Archive for the 'Roncesvalles' Category

Some say love, it is a hunger

March 3, 2008

John Singer Sargent

TONY
“Did I tell you I saw my sister?”

PHILIP
“Which one?”

TONY
“I saw Rose, right on Ronces here. I don’t even remember when I last got to see her. She’s said she’d collect up some things for me.”

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Three shots for a dollar

February 5, 2008

Three shots shot

Of want and need

January 18, 2008

Bank of England

TONY
“You know that the Rogers Video store is closing, the one at up at Howard Park? Nobody’s in there most of the time anyway. ”

Folks just don’t like big-name stores on this street. Well, except for the banks and the coffee places. Everybody needs them.”

My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends

November 13, 2007

Trojan porsche

TONY
“Phil, you should hear what happened to me Saturday night:

I was paying my respects to Silvio, the homeless guy who got killed in September down at King and Ronces, the guy I told you about and we wrote in the blog. So I got on my bike and I start coughing and coughing and coughing, you know, because of my pneumonia. Anyway, I was riding down King Street while I was coughing my ass off — guess who comes around the corner down near Dufferin? I’ll tell you who came around the corner. It was that same fire truck from 426 Division, you know the one that saved me from being run over last winter and it’s also the same one that ran over my friend a few months back. So I nearly hit this truck — but I don’t — but there’s this car behind the truck and this car is totally new, shined up and everything. Plus, believe it or not, it’s a new Porsche 911. I’m not kidding you. So I try to miss hitting the Porsche but I wiped out, into into the back quarter panel. So, of course, the guy gets out of the car, of course he’s pissed at me, and I’m telling you, he’s six-foot-something and he’s got biceps that could crack walnuts. So he looks at down me and says: ‘I know you. You’re homelessmanspeaks.com.’ So he’s was pretty nice to me considering but now I owe him $100.”

Still life with flowers

October 25, 2007

Still life with flowers

TONY
“You remember I told you about that homeless guy who got killed maybe a month ago? You know, Silvio, the one who lived in that park just south of Queen and Roncesvalles. Anyway, I just went by there and those flowers that people left on his bench are still sitting there. It’s pretty sad; probably the first time he got flowers is when he died.”

Homeless Man Thanks

October 6, 2007

Cornucopia

Thank you to all the people on Roncesvalles who’ve put change in my cap. I really appreciate it. Your help means a lot to me.

Tony

Off with his cap

October 1, 2007

Respect

TONY [As a funeral procession drives slowly south on Roncesvalles, Tony doffs his cap].
“I always take off my hat when a funeral comes by.”

PHILIP
“Why’s that?”

TONY
“Just showing respect for the dead.”

State of denial

September 17, 2007

 Dylan Thomas

PHILIP
“I didn’t see you at the [Roncesvalles] street festival this weekend.”

TONY
“Well, one of the cops asked me not to be in the festival area. You know, you can see his point; folks just want to be having fun at the festival. They don’t want to be bothered by a guy like me. Anyway, I told the cop it was no problem … he was just doing his job, just the same as I was doing mine. Then he goes and cracks me up when he says: ‘Yeah, but I prefer my job to yours.’

“You gotta agree with him on that one.”

Re-opening the doors of perception

June 13, 2007

Glad Day

TONY
So did you hear that they’ve bought the Revue and they’re going to keep it a movie theatre? It’s a good thing they’re going to keep it going since it was kind of a fixture for Roncesvalles. It was pretty sad when they closed it.”

Oh fudge

May 15, 2007

TONY
“Went down to the bottom of Roncesvalles the other day and I saw a kid coming out of that variety store right at the corner with Queen Street. He was eating a fudgesicle and, you know, I just can’t resist those fudgesicles. I ended up eating 10 fudgesicles that night and I felt sick after eating them. I hope I never do that again.”

Where did the flowers go?

April 15, 2007

A bouquet of flowers

TONY
“I’ve got a good story for you. You know The Local, the restaurant next to the old Revue movie house up on Roncesvalles. Well the owner, she’s taken a liking to me, since I’ve had to move from in front of Alternative Grounds. She even invited me in for a drink, and I told her I don’t really drink, and if I had one beer, which is all I’d drink anyway, it wouldn’t help me much. But she and her brother, there really nice to me, feeding me and looking out for me. So when you saw me with that bouquet of flowers yesterday, it was for her.”

The invisible man

December 1, 2006

Tony’s not here

PHILIP
Tony isn’t here this morning.

It’s Buster Keaton weather — but colder. No doubt, umbrella vendors are delighting in visions of pedestrians dancing convexxedly with their soon-to-be mangles of nylon and aluminium.

I don’t know where Tony is; probably no one does. The morning weather might have kept him where he slept last night. Perhaps not. I’ve seen Tony at his post in the deepfreeze of mid-winter.

Sidewalk traffic is sparse and hurried. Given today’s inclement weather, Tony would be hard-put to collect enough for a warm bed. When I next see him, I’ll ask him about the irony.

Tony’s question about (grande vanilla) “lattes”

November 17, 2006

Tony avoiding rain at twilight

TONY
“Hey Phil, what’s a ‘latte’ ?”

PHILIP
“You don’t know what a ‘latte’ is?”

TONY
“Well I know it’s a coffee drink.

“Now, earlier this morning a lady comes up to me and asks me if I was spending all my money on lattes. I told her that I didn’t know what a latte was and she told me about it. So I’m asking you, do you know what a ‘latte’ is?”

Tony’s great breakfast yesterday

November 15, 2006

PHILIP
“Hi, how are you?”

TONY
“I feel like crap — what do you think?

“Hey, I got myself a nice breakfast yesterday. I went down to my regular restaurant [approx a mile away; Tony generally rides his bike to get around]. I ordered the biggest one [breakfast] on their menu. It was a stack of 6 pancakes, bacon, ham, 3 three eggs, hash browns, toast and 2 cups of coffee. It set me back about 15 bucks [not the same $15 that was mentioned in the Nov. 11 post].

“When I was down at breakfast, someone stole my new backpack that someone had left for me. All my change in my hat got stolen too. I think I know who did it. He’s always doing something.”

Tired but there

October 31, 2006

TONY (in response to 3 questions) — 8:15am

“I’m really tired today.”
“I think I slept only maybe 2 hours.”
“In a doorway.”

Tony & The Globe and Mail & the vanishing Unicef box

October 30, 2006

PHILIP
At the very top of page 1 of today’s Globe and Mail, the banner reads: “Unicef box vanishes on Halloween.” The banner points to an article about the new GiveMeaning box that replaces the now-defunct Unicef boxes. Both are cardboard but the similarity just about ends there.

The full article is on p. A14. Anthony Reinhart has written a wonderful piece about GiveMeaning’s new Halloween box. The article is accompanied with a nice photo of GiveMeaning’s founder and CEO (the photo is only available in the paper-paper). Disclaimer: Tom has been one of my very best friends for nearly ten years.

Tony wih GiveMeaning box

GiveMeaning is a registered charity.

Every child who collects money in their new GiveMeaning Halloween box is able to chose”their” favourite Canadian charity from a list. That charity gets 100% of the money collected by that child. Plus, every one who contributes money to the box gets a little paper slip of paper with a special Web site address. By going to that special Web site, contributors can track where their donation went.

At his regular place on the street, Tony is distributing the new, red Halloween boxes (as are two terrific cafes (Alternative Grounds (already mentioned in a previous posting) and Tinto, both in the midst of Toronto’s Roncesvalles enclave).

When I first asked Tony to distribute the boxes to parents passing by, he responded with: “Happy to do whatever I can do to help.”

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