Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Another Time, Another Place

Less than 72 hours before the horror, and only 13 kilometres further south, on Yonge Street, my family and I were marvelling at the beautiful, sunny, spring day. At Young and College streets, I stood on the corner, watching the bustle of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians that negotiated the busy intersection, while DW and the girls went into the Shoppers Drug Mart.

It was a wonder that so much traffic could move so swiftly, avoiding one another, I thought.

As we continued up Yonge, towards Bloor, I would stop every once and a while to capture the life of the city with my camera. The warm climate that we had been denied for so long seemed to bring out the masses.

Only 13 kilometres away, along the same street, and fewer than 72 hours earlier.

Later that evening, we were back on Yonge Street, seeking out a dumpling restaurant. On a Friday evening, after a long week that started out with freezing rain and snow, the crowds seemed eager to be out on the town. Moments earlier, around the corner, as we made our way to the Asian restaurant, we bumped into our daughters' doctor, who also happened to be visiting this metropolitan centre.

In a city of nearly three-million inhabitants, what were the odds of encountering someone we knew from your own city? Staggering, and yet, it happened.

On Saturday, about 48 hours before that awful event, the four of us were once again on Yonge Street. This time, in the company of my sister, who lives near Yonge and Eglinton Avenue. We were further north, only about eight kilometres away. Walking along the busy street, with scores of other pedestrians, enjoying the warm, sunny weather.

No one could have predicted the carnage at Yonge and Finch, in Toronto's north end. Those poor people, who were mowed down on the sidewalk, as they enjoyed the sunshine and warmth, never expected yesterday to be their last. Like my family and me, a couple of days earlier and further south on that long stretch of road, they were most likely enjoying the good weather as they made their way from one place to another.

And yet, we cannot be afraid to walk down the street, to revel in the sunshine, to live. I would want the same, would that van been raging down Yonge Street at another time, in another place.

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