Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

when there's nothing left to burn...

Yep, well, as those of you who received Kristine's email yesterdays, Edmonton continues to celebrate its centennial year by burning itself the fuck down, cool building by cool building. Last month, it was the historic (and slummy) Arlington apartment block downtown, just a few years shy of its 100th birthday; a couple weeks ago, it was Hub Cigar, which stood on Whyte Ave since 1894 when it served as an outfitters for prospectors heading north to the gold fields; and just yesterday, it was the most amazing set of townhouses in the city, the Garneau Mews, a block away from Kristine's place. (We're having trouble putting up a pic, but one will be added as soon as we figure things out.)

While not historical in any readily apparent way, the Mews were the most uniquely designed split-levels available on the rental market; when my friend Nathan and his wife were in town about ten months ago, we stopped by at a friend's who lived there, and I was floored by the two-and-a-half-story open-air plan complete with sunlights and an open staircase going right up the middle. Seriously--I wish I had taken a picture of what it was like, because it was pretty much exactly the kind of place in which I only dream of living in.

But anyhow, wuh-boom: they're totally gone. Well, not yet; the one block is still there, mostly untouched by flames but possibly made uninhabitable, while the afflicted adjacent block still smoulders, the sun poking through the rooftop beams exposed by the fire. I guess they'll probably tear it all down; even if the flames didn't spread that much, the sheer amount of water they doused these homes with probably took care of the rest.

It all begs the question: what the fuck is with all the fires? Don't forget about the Ashbury Place fire and the Whyte Ave Albert's Pancake House/pet store blaze of two years ago, too... all those poor kitties and uneaten breakfast foods. But seriously: what's causing this? Wiring's the usual suspect (although the Arlington fire is still being investigated as an arson--and knowing the tales told about its corrupt asshole owner and how he'd would have loved to sell the place and turn the lot into condos, I would put it past him), but do Edmonton's electricians suck this bad at their craft? Who knows. Point is, I should really, really look into fire insurance. Someday, the whole city's gonna go.


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