Posts Tagged ‘popular literature’
Daily Xtra‘s Jeremy Willard reports on Glad Day’s planned move to Church Street.
[Glad Day’s owners have looked at a variety of locations, but one option stands out: a rental spot on Church Street (they can’t reveal the precise location until the deal is finalized) which, according to Erickson, seems the most feasible choice.
It’s wheelchair accessible (the lack of accessibility of the current location has been a sticking point with the owners since they first acquired the business), larger than the current location, and has an outdoor patio. Tentatively, the plan is to make it a bookstore and coffee shop in the day and bar and event space in the evening.
Any move will be an expensive prospect, but to nab this particular location they need to raise a lot of cash and fast. “We have kind of a perfect space available to us on Church Street,” he says. “But it has a timeframe where we need to get the money together and close the deal, so we’re working toward that.”
Fundraising has already begun in earnest. Glad Day launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign on Thursday, June 9, 2016. “We’re hoping to crowdfund $50,000, we’ll probably borrow $120,000, and then we’ll raise $50,000 from the current owners and some new owners,” Erickson says. “But the more we can raise from the crowdfunding, the less we have to borrow.” Glad Day is also looking for “angel investors” (people willing to lend money at low or no interest rates).
Lisa Cumming’s Torontoist article “Why is Toronto’s Oldest Bookstore Leaving Yonge Street?” let me know of something unexpected. I only hope this move is workable.
It has been a staple of Toronto for decades, its pink-and-purple storefront and giant rainbow flag waving over Yonge. Now, thirty-five years since opening its second-floor Yonge and Wellesley location, Glad Day Bookshop is about to leave its post.
But fear not, readers of Toronto: the shop—which is both the city’s oldest bookstore, and the world’s oldest LGBTQ shop—is not closing. Instead, owner Michael Erickson tells Torontoist the company is planning a little-big move to the beating heart of the Church-Wellesley Village.
“For some people there’s a lot of nostalgia attached to the location, but the store was also always supposed to be pushing boundaries; being a part of the queer liberation and sexual liberation movement in 2016 means being wheelchair accessible,” says Erickson, lead owner at Glad Day. “That means not hiding up in the shadows, that means being on the street and that means taking up public space. I think it’s a natural transition to [be] taking up more space somewhere else, and I think that the community will follow us.”
On May 31, Glad Day sent out a survey letting book lovers know that the shop was planning a move, and asked clients to suggest new locations. The results of the survey were very clear, Erickson says: people overwhelmingly wanted Glad Day to either move to Church Street, or stay where they are.
But Yonge Street is no longer a viable option for the grassroots shop, where its current location is small and cramped, and not accessible for those with issues with mobility or disabilities.
The above photo was taken of a video monitor at the Toronto Railway Museum during my Doors Open visit, poised on a display in front of the Nova Scotia Pullman car. It preserves a scene from 0:23 of Historica Canada’s Halifax Explosion Heritage Minute, when train dispatcher Vince Coleman realized the imminence of the Halifax Explosion and opted to warn an incoming train to stop short of the danger zone. All it took him was his life.
“What do you think you’re doing?” shouted chief clerk William Lovett as train dispatcher Vince Coleman turned back towards the office. “We’ve only got a minute or two left! Anyone in the office won’t stand a chance, and you’re a married man with a family to think of!” But Vince Coleman was thinking about the passenger trains speeding towards the threatened harbour. He had to stop them.
In that moment of pure and selfless action, Coleman telegraphed his urgent warning. At precisely 9:06 on December 6, 1917, the worst man-made explosion ever [before the atomic bomb on Hiroshima] tore through Halifax, claiming 2,000 lives, including the life of Vince Coleman.
The Great War had brought prosperity to Halifax. The harbour bustled with convoys of men and materials bound for Europe. But on the evening of December 5, two ships’ captains anxiously awaited departure. Aboard the Imo, a Belgian relief ship at anchor in the harbour, Captain From was annoyed that a late inspection had forced him to delay departure until morning.
Outside the harbour sat the French steamship Mont Blanc, its captain Aimé Le Medec awaiting morning access to the harbour and official clearance. Captain Le Medec had good reason to feel uneasy. Four days earlier his freighter had been loaded with tons of picric acid, TNT, gun cotton and benzol. The Mont Blanc was a floating bomb.
At 7:30 a.m., on December 6, the Mont Blanc began its slow entry into the harbour just as the Imo pulled up anchor. Forced to the wrong side of the channel by a steamer and tugboat, the Imo continued its improper course in direct line with the incoming Mont Blanc. The two ships sighted each other. There was a confusion of whistle blasts, misunderstood signals and, at 8:45 a.m., a disastrous collision.
As black smoke and flames rose from the Mont Blanc, crowds gathered on the Pier to watch the excitement. Factory workers, stevedores, mothers and children rushed to the best vantage points. Few people had any idea of the danger.
But one sailor who knew about the imminent explosion ran past the railway freight yards, warning Coleman and Lovett to clear out. Vince Coleman knew what was at stake when he ran back to tap out his crucial message. In the worst catastrophe in Canadian history, one man sacrificed his life to save 700 others.
This is rightly recognized as one of the top Heritage Minutes aired on Canadian television in the 1990s, happily preserved for posterity on YouTube.
The Halifax Explosion dominated one of the chapters of my Honours English essay, through Hugh MacLennan’s novel Barometer Rising. I had argued that this disaster was used by MacLennan to draw a thick line between the traditional past of Nova Scotia and the modern world that its people had to join.
It is not enough, as Murray drunkenly suggests, to “[m]ake everyone live in the country [so] there won’t be any more of these goddam wars” (137). Nova Scotians must shed their parochialisms and enthusiastically embrace the wider world, just as they did before the explosion as foreign crews and ships arrived incessantly in Halifax harbour. Like Big Alec MacKenzie, Nova Scotians must “bridge the gap out of the pioneering era and save [their] children from becoming anachronisms” (208) at the relatively cost of being lost to their native regions. They must, like Penelope Wain and Neil Macrae, become people “who could seem at home almost anywhere” (208) even while preserving what remnants of Nova Scotian identity they could.
Before the Halifax Explosion was a symbol, it was a catastrophe. Thousands of people had been killed and thousands more maimed in the devastation of the chief metropolis of the Maritimes by one of the largest explosions to occur before the nuclear era. The tragedy is that this is an event that was highly contingent: If only the Mont Blanc had been better piloted, had received greater care from the authorities of Halifax harbour, this never would have happened. What if? I can’t help but imagine this possibility, this imagined glimpse of a world spared, could have been as much a torment as a relief.