Spirits Protect Parking Lots

19 Apr

Even thousands of kilometres from Bangkok


This past Sunday, the weather was fine and it was time for me to start training for a charity bike marathon in June. So off I went. I followed the streets in a huge loop and at one point during the ride, I found myself in the northern part of the city. It was also a part of the city that was not very attractive. Actually, it was pretty bleak and ugly.

Toronto and its surroundings are often very nice to look at and be in. There are ravines, attractive shopping and residential areas and some decent large public spaces