Friday, August 10, 2007

Ode to the (multicultural) mall

We do have something in common after all. We like to go to the mall.

We might not want to admit it but the best place to see Toronto is at the mall. Where else does a nearly complete cross-section of the city exist in one spot? On those rainy, overcast Sundays, when melancholy blankets the city, I like to ride the Spadina line out to Yorkdale Mall and walk in circles with some of the up to 70,000 people who head there on weekends. Apart from being anonymous in the only crowd available, I see all sorts of Torontonians I don't run into on Queen West, the Annex or even Harbourfront – all those places we might prefer to see them. Women in hijabs parade past shellacked Holt Renfew-bound ladies, who brush by the guys who wear the baggy shirts that go to their knees, who follow the teenage girls with impossibly visible thongs, who are dragged away by weary moms into the Gap to “buy something nice.”


With its recreated streetscapes and multicultural and class mix, Yorkdale's hyperreality may be where the reality of Toronto's celebrated diversity actually exists in one place.