St. Nicholas Street Blues

February 16, 2012

So, what I meant when I said I wasn’t crazy comes down to this row of houses in Toronto that I’ve been looking for since 2005. As best as I can recall, I was on an epic walk through our province’s capital during my vagabond period, and I hiked past this block of unusual homes with names like Ivy, Rose, Beech, Birch, Oak and Ash.

I had it in my head that I had seen these houses down near Liberty Village, because that’s where I had wound up that day, but I forgot that I later worked my way back down King St. to Yonge, then up to Bloor, and then back down to Dundas, all over the course of several hours of blues-fuelled iPodery. Skip James, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, Muddy Waters … that’s what I heard when I walked past those weird houses.

In the years since, I have been asking Torontonians about them, and nobody knows what I’m talking about. Google Street View has been no help. So I started thinking that I had never actually seen them, that they were some kind of dream fragment or a bit from a long-forgotten short story from an Alfred Hitchcock digest found in a bus station in Saskatoon, which, if you know me, is entirely possible.

And then, a few days ago, through some random web research for something unrelated, I came across this:

The Cottages

They’re located northeast of Queen’s Park, and are worth looking at if you enjoy unusual row-home architecture, which I do.

Meanwhile, I am listening to a lot of interesting new non-American white-boy blues these days. I’ll tell you some more about them as I get back into the Weather Station groove. For now, here’s a guy whose music I enjoy:

Whole World

I suspect that if I had been listening to him on that day in 2005, I would not have wondered if the Rose Cottage was imaginary.


One comment

  1. Glad you got that mystery solved! I like that story. Reminds me of a time in Red Wing, MN, on a cold, late Autumn day and I felt like walking. I heard these church bells ringing so I decided to follow the sound. I ended up walking about 2 miles through town and upriver (Mississippi). Right as I got up to the church, the bells quit ringing. True story. Wrote a poem about it in 1986 when I got back to my apartment.

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