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February 21, 2008

Six alarm on Queen

When I heard yesterday's fire was at Queen and Bathurst there were several frantic minutes trying to figure out if they really meant Queen and Bathurst. We navigate by intersections in downtown Toronto so the expression could be short hand for something several streets away. Unfortunately, they meant Queen and Bathurst. It was the south side which took the hit so Savage Garden - immediately facing the fire to the north - appears to have been spared. Not so for several Toronto alt.culture landmarks, Duke's Cycle, National Sound and, as Dave Delaney writes, the Queen W location of Suspect Video.

Few brick and mortar businesses have had a lasting impression in my life. There are too many bars and restaurants to include, I’m talking about actual shops. One in particular helped make me who I am today, Suspect Video.

Which sounds like an extraordinary claim. All I can say is I spent four years in England - two in London, two in Manchester - looking for a video store like Suspect and nowhere found anything even close. In those long ago pre-torrent days, before the age of YouTube, this was the only place on earth I knew to rent a copy of the long suppressed Star Wars Christmas special (Baltimore broadcast) or the five hour Japanese television broadcast of David Lynch's Dune. This was a holy place.

Even those Flea-readers not suffering from local nostalgia might be interested to see what it looks like to fight a six alarm fire in a cold country. There are a lot of icicles involved.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 21, 2008 06:03 AM


Thanks for including a portion of my blog post about Suspect. Seeing the current photos of the buildings gone has made me feel even worse. Have you seen what Duke's Cycle looked like when they opened up? http://dukescycle.ca/

I'm coming home this weekend and will be sure to pay the site a visit.

I too have lived in Scotland, England, Czech Republic, Ireland and the US (now) and haven't found a comparable video store. Suspect will truly be missed.


Posted by: Dave Delaney : www.davemadethat.com [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2008 12:01 PM

I lived at Richmond and Bathurst most of the time I lived in Toronto. Sad to see old, friendly, buildings burn.

Posted by: Jay Currie [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2008 02:53 AM