The storm that never was

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

For several days we were warned of this severe storm on its way - the worst since 2008!!

Now, this is Canada, this is winter, it would have to be a pretty big storm to interfere with our daily routine.

As we all prepared for this 'on-slot' questions arose "will this or that be canceled?."

As it happened I had an event to attend the night of the expected storm.   I was prepared with my display material to take to the event.  After all I live in Parkdale with access to two main streets, King and Queen. One leading to the subway and both leading to most main intersections going north and south in the city.

Eveything at my door step. No storm could stop me.

The night before the "storm" news reports of school closings or school buses being canceled were posted on TV and radio.

I waited anxiously for the morning and what I would wake up to. Was I going to my event?

Rushing to the balcony in the morning — surprise!  Only a slight layer of snow to sweep off.

A light snow was still falling. All seemed calm.

Then the phone call that the event I was prepared for was re-scheduled. This decision had been made based on the previous night's forcast.

Disappointed, I decided to venture out and see what was happening in my Parkdale.

The sun was shinning, the sidewalks clearer than last week when I nearly fell on the ice in front of a house converted into apts.

An absentee landlord, common in Parkdale, had neglected to "clear his ice".

Coming home that very night I warned a young woman, "It's icy be careful", "It's winter" she replied, "and that's one of the things I hate about it......." Then down she went in that very spot.

"Help!" I rushed to her side, staying clear of that treacherous spot.  A young man appeared just in time to help her up.

She wasn't sure if her ankle was twisted or not.  Finally she was able to walk.

As she stumbled on her way she yelled back to me, "Thank you. I should have taken your advice."  My reply,  "Sue that negligent, absentee landlord. They get away with too much here in our Parkdale."

Remembering this I was cautious as I went by that house today. The ice had melted and all that remained was packed down snow, not cleared snow.

It was the only house with an uncleared sidewalk. Everyone else had been considerate and cleared the sidewalk. These slum, absentee, landlords.

I decided to go to Poor John's, my favourite cafe on Queen Street for lunch. Famous for their healthy food, you have to get there early to not only get a seat but make sure the soup of the day is still available.

As I entered, what a surprise. Not a customer in sight. Every table vacant.

My favourite waitress smiled, "Yes everyone stayed home because of the 'storm'."

Too bad, I said, it's actually not too bad a day. Not like the ice of last week.

All of a sudden everything appeared gloomy. Empty cafe.

Mostly empty streets as I looked out the window. Depressing. Almost like an 'evacuation'.

After enjoying my "spicy" soup, prepared, I imagine, for the "stormy day", I left  and went out on Queen Street to do some shopping.

Store closed. Store closed.

Oh,  lucky me! — the dollar store was open.

The storm that never was sure affected small businesses in Parkdale.

On the up side school children were having a "fun" day. Enjoying this 'storm' day off school kids ran off to sled and skate.

Not so their parents scrambling to deal with closed daycare and shools.

The storm that never was.

Now, will we heed these storm warnings in the future?

According to the morning paper there is much discussion about cancellations.

My Parkdale.