The Young City, Early Stages

Yonge Street, 1884

The Young City just passed the 10,000 word mark. Peter and Rosemary have now been chased through the streets of old Toronto and are hiding in a dank alleyway.

It was several minutes before they allowed themselves to relax. Then Rosemary sat on the doorstep. She took a deep breath. “Okay. Where are we?”

Peter sat beside her. “Well, we fall down a hole, trek through a sewer, and emerge into this crazy place. Did you spot any white rabbits on the way down?”

Rosemary let out a terse laugh.

He leaned into his hands in thought. “We didn’t walk far. So, we’re still in Toronto. We shouldn’t be too far from Theo’s apartment.”

She shook her head. “Theo’s apartment was downtown. We’ve run for blocks. We should have seen some sign of the skyline by now.”

“Well…” He took a deep breath. “Maybe it hasn’t been built yet. Maybe we travelled back in time. It would explain all the odd clothes, and the lack of any pavement.”

She snorted. “Time travel? That’s impossible!”

Peter reached behind the crates and pulled out a crumpled sheet of newsprint. He smoothed it out. “August 15, 1884. It would explain why we haven’t found any buildings built in the twentieth century.”

“Peter, who’s the scientist between us?”

He frowned at her. “Just because you’re going into Chemistry doesn’t make you—”

“Time travel doesn’t happen, Peter. It certainly doesn’t happen by accident!”

“Unlike traipsing around the Land of Fiction. We did that on purpose.”

She scowled at him. “It’s not time travel!”

Peter sighed. “Okay. Let’s come up with other theories… It could be a historical film shoot.”

Rosemary clapped her hands. “That’s it! That would explain the clothes!”

“And why half the city is missing.”

Rosemary drooped.

He looked at her. “Well, we could be inside a studio.”

Rosemary looked up at the sky. “If so, that’s one heck of a matte painting. Clouds moving and everything.” She hugged her knees. “It’s not a studio, is it?”


The story is developing well, but it’s time to get researching. A weekend soon should see me hunkering down in a library looking over copies of The Globe, The Mail and The Empire circa 1884. I also lucked into this website called the Canadian Heritage Gallery. Although their primary purpose is to sell old art and photographs, they’re interesting art and photographs nonetheless.

The building pictured here is the Manning Arcade, built on Yonge Street in 1884 by Alexander Manning, a former mayor of Toronto. I’m assuming that this building was built well south of where Peter and Rosemary are now hiding, but here’s a point to note: the street in this picture appears to be paved… More later.

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