Frances Bula header image 2

The urban geography of death

March 6th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Just stumbled across this poetic essay from a Toronto writer, meditating on the places in that city that evoke the ghostly presence of deaths past, which struck a chord.

I worked, many decades ago, typing court transcripts from tapes, which used to take me into a different world, via my headphones, where I felt vividly present at the scenes of accidents and robberies and murders. There is a building in Kitsilano that I can never pass by without thinking of the jeweller who was robbed and murdered there.

That alternative view of the city has only been strengthened during my years as a journalist, where certain intersections or spots on the highway are indelibly imprinted on my memory as a place someone died. I invariably try to direct friends to the location of my neighbourhood restaurant by helpfully telling them that it’s “right where the Dosanjh brothers were gunned down.”

It still feels a little eerie to walk past the spot where Tracey, the homeless woman, burned to death on Davie this winter, made more so by the concrete wall at the spot where she died still smudged with black soot and what seems like the faint outline of a shopping cart visible. And the places where Rachel Davis and Lee Matasi were shot (outside 15 Water and 398 Richards) are still whispery reminders of how young kids have lost their lives to the careless violence that permeates our yoga city.

Categories: Uncategorized