I took this photo on the drive in to work one day. What a bizarre, gutting feeling to see one of the busiest streets in the city, Spadina, looking down to Chinatown, empty, in broad daylight.

As a shop that’s always had a brick and mortar in this vibrant, bustling city, I’ve always felt a real affinity for individual neighbourhoods within Toronto—quiet Little Portugal, growing Leslieville, historic Cabbagetown—and how much of a cultural thread small shops and independent businesses are.

I saw a tweet the other day about supporting small businesses that you want to see around after this is all over. I think about this a lot, the family-run deli we pick up cheese and olives from, the comic book store that I want Caleb to grow up visiting, soup dumpling and dim sum restaurants, the cafe where we have our book clubs. We hold steady, we live to sell stationery another day, and then what about tomorrow? What about all these other shops?

Driving down these empty streets is a new reality. It’s been encouraging to see what shops are doing to try and survive, creative solutions to react and reflect this new age, and I can only hope it’s enough. We are all keeping our fingers crossed, our heads down, our hearts in our throats.

Related Posts

April 07, 2020 — wonderpens



Hali said:

Good morning, Liz & Jon!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts amidst all of the drastic changes we are all experiencing during this incredibly difficult time. My fingers are crossed for Wonder Pens to successfully weather the storm; and that hopefully, the day will soon come when the shop re-opens for walk-in customers, again.

Fountain pen enthusiast,

Wasauksing First Nation


wonderpens said:

Dear H.T.,

Thank you so much for your encouragement! We are also sending good wishes to you up north, and hope you are staying strong and well. We know how much support is needed from all levels everywhere, but in certain communities especially.


Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.