Just within the last year the bar that I based ‘Porters’ on was demolished and the entire southwest corner of that intersection is now no more than a cordoned off field of rubble. Some of us who drank there always wondered how the place made money and remained open for so many years. The property taxes alone must have been colossal due to its location and the amount of business it did never appeared that significant. We always quietly assumed there was more to the place than met the eye and that something much more lucrative went on elsewhere in the building. Now that mystery will remain unresolved and the site may soon become home to the tallest tower in the country.
After Pat Coady’s Place closed, only the broken yellow and black sign out front identified where it was and the small building has stayed vacant ever since. Now it is finally being turned into a fitness centre. Many who staffed and frequented the bar are gone now too, so I can only speculate what its 'spirits' might think of the changes occurring after all this time.
A couple of blocks southeast of there, the flophouse I knew now looks much improved on the outside. I suspect that it has been yuppified inside too and turned into more desirable lodgings.* Like Coady’s Place the lot isn’t large enough to be developed so it remains there still, although it must have been fully gutted within to exorcise all its resident ghosts and their baggage.
At first glance Greenwin Square mall seems unchanged. Then one realizes that the usual wastrels bumming money for booze and bullshitting each other outside have vanished along with the Liquor Store - whenever it did - and are no doubt now outside it - wherever it is - occupying themselves in their usual fashion .
And the Howard Restaurant closed too, years ago. The building still remains, but only its shell will escape demolition according to a recent announcement. Another condo tower will rise, behind the facade.
I wrote The Dive with as many real locations as possible. Now so many have gone that the book may in some ways become a historical reference for places past as well as some of the seedier spots still present. I’ll continue trying to capture more of them on ‘film’ sometime soon. Of course readers will best understand what all this means if they know something of Toronto or give The Dive a try.
I stand corrected; I guess it hasn't changed that much after all. See my News page for details.