Versions of Truth—Images

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The Dan

Most of the cities I've lived in or visited in this country are divided in some way. For example, the Moose Jaw of my memory, where I grew up, seemed blessed with three divisions: Main Street, the Golden Mile, ran North and South as a convenient border between the West side and the East end; and, because it was an old prairie wheat town, Moose Jaw also had a fine set of railway tracks — less used than of yore but still running inevitably East and West. Those tracks stopped Main Street at Union Station and divided South Hill from everybody else.

Toronto, because it is larger and older, has divisions forming more complex and transient patterns. But there is one division of deep and historic standing that will never disappear under layers of development. It is the division created by the Don Valley, definitively symbolized by the abrupt transformation of Bloor Street into The Danforth at the Don Valley viaduct.

Colonel (Hon.) Asa Danforth American Revolutionary War veteran, leading citizen of Onondaga County, and highway engineer might enjoy the irony. In 1797, he was contracted by the government of Upper Canada (under John Graves Simcoe) to clear a road from the outskirts of York (now Toronto) at King Street, East to the mouth of the Trent River, near Trenton. He completed the work in a year and the result was named The Dundas Road after a prominent British colonial official.

Politics are eternal: Danforth's work was whispered to be inadequate; as a result, he was unable to collect much of his $90 per mile fee. Nonetheless, after he had returned, disgruntled, to his home in New York State, he would eventually be immortalized by citizens East of the Don River who named one of their principal roads, The Danforth.

My purpose in this project is to create a living document of the physical, commercial and human faces of the Dan. The shops and their facades will be the obvious subject of many of these images. But, the alley ways behind the Dan also tell a story on a more anonymous theme.

Except for a very few years at the beginning of my life, I've always been an East Ender. An East Ender I'm likely to remain. The Danforth is only steps from my door. On it flows an unending river of humanity that pursues its enterprises striving, succeeding and failing in all possible ways. The Dan is an evolving remembrance that seeks to honor those strivings, successes and brave failures.



Last changed on Apr 01, 2008. This album contains 13 items.
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