Category Archives: Abandoned shoes

X marks the spot

I don’t get many opportunities to start a post with the letter x.

On my way after a morning appointment in Glebe. Across from the Glebe Town Hall someone left their runners on a bench but kept the laces.

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It feels a bit spy thriller, like a “drop” location. I was hoping for a cryptic note, or USB drive with secret plans on it.
Maybe I’ve been watching too much “Homelands” and “The Americans”. There was just an abandoned sock and, as usual, usable shoes.

Abandoned at the side of the road

I’m in Toronto for a few weeks and thought I wouldn’t be seeing any abandoned shoes here but it is a veritable minefield, a cornucopia, a smorgasbord. Plenty, in other words!

Here’s what I found within this past 10 days:

The first one was this bag / box arrangement near a bus stop: As I neared the corner, I saw it coming and it was great to find a handy bag next to it as well.

A shoebox, some shoes, a bag and a lid beside it.

They even took the lovely lid off, to help you consider the contents. I was tempted to look inside the Sears bag but decided against. It felt wrong. Something about the lid says Europe, don’t you think?

A closer view of a Sears bag, some shoes, and the box lid beside it.

At the park near my folks, out in the west of the city, there’s a cute little playground. Near it is a bench and some bins, for local residents to picnic, and a nearby recycle bin. This pair were sitting here for days, and are still there a week later, as if no-one dare claim them, although they have been shifting round a bit, so I recon people have been trying them on. Not good enough for anyone to take home though. Used shoes are so personal, so intimate! I now understand better why some cultures consider the importance and significance of  feet and shoes so much.

A pair of brown sandals on the grass near a recycle bin at the park.

Now for some adventure!

While here in Toronto, I’m staying in this B&B, (Hi Lyndsey!) near Dufferin & Davenport, quite a nice European immigrant neighbourhood, mostly Italian and Portugese. It’s a look I know well and defines this part of the city, in particular on their compact front lawns.  I extensively photographed it back in the 80′s when I was a student of photography here and am open (on request) to bore you with some scans from those days.

These flippers were found out on the corner, on the edge of someone’s front lawn, hopefully so someone could take them on their summer holiday. In good nick, if you’re interested. I already have a pair though, so they’re all yours.

A pair of diving flippers, by the side of the pavement

And finally, another pair, right by the door to the Dufferin (and Bloor) subway station. It was a crowded, intensely sunny morning, so I didn’t notice them in the shadows for a moment, then pleasantly surprised. Not my thing, but perfectly OK, which is why someone left them out for interested parties, I assume.

shoes near the door of the entrance to a busy Toronto subway station

Here’s another pic, closer, in case you’re interested. A bit of heel, for those who seek it.

A pair of shoes in the shadows next to the entrance of a subway station

Four  pairs in just over a week.

Eyes peeled for more on my ride out along the ravine this afternoon.