Crossing over the Don River and the Don Valley Expressway is the Queen Street Bridge, our neighbourhood bridge. We stop here for a moment, peer down at the cars zooming below us, throw a rock into the mighty Don River (polluted as sin), pose for a few cheesy pictures, and then head off with Gram on an adventure through an area that is changing before our eyes.
Gram takes us past his building, just over the bridge, down a newly built road. He lives here with a number of our friends in the last remaining artist studio in the area (which also happens to be in the thick of construction mania). In a year or so this site will be home to an entirely new condo development complex, complete with shopping malls, coffee shops, fountains and playgrounds. No doubt it will be spectacular.
We survey the area, take in all the changes, climb over a fence, walk through an empty mud field, and make our way to the river. We sit, drink beer, fish in vain, and reflect on all the random things we’ve done here over the years (like paddle the Don River in the name of art).
This isn’t a new story. We all know how it goes. Artists come. Development follows. Artists leave. I think Gram said it best last night when he said, “That’s progress…..I guess.”