Monday, March 29, 2010

The Bridges of West Hill

The West Hill Community can accurately be described as that area of Toronto surrounded by the Highland Creek Valley.

Because we are largely cut off from the rest of the City by that meandering waterway, we have bridges to connect us to the greater community.

Oh yes, we have bridges.

In all shapes and sizes.

From planks casually thrown across rivulets.

To small walking and biking bridges.

To medium sized bridges just large enough to accommodate one lane of traffic going in each direction.

To major bridges supporting three of the City's mighty thoroughfares.

And even bridges that used to be, but are never spoken of any longer.

If you have time and don't mind a bit of colour on a black and white themed day, here is a short video I shot back in May of 2008 of the new bridge that crosses Highland Creek just as it empties into Lake Ontario. Lindsay is along for the walk and will show us the way.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sounds of West Hill

The noise that first draws attention, is the sound of heavy machinery at work. Have I turned a wrong corner and ended up in Dubai? Multiple industrial cranes line the horizon..... but the sun coast of Dubai could never be this cold and dreary!

No, we are still in West Hill in January. Here, where the city's easternmost water filtration plant is being dramatically upgraded, the air is chill and the construction noise echoes.

A sudden familiar sound captures our attention! The distant ringing of bells at the gate, warn of the closing railway crossing behind us. The ringing is soon chorused by the clickity-clack of a train full of commuters, rushing into Toronto's bustling Union Station to their workday employment.

In the silent stillness, following the train's passing, the giant extractor fans at a huge chemical factory on Coronation Drive roar to life, sucking fumes out of the plant, while beside them huge power pumps, blow heat into the massively, large building.

Everywhere along the road, trucks can be spotted delivering raw materials to the sight of the filtration plant construction. Other trucks arrive to pick up the chemicals the various plants in the area are producing. Their job will be to deliver these chemicals where ever they are needed across North America. The roar of the great diesel engine inside these trucks can be heard as a distant whine, while their 18 wheel undercarriage reverberates the ripping sound of the tires riding over the frozen winter pavement.

Sometimes, in the heavily laden winter air it isn't the sounds you really hear, but those you imagine that captures your attention and your heart. Not far from the clatter of the Industrial Park is a small green space with a large and very shallow pond. In the winter the local children clean off the ice and set up their goalie nets here. After school, the slap of hockey sticks, the scratch of skate blades slicing the thick ice covering of the pond and the happy cheers of the young voices gathered, will create a new sound. As their hockey game comes to life, the noisy construction and plant workers will close up shop and call it a day.

At this moment, the happy hockey team silently study in local schools and the factory noises have faded away in the distance. The only sounds around me now, are the occasional bark from Lindsay, and the whirring click of my camera shutter.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Our First Winter Storm Of The Season

It rose up out of the Pacific.

Joined forces with the waters of the Gulf of Mexico

Formed a massive storm covering half of the Unted States. And then took direct aim at West Hill.

Where we could see it coming from the top of the bluffs.

But weren't able to duck.

December 9, 2009. Our first snow storm of the winter.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

TTC Driver Saves Buddhist Temple

A passing TTC driver noticed smoke billowing from the porch of the Buddhist temple on Kingston Road at the Highland Creek Bridge and immediately notified authorities saving the wooden structure from serious damage.

When firefighters and police arrived they discovered arsonists had left 23 bottles of gasoline on the Temple's porch. This is the second time this year the Mahavihara has been the subject of an attack by arsonists. A previous attempt was made last May.

The last time the attempted arson was preceded by several telephone warnings. But not this time.

While smoke migration was minimal, the fire department estimates the damage from the current attack to be in excess of $10,000.

The fire was quickly put out and the Temple has announced plans to erect a fence around the property and install video cameras.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Royal Bank Location Now Open

RBC has moved from its previous location in the West Hill Plaza to its new home in the extensively refurbished former Pizza Hut building at Kingston Road and Lawrence.

RBC joins Canada's other major banks in opening significantly larger locations in the West Hill area, making West Hill the centre for banking in south east Scarborough. The new RBC branch is now double its former size, offering state of the art banking services to West Hill residents.

Of Canada's major banks, only Scotia Bank has decided not to upgrade its branch in West Hill preferring its coveted location at Morningside and Kingston Rd. over enhanced facilities.

The loss of RBC presents a challenge to the small West Hill Plaza who have also recently lost The Doctors Office, a drug store and The Source, all of which have relocated to the new Morningside Crossing Shopping Centre which opened last year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Adventures In Eating In West Hill

Some things are incongruous.

As unbelievable and incongruous as it may seem, no one with the rank of Colonel is working at our local KFC and not one of the chickens came from Kentucky.

Not one employee at Taco Bell was from Mexico. And on the day we visited, not one employee had even vacationed there. Believe It Or Not!

Shoeless Joe's Restaurant has a policy requiring all customers to wear shoes. And shirts.

And when Licks finally got around to opening their latest store in West Hill, I wouldn't advise licking any of their employees. Boy do they get mad!

But most incongruous of them all, the Swiss Chalet Restaurant, not only has no Swiss employees, sells no Swiss Cheese, lamb or beer, but none of their clocks were made in Switzerland, instead they were all made by GE--in China.