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We used to live on the edge of Don Mills in Toronto. Our particular subdivision was built in 1959, and a small strip plaza was built close by to service the community. Almost 50 years later, it still held the original barbershop (and original barber), and a burger joint that supplied the local high-school’s teens with fast food, and the associated garbage that they’d leave on our lawn. But the plaza had deteriorated to such a state, and had so many vacant stores, that a decision was made to tear it down. The huge plot of vacant land that was left was then paved over.

Coming home past the lot one day, I noticed that someone had dumped a bunch of old, derelict cars on the lot, including a Dodge from around 1949 or ’50. I walked over with my camera the next day, and took a group of pictures. I had purchased my Panasonic G1 (the very first Micro-4/3 camera) earlier in the year, and had an adapted 1970’s-vintage M-Rokkor 40mm f/2 lens attached. Several days later, all of the derelict cars disappeared. So I was glad that I’d taken the opportunity when the cars were there, but just as happy that my neighbourhood had not become a dumping ground.

I’ve not been back to Don Mills to see what, if anything, was eventually built in the empty lot. I used to say to my wife that someone should build a seniors’ home there. A number of our neighbours were the original home owners from 1959, and all were getting “to that age”. The subdivision was full of them. Of course, we’re all living in an aging society. Here in Nova Scotia, where I now live, 17% of the population are 65 or older. That’s predicted to be almost 29% by 2040!

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