For a number of years, I was a tenant at 101 Niagara St. Some of you may have read a few things I wrote about those times. It was known back then, and I suppose it still is, as the coffin factory or the casket factory, because once upon a time it was in fact home to a casket company. For many many years it was home to an assortment of ragamuffin artists and musicians and friends.
I didn’t leave there on the happiest note. The landlord decided it was appropriate to slide a rent increase notice under my door on Christmas morning. That really pissed me off, let me tell you. At the same time, my father was not in great health and couldn’t see so well anymore and really needed someone around the house more often than my regular visits. I packed up my studio and moved to my father’s house, the house I grew up in, in Etobicoke. It was weird moving back but I wouldn’t trade of minute of the time I got to spend with my father.
I understand the owner of the 89-101-109 Niagara St. complex, the same outfit who owned it back in the day, is planning to develop the property into condos. We shouldn’t be surprised I guess. I hardly recognize the neighbourhood anymore. It’s condo city. Still, it’s one of the few so-called artists buildings left around the city. We called it a zone of our own, and it really was in many ways. I had a lot of good times, good memories in that building. It will be sad to see it go.