Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding An Honest Image at Honest Ed's

After spending a few months in Metro Vancouver, I've begun to get a feel for the place and to figure out the things I like about it. When I met up with him on New Year's Eve, Randy McDonald put it simply and, to my mind, accurately - Vancouver is comfortable in its own skin. Mind you, this is in contrast to Toronto, which is getting more frazzled by the minute as to whether it really is a World-Class City.

Is it? Perhaps. It's probably the closest to that prize than any other Canadian city, but it's one of those question that lurks in the city's subconscious and tickles god knows how many urban neuroses. A big part of it, I think, is that Toronto didn't do anything to attain its current primacy aside from, well, exist - it got the top prize by default, when Anglos by the tens of thousands poured out of Montreal and down the 401 back in the 1970s. Other cities had to really struggle for dominance, and in many cases it took decades, if not centuries.

Thinking back on it now, I think there remains a big disconnect between the way Toronto envisions itself, and the way the city really is - like a fourteen-year-old wearing his dad's suit. The official image is ubiquitous: a photo taken from a good vantage point on the Islands, the CN Tower in the middle and the forest of skyscrapers endless on both sides.

I took this video on New Year's Eve, at the corner of Bloor West and Bathurst, and I think it represents a piece of what Toronto really is - bright, loud, perhaps a bit obnoxious and desperate for your attention, but friendly beneath it all.

And that's what Toronto is.

1 comment:

  1. an interesting take on how Honest Ed's represents our city. we just released a music video that pays tribute to the store- the style of the signpainting was especially featured in the imagery...we fell in love with it during the shoot

    If you're interested the video is on Vimeo at