a lot of skyline pictures. It's a view that takes in a lot at once, similar to my interest in birds-eye views or aerial photography, or maps even. Skyline shots that have a long, uninterrupted foreground (over water in this case) are like a sideways map or something.

There's one thing about photography (many things actually) that I haven't figured out. I see the city before me, humanity's hubris writ large, I see the sky and the water's changing tones, but I still don't know how to capture it. In my mind that's one of photography's unique abilities, to take an instant and hold it forever so that anyone who looks at the picture subsequently has at least an idea of what it might have been like. I get some of that in these, but not all that I want

I was really trying to treat the walk as one I would take in a foreign city, allowing myself amazement at every turn, paying attention to oddities and unique moments. But, I have to tell you, waiting for that water to splash into frame for the picture above damn near froze my fingers off.

After taking these pictures is when I found the goose head.
I don't know where the rest of him was, but the head looked fresh. I wandered off from here and walked a good 500m before thinking, HEY! I can use that goose head. After a brief internal debate I returned to hide it. I'll come back in June or July and hopefully my hastily constructed stone crypt will have done it's job. Keeping the goose's bones in one place, while allowing the buggy bugs to eat away all the flesh!

My taxidermically imagined creature is coming together, slowly but surely. I now have the turtle shell, two groundhog skulls (only one partial lower jaw) and hopefully soon this goose head and neck. That's a lot of heads so I'll need to think long and hard on how to use them. Two or three heads is always possible, but maybe some groundhog fangs in a goose's mouth would be fun. Geese have a wicked serrated edge along their beak, like so many little teeth, but no fangs. Vampires are big right now, so a fanged goose will probably be a hit with the kids.

When I doubled back for the goose it meant I had to recross a beach that was either reclaimed land or had been a dumping area for construction work or both. There were worn bricks strewn about and although I'd resisted the first time through, the second time... Well, I loaded up my backpack and regretted my decision for the rest of the walk.

You can hardly blame me though, they're pretty fun bricks.
Yet another example of what we lose when everything is made at a few big factories. No more small brick makers each with their distinct molds and palette drawn from the earth around them. Judging from the wear on some of these, quality standards might have varied a fair bit as well.

As you might expect, they are building condos along the waterfront. According to this picture, they provide the ultimate lifestyle for everyone!!! White and Nude!!! No wait, the ladies look like they're wearing bras or bikini tops. Still, this must be a swingers' community.

Just a piece of advice to any home buyer...consider the sun at different points of the day. Unless shadows mean nothing to you. In which case, just live in a hole.

I think there must have been some swimming pavilions or something here in decades past. I know some of the communities a bit further on (Mimico, etc.) originally were the summer getaways for Toronto's well to do. but judging by the cement pillars on the shoreline a lot of the space in between might have been taken up at some point.

That or there's an ancient civilization no one has been telling me about.

And one more thing condo developers. Just because you build a row of stupid buildings that all look stupid in their own unique way, doesn't mean you've created a diversity of style.
It still looks stupid.

Aesthetic opinions are great because there's no need to support them, or they are awful because you can't convince someone without a clue to change their mind.

Is anyone else really into that dead grass shade of brown you get when the temperature is below freezing but there's no snow on the ground? I think it's great (not all the time...maybe just when the sun's out).

Shortly after this the walking and the bricks and the not having eaten started to get to me and it became more one step after the other than glorying in the afternoon sun. By the time I stumbled my way through Parkdale and along Queen I was feeling a bit loopy. Fortunately we were having a communal potluck that night and delicious food was in abundance.

Feel free to send me suggestions for future walks and/or what I should do with my bricks. I left lots on the beach, so think big!


  1. use the white brick with the holes as a toothbrush holder! or a pen holder? maybe the latter is more sanitary. unless you're an obsessive pen chewer like me. maybe you should just lick all the bricks and get it over with.

    also: wtf could have possibly happened to that goose? maybe someone ate it?