Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Day at Yonge and Dundas

Santa brought the gift of a light commute to the City and even though people are coming downtown in droves to check out Boxing Week sales in Toronto the drive around the highways is very light - enjoy it while you can because payback is a bitch, especially when it includes extreme winter weather. Watching everyone walking outside of the Eaton Centre and into the pedestrian priority intersection at Yonge and Dundas I noticed some interesting things that tend to happen around this vibrant location.
The first interesting thing is that usually there is someone busking and it could include Silver Elvis, Batman, the drummer guys or the chalk drawing people. If you can't remember what you want to buy, take a quick look around - I think there is a bit of advertising in the area (it's Times Square Junior, the cold edition).
You can also find companies taking advantage of the large concentration of people passing by this point that they give away samples of their products and, of course, everyone loves free stuff so it's marketing at it's best. You become used to passing a crowd and grabbing a free sample that they hand out: chocolate bars, spaghetti, gum, ice cream (mmm, from skinny cow) - you name it and some great, kind company has given it out. Then there are the guys that use this hook to get you to stop and make donations. The guy who was giving out cereal bars, you grab it and he won't let go, then he makes the pitch. He got rid of his cereal bars and he now uses Tootsie Rolls, not the small ones either, he uses the honking big bars, almost a foot long bar of temptation. You reach for it and damn it, he won't drop his iron grip on the Tootsie Roll.
There are also the history guys. They hold up history brochures and not the small brochures but the really big 8x10 brochures (today it looks like CDs), I mean it looks like great reading, and ask if you want one. Gosh, they are smiling at you, everything looks so friendly and inviting. Again you grab for the stuff and they won't let go. While you both stand in the street holding onto the brochure, feeling uncomfortable, he makes the pitch.
If you are hungry for street food there are usually two hot dog stands on Dundas, just to the west of the intersection - but no french fries. If you want street fries you have to go to Queen Street West at City Hall or over to Front Street at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

At Yonge-Dundas Square they continue handing out free stuff and putting on concerts. Occasionally you see beautiful girls in fashion shows.
Plenty of people are around to pass out religious information, heck some people even scare the crap out of you and every now and then just yell out stuff as you pass by. Cripes they are trying to give you a heart attack so you can think of god and go to heaven and just before you die, or the ambulance arrives, they slip you the religious brochure. You are too weak to refuse so you are an easy customer. Sometimes they don't have anything to give you but stand at the intersection, like a small island in a river of humanity, with a sign held high above their head saying things like the end of the world is coming. So get that shopping in before the end of times and think about saving the returns until after the Boxing Week Sales have stopped because the lineups are long - maybe that's why the highways are empty.

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