It seems that some Toronto taggers are no longer content to scrawl their own names on blank concrete canvases around the city and are trying instead to make more of a cultural statement. Last year, references to composer Gustav Mahler popped up in several places around town. This year, a more cryptic stencil has appeared on the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, boldly proclaiming “ISBN 486-28495-6” for all to see and ponder. This International Standard Book Number turns out to be a paperback edition of Henry David Thoreau‘s Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.
In Walden, Thoreau wrote, “A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” Although he wasn’t looking out over Lake Ontario from the mouth of the Humber River when he wrote that, it doesn’t make the sentiment any less appropriate.
Photo by Val Dodge.