Monthly Archive: July 2019

Roots and wings

While searching for a book on my shelves the other day, I realized I still owned some of the earliest books I ever bought or was given. That either makes me a hoarder, or someone who zealously keeps what’s always mattered. Among them was The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse, one of dozens of animal tales by Thornton W. Burgess. I was fascinated by the natural world and learned to read on this series with its subtle lessons about morals. At twelve, I received the greatest gift of all from my father: The Concise Oxford Dictionary. I now own several dictionaries, but that first one remains...

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The unmaking of a city

Walk anywhere in downtown Toronto from Bloor Street south to Lake Ontario, from Spadina in the west to the Don Valley Parkway in the east, and all you can see are cranes building condominiums. In the few blocks around me, there must be ten condos at various stages of completion. The scariest is The One, an 85-storey behemoth at Yonge and Bloor. Two years along and they’re still digging. The footprint seems too small to have enough elevators. Two blocks north on Yorkville Avenue the recently laid roadway interlock is being ruined by cement trucks. All of these monsters, stuffed into...

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