A while back, a good friend of mine was in town for the
weekend. We decided to meet in the Annex; I still lived there and it was one of
his favourite neighbourhoods.
We were walking north along Brunswick Avenue and we saw an open house sign for a unit at The Loretto, where Loretto College School (North Campus) used to be, the high school my sister and I attended. I told that to my friend and said something along the lines of, ‘Kinda crazy, but wanna go to that open house and pretend we’re looking for a place?’ He was like, ‘F—k yeah.’
It was unrecognisable the minute I walked in. Everything about it looked so posh, quite the opposite of what the school had been. Gone was the creaky staircase that tired you out when going up to art, or typing class. Gone was the stage where we performed for Variety Night, rehearsed for the Sears Drama Festival, gathered for assemblies.
We took the lift up to the third floor and went into the unit; small, but nice. I couldn’t place where we were; we weren’t allowed to go to certain areas of the convent in those days. The agent was very friendly; my friend did most of the talking as I just walked around. We thanked him and left.
Coincidentally, a unit in the adjacent building (the Schoolhouse Lofts) was also having an open house. That building was where the majority of our classes were held and where the hallways smelled of skunk (!). We went in. I stopped at each floor, trying to peer through the windowpane on the door, seeing what it now looked like. Each unit had names like The Berkley, the Stanford, the Harvard, etc. My friend rolled his eyes.
I felt uncomfortable being there, even though it was “home” for five years. The sales agent was talking, but I wasn’t really listening. I was standing in the middle of a luxurious unit, taken aback by it all. This was where I had Law class, Finite, English, French; where I met some of my closest friends; where I had some pretty amazing teachers, one of whom inspired me to pursue theatre; where we laughed, cried, and shared those awkward moments, as teenagers do.
I finally admitted to the agent that I had gone to school here; she gave me a blank stare, and said, ‘Oh’, with an air of ‘Yeah, and…?’ attached to it. Well, not that I expected her to care. The agents weren’t there to make you feel nostalgic, or hear about the past, they were there to sell you a unit, a future. She gave us pamphlets and said to call her if we had further questions.
It felt weird seeing the school as condos. Almost melancholic. If anything, I reckon the neighbours must be happy, now that there’s no longer loud music blasting from cars, or cigarette butts littered on their lawns.
by Wayne Chan | May 3rd 11:55 am
My daily commute is like a small gear of mechanical time, of epicycles upon epicycles, where days turn to months and to years, and the seasons cycle through. The rhythms of time are constant, but the changes they bring are not.
by george ilsley | May 3rd 1:44 pm
The neighborhood of Broma in Vancouver (around Broadway and Main) used to have salmon streams and a temperate rainforest. Now it has hipsters.
by Brendan Harrison | Apr 12th 12:54 pm
When white supremacists moved into my neighbourhood, I was forced to reconsider what community meant to me.
by Monica Meneghetti | May 2nd 11:45 pm
Queer Banffites come in every stripe but, like other wildlife, most of us are well-camouflaged.
by Christin Geall | May 3rd 10:16 pm
In my neighborhood, houses float out to sea. They’re jacked up from their foundations, lifted onto trucks, and barged away.
by Christina Wong | May 3rd 8:26 pm
Some of the sights and sounds I grew up with in China Town are no longer present, but within the neighbourhood, one familiar constant is the number of family associations that still exist.
by Christina Wong | Apr 18th 10:36 pm
A former high school in the Annex becomes a condo.
by Christina Wong | Apr 10th 4:59 pm
Musings of growing up in the Annex.