On the Beat

Autumn in York Mills

My camera was giving me grief.

While the Von Bondies shouted “C’mon, C’mon” through my headphones, I smacked the ornery piece of equipment — like any other male — to get it to function.

Admittedly, there were a few expletives hanging in the chilly November air. The Sony DSC-S600 had caused me grief in the past.

But with colourful language and simian antics on my behalf, I coaxed it to work, and snapped a shot of the entrance to the Canadian Film Centre. It’s the former home of philanthropist and horse breeder E.P. Taylor. Now it houses the Norman Jewison-spawned film-training studio.

Continuing along Bayview Avenue, past Tudor Gate, I closed in on the heart of York Mills.

Along my path, gnarled trees do their best Sleepy Hollow impressions, lurching over fences flanking both sides of the busy street. Beneath my feet, the fallen leaves have left their imprint on the sidewalk as a brown marble coats the concrete.

The Violent Femmes hit me with new wave melodies as they sing, “When I’m out walking I strut my stuff”. So I decided to strut my stuff by hanging a right onto Wilket Road. Almost immediately, I noticed a pocket of capacious homes I never knew existed.

Two residences on my left follow the Edwardian style to a tee. One has two topiaries in the middle of the driveway. A bend on Wilket leads me around the corner to more monster homes.

Ben Folds made me laugh while he crooned about “Rockin’ the suburbs”, but I fear these homes are too large even for the run-of-the-mill subdivisions in my hometown of Whitby.

My thoughts of quick-built homes speed out of my head when Jason Voorhees once again stalks my periphery. Though this time it’s not some gent wearing a mask, but a carved visage in a pumpkin.

That’s not the only orange I see, as maples and oaks don bronzer to welcome autumn’s arrival.

Their remnants — shed leaves — were gathered by landscapers who worked feverishly in front lawns of every other household. The spent foliage was seen deposited curbside in large, brown bags.

As I find my way onto Tudor Gate, I realize the street isn’t just a clever name. Homes exhibit the styles of Henry VIII and company.

One has decorative wood finishing with cream-coloured stucco. Another has a turret with a large weather vane atop its copper roof.

I keep my pace going to Paul Oakenfold’s “Ready Steady Go” as I hop across the street to Wyegate Court.

Before me is a large pile of leaves rife with golds and umbers. I look to my left, then to my right, and with no one in sight I burst through the pile.

Springsteen eggs me on with his tune, “Hungry Heart”.

But just as fast as my enjoyment of kicking piles of leaves began, the sidewalk gives out, and I am forced to walk the blacktop again.

I press on further while Scott Weiland rips up the soundwaves with “Vasoline”.

I’m now on Bayview footing it to York Mills. When I arrive, I wade though corners brimming with students waiting for buses. One carries a trombone case with him.

But it’s not brass the MP3 player wants. Def Leppard rocks a good hair-band rhythm with “Rock of Ages”.

I smile to myself as Joe Elliot ends my walk with, “Long live rock and roll”.

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