Star Weekly

That was nice of that guy at the Globe&Mail to get back to me even if it was nearly a month. Emails are easy to ignore and I didn’t have the gentleman’s phone number. It was a query. A pitch. Turns out it was a strike so I may be doing something for them.  Makes a nice change.


On an unrelated note, although, as we know, everything is related, I only remember two of these signs.  This one on the west side of Commercial Drive a few doors south of 1st Avenue, and the one in the 1500 block of West Broadway on the north side just west of Granville Street.  Are you getting this down?  It’s important.

The one on Broadway’s been gone a long time but this one here on Commercial’s hanging in.  Barely.  I remember it when, as a youth, I lived in the neighbourhood.  That’s right.  Me.  Lived in the neighbourhood down at 7th and Commercial.  On 7th on the north side just east of Commercial.  Right there.  It’s kind of a miracle this sign still exists because the publication it’s advertising has been out of business for decades.

The building it’s hanging on is the same building as when I lived in the neighbourhood.  Virtually nothing’s changed.  It was kind of run down then and it’s run down now.  Just a little more run down.  I don’t know where this is going.


Oh yeah.  Quebec.  If there’s anybody out there who can tell me that the original proprietors of this little shop were from Quebec it might solve the mystery of why “Quebec Grocery”?  There’s “Quebec” street but it’s a mile or so east of this old sign.  Or at least what used to be this old sign.  Because this old sign, alas my children, finally left us.


And this one.  4th Avenue east of Fir. You know.  The question is how does it go on?  What vital essence does this sign have in abundance to still be staggering on in 2016?  This is the bravest sign I know.  Something has blessed this sign with a terrible longevity and I am impressed, sir.

Now what was my point?  Oh yeah.  And it so happened my consort and I were vacationing  on a recent afternoon in “East Van” as it seems to like to be known as now.  I’ve also lived on Welwyn Street near Commercial “Street”, even if it was a while ago, so I know all about this east van stuff.

And here it is.  The place I lived on 7th Avenue and it’s still here like an old sign.  It’s exactly the same only more faded.  I can hardly believe it myself.




I remember burning down the Italian landlady’s vegetable garden which was in the small back yard there in the image on the right.  She was incredibly polite about it.  “Esteef.  Pls don’t a burn the vegetable.”

I was playing with matches and burning bits of plastic.  The plastic would melt wonderfully and drip down on fire onto the helpless tomato plants.  To me it was just stuff growing back there.  I didn’t know from tomatoes.  This story is partially true.

That sordid side entrance, the image on the left.  It had a better door when we lived there.  The door had three longitudinally arranged opaque glass panels or something like that.  It was a real “front” door.  The overhang is exactly the same.

The place looked slightly better then and was respectable enough for a single mother of two boys.  My mother never thought of herself as a “single mother”.  That term came into use later.  She worked at the dry cleaning plant up near Kingsway and Main.  Long gone.

This dump ain’t even for sale and it’s 2016. That ancient kind of rose or taupe coloured, or whatever it is, and green asphalt shingle siding is also exactly the same.  It’s a testimony to the durability of asphalt shingles.  Oh mother, what is the use?  Ain’t they ever gonna fix this place up?






Author: Steven Brown


3 thoughts on “Star Weekly”

  1. I remember, and miss, reading The Star Weekly.
    The ‘Quebec Grocery’, or its owners/proprietors, may have started over on Quebec street, and moved. In town, Activa Physiotherapy is now 5 miles from Activa Blvd, and the 20 King North restaurant is now at 770 Weber Street. 😯 😕


Enter A Comment Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: