We’ll Be What We Want To Be
Looking south from the intersection of Church and Maitland in Toronto. The billboard alone tells you you’re in the gay village; the morality police would be swarming if they tried putting the same billboard anywhere east of Montreal. For me these types of neighborhoods are important to a city: there’s a life and character that I find is lacking in a lot of cities in the Maritimes. It’s not necessarily the whole issue of tolerance (although the Maritimes are still many many years behind the bigger cities), but it just seems to me that cities have become about ugly, historyless power centres and new subdivisions, and the urban cores of places like Moncton and Halifax are turning into exhibits of abandoned storefronts and chain restauraunts.
The Village has seen quite a bit of gentrification itself over the last little while, though. Far too often the affluent people end up displacing the poorer people that built the character of these different neighborhoods in cities. Things get watered down: new communities do get forged but these well-known places almost take on a mythic status for the generation that came too late.