location, location: #200

This is my 200th blog post! Quite frankly, I never thought I would stick with the idea for so long.

The Eyrea had a previous incarnation on LiveJournal back in the day, but I wound up deleting it after a few months. My needleworking friends complained I wrote too much about writing and film, and my storytelling friends complained I wrote too much about knitting. So on 1 April 2008, I launched DIY-eyrea for all the posts about knitting, cooking, beadwork, and experimenting with fixing up my apartment. This blog launched on the same day for everything else.

I've been thinking a lot about setting lately, both temporal and spatial. The Beach, my neighbourhood, is a bit of a jumble: most of the buildings are from the 1920s, when this was a place to rent or buy a summer apartment to get away from the downtown core. The Fox Theatre has been a cinema since about 1919 (I've heard conflicting dates, but it's at least 80 years old). But there's also an 18th-century farmhouse and loads of more modern buildings. Tourists still ask after the amusement park that was dismantled by 1930 (no, I don't know where they get their info either).

The Beach has shown up as a setting in a few novels. The most famous location is probably the R.C. Harris water treatment plant  that Michael Ondaatje used for the climax of In the Skin of a Lion.

So blog post #200 is about the Beach:



Usually the first thing people ask when they get here is, "Where's the beach?". Kew Gardens is a good place to start. It has a path that leads directly from Queen St. to the beach proper.


Queen St. is hiding behind those trees at the top of the path. The corner of the building on the right is the public library — one of the circa-1920s buildings, although it had a major renovation a few years ago.


The most famous "Beach" local landmark is the Leuty lighthouse. I deliberately took this shot from the opposite of the angle almost all the calendars, flags, paintings, pins, cards, etc. etc. favour. The fence in front demarcates where the off-leash dog run is.


The western edge of the dog run and the lake.


The nigh-constantly morphing stone sculpture. This time the stones are laid out as a labyrinth, but more often they are piled into little towers and other shapes. Some people have told me in very serious tones that it's an ongoing project by a local artist, and that anyone with any respect for creativity would never touch or alter it. Other people have told me it's sort of a communal hobby of the local teenagers. Either way, I like walking along the boardwalk every few weeks and checking what shape it's in this time. I love how the seagulls added themselves as accessories to the stones in the above photo. They were just hanging out like that, not moving much.

Probably what I like best about the above photo is that if someone were to stand on that spot on the boardwalk and make a quarter-turn to the west, they could see the downtown skyline with the CN tower and all the banking skyscrapers, only about ten kilometres away. The Beach is like living in a small resort town, except the city is all around it.


Even the new houses have laneways and garages at the back. You only see the houses and lanes set up like this in old Toronto neighbourhoods, although I have read the layout is becoming more popular in the suburbs too.



This neighbourhood has lots of oak trees in it, and they're still planting them. The tree bearing these acorns is in front of a house less than fifteen years old.