Elm Street

Elm Street has lingered in my mind for as long as I can remember. I can’t recall when it got planted there. After having it in my thoughts for years, rekindled every so often by my mother’s interjections “they’re from Elm Street” about Italians whose origins she knew of, I recently learned that Elm Street riding West from Yonge Street to University Avenue was part of a ghetto-like district known as the Ward where various groups of immigrants had settled since the Victorian era. Till I learned of the Ward I knew only my mother’s reminders without which I don’t think I’d ever have known there was an Elm Street, an Italian immigrant locale other than my father’s Grace and Dundas little Italy, I’d simply have known that Barbarian’s Steak house was off Yonge Street somewhere between Gerard and Dundas, maybe near the Gerard Street village where I used to wander from the old Yorkville village when I’d begun playing drums on “the strip”. In time, through recollections like frames in an old film played backwards, I’ve begun to recall events that were linked by Elm Street which had for years been simply isolated incidents separately memorable but with nothing in common. Now I know that they all touched Elm Street.

My first memory is of a time when I was still young enough to be driven around by my father who once drove to a Victorian style building still standing wrapped in a kind of semicircle round the south west corner of Elm and Bay, just up from the bus depot. I sat in the car and waited until he returned from meeting his brother-in-law, my uncle Tony eventually proprietor of a show club, in that building that probably functioned as a restaurant. Then there was the time years after when Mr. Dave Cooper owner on the Zanzibar insisted on showing me his brand new bar Davy C’s wrapped around the south east corner of Elm and Bay, now a chicken product eatery opposite that other corner building my father visited years ago. Then of course there was Lou Miles clothing store where everyone including Ronnie Hawkins and even Chubby Checker had their suits made on the west side of Yonge round the corner from Elm Street. I just now realize that my uncle’s name Tony Mille, visited by my father at the corner of Bay and Elm, had a surname that resembles Miles. Both names originated in Italy and I think that my uncle may have been born there. And recently I’ve concluded that Frank and Sandy’s barbershop then on the east side of Yonge just up from the Zanzibar not far from Elm and Yonge was likely a kind of Elm Street outgrowth that offered hair cuts and big photographs of actor and athlete celebrities getting their hair cut: by Sandro, Cosimo or Ignatio; whenever they visited the Yonge Street strip.


When George Bush junior led the conquest of Iraq I thought only of the seeming arbitrariness of the invasion and the senselessness of its justifications. With  media’s highlighting Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as the reason President Bush had to act, the lengthy Iran – Iraq war that preceded the 2003 invasion was easily overlooked. Only now, with media attention on Iran’s nuclear ability and President Trump’s threats, do I recall the real significance of President Bush’s easy does it war: Iran’s territorial influence has grown. Iraq, Iran’s once formidable enemy that threatened the existence of Iran itself is no more. Even Russia seems conspicuously quiet  as though it too favours limits to Iran’s influence.

Canada’s Steel Industry

Does tv media not know that the price of steel is determined by China the world’s largest maker and seller of steel ?

Deremigi's Blog

Canada manufactures and exports very little steel. Steel manufactured in Canada is manufactured under the direction of global organizations. Canada sold its steel industry Hudsons Bay, Petro Canada, Tim Hortons and manufacturing companies like Dafasco  years ago. The Steel products that Canada exports comprise steel made and priced by China, the world’s foremost maker and marketer of steel.

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In 1845 British protectionism expired to birth the income tax.

…The budget of 1842 reduced the tariff on some 750 articles, and three years later Peel reduced tariffs still more. Duties on raw materials were mostly abolished and those on manufactured articles were consolidated at a general level of 10 per cent. In these ways the burden of revenue was moved from trade to ordinary citizen, and the motive of protection was virtually abandoned…


“We are such stuff as dreams are made”

The book, Toronto’s Secret, began as my online reaction to things I’d been hearing about groups I’d played with that seemed to have been products of half-baked rumour. At first I was surprised that anyone would be interested in these groups at least 20 years since their hey day. I felt that as long as people had been writing and talking about them that my direct experience needed to be told.

What is now a major point of disagreement with my drumming experience, overwhelmed by a narrative akin to fable is the year The Consuls began. This starting point is distorted by band names. The group, I was in, The Consuls, played at teenagers’ dances and began as a group at Playter Hall at Broadview and Danforth in December  1957 and performed until the spring of 1959 before adults had grown accustomed to Rock and Roll. The group got back together some time later as Little Caesar and The Consuls with that name and the date 1956 emblazoned on the bass drum head as the year it began. There is now a video with a band calling itself Little Caesar and The Consuls presenting that bass drum head with that 1956 starting date and a saxophonist who I used to see with some other group when Norm  played sax and I played drums in The Consuls .