junction n. 1 a point at which two or more things are joined. 2 a place where two or more railway lines or roads meet, unite, or cross. 3 the act or instance of joining. (The Canadian Oxford Dictionary)
Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood, according to the West Toronto Junction Historical Society, “began as an accident of geography: the junction of Indian trails which became highways and finally railways.”
Whatever its origins, and whatever the reason (converging ley lines?) something about the Junction seems to breed joinings, and not just of railway tracks. The local stores, for instance, have some surprising junctions of their own. The main drag, which stretches for several kilometres along Dundas Street West, from about Keele to Runnymede, has an unusually high number of twinned businesses—two stores of the same type existing side by side and producing interesting effects of skewed double vision.
Take the junction of these two, which seems to sum up the fever-pitch gentrification of the neighbourhood. With a deranged proliferation of hand-lettered signs, Sweet Trolley Bakery seems to be reacting to the newer gluten-free, vegan Bunner’s like a desperate lover on the way out, screaming about her cinnamon buns while her rival sits coolly by, confident that her reputation and stylish facade will do the trick.
A similar old-versus-new dynamic exists with these side-by-side salons, although the sense of rivalry is not quite as strong. Rather, with Eva’s old-school vertical blinds and dark interior you get the feeling of the elderly pro handing on her knowledge to the perky newcomer, with her bubbly sign and bright, hopeful display of Moroccanoil products.
Although there’s something slightly off about both of them. There’s a well-established tendency for salons to be named with hair-related puns—The Mane Event, Headonizm, Curl Up & Dye—and Hair Sprung seems to be trying to follow this trend, but I can’t quite figure out the reference. Eva’s is more simply named, but the disembodied heads on the sign and window produce a disquieting effect, compounded by that ectoplasmic “Eva’s” swoosh emanating from the bottom one. A demon barber-ella and her trainee? Perhaps Sweet Trolley could make the pies. Or, even more diabolically, Bunner's could, for consumption by vegans...
The Book Exchange and Dencan Books are the Felix and Oscar of used bookstores, with The Book Exchange’s select collection of neatly arranged, high-quality books sitting fussily beside Dencan’s sprawling, hoarder-like stacks. You imagine TBE fastidiously shooing stray volumes back to join their fading fellows in Dencan’s cascading window display. But despite their differences, these two have the feeling of grudging friends, or at least brothers in arms. It’s a tough world out there for a used bookstore and if this odd couple can lean on each other to survive a little longer, the Junction will be better off for it.
by Sara Goodchild
by Sara Goodchild