Walking down Queen Street
What turns a space of movement into a home? Migrating and moving versus dwelling and taking roots: these need not be polar opposites.
Over the last three weeks we interviewed and walked along Queen street with three very different people, whose experience of the street is coloured by the way they have felt roooted in, and routed through their neighbourhoods.
Fang Zang: arrived on Queen Street in 2000 and lived there for almost 15 years.
We interviewed Fang in Trinity Bellwoods at the end of May. She no longer lives in the neighbourhood, but still feels it as her own. What was most striking about our conversation though, was the discovery that her major life and space change was not moving from China to Canada, or more specifically from Shangai to Toronto. It was moving from her city and province of birth in the north-east part of China to the big metropolitan centre, Shanghai, where she went to study at university. Fang said that it was there when she experienced what in english we call “home sickness”( and in Chinese is “thinking of home”) the most intensely.
Larry Sherk: lived in Riverside for almost 40 years, since 1976 (the most rooted of the three?). He took us for a long morning walk along Queen Street East, Riverside. He could remember in great detail the many changes of the neighbourhood and tell us exactly what restaurant or what convenience store had been where before all the new fancy ones started moving in. Apparently the neighborhood has witnessed more gentrification over the last 10 years than in the previous 30.
Reverend J J moved from “monochromatic” Etobicoke to downtown Toronto, where, as he put it, there was “life”. Here he is in the library of the Metropolitan Church, located on the corner of Queen Street East and Church.