(30) The Anatomy of A Street

Chai was born in early November, under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius. People born under this sign revere freedom, free-spirited, they are eager to travel, explore the world and learn other cultures. With full support from her parents, and aunt Mrs. Bento, Chai is able to live a life very close to this idea, and she's managed to finish her graduate degree in journalism in Toronto with flying marks.

The Toronto anatomy project is exciting and well-thought-out, both Bentos couldn't agree more. Chai can live with them for as long as she needs. This will give her plenty of time to explore the city. Ginger is the most excited one, clearly infatuated with Chai's idea and couldn't wait to spend time scouting different parts of the city with her cousin.

"Well, wouldn't it be easier, Chai, if you can start from our area first? Isn't it funny, we've lived in this neighbourhood for over ten years, and we've walked around the streets for so many times, all I can notice is their little front yards, flowering in Summers, snow banking in Winters. Not until recently can I identify a raspberry plant further up our street, and a huge black mulberry tree a few streets away, where birds and squirrels popping from one branch to another, eating their meals! If you really look, nature is everywhere."

"But mom, we are talking about life in urban areas, human activities, not birds and bees," proclaimed Ginger.

"There's always human presence! So much activities over the years, even on Gladstone Avenue and its environs," replied Mrs. Bento, and she was right. If one has the interest to dig into the archaic layers of lives lived, and events went through on this Avenue, there is more than enough to start with.

"If you are not too busy, aunty, we can stroll on Gladstone Avenue this evening as you suggest. It won't get dark until nine so it will be a pleasant walk. Ginger you are coming with us, aren't you?" Chai's eyes gleamed with interest and looked at Ginger smilingly, expecting a positive answer.

"Let's do it tomorrow morning," Mrs. Bento said. A strange idea suddenly emerges from her head. "I want to reverse the walk. Instead of walking from here up north of Gladstone Avenue, let's walk from Gladstone and Bloor, going down this way - south. Gladstone Avenue is not a through street, it's being cut by Dufferin Park in the middle. We can take the bus up to Bloor Street West subway station and head down from Gladstone Library, where Gladstone Avenue starts, or ends."

"I love libraries," said Chai. "Can we go inside the Gladstone Library to have a look?"

"You'll love it inside out. It's a little, grand classical architecture built a century ago. Renovated in 2009 with a glass box addition. A heavenly place for people who live by, cool in Summer and warm in Winter. Sure we can stop by and spend sometime inside. Oh, talking about library, we have this little library upstairs on the third floor, handed over to my charge when we bought the building."

"That's interesting! Can I have a peep inside too sometime aunty?" Chai said with a hint of curiosity. But Mrs. Bento, recalling what Mr. Bento had said earlier, quickly subdued her thoughts of saying yes.

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