shaydchara: an orange tabby cat sitting beside a t-shirt that says "pen > sword" (pen > sword + Rufus)
(Consider this an intro to a series of posts that won't get written (because I'm not a blogger): Needs a Fucking Plaque!)


Last weekend, while walking to #SFContario, I counted historical plaques. There were five that I could see from the street: two English and one French in front of Jarvis Collegiate, one on the pillar of Blake House, and another on St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at the corner of Jarvis and Carlton. (I always expect there to be one at the National Ballet School, but I haven't spotted it yet.)

Ten minute walk; five historical plaques.

And they were all rather boring.

But this is the problem with historical plaques, right? They commemorate something in the briefest of notes, and thus lose all the really meaty interesting bits.

Toronto is not a boring city, as the Toronto Dreams Project Historical Ephemera Blog and Torontoist's Historicist posts prove, but these are the stories that are not the ones you find even in plaque-size bites.

Take, for instance, this story about bears (er, the animals, that is, not the kind you find over at Church & Welly): it reveals that Bay Street was originally called Bear Street, and:

A little bit west of Bay Street, a bear found its way into a horse pasture. The two badass horses inside, Bonaparte and Jefferson, killed it with their bare hooves.

Those horse? Need a fucking plaque. Seriously. Just think about it - you're strolling around the financial district and you happen to spot a plaque that tells you how two badass horses killed a bear on this very site. Wouldn't you tell your friends? I'm betting you would, because it's that kind of quirky, easy to remember story.

Or how about this one, about the Circus Riot in 1855 (excerpt from a larger post):

A few weeks later came the Circus Riot—the most ridiculous riot in the history of the city. It was the firefighters, again, who started the trouble when they—get this—burned down a visiting circus after some clowns cut in line at a King Street brothel. The police watched it all happen, did nothing, and again found their memories to be mysteriously unreliable when the time came to testify in court.

Needs a fucking plaque, right?

I could go on, but I would mostly just be cribbing the cool bits from the Toronto Dreams Project blog, so you might as well just go over there and read through the archives.

(Posters, with QR codes on them, would be the perfect way to do citizen-commemoration of events that need a fucking plaque, I think. But I don't think I'm likely to make it happen.)

So. What's happened in your city that needs a fucking plaque?
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
How do you fall in love with a city? I keep wondering this, wondering when and how it happened. How did Toronto cease to be that distant metropolitan centre (where the mayor had called in the army to deal with the snow, and the rest of us were never going to let them live it down), that ugly duckling cousin of Ottawa's? When did it become MY city?

It certainly wasn't intentional. Giving in to the gravitational pull of the city was an economic necessity, not a voluntary motion. Spouse and I (and the dog, and the cat, and the two rats, and the goldfish) moved to Markham because working five part-time jobs simultaneously - even in a city as lovely as Kingston - was killing me.

Markham, as anyone will tell you, is not Toronto. )

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shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Shay D.

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