Corpulence or giant balls of steel?

Posted on May 13th, 2009 Won't you help brighten a lonely comment's day?

The more I walk through downtown Toronto, the more I’m convinced that the city is really going downhill.

Let me explain using of an illustration. For this you need to think B-I-G.

First envision a fat person, I mean really big; the kind of extended circumference for which the words “morbidly obese” barely scratch the surface; the kind of rotund that results in, basically, a giant ball with tiny projections that were once the appendages.

This person would have fashioned for them a sturdy steel girdle that would encircle their girth and provide a hard outter support for the gelatinous mass underneath.

Now take this person, somehow, to a place on Yonge street just south of Highway 401; some spot on the road with a good decline. This last part is crucial because it is this hill that would impart the required momentum to our gargantuan friend.

With the girdle supporting the ball’s innards (the person would be on their side), all it should need is a good strong push and…see you in the lake!

The momentum gained on the first hill, coupled with the sheer weight of our subject, should be enough to overcome the minor dimples and valleys along Yonge street and land him or her in the sparkling waters of the lake.

This is due to the simple fact that Toronto literally moves downward as it moves south. As you travel in this direction along most of the major city streets, you can see the foundations of buildings growing taller in order to keep the structures level. And it isn’t slight either; most buildings will have an extra three or four feet added to them at their southern end.

As long as our massive abomination continues to roll in a straight line, there should always be more downward hill further along to speed his or her progress.

I suppose this experiment could also work with a giant steel ball or a heavy car. I suppose.

Whether it’s corpulence or giant balls of steel, in Toronto all will roll down as they roll south. When you go downtown, you will really be going down to town. And if you wish to travel down south, you will also be generally correct (it’s a little south-east, really).

Besides this natural wayfinding feature, the city also has a grid layout that can either be hindrance or a real time saver.

Because of the unsightly bulge in the southern end of the city core, a number of the roads that run close to the waterfront have to either veer north or simply end. King and Queen streets, for example, run roughly parallel until they join together at Roncesvalles in the west. As they separate in the eastbound direction, the move further apart and new streets like Adelaide and Richmond rump up the increasing space between them.

So if you’re travelling west and south through the city, don’t bother with the south part. Most streets go south-west already.

I remember working at an ill-fated coffee shop in the base of the Toronto Reference Library many years ago. A gentleman came in and purchased a small cup of coffee, took a sip, instantly ingratiated himself with me by complaining about how weak Canadian coffee was, and then asked directions to the nearest Canadian Tire.

I told him it was just north of us.

“What is it with this north south crap with you Canadians? You all carry a compass or something?”, he half-joked.

“Never eat shredded wheat, biatch!”, I replied.

Well, biatch wasn’t a word at that time; but I wish I’d said that!

(…for those of you who recognized Kirby from the front cover — when I used front covers, you may enjoy this greeting card: — DO NOT ask how I ended up on that site.)

One Comment on “ Corpulence or giant balls of steel? ”

  • College Timesavers Guide. |
    October 14th, 2009 11:35 am

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