The Secret Shrines Of Toronto

So listen, right off the top here I want to thank you guys for giving me the bucks last year. The relic wagon was a big success, lots of people got a chance to see a Genuine Canadian Relic, and the grant from the Council's what got it all rolling. Anne Of Green Gables' Toe was particularly popular and it just goes to show that people want to see something. I've enclosed a slide {#1} in case you didn't see it yourself this summer when we were out in the park, and there's a slide of the relic wagon too {#2}. So now you know, a little bit of money goes a long way when you give it away to a fool like me. I'm not saying you gotta do it again, but why quit now just when your investment is starting to pay off?

Because this year I've got an even better idea. I mean the relic wagon, it was okay, I'm going to take it out again this spring - I've found an entire set of the Underwear of the Prime Ministers (if you're going to vote for them you should know what they're wearing underneath). But this Canadian Relic thing got me to thinking, which is a good thing, particularly in my case as I'm sure you'll agree. See what I'm thinking here is this: people need miracles. Sounds pretty obvious when you just come across it like that, but people aren't coming across such stuff in the course of their everyday lives. Now maybe that's because the everyday world is kind of slow these days, nothing personal here but wouldn't you say that we're all just a little bit uninteresting in a way? Not you or me of course, but the other guys mostly and most of the things they put up around us are pretty pedestrian, and that's strange you know because everyone has a car. And yet even so people still want to believe in stuff even though there's nothing real enough to wrap their beliefs around. When we showed Anne's Toe to the people we met, they were all very interested. They really wanted to touch something real, to actually see the mystery, to contact the miracle. Unfortunately though there don't seem to be any miracles left, except for the Toe. Or are there?

Now you probably aren't going to believe this at all, or maybe you will which would make things a whole lot easier here, but anyway, what happened one day, I was walking down this alleyway in downtown Toronto. I saw something odd from the corner of my eye, not weird like you sometimes see every day, but completely different than that. A guy in a hat and a flowing robe, he was holding a stick with some feathers he flicked as he strode down the alley. The air kind of strobed as he passed on by, and he seemed to be moving a little too fast and a little too slow at the very same time. Tibetan, right? You could tell by the hat, so I followed the guy cause I knew he was up to something. He was. He led me to this hole in the wall, I mean literally, it was kind of carved out. There were flowers involved, some incense and bowls as well as some objects so battered and old they weren't part of this everyday world.

It was like a shrine, you know? A secret one too, that nobody else in the whole city knew except this guy and me and now you I suppose, though you don't really know where it is. I do. So here's the deal: you give me the bucks and I'll find you some more, shrines that is, and I'll make a good map so a whole lot of other guys can find them too. Now this one the Tibetan guy tends is just fine, it's in tip top shape with lots of incense and red and gold paint and a bell and some drums and a trumpet as well - it's a musical place. But some others I've found'll need lots of repairs cause they haven't been noticed for years and years and there's been some wear and tear. But just say the word and I'll fix them right up and I'll even give guided tours. Listen, I know, it's a little unusual. Mostly people like to install all this stuff in a gallery, then ask people in. Me, I think maybe we should ask people out and let them see what the world's all about around the edges where they don't know to go. Anyway, the place itself is what lets the shrine happen so it can't be moved.

And this shrine idea, it's not all that strange, I mean they have stuff like this in Quebec all the time. Not in the cities, but you drive down the road out of town for a while and you see lots of shrines all around the place. I mean Quebec, it has shrines the way Niagara has fruit stands. People stop by with flowers and such and maybe they don't go to church all that much, but they'll stop at a roadside shrine for a while and they get back in touch with the miracles their everyday world can't include. So I'm thinking maybe people in Toronto have a secret heart too which they don't get much chance to pay attention to. And these shrines are actually already there, all around us in fact, if only we took a moment to look. I know, I know, it's hard to believe, but this is no lie, I can show them to you if you'll only invest a mere thousand or two, well three actually, but if you do, you'll see them yourself, no problem.

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