Monday, January 17, 2011

Photo: The Glen Road Bridge in 1885-95ish

I suppose at some point I'll write up a short history of Rosedale, but for now I give you this photo from that neighbourhood's Wikipedia page. (Don't get too exited; those dudes aren't ghosts, they just moved during a long exposure.) That's the Glen Road Bridge, an earlier incarnation of the one that's still there today. These days it's a footbridge, stretching from the gorgeous old money mansions of Rosedale across the tree-lined valley below—over Rosedale Valley Drive—before linking up with a dirty concrete tunnel. The graffiti-lined tunnel passes under the roar of Bloor Street, by the dingy back entrance to Sherbourne Station, and into St. James Town, one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in Canada and one of the poorest in the city, where abandoned Victorian homes, built just before this photo was taken, have been left to decay on South Glen Road, in what the Heritage Toronto website calls, during one of their more melodramatic moments, "a pit of despair".

Today, there's also an historical plaque on the north end of the bridge. (That would be the non-despairing end.) It has to be one of the most sweetly heartbreaking historical plaques in the city, about the author Morley Callaghan. He used to be friends with Hemingway back when they both lived here and then were sent to Paris as correspondents for the Star. (I wrote about their famous boxing match in my first full post.) Well, a while after his days hanging out on the Left Bank with the Lost Generation, Callaghan moved back to Toronto with his wife and eventually settled down in Rosedale, on Dale Avenue, not far from the bridge. The last line of the plaque: "Neighbours often saw and talked to him as he crossed this bridge with his wife and dog, Nikki, then with his dog, then alone until he died in 1990."

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