When Nowhere Is Somewhere And Still Undesirable

Jann Arden in Oshawa

Toronto News: Jann Arden calls Oshawa ‘nowhere’ – thestar.com.

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

** For most of us, of course, Oshawa consists of little more than several kilometres of green metal fencing along Highway 401. That and a few signs along the road are all that distinguish Oshawa from the mindless sprawl that now extends east from Toronto through Pickering, Ajax and Whitby to Bowmanville, where it mercifully, though only temporarily, ends.

Truth be told, there’s an Oshawa everywhere you turn — generic mid-size towns that resemble one another right down to the logos of the chains and franchises that define the suburban landscape. The homogenizing effect of Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Shoppers Drug Marts and the rest is felt as strongly here as anywhere.

Even the small town’s usual tourist trap, its historic centre, has been buried beneath years of “growth.” Instead, Oshawa has plastered its walls with lurid murals glorifying the past it has so meticulously destroyed. **

Thanks, Christopher Hume, for the truth about the Shwa. I think he summed things up pretty nicely. Hume didn’t mention it, but there was stinky politics involved in the awarding of Oshawa with this university (The University of Ontario Institute of Technology). Something to do with Conservatives. I don’t know the details.

I come from Oshawa incidentally. I don’t miss it and fortunately I don’t have nightmares about it. Curiously, I did have dreams for a long time about hoods in Oshawa but they were anything but nightmarish. Despite my intense dislike of my original home town (I was going to say home town but I can never figure out whether that means ‘current’ or ‘original’ so I went with laying it all out.), it’s where I came from and it’s under my skin somewhere and not in a bad way. But when I’m awake, I’m awake.

The only reason I have to return to that horrible place is to see family. And I don’t do that often because Who has time? And in my case, I also don’t have a car or money. It’s not easy for me to get there.

I don’t agree with Hume about the location of downtown Oshawa being a better one for the university. On the other hand, That, just as a dilapidated GM arena there has already done, would have buried the pretense that Oshawa’s downtown is a downtown in any normal sense. I had a good look at the outside of the arena around the main entrance (the building and the grounds) when I did security there some time ago. Somehow, I don’t think the inside would be any less dilapidated.

You most definitely don’t revitalize a downtown with a hockey arena. I guess if you’re capitalism-minded, which isn’t the same as being interested in culture and life, and you’re going to have yahoos getting violent anyway, bring it indoors and charge money for it.

Downtown Oshawa is a nasty place my friends. I don’t even like to catch the GO bus downtown. I have my family drop me off at lonely stops on Bond St west. The creepiest losers hit you up for money at the GO downtown and then, when you don’t fork it over, they wander off. But not not for long. Where do you go in downtown Oshawa if you’re not up for gross wings or a tatoo or really bad coffee? Or drugs?

I can’t imagine going ‘downtown’ for an afternoon in an Oshawa overrun with loud- and potty-mouthed teens who think that everywhere they go is their living room and ‘you’ are invading ‘their’ space. (There’s a fairly large student presence downtown already due to some university facilities located there. I don’t know exactly what those are however. But, truth be told, the kids I’ve seen as a result of that presence have only made downtown seem a little safer, if anything.) That’s their idea of sharing public spaces with others. They are not all scary, but too many of them are.

That’s right. I don’t like anyone.

Oshawa City Hall on Centre St just south of King, downtown

Activists, shunned by hypocritical educational authorities, set up outside Mad Cafe on King St in the downtown core.

The kids have a long way to go. One of them, in charge of the display, didn't know anything about Gildan (box in background), maker of their messaging shirts and famous employer of slave labor, including kids. As for Madeleine and her cafe; The overpriced cupcakes are crap. The coffee is good but the 'baristas' don't know how to pull shots and they get antsy if you tell them. That, while they hit you over the head with redneck music going up and down in volume from an ipod. Run!

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