This river I step in is not the river I stand in.
This Heraclitian phrase flows gently above the Queen Street acqueduct — recently re-lit with much ceremony to welcome the coming athletes of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games. The bridge crosses the Don River and leads visitors into Riverside, a burgeoning Toronto community that has changed dramatically over the past several years.
Truly, for people who grew up in the Queen/Broadview Village, the street they stepped on is not the street they stand on. Home now to major condo developments and town houses galore, the days of Sunlight Park and Don Mount Court are fading memories. Even Jilly’s, the monumental pillar of vice and debauchery, is wilting like the edges of a forgotten photograph.
But time does that. Like the river, it remains in constant motion else the waters stagnate, become corrupted with polution and disease.
Time is the only constant. And yet, there are forces that fight to bring us back to the places we once knew. Ghosts that haunt our dreams with nostalgic visions and ideas. In many ways, memory helps us measure time, because we can see and feel its impact — both in how we grow, and how we wither. How we live and die.
Anyway… the reason I’m contemplating these themes is that, despite living in Riverside for 2 years now, I only recently discovered this wonderful bit of public art. The words above the Queen Street bridge are only one of a three part art installation by Eldon Garnet. The piece is called Time: And a Clock, and includes two other elements.
The first is a series of sidewalk engravings at Broadview and Queen. No doubt, many a drunken man has emerged from Jilly’s, head down and stumbling upon the words, forced to reflect on the nature of time.
TOO SOON FREE FROM TIME
TIME IS MONEY : MONEY IS TIME
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
TIME=DISTANCE X VELOCITY
And, should they continue along Queen Street and under the DeGrassi Bridge, perhaps looking up to the heavens for guidance and support, or even a little understanding, they’d see the banners that tell us, clearly, the true nature of time…