PARKDALE: Queen St. W. and Macdonell Ave., looking northeast, 2002.

look at both postcards at once

THE STREET WHERE I LIVE, today. If I needed evidence for why I still harbour luddite tendencies, this would be exhibit number one.

The city has never had the will to bury its network of overhead power and phone lines anywhere except downtown, so this cat's cradle/washing line is the bane of every street photographer's life. I've already warned you about the little cupola's disappearance, but there's something else - something bigger - missing from today's view

Look at the pointed roof - the "witches hat", as it's known - on the right of the picture. Doesn't it seem a bit unbalanced, a bit out of place? Go back to the previous photo, and you'll see that, sometime in the last ninety years, it lost its twin. The Guardian Drugs sits in a low gap punched out of the streetscape, robbing the block of a landmark that gave it a symmetry. The witches hats faced Jameson Avenue, which drove straight down to the lake - today it's an exit from the expressway - and was a testament to the dignity builders and developers once gave to main streets.

Whoever took away one of the witches hats had a mean spirit and eyes that might as well have been made of cheap glass. Never mind the awfulness of the signage over the stores; they can be pried away, the facades repaired. It's unlikely, though, that the divot where half of a building was ripped away will ever be satisfactorily repaired. One of a thousand little crimes that are committed against cities all over the world.