Clean Up

Clean Up

the service station closed

when the owners

couldn’t afford 

the environmental clean up

the profit margin was so slim

it was better to go bankrupt

than pay the fines

they couldn’t afford

for not doing 

the environmental clean up


the station was abandoned

after a decade it was torn down

to build a condo

or rather start to build

the soil was too contaminated

to build on

the cost of 

the environmental clean up

added too much to the initial start up

it was abandoned once again

pre-sold units never built

buyers screwed


the fenced in empty lot

became a blot

where weeds grew


except in one bald stretch

what building was once there 

was forgotten

the stretch was smaller every year

left alone

nature did

the environmental clean up

This is a true story, or rather one pasted to gather from true facts. The service station was not far from me here in east end Toronto. near Danforth & Donald’s. It was functioning when I moved into the area then closed & seemed to be abandoned for several years. I did take some photos before was fenced in. I did see a soil testing company come in to take samples. 

It remained abandoned for another couple of years before the building was demolished, another year before the debris was hauled way & new fencing spot up. Weeds took over & the few remaining trees along the back fence line thrived. Three years ago the land was cleared again. A sign went up for a condo & then one of those prefab buildings to see units was put up. It has remained unused now for two years. 

The first two verses are pretty much what I wrote in my first draft. The third verse has been kicked into shape this week to create a sense of ending. Frequently I’ve left drafts in very rough shape expecting to come back to them eventually. I brain needs time to discover where the path in the first rush is leading to. 

I’ve seen documentaries about abandoned resorts, shopping malls, & even amusement parks around the world. It has been encouraging & a bit amazing, to see them being overgrown with trees, plants breaking through parking lot asphalt – when we stop making things worse the planet can start to repair itself. 

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Ghosts Toronto Stratford

Bus Terminal Family Restaurant – at Danforth/Coxwell
one of the several incarnations of the diner – now empty
garage at Gerrard E/Main now gone – I loved the colours
ample parking for using the washrooms 🙂
curved awning at the garage – garage now replaced by modern box
once a fixture on Albert St. in Stratford, we often parked in front of it when having lunch at Features & even shopped there, now moved to Festival Marketplace Shopping Centre – where we will never park
Canada Tire Express Danforth/Gough – it has been various pop-up stores & presently some Fitness studio that may become a covid ghost
another Danforth ghost – I don’t remember what it used to be – Gems Co is still on the 2nd Floor
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Out-Of-Service Station

This garage/body shop on the Danforth near Donlands has been abandoned for a few years now. Work started but stopped abruptly. I suspect they discovered toxins underground. I have seen soil testers taking samples in front once then a few moths later more soil testers along the side.

I did step inside at the back but wasn’t sure how structurally sound the floor, ceiling were & wasn’t ready to scarce more than my time for art 🙂

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