6040 Bathurst & Father’s Day

About six months ago, I drove to 6040 Bathurst St., just south of Steeles, in North York. 6040 is the address of a residential high-rise, about 17 floors, built in 1971.

I parked in the adjacent McDonald’s, then crossed a large boulevard to get to the building’s front entrance; a way in I haven’t had in 23 years.

I stepped back before going in and counted balconies on the far north side. My Bubbie and Zaydie lived on the sixth floor, I think. I never was allowed to go out on that balcony. I never experienced their view, what they saw.

I realized I couldn’t very well go in, so, after a few minutes, I walked back to the McDonald’s. I ate French fries in the car, and stared up at 6040.

As a kid, this place was far far away; it was where my grandparents lived. I knew nothing of Toronto, of my Bubbie taking her grocery cart down the elevator and across old sidewalks to walk to Kiva’s for cheese blintzes. I knew nothing of the future that awaited me. I had no repository for memory; I couldn’t know I would sit in a car, years later, trying so hard to remember Zaydie in their yellow living room and Bubbie in the small kitchen with the dishwasher you had to push to the sink and hook up with a long tube to get it started.

My sisters and I spent years in that apartment, learning to bake, rifling through closets, desk drawers, jewellery boxes. We would make Zaydie take us downstairs to the pool no one ever swam in, then outside to the very same McDonald’s, though he’d never buy us French fries or milkshakes. We’d play around him as he stood and smoked and smiled.

I know it’s just a building, older than me, showing its age. Still. It is there, along with the McDonald’s and Kiva’s, a monument.

Today, Father’s Day, I remember that drive I took six months ago. Later, I’m going to drive to Oakville to visit my dad, in the house where I grew up and my parents still live. It is the place that now feels far far away.


4 thoughts on “6040 Bathurst & Father’s Day

  1. i began reading your first story and then found them all … it brings tears to my eyes. i have forgotten some of these things and now it brings back so many memories … awesome A.

  2. My Grandma lives in this building and has since 1990. I grew up here as well. I must mention that the building was actually built in 1968 because my Great Auntie moved in back in 1969 and lived on the 6th floor as one of the first few tenants. 5 Fisherville was built in 1964 and was the first building because the pool and Garage surrounded 5 Fisherville while 6040 is waaaaay out there. Here is the scoop about the building as I am in it on the 15th floor staying with Grandma AS WE SPEAK!! All three elevators are falling apart. I actually got stuck in Car 3 today, and I stuck my hands in the crack where the door opens and pried it open and got everyone out!! I went to that McDonalds, and when I got back with my buddy, we heard the emergency bell ringing, and me and my friend rushed up to the stuck elevator, and instructed them on how to pry the door open, and they thanked us nine ways to sunday they were so happy to get out. All of the elevators are being replaced in September. The Building is a NIGHTMARE!!! So many issues I can go on for a millenium!!! The water is constantly being shut off to be repaired, and the stairwells are dirty and people smoke in them, the Garage is a Nightmare to Navigate around but has been made easier due to Grandma trading her white 1993 Buick Century for a Compact Toyota Corolla. Believe me, nothing good is happening to this building. When you knock on the wall ina certain spot, it sounds like a hollow music instrument meaning that the concrete is deteriorating from the 18th floor all the way down to the 10th floor in the “09” units, the glass balcony panels are either cracking, shattering, or have just been replaced, I CAN GO ON FOR A MILLENIUM!!!!! The balcony frames are all rusty too!! 5 Fisherville, however, has been babied like a ferrari!! They got all this new fancy stuff, and the kind of fancy stuff that WORKS!!! They got all new elevators, hallway renos, new lights, new carpet, NEW EVERYTHING AND 6040 IS JUST LEFT TO ROT!!!!! the first new thing this building will be receiving since the last new change to enter the doors of 6040 (10 years ago!!!) is FINALLY ALL NEW ELEVATOR SYSTEM COMING IN SEPTEMBER!!!! Also, than room in between the mens and womens change rooms for the pool has been locked off with a latch and padlock, and I AM SO DARN CURIOUS TO SEE WHAT THE ROOM LOOKS LIKE TO THE POINT WHERE I HAVE RECURRING DREAMS OF WHAT MIGHT POSSIBLY BE BEHIND THOSE LOCKED DOORS!!!!

    Btw, If I am wrong about the information on when the building was built, I will ask my Grandma to clarify because this building/area has been through our family since we came to Canada in 1967 from Israel, and she has an amazing Memory for an 82 year old. She can tell you exactly what was in this area and exactly where it was and when it was taken down and what took its place at the exact year!!!! SHE IS AMAZING!!! I would give you her name because you might have met my Grandma at some point, but this is the internet and I don’t wanna risk anything.

    I am very attached to this building, and if anything, it is time for it to get some loving, and a bit of TLC to make it run efficiently. I never knew there was someonelse out there who feels the same way about this building as I do!! Even though it is decrepit and a nightmare, I love it because I grew up here, and when Grandma goes for her final car ride in a pine box, I’m gonna miss the times I spent with her in our 3 bedroom unit watching Dr. Phil telling someone they wouldn’t be any stupider if their head were chopped off!! I am so glad I am not alone in feeling this way about a building that has greatly affected me in many ways. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

  3. Hi Joshua.

    Thanks so much for your response to this piece; it made my day!

    I’m sorry to learn that the building is in such disrepair (but glad about the elevators! That would drive me crazy!) It is surprising that the superintendent or management have let it get that bad. You know, I don’t ever remember going near those change rooms!

    I’m wondering now if my Bubbie and your grandmother ever crossed paths. My Zaydie passed away in 1986, and I know that by 1992, my Bubbie had left 6040 Bathurst and moved back to Montreal (where they were originally from). It’s possible she was still in the building in 1990, but I cannot be sure. Your grandmother sounds like a lovely lady!

    It’s a building, and a place, I have such fond memories of and always will. Thanks again for taking the time to write. All the best to you and your grandmother.

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