I have a fascination with old signs and the stories they tell of the city that used to be. I spend a lot of time looking up as I wander around downtown, while so many others are looking down at their tech. This one caught my eye because, despite the age and decriptness implied by the sign (and the For Lease sign above it), the shop is still in business. Peering in the window, you can see the Interac payment sign on the back wall, above a naked bulb; modern and incongruent with the exterior.
This is the Fashion District. A couple of blocks to the north, the street is lined with stores stuffed wall-to-wall with fabric, buttons, jewelry components and findings. To the south and east, you’ll still find shops still selling hides and furs (many of them with their original signs from the 70s). So the location makes sense: in this neighbourhood, sewing machines and steam irons are tools of the trade. Here people would want workhorses, not disposable household models.
The interior window ledge bears several such machines. Cast iron, disused but not forgotten. Silent witnesses to the changes on the street.
Across the street, reflected in the shop’s windows, is a condo building. Directly behind the shop is a once-vacant lot where ground has recently been broken for another condo.
Fashion, ever-changing, keeps them in business. The question is only how long they’ll be here, in this location while other markets encroach.
I was here.
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