Walking the stretch of College St between Manning and Montrose brings to mind many mundane things: do people genuinely enjoy the food at Cafe Diplomatico? Why is the retail space of the Fish Store just a sliver of an entire building? Has that vape store always been there?
Musings about the neighbourhood has inspired a group of Toronto enthusiasts to put it all together into an experiential audio tour called The Slow Now.
Combining all the soothing librarian tones and sound effects of NPR programming with a historical narrative of the area, The Slow Now offers a hybrid of podcast, poetry and spatial interaction that will be hugely satisfying for fans of Toronto history and literature.
Created by Koffler Digital, the Koffler Gallerys platform for free digital arts content, and produced by Angela Shackel, the audio guide begins at Project Bookmark Canadas plaque for Anne Michaels’s Fugitive Pieces on Manning. Michaels herself voices sections of the walk, offering excerpts from her lauded novel that turn the walking tour into a far more contemplative journey.
Writer and artist Naomi Skwarna narrates the walk, telling the story of how the area came to be and the genesis of many familiar storefronts through their past lives as youre guided from College St to Christie Pits. Like good radio should, The Slow Now presents listeners with genuine pathos for people and places they may have never felt connected to.
You will mourn the closure of Mom & Pop shops as if they were opened by your own Ma and Pa you’ll feel irrational nostalgia for places like Sashimi Island that you thought you could never miss.
As Koffler Digital expands its content, hopefully well see more original programming like this which finds innovative ways to experience community and illustrate the simple things were missing everyday.
Download The Slow Now for free here.
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