But do such houses exist in Toronto? Yes, they do! And I’ve learned to spot them.
The obvious clues are boarded up or broken windows, wildly overgrown gardens, leaking roofs and guttering. Though occasionally these signs can apply to a fully inhabited, sadly neglected house!
More subtle signs appear for vacant homes: usually the overgrown garden is a giveaway. No obvious cars, a sheen of dust on the windows, a dispirited ambience…Though someone somewhere is keeping up the basic maintenance to avoid destruction.
Water, sun and nature move swiftly to claim back the planet.
What fascinates me are the reasons why the house stands deserted. There are stories there. Did the owner grow too elderly or infirm? Turn away from the world because of heartbreak? Was there a family dispute? A lingering estate problem?
And what of this strange sight, spotted on a winter walk?
Has the hoarding become so extreme that it’s spilled onto the veranda? Or did someone clear it out for the junk removal service?
It’s March and my thoughts turn to training for The Ride. If Toronto’s wild weather allows, mid-March means riding the real roads!
The 2021 Ride to Conquer is virtual once again, but training is real – and an escape from COVID.
And a chance to Urbex Toronto. (Urbex = urban exploration.)
Spring this year promises to be mild and soon. I jumped on the bike the earliest since the inaugural 2008 ride and pulled off 13 km.
The Beltline trail proved to be treacherous. Crossing over the Iron Horse Bridge, I hit ice. It’s like hydroplaning in a car: don’t steer, don’t brake, don’t waver. Maintain speed and balance and hope to *$%# you make it over the next 50 feet.
I reached my beloved icon, Tout Est Possible – and happily contended with mere mud before retreating to dodging traffic on regular roads.
It turns out that the Beltline Tout Est Possible is only one of at least 20 such icons scattered throughout Toronto. Many appear in non-obvious locations in places like Sherwood Park, Nordheimer Ravine and Taylor Creek Park.
The artist remains unknown like Banksy since their work started appearing in 2011. I’m happy to report that when my fav got erased, the artist restored it before too long.
For a description of fellow cyclists’ full tour of the icons, see the blogTO article here.