Why Toronto needs a city museum

Post by Eric Mang in

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CityCaucus.com's Eric Mang gave us a 4000-word essay last week, and a poem today

I love your streets.
Like a welcome childhood memory,
I know your neighbourhoods,
Your alleys and lanes and paths.

Your creeks and rivers,
Some now hidden.
Where feet fall on Philosopher’s Walk
Taddle Creek still trickles. 

In millennia past
You were home to other peoples,
Some descendants now rest their heads
On your cold shoulder.

Strategically located,
The Europeans made a military man out of you.
Blood and gunpowder
When the Yankees came to town.

Men marched in your streets.
Fire in their hearts
And fire in their hands,
Republican sentiments boiling over

Diseases ravaged your people.
But they persevered,
Flourishing, crowding your avenues
With waves of newcomers.

WASPs ascendant
Now in decline.
Your arms welcoming
People of the Earth.

Your neighbourhoods
Sounds and rhythms
Of many peoples
Living as one.

Chinatown bustling,
Staccato shouts.
Little India,
The scent of cardamom. 

Portuguese with football fever,
Italians chatting politics,
Tamils seeking justice,
Tagalog heard in the park.

Do they know
About Don and Humber?
About Seneca and Cayuga?
That you are more than a nexus of commerce?

That fire destroyed you
And that the iron road
And your port
Were blood in your veins? 

Today you are beacon.
To the arts, to new Canadians,
To those who move
To your pulse and pace.

But you are more than your present
My demisemiseptcentennial dear.
Your past reminds us of why
We should celebrate you.

You have no single place
To show off your treasures.
They are scattered
And trying to piece them together
Leaves you a puzzle.

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