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The Queensway and Glendale Ave.



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The streetcar stop at Glendale Ave. and The Queensway. You could hold a flash mob here and the place would still seem barren.

KENNETH KIDD/TORONTO STAR

Kenneth Kidd Feature Writer

If you were to leave St. Joseph's Health Centre at the south end near Glendale Ave., you'd do so via the oddly named Tranquility Entrance, from which the only tranquility without lies nearly a kilometre away, under the old forest of Sunnyside Beach.

And no, you can't get there from here, or at least not by anything less than a wildly circuitous route, turning the forest into, not just enticement, but rebuke.

Still, that beguiling sight in the distance might induce you to try, in which case you would first cross a two-lane hospital roadway and come to a metal fence, which you'd then follow west until a little earthen path takes you down to the sidewalk on the north side of the Queensway.

Just there, across two westbound lanes of traffic, sit two strips of concrete on either side of what may be the city's most forlorn streetcar stop. You could hold a flash mob here and the place would still seem barren, everyone squinting as the dust rolls in on the west wind.

Across another two lanes of (eastbound) traffic, there's a little patch of grass, flanked on the south end by flourishing colonies of goldenrod and milkweed, on which a row of five trees has been planted, only one of which has taken to its new home with any conviction. The others are all dead, save for a few suckers emerging from the base of spindly grey trunks.

A nearby sign announces that Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation is "Working Together to Double Toronto's Tree Canopy," in this case in partnership with Enbridge. Just beyond the sign, to the west, sits the Parkdale pumping station, its circular brick edifice as forbidding as a Martello tower.

Still, there in the distance is Sunnyside, all come-hither green, until the view suddenly vanishes behind a speeding GO train travelling one of four tracks. Beyond that: six lanes of the Gardiner Expressway, three lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard West, then a green boulevard, then three more lanes.

In this world of petroleum toing and froing, the streetcar seems such a fragile and lonely interloper.

But squint again into that west wind, and salvation seems almost at hand. There, on the horizon, is the lushness of High Park, toward which the westbound streetcars race down a hill until, 100 metres on, the streetcar tracks come to resemble those of a railroad, rails laid atop wooden ties surrounded by gravel.

From which arise wild daisies and the little, yellow glories known colloquially as "butter and eggs," winking at us as much as the sun.

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