On the Beat

Fishing for Hemingway’s lair in the Bathurst sea

It’s a dour autumn day similar to Ernest Hemingway’s perspective of growing old.

And we all know how Hemingway avoided living to a ripe old age — seems he didn’t take Modest Mouse’s advice:

“Bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands, good news will work its way into all them plans,” lead singer Isaac Brock muses.

Ironic. Hemingway was also a journalist, and right here in Toronto. I walk to his old apartment building located at 1597-1599 Bathurst.

Outside his old stead, landscapers feverishly repost a wrought iron fence. Ivy creeps along brick and stucco, calling to mind 1930s Chicago.

While images of a gun-toting Eliot Ness chasing down Al Capone and his cronies comes to mind, I’m going to have to save them for another day in favour of exploration.

As I leave my imagination, I notice construction hampers my walk north towards Eglinton, so I spin around like a Matador’s cape and walk back to Lonsmount Dr.

Flowers are losing their colour in the cooler fall air. Echinacea and rudebekia fade to brown, and roses — petals stretching out to the lack of sun — have one last gasp of breath.

Along Lonsmount Dr. the elms and beech trees turn a honey-tinted yellow. Two parcels of land are bustling with construction workers throwing together homes before the winter arrives.

Other lairs here have a cottage feel, featuring some stucco exteriors and a plethora of stone facades. One house displays the classic Tudor-style with bold black jumping off a white finish.

Just to my right, one home stands out with the umber glow of a clay roof.

Visions of the bullfights in Spain stampede through my head — the raucous crowds in those famous Iberian plazas, chanting for their hero the Matador to outwit his Toro opponent.

However, my attention is drawn away from the Hemingway-inspired spectacle when a lady in a Subaru fails to come to a halt at a stop sign.

Must’ve been the red in the sign that made her charge.

John Lennon tells me “Instant Karma” is going to get her as I continue along Lonsmount.

To my left, another residence sticks out amongst the cottages in a contemporary-style block. It’s an off-white stucco home, with oak doors and accents in a series of inch-wide slats. Silver accents jump from the window ledges.

Tichester Rd. arrives fast as I persist. I hang a left and see kids in hoods shoot hoops at a temporary net. Past the fences protecting the street from errant balls, I notice the sprawling lawn of St. Mike’s football field.

Rugby practice provides an athletic chorus line as students practice their lateral passes.

Past the field, there are two towers of greying apartments. They look like something from a Japanese horror film. Their ashen appearance sends me back to Hemingway.

If there were a school bell to ring, I would wonder for whom it would toll. Perhaps the wilting impatiens that droop in a garden on the north side of Heath?

No matter, I direct my path to Tweedsmuir Ave. while Foghat hums about being Fools for the City.

To my right, Holy Rosary Church appears like a spectre. It’s a stone sentinel built in 1892.

Stain glass windows show no colour from the outside looking in. But the lead outlines of biblical scenes are still prevalent.

By the time I reach St. Clair, Sarah Harmer takes me out to sea once again. “If I am a sailor, you are the warm gulf wind, and you’ve blown into this little port and roused my dreams again,” she coos.

Schools of cars swim along the street, and I am now outside a large Loblaws.

But once glam rockers Sweet start swinging in a “Ballroom Blitz”, I decide to fight my way through the throng of commuters, and catch the steel bull called TTC.


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