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Z’s By the C Brings Sweet Dreams to West Queen West

Folks napping in the space for a proposed park near the corner of Lisgar Street and Queen West.

Late last week, we reported that two Calgary artists were working with The Theatre Centre to host Z’s by the C, a public napping project that has toured across Europe and North America. This Saturday and Sunday saw Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton hosting hundreds of Torontonians looking to snooze in public at a proposed public park site on Lisgar Street just south of Queen Street West, kitty-corner to The Theatre Centre’s proposed new digs at the former Carnegie Library.

Torontoist moseyed down to Z’s by the C early Sunday afternoon to find about a dozen folks sleeping in a field, surrounded by blue umbrellas and yellow balloons. Before napping, participants (or “inactivists” as Moschopedis likes to call them) decorated hand-made sleep masks with a variety of stamps (also hand-made). Moschopedis and Rushton also provided blankets and on-site maintenance. “Every morning we had to start by picking up dog shit,” says Rushton. “It’s such a neglected space that people feel they don’t have to clean up after their dogs.”

A local couple counts sheep for art at Z’s by the C.

Certainly, it was something of a surreal scene on Sunday: people dozed, chatted, or strummed ukuleles under balloons, flanked by a Canada Post depot, a condo development, well-tagged brick walls, and a pile of rubble that can only suggest the groundbreaking of another condo development. A steady flow of people moved in and out of the space—spotting the balloons from Queen Street, curiously strolling over, and seizing the opportunity to grab some midday shuteye. Groups of friends, pets, couples, and even toddlers showed up to take part in the Toronto installment of Z’s by the C, apparently unperturbed by the sound of the Honda Indy going on at nearby Exhibition Place. (Moschopedis noted that the steady droning of the engines functioned as a kind of white noise, actually helping many of the inactivists fall asleep.)
As far as the proposed park itself, a group called Active 18 is petitioning the city to build out some public space around Lisgar Street, between Queen West and Sudbury Street. Literature provided on-site stated that there has been progress at City Hall, albeit slow, to develop the park, and that a Working Group of City Hall staffers and community representatives are working to find an architect to expand and landscape the space. More than just another swathe of green space, A18 (and future neighbour The Theatre Centre) hope that the park can be landscaped to coordinate plans for various art installations. Given the neighbourhood’s condo saturation problem, these plans seem a bit, well, optimistic. But then again, given that same condo saturation problem, plans for a public park seem all the more necessary.
Photos by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.


  • http://undefined rek

    Leave it to Calgarians to imply “zee” instead of zed.

  • http://undefined warmflash

    I don’t think a lot of people — save older Canadians — say Zed anymore. It sounds really odd and old-fashioned.

  • http://undefined EricSmith

    Only if you spend all of your time watching American TV.

  • http://undefined rek

    “older Canadians”
    Anyone over 25 then.

  • http://undefined EricSmith

    Old farts, all they can talk about is that boooooring G20.

  • http://undefined Real-Izm

    All I know is the alphabet song sounds pretty stupid if you go “W..X…Y and ZEDDDDDDDDD”
    ZEE FTW!!!

  • thelemur

    No, it doesn’t. You still get to end it with ‘Now I know my A-B-C / Next time won’t you sing with me’.
    The US is the only English-speaking country that calls it ‘zee’. Why should the others follow suit?

  • rek

    By not rhyming with any other letter, zed signifies the end of collation.

  • http://undefined warmflash

    Well, I almost never hear anyone say ” zed ” for z anymore. Maybe they do in other parts of Canada. But not so much here in the Big Smoke.

  • John Semley

    zed’s dead, baby.
    but also: zee plane, boss!
    two schools of thought.

  • http://undefined Kevo

    I always say zed, as do my friends. I’m not old, either, I’m 21. A lot of people who say zed do so because that’s how they’ve learned it in school and at home and some do it to remain at least a little distinct from US culture – same goes with colour, neighbour, etc. I probably shouldn’t have opened up that can of worms too.

  • http://undefined Alison

    I pick “zed”.. the only time I think of “zee” as being acceptable is for things like “EZ” for “easy” or for the purpose of rhyming (outside of the alphabet song, that’s still “zed”), like for Z103. Other than that, it’s always “zed”!

