If I squint, tilt my head, and shut my left eye, all I can see out the window is 1932, straight down to the lake. Brown warehouses, oatmeal-colored smokestacks, faded signs painted on brick walls advertising long-discontinued brands: "Lovely," "Gaywear." This is the old industrial Toronto of garment factories, furriers and wholesale wedding dresses. So far, no one has come up with a way to make a profit out of taking a wrecking ball to these boxes of brick, and in this little eight- or nine-block radius, the modern city has been layered haphazardly on top of the old.
I wrote this book while living in Toronto's ghost of a garment district in a ten-story warehouse. Many other buildings like it have long since been boarded up, glass panes shattered, smokestacks holding their breath; their only remaining capitalist function is to hoist large blinking billboards on their tar-coated roofs, reminding the gridlocked drivers on the lakeshore expressway of the existence of Molson's beer, Hyundai cars and EZ Rock FM.