On the Beat

Looking for a new home in Bedford Park

I’m bidding Summerhill farewell as I search midtown with my fiancée for a new apartment.

There’s no need to get maudlin about the move, but it was a good year being Dalton McGuinty’s neighbour and being greeted by the Summerhill LCBO’s clock tower every morning through my window.

I have to be honest though: I don’t like apartment-hunting. In fact, I loathe and abhor it.

But as I ascend to street level from the bowels of Lawrence Station with Michael Stipe singing to me about Orange Crush, I am greeted by the sun’s mild glow.

It’s Bedford Park I’m setting foot in, sauntering through a residential nook with kids tossing balls around and birds charming their prospective mate’s fancy.

I’m headed to an appointment in the Avenue and Lawrence area.

All the same, I figured I would explore the neighbourhood, just to get a feel for it.

Forsythias blaze yellow in almost every yard, and tulip trees offer a purple-pink hue to the landscape, all the while their namesakes on the ground below bloom in golds and scarlets.

Homes in the Arts and Crafts style mingle with contemporary designs on narrow, shallow lots.

Santana offers to be the welcome wagon, as “Oyo Como Va” plays on my headphones.

To my right a grey-painted abode, conjures up visions of an old Cape Cod cottage, with navy blue accents and clipper model in the front window.

One house has an array of gerberas in pots matching the colours of the daisies. With pink, blue, green, yellow, red and orange, there’s plenty of flare.

Other homes along the street alternate between stucco, wood and Tudor-style and sport more bays than the Lake-of-the-Woods.

Of course, I’m talking about windows. One home has a basketball hoop sans backboard just below a casement frame. It strikes me odd, making me wonder how many times has that window been broken?

In search of Avenue Rd., I head south along Elm Rd. I’m a little lost so I ask a passing stranger if the street I seek is one block west. She confirms it as Alan Jackson muses “I don’t even know your name”.

I hang a right onto Douglas Ave. somewhat scoffing at the “no exit” sign that sits on the corner. Sheryl Crow is singing, “Like Steve McQueen, underneath your radar screen, you’ll never catch me tonight”.

I soon discover that there is a pathway that connects with Avenue.

To my left there’s a small ravine, and emanating from it is the sweet, sickly odour of two boys smoking pot. An elderly woman hangs her head over a bridge with a look of grief affixed to her aged face.

I smile and head north along Avenue. To my right Bedford Glen sports an old railway trestle bridge, dangling over top a reed-filled pond. A waterfall gushes into the water 20 feet below, with koi darting about like orange pulses.

I stand there soaking the image in, and realize I have to meet my fiancée to check out the apartment.

Elvis Presley sends me on my way with “Blue Suede Shoes”.

Upon arriving at my destination, and pausing the MP3 player, Jen greets me with an emphatic shake of her head. She’s referring to the apartment. I take a look around, shake the super’s hand, holding my breath because of the acrid smell of urine in the air.

It’d be just a bit of a truism to say no lease is signed.

When I turn my MP3 player back on, Don Henley chimes in offering his insight on airing other people’s dirty laundry.

And before me on Lawrence, as I rush to catch the beast called public transportation, my landmark for the neighbourhood comes into view.

Havergal College, an all girls school in the area since 1922, rises from behind the trees on the southeast corner of Avenue and Lawrence. As I hop onto a bus the school waves adios and it’s followed by the blur of a rugby match at Lawrence Park Collegiate.

I’m moving on, as does my apartment-hunting quest.

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