Tuesday, October 20, 2009

a Canadian scene

Late on Sunday afternoon I explored the two solitudes of Toronto - not French and English, as in the Canadian novel of that name, but rich and poor. Invited to a friend's in midtown for dinner, I walked along Bloor Street, a walk which began with popping into one of my favourite stores, the big Goodwill at Bloor and Sherbourne, where you can get a pretty good handbag for $5.00.

Then proceeded past all the construction to Diamond Row, Bloor from Yonge to Avenue Road, Canada's Fifth Avenue with all the snazzy shops, many more now than last time I walked here -Cartier, Dior, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Escada et al, plus all the chichi American chains, Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Kids etc. One of those places recently advertised a dog mattress in the paper, a small one at $378 and a bigger one at $478. And of course there's Holt Renfrew, where you can get a pretty good handbag for $5000.00.

I was tempted, of course. Usually I swing into Holt's just to smell the thickly perfumed air, but not this time. I bought a little pot of lip stuff at Body Shop and went into the famous Lululemon to look longingly at their workout wear. My daughter tells me their stretchy pants make one's butt look awesome, but my butt will have to make do with our ratty stretch pants rather than $100 worth of awesomeness. A quick look in Winner's, another favourite store, where I could not believe the line-up of 15 or so women, standing waiting to pay, as if paying were a privilege they had to wait for.

I turned up Scollard Street, an extremely snazzy street with lots of art galleries. There was an opening at one, obviously, lots of expensive people inside in sleek, glittery black, sipping white wine. Outside, a group of what looked like homeless people, street people, dressed in jeans and plaid workshirts, sitting on the steps smoking cigarettes. Why are they allowed to stay? I wondered. Then an expensive woman in black came out, leaned over them and said, "Roger would just love to take you all for dinner," and one of them began to translate into a strange language, all "shhhs" and "chhh's," for the others.

I peered in the window at the art. It was Inuit, stunning, glowing embroidered blankets, paintings, sculptures - caribou, seals, sea birds, bears, people, winter - made for the expensive people in black. The folk outside were the artists, exiled not because they were badly dressed but because they all smoke.

1 comment:

  1. I have no problem leaving a message Bethy.
    But the person must have a valid Google account.