A few days after moving into our Scarborough digs a year ago, a neighbour dropped by to welcome us to the neighbourhood, share tomatoes from her garden, and offer a few pointers for us newly-minted locals. One of the things she mentioned by way of guide to the area was a short-cut to the closest grocery store, a Food Basics. I thought it was a great tip.
In 12 months I have never had occasion to go to the store. It is generally a lot more convenient for my car-less self to hitch a ride with family or friends as they run their errands, or to pick up groceries along the subway line on my way home. (Woodbine Station is excellent as there is a Valu-Mart steps from the metro so I can hop on, hop off and get my shopping done).
On a recent Sunday afternoon, however, I decided to go get groceries and it occurred to me to try out this famous short cut to Food Basics.
It was extremely foggy around 6p.m. when I set off. As I headed north to Lawrence Avenue via Crockford Boulevard—an industrial street with barely any sidewalks, barely any cars, no people and two guard dogs—I was quite a bit creeped out. It also felt like I was walking forever (‘short cut’ certainly seemed a misnomer). The fog didn’t help with either of these perceptions.
In order to quell my slightly nervous state, perhaps, I started daydreaming about what Crockford could look like in a somewhat alternate universe. With a new direction, new zoning bylaws, and a lot of investment — if it were to become a pedestrian-friendly precinct.
I envisioned how different the place would be if some of the vacant or underutilized buildings became loft-style apartments; if the warehouses were revamped and converted to offices, funky restaurants and party venues; if a renewed Crockford became Toronto’s latest Distillery District or Liberty Village northeast.
It was a pretty big stretch but a fun place for the mind to wander. Who knows what the future holds, in any case?