16 December — Enough nature, I said to myself on Saturday; I want some city grit! So off I went to Danforth & Victoria Park Avenue, and walked back east on The Danforth from there.
It is always such a treat, such a great jumble of sights & sounds & languages & styles. And people, oh yes “and people.” I’ll introduce you to one of them in a moment.
What I saw as I hoofed along on a very blustery, chilly day inspired me to try my first post photo-gallery — the sights and signs of the Vic Park – Woodbine stretch known (in marketing jargon) as Danforth Village. Please! It is not a village. It is a great pell-mell chunk of city, and I had a great time.
See what I mean? Swiss plus halal, all in one; a furry-wintery hat propped under Chinese summery blouses in an outdoors display; a psychic bookstore and a body massage centre and cricket cloth draped next to evening glam in a textile shop; Biker Santa and bedbug protection and injera or deli combos take your pick.
And Pastor Tim Reimer, whom you see above glad-handing Santa on the Danforth Mennonite Church signboard. Santa on a church signboard?, you may be wondering, and that’s the story Pastor Tim told me, after first inviting me to come inside and take all the photos I wanted.
I did go in, but just briefly so we could both warm up while I heard the Santa story.
“We have a recently arrived Nepalese family in our church, and I invited their children — grades 4 and 6 — to do a drawing to brighten up our Christmas party announcement. ‘Make it colourful,’ I said. ‘Make it a message about Christmas!’”
He laughed, shook his head. “I expected Christ not Santa Claus, but I hadn’t explicitly told them to make it about Christ, had I. And when they handed it to me they were beaming, they were so proud and excited.”
“That must have posed a dilemma,” I said. He replied, “Yes. I’m glad you see that.”
And I, in turn, am glad that, caught between conflicting core values, Pastor Tim chose kindness over orthodoxy.