Although Dodgeville has been around in one form or another for close to fifteen years, this fourth incarnation celebrated just its second anniversary yesterday. My informal goal when I started this blog was to produce interesting, varied, and somewhat unstructured content on a regular basis. I like to think that I usually succeed. Dodgeville’s tagline, “Random wanderings and wonderings,” was originally intended to be a placeholder while I thought of something better. I never did, and it seemed as appropriate as anything else I could come up with to cover my mix of ramblings. I do try to make this blog less about me and more about the world around me, but I did occasionally bring my half-dozens of readers a little deeper into Dodgeville this year to follow our kitchen renovation. It was finished two weeks behind the original timeline, which was well within our expectations.
Dodgeville’s sophomore year was quite productive even though, as with its first year, most potential posts never quite made it beyond the idea or initial draft stages. You may consider it a blessing that a tiny fraction of the 5500 pictures I’ve taken in the past 12 months have made it into the blog. As with last year’s wrap-up, the pictures accompanying this post are a few of the many that I’d set aside for posts that I never quite got around to developing.
I changed workplaces around this time last year and much of my sights-of-the-city reporting changed venues with me: instead of watching red-tailed hawks and urban wildlife in and around E.T. Seton Park, this summer I tracked red-tailed hawks and urban wildlife in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Mount Pleasant has also been the source of some of my griping this year, but mostly I really like exploring the cemetery. You’ll be seeing more of it in the year ahead, too.
Following up on the previous year’s explorations of old Pottery Road and Don Mills Road, I paid visits to Indian Line, an abandoned DVP on-ramp, and Passmore Avenue. Every time I think I’m running out of abandoned roads, another one pops up onto my radar. I hope to spend more time exploring hidden and neglected corners of the city this coming year.
Some of my favourite finds this year included a colourful garage door, notes to the cleaning crew, a leet car, a poorly-designed intersection, Eddie Shack Donuts, the city’s best bike lane (courtesy of the TTC strike), and a traffic camera watching the Don River. I posted a number of my discoveries on Torontoist instead of here; they included a readymade on Merton Street, a very Toronto display of passive aggression, a touching neighbourhood notice, and a grossly inaccurate official notice.
Torontoist was also home to one of my most ambitious blogging projects yet, The Travails of Mr. Stickman. I spent about three months obsessively examining every commercial vehicle and piece of heavy machinery that I walked or biked past to compile the three dozen photos. It was a lot of fun, but I was happy to turn my concentration to something else shortly afterward. I also contributed about a dozen business names to the Great Torontoist Pun Hunt including my personal and long-time favourite, “Bin There Dump That.”
One of the things that continues to surprise me about the city is how much of it lurks just out of sight. For the curious, there’s always more around the corner or a block away. It’s the primary reason why I continue to vary my commuting and walking routes. Although my schedule has put a crimp in my wandering for much of the last year, I should be coming out of the worst of my overcommitments just in time for the spring hiking and cycling seasons.
So what’s up for Dodgeville this year? Many more random discoveries, for sure. A couple more abandoned roads, I hope. More explorations in Toronto’s outer suburbs and rural surroundings, thanks to the extended day-tripping range I get out of the combination of the GO train and my new (incredibly zippy!) road bike. Some new Supermarket Finds are on deck in the next few weeks. And of course, there will be celebrations when the Chester Hill bike lane is finished early in the spring.
Dodgeville will also be getting a redesign with support for those newfangled tags and some other new content. For those of you who read the site directly instead of through an RSS reader, one of the improved features is already visible in the sidebar to the right. In addition to the cycling mileage counter of previous years, I’m now keeping track of my walking, public transit, and automobile mileage. In the first seven weeks of the year, an unexpected result is already emerging: I fully expected the car and walking totals to be inverted. I think I travel about 2000 km by car in an average year and I’m on pace to walk around 1500 km this year, so we’ll have to see if the numbers hold.
Anyway, thanks for reading for yet another year. Stick around; there’s lots more to come.