I’ve always thought of Toronto as a city that I love visiting, but would absolutely never want to live in. There’s so much to see and do, but it’s just way too huge and loud and scary and whatnot for my taste. Hey, cut me some slack. When I was a kid I spent years living in a village containing a grand total of 4 streets. I always knew I’d end up living in a city because when you’re blind that’s what you do unless you’re happy being shuttled around on other people’s time for the rest of your life, but I also had a pretty good feeling that unless circumstance took me there, Toronto wasn’t going to be that city.
Um…where was I going with this? I got distracted for a bit by the latest installment in the slow death of Carin’s old computer and now I’ve completely lost my train of thought.
Oh, right. Toronto.
One of the things I always really liked about visiting Toronto was that huge row of record stores up and down Yonge Street. Anything I couldn’t find in the closer towns, I could find there. Half the time I didn’t even know what I was looking for, but I’d wind up finding a couple hundred dollars worth of it by the time the day was done. And even on trips when I did more browsing than buying, it was still amazing just to be able to walk through all of these big stores stuffed to the brim with music and comedy.
It’s been a long time since I’ve walked that stretch (most of my Toronto trips are Jays game, food and out nowadays), but I know things have changed. People don’t buy CD’s like they used to, myself included. And because of that, some of those stores are gone now. I knew that, but until I read this, I didn’t quite realize how slim the pickings had gotten.
Of all the stores there, the only ones left are HMV and Sunrise, and that number is about to be cut in half since the Sunrise is either closed or is closing soon.
New came down this morning that Sunrise will shut down operations at their flagship Toronto store by sometime in mid-November, a casualty of falling physical music sales and high rents. Owner and co-founder Malcolm Perlman: “It is a very sad time, having to close the stores on Yonge. Unfortunately, rent on Yonge Street has become too prohibitive to be able to profitably operate stores there.”
Seems it’s getting prohibitive everywhere. I discovered last week that the Sunrise in the mall across from my house is closed now, too. It says a lot that I’m in that mall all the time and I had no idea it was gone. Hell, I hadn’t even thought about the place since last Christmas or was it the Christmas before when I wandered in to look for a present for somebody. Before that, I don’t remember the last time I was in one. Hell, it might’ve been back in the early 2000’s when I lived in Brantford and there was one in the mall my buddy’s and I used to hang out in all the time.
But the point is that I’m a reasonably avid music person and the record stores have lost me. They’ve lost pretty much everybody. It’s crazy how much the internet has changed things in such a relatively short time. And even though I’m not really a CD guy anymore, it’s kind of sad that one of my favourite things to do in Toronto is gone, probably never to return.