Etobicoke

For no reason I just experienced a small whiff of nostalgia for my hometown, Etobicoke.

The city logo, found on every single one of my schoolbooks for my entire childhood.

The city logo, found on every single one of my schoolbooks for my entire childhood.

What do I know about Etobicoke?

It’s a very large suburb of Toronto. When I was a little kid it was sort of its own city but then it amalgamated into the so-called megacity that is the Greater Toronto Area. It’s fairly demographically mixed, containing some of the richest and some of the poorest parts of Toronto. And a lot of weird industrial stuff, too. But the part I’m from is a bungalow suburb.

There’s a big park with a hill that used to be a garbage dump and still has to have little pipes sticking out of it to vent the garbage gas. There’s a nice creek where me and my dad saw a bunny once and I used to catch minnows, snails, caddisfly larvae, and leeches to keep in a fishtank in my yard. There are a couple of surprisingly good burger joints. And it spawned some good musicians, like Jeff Healey and Broken Social Scene and the Rheostatics. And my parents live there. And the name Etobicoke comes from a First-Nations (Mississauga) word, wadoopikaang, which means “place where the alders grow”. Obviously.

By the way the K is silent. eh-TOE-bih-co.

That alder-leaf logo gives me a pretty profound jolt of the nostalgie. Once I saw this dude carrying a vintage Etobicoke gym bag- a cheap 1970s nylon cylinder tote bag, in that screamy green/yellow colour combination, with the crowned alder leaf on the side. We were in a mall, downtown, nowhere near Etobicoke, and I totally rushed this absolute stranger like

OMG ETOBICOKE BAG WHERE DID YOU GET THAT WOW ZOMG I REALLY WANT ONE!!11!!!!!!

And he was all, “uh, I found it at a garage sale, I just thought it looked cool”

and I was like ARE YOU FROM ETOBICOKE? I AM FROM ETOBICOKE! WHAT PART OF ETOBICOKE ARE YOU FROM????

And he was all, “uh, no, no I’m not from, uh, there, what is that”

and I was all I’LL TOTALLY BUY YOUR AWESOME ETOBICOKE TOTE BAG OFF YOU FOR FORTY BUCKS!!! YOU IN???? I DON’T HAVE ANY CASH ON ME BUT WE CAN GO TO A BANK MACHINE!!!!!!!!!!

and he was like, “uh, no.”

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9 Responses to Etobicoke

  1. jessperson says:

    EtobiCokehead.

  2. stamperoo says:

    Pronounced EtobiCOhead, of course.

  3. Julian "KID" Della Vedova says:

    this blog is awesome I’m from etobicoke or as I like to call it E-Block and I live right by garbage mountain LOL

  4. GREEN MACHINE says:

    Nice to hear..
    the flag has changed for the better though
    where do you live now? Away from the suburbia madness?

  5. sandra lynn says:

    I can’t believe it! Etobicoke! I grew up there! The Westway and Wincott area. Centennial Park (a former garbage dump)was where we all went tobogganing in the winter time, it was the best hill area besides St.Georges Country Club on Islington Ave. I am very nostalgic for my former stomping grounds.
    Thanks for sharing some info about our former city!
    ~ BTW Love your blog!
    ~Sandra Lynn

    • Jeff says:

      I used to go tobogganing at St. George’s too and in the summer I would caddy for rich folks who lived in the surrounding affluent neighbourhood. Only got paid $2.00 to walk a set of clubs around the course but it was decent money for a kid back then.I grew up around Martingrove and The Westway, and went to Kipling Collegiate.

      There was also a place called Turkey Palace near Hwy 27 and Eglinton where we used to toboggan on steep hills there (well at least to an 8 year old). It eventually became the 401-427 Eglinton interchange with cloverleafs and ramps.

      I moved to BC in 1974 on a one-way plane ticket my Dad bought for me (he wasn’t trying to get rid of me but was just facilitating my wanderlust at the time) and haven’t been back since except to visit.

      Last visit to the old neighbourhood was about 20 years ago. I often wonder what changes have taken place since. I’m sure I would find myself reminiscing to some kid about what the place was like “back then” and in turn I would be considered as some curious relic from the distant past only read about in schools text books with black and white pictures, or in National Geographic maybe, featured among illustrations of people wearing khaki shorts and pith helmets on an expedition in India, or naked African stone-age tribes perhaps, the ones I paid closer attention to after puberty, lol.Then I would realize I had become the embodiment of what I thought was so ancient as a kid, with all the wistful irony that goes along with it. And it would all be a part of a nostalgic journey back in time with twinges here and there to guide the way…

  6. Eva-tobicoh says:

    Whoo! Go etobicockeh, I grew up there near bloor and markland from when i was a teeny tiny polish FOB, to when my engrish got good and then i moved across the golf course stream to mississaWuga :) i rmember my school trips to centennial park, i somehow blocked out the memory of it being a garbage dump before. i did my driving lessons around etobicoke too. hehe. oh and now i left canada to go study in europe, and when i come back the immigration guy treats me like a fob, cuz im living in a different country, and im like…but dude, ur accent is way fobbier than mine. yeah but no can do, im still marked as a visitor. lame.

  7. Jeff says:

    I’m from Etobicoke too. Small world. What area did you grow up? I was mostly Bloor/Royal York. Hilarious. Merry Christmas BTW…hope your script is coming along. I enjoyed reading it.

  8. Be the best and fuck the rest…

    [...]Etobicoke « pageslap[...]…

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