Now Stollery’s Going
Stollery’s is (or was) a rather classy men’s wear store on Yonge and Bloor. It’s been there for years, decades, really. The reason why this place pulls heart strings is because it was at this crossroads, in a way, I was born. The store is now being demolished. While on today’s walk, I was somewhat horrified.
When I say, “I was born,” I mean I began my first sankirtan outreach there. No, I would never consider going inside the store in those early days of ’73 to purchase a three piece suit. I was happy with my monk’s attire, my dhoti and kurta, even though very unstylish, but it was outside of this men’s wear shop that I would approach pedestrians with a book on spirituality. I would try to make friends and try to make the sale. Often times I would succeed. Those were nostaligic days.
I’ll tell you another place that hits the sentiments in the same way. It’s near Yonge and Dundas. Not long ago, the iconic “Sam the Record Man” massive red LP came down. That happened over a year ago. And it’s also nostaligic for me because this is the spot where I used to meet Sam, himself, the elderly Jewish guy, the owner. That building’s been replaced for a contemporary charmless edifice.
The third landmark up for demolition that hits a sensitive nerve is the signature signage of Ed Mirvish’s discount store,“Honest Ed’s” at Bathhurst and Bloor. It’s coming down. To me, they are all places of pilgrimage because this is where the people were, and where the people were, that’s where the Hare Krishnas were. Mantras, Gita’s, and incense were dispersed in these spots, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
Images of my early monkhood are being buried in the waves of time.
May the Source be with you!