  • http://undefined addict

    you say “zee” if you did your primary/elementary education in the US. if you’re educated in Canada (both English & French speaking parts) you’ll say “zed”.

  • http://undefined totallyspun

    TV Ontario’s Polka Dot Shorts teaches Canadian kids their X-Y-Zeds…
    … Q R S T U V — LOOK UP AHEAD — W X Y and Zed!

  • http://undefined holly

    Come on people! Really? So our language, our culture have no place in this modern society? I blame the infiltration of American Media for Zed is the name of the letter in Great Britain, India, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and most other places on earth where English is used. American’s pronounce it Zee.
    Zed not Zee (I’ll admit there are exceptions to this rule, but the actual character “Z” is pronounced “Zed”
    Colour not color
    Neighbour not neighbor
    Honour not Honor

  • thelemur

    It’s even more diverse than that!

  • The Junkyard Triangle

    What self-respecting 80s skid would want to drive a Zee-28?

  • accozzaglia

    Too bad you weren’t born about 40 years earlier. I could almost see you at Parliament Hill telling Pierre Juneau in 1969 that he and his boss were policy idjits for suggesting that Canada had any culture (or any worth letting flourish).

  • accozzaglia

    A lot of Canadian businessmen would have liked to have had it that way, as the fellating of American overlor . . . corporate interests gives Yanks the false sense of making them believe (as their eyes roll into the back of their head, that is) that Canada is simply their outhous . . . I mean, back yard to do the business. This kind of . . . servicing apparently works better when mauled American English spelling and grammar are used over Canadian English.
    Stompin’ Tom, we need you still and always.
    My primary and secondary schools were in the U.S. (post-secondary was here), yet I never think of anything other than zed and saying ‘pasta’ with the phonetics of ‘vaccination’ — not ‘gonorrhoea.’

  • http://undefined warmflash

    Zee must be a Toronto thing. I guess if enough people in Toronto say it, it makes it Canadian.

  • http://undefined warmflash

    Also, I noticed more older women say ” zed ” for Z. And more Toronto males — especially under 35 — say ” zee ” for Z.
    Maybe guys aren’t as obsessed with the USA and Canadiana as women seem to be.

  • accozzaglia

    Funny. Toronto is my home town, and I hear “zed” most of the time from everyone — except from Yanks.
    And you know that us “older” women should never be taken as seriously as our more rational, younger menfolk, correct? So if guys aren’t as obsessed as you say, then don’t be foolish enough to tell Stompin’ Tom Connors this.

  • http://undefined sw

    Having grown up in Toronto, and spending entirely too much time thinking about spelling, I can’t see “Zee” being a Toronto thing. I’ve certainly never heard anyone use it. However, we might be getting a little overly sensitive when we can’t playfully use “Zee” for the sake of rhyming.
    Going a bit further, though I haven’t really seen “Zee” taking hold, I see “defense” and “license(n)” cropping up all over the place—even in the latest Spacing.

  • mark.

    I like calling ZZ Top “Zed Zed Top”

  • http://undefined warmflash

    Most people would not know who Stompin’ Tom Connors is or was.

  • http://undefined sw

    … spelling *and Canadiana* … ;)

  • accozzaglia

    And pathetic shame, that.
    Is, by the way. He’s still kickin’ it. He’s probably one of Canada’s most important cultural figures of the late 20th century just behind Terry Fox.

  • accozzaglia

    That comment was for Oliver, and I was referring to Stompin’ Tom Connors.

  • http://undefined rich1299

    I hate how we’re supposed to now change our speelings to match the American way, I blame spell check programs for the loss of Canadian spellings, too many people rely on it and take its word as gospel instead of thinking for themselves. For me its definitely zed not zee, there’s a newish burrito place at York called Z-Teca which I thought sounded sort of coool as Zed-tek-ah but now they’ve started printing on their wrappers that its supposed to be pronounced Zee-tek-ah which sounds sort of weeny to me, it also annoys me they can’t accept a Canadian pronounciation of their name and felt they had to “correct” it.

  • thelemur

    Yeah, I found it puzzling as well when they started printing that on the wrappers. Until then I kinda assumed that it was meant to suggest ‘Azteca’ (i.e., Spanish for ‘Aztec’), with no real relationship to the name of ‘z’. I don’t think they really thought the name through.