On the Beat

Legging it in Leaside

While scratching my Detroit Tigers capped head, it takes me a few seconds longer than usual to figure out James Lea’s old backyard is facing Sutherland Dr.

I’m “Thunderstruck” as Brian Johnson of AC/DC screeches into my eardrums from my headphones.

With a big wreath clinging to its brick façade, number 201 sits snug between two buildings: a home of blue stucco with a white Porsche in front, and a brick sentry on duty on the corner where the street meets Millwood Rd.

The neighbourhood founder’s roost is mingling with small little Edwardian cottages. Some homes don stucco and stone, others wear their original russet bricks.

And as I travel north along Sutherland, the street is quiet. Not even a squirrel ventures out of the narrow lots to investigate the exposed, amber-hued lawns. As I turn right onto Lea Ave., I notice only the south side has a sidewalk.

To alleviate the lack of noise, the Doobie Brothers prescribe a dose of listening to the music. As I saunter along the boulevard, I notice a postie navigating over the mini-glaciers thawing in the gutters.

Trees finger a sky of blue rife with gauzy clouds. Older homes converted to businesses welcome me to the ashen Laird Dr.

On the other side of the street a purple makeshift wall with Murray Demolition’s logo written across it fails at hiding a red-bricked, industrial building. The graffiti-blighted structure plays background to a sterile-looking Telus building.

The phone company’s colourless exterior gives me a rash of imaginative thoughts. It looks like some modern complex that tests pathogens, much like USAMRIID in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Avoiding the thought of some 28 Days Later fiasco, I pick up my pace along Laird. Bono adds to my apocalyptical thoughts, as he sings about “Mysterious Ways”.

But the sighting of Starbucks, as common in the city as pigeons, offers a stark contrast. Tucked inside a small commercial lot that houses a Grill Time and an empty unit facing Kenrae Rd.

I lose track of time when Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” plays on my MP3 player.

Soon I am reminded of reality though, as I turn onto McRae Dr. from Airdrie Rd. and come across a split that takes the form of an hourglass’ curves.

Through the maze of curved roads, I find myself on Rumsey Rd. spying real estate sign after sign sporting “sold” in bold red letters.

Whoever said the housing market is suffering right now, never sought out this nook.

To my right I notice a posting on a residence’s fence. Under the portrait of a Labrador retriever it says, “I can make it to the fence in 3 seconds. Can you?”

Amusingly, Chris Cornell speaks to me of his plans to escape a rusty cage, and of dogs looking for their bones.

But the Moody Blues remind me once again of time in their song “Gemini Dream”. I quicken my pace towards Eglinton Ave.

Before me are gaggles of students blindly stepping out into the intersection of Rumsey and Parklea Dr. Girls giggle and gossip while their male counterparts taunt and tease.

It seems Leaside High has let them out for lunch, which reminds my own stomach of its hunger.

Looks like I’ll be going home for lunch too.

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