Saturday, March 23, 2013

Scene from a diner

Breaking bread over formica
Toronto, ON
March 2013
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The world around us has been paved over by chain stores and global brands. While they offer the kind of consistent experience that consumers love - you know exactly what you're going to get whether you're around the corner or halfway across the country - it's just as true that we lose something in the process.

Essentially, they're all the same. There's nothing to differentiate a Tim Hortons in Toronto from one in Vancouver. Centralized, homogenized control over the experience makes it hard to connect the experience to the specific location where it happens. We're losing our sense of place, our ability to differentiate places from one another.

This is what seemingly compelled me to capture this moment at a bagel place on Steeles in Toronto. It's been there seemingly forever, and the characters who work and eat there are tightly woven into the fabric of this place. Sure, we had lunch there. But the real experience was drinking in the overlapping conversations floating through the room. This would simply never happen at a Tims, at least not as richly or memorably. Pity that we're allowing these places to disappear.

Your turn: Why does local matter? What does it feel like to you?

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