ONE OF THE THINGS I like best of all about the editor’s perch here is the enjoyment I get from the random moments, the odd little coincidences that life in the information stream keeps washing up. Last month, for example, it was choral columnist Ben Stein and world music writer Andrew Timar both popping the word “multivalent” into their columns. That’s two unrelated multivalents in twelve pages compared to zero in the previous 10,294. “Wassup with that?” one finds oneself muttering darkly.
It was almost as freaky as that moment, almost nine and a half years ago (Saturday March 2 2002 – 8pm to be precise) when two presenters, three blocks apart, put on entire concerts dedicated to the music of John Blow. John who? you ask. My point precisely. Multivalent Blow. Wassup with that indeed! I mean, it wasn’t as if 2002 was a significant anniversary date for JB – the 294th anniversary of his death, the 353rd of his christening? Not exactly grabby numbers.
And now, this month, it is happening again. Earlier today I was browsing the final page proofs, as we got ready to go to press (beaming in pride at our having finally reached the milestone of having colour pages throughout the magazine). And then I noticed an oddity in the way that two of the writers in the issue referred to Yonge-Dundas Square.
The oddity was in the fact that usually when our writers refer to a place it is because they intend to talk about something that is about to happen in the place in question. But not this time. This time both of them make mention of Yonge-Dundas specifically because it is NOT the place where the event they are talking about is going to happen.
First to do so is Allan Pulker in Classical & Beyond (page 10–12), talking about Holy Trinity Church. Holy Trinity is where Music Mondays, the quintessential grass roots urban summer music series, this year celebrates its twentieth anniversary.
“Sheltered from Yonge and Dundas by the Eaton Centre,” Pulker says of Holy Trinity, “it stands like an oasis of memories of things past.”
And then, at the other end of the spectrum, Janice Price (page 58) in talking about heavyweight contender Luminato’s new “hub” venue, David Pecaut Square, says this: “Compared to the bustle of Yonge-Dundas Square, this [David Pecaut Square] is a space of respite, where you can hear conversations and discussions …”
Spaces of respite … Oasis of memory. Yonge-Dundas? Not.
Say what you like about Yonge-Dundas (and everyone has something to say about it) you know an urban space has come of age when writers start comparing other spaces to it, confident that their readers will understand the comparison.
I like to think it’s a sign of the city’s maturation that such contrasting urban amenities (and events) can so happily co-exist, each just the proverbial short hike from the next.
Two of Toronto’s festival heavyweights, Luminato and TD Toronto Jazz have both made the short hike to David Pecaut Square this year as the place to pitch their festival tents, literally and metaphorically. It’s a flying start.
But it will be interesting to see how many years it takes before two people coincidentally saying “NOT David Pecaut Square” signals that the venue has, like Yonge-Dundas, entered the major leagues of urban lore.