Here in the Centretown neighbhourhood that many of us still think of as Dalhousie Ward, there are a number of signs that we are not in the Glebe. In addition to the houses being smaller and closer to the sidewalks and all the autobody shops, there's the pawn shop, the Money Mart, and the sex-trade workers. But a strange thing is happening -- some of these signs are going away.
Last summer, the Blue Moon porno store next to the Money Mart closed down and Dolmades Greek Delights opened in its place.
My energetic neighbour Pam finally had enough of the johns cruising the neighbourhood and started campaigning to make the neighbourhood safer. [Centretown News Story] I can tell you that if you're looking for a sex trade worker, there is no point cruising our corner any more. Word seems to be out. (On the other hand, over at Bell and Gladstone, there still seems to be a high likelihood of finding a woman looking for a "party".)
A few years after I moved here, the Invicta war memorabilia store turned into the Pawn-Da-Rosa. Today it has signs in the window that say "50% Off Everything Must Go!" and a big "For Sale" sign on the building. They're selling CDs for a dollar each. (There's a Shania Twain on the shelf, if you're interested.)
I'm eager to see what will go in there after the sale. [Tip for entrepreneurs: There's no Starbucks, Second Cup or any coffee joint for blocks and blocks!]
Okay, Dave, you're thinking, porno, prostitutes and pawn shops are on the decline, but you've still got the Money Mart bringing down the tone of the neighbourhood.
Yes, you're right, but maybe not for long. Last week the Supreme Court denied leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision to prevent MoneyMart from shutting down the Ontario class action lawsuit against them for charging criminal interest rates on their "PayDay" loans. [Toronto Star article here] If the class gets certified and they lose, could they go out of business? I don't know, but maybe, right? [Tip for entrepreneurs: Bronson and Gladstone would be a great corner for a fruit market!]
Of course, I shouldn't be so cheery about all this. If I ever do get burglarized, I'll have to go further to find the pawn shop with my cds and TV set. The people who can't get payday loans will go to loan sharks. And the johns? Maybe we're stuck with them, but I'd like to see them get a visit from the police every time they hit on a woman who is not a sex-trade worker. Maybe even a law that has them lose their drivers licence for a month for street solicitation.