Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Canadian Connection

The plan was to visit my cousins Rohan and Karan Oberoi across the border from Niagara in Toronto for a one night special. However, we fell under the spell of Rohan's exceptional powers of persuasion and wound up staying four nights, eating sushi, drinking Harley Davidson beer and rolling around watching films like Office Space in trampy pyjamas. That, and finding the perfect pair of retractable fangs for Karan, who was searching for the best Dracula outfit by ransacking Halloween warehouses across the city. It was super.

With home comforts available so immediately, it wasn't until Tuesday, three nights after arriving in CanadaLand, that we ventured into downtown Toronto. Rohan drove us out to the Meadowvale GO station where we caught the next express bus to Union Station.

So engrossed was I in the Toronto Trip Advisor city guide app, it wasn't until we tripped out into the grey drizzle that the Gassonimator began nervously giggling about a conversation she'd overheard between two former felons who were sitting behind us on the bus. Apparently a haggle over the price of a Berretta firearm had ensued* with furious verocity. An agreement had been reached. The exchange would take place later that evening deep inside a maze of shipping containers at the most desolate end of the city's dockyard. Each convict would bring his gang and a battle for the armoury would surge, relentless and brutal, until sunrise. Hardened prostitutes would circle the fray, ignoring the pain in their bunion-riddled feet, until a victor had been declared. Thereafter a moose would be offered as a sacrifice, the winner bathing in its blood and vital organs while shooting off rounds into the bright blue Torontonian sky. Eh.

It sounded thrilling, but we had a discount store called Honest Ed's to explore, so sadly could not witness the astounding display of double-hardness.

Honest Ed's, beyond the markets of Kensington and Chinatown to the west of Dundas Square in the city centre, looked like something out of George Osborne's wet austerity dream.

The outside is plastered in gaudy bright lights and red, black and white lettering, ordering innocent passers-by to come in and SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! Broke? Homeless? Waiting for payday? Shine some shoes, sell your children or take out a loan with fantastically high APR rates, because these deals won't last forever, ya frickin' douchebag! Marketing about as subtle as Jackie Stallone's cosmetic surgery.

Nonetheless, we pushed open the crusty doors and entered a floor stacked every which way with product. Glittery nail polish for ten cents a bottle. On-trend khaki trousers priced fifty cents. A snuggie blanket available for a snip at $2.99. Need a badly modelled bust of Elvis or a can of successful mushrooms? Honest Ed's got your back. 

* liberal amounts of creative licence may have been used beyond this point.


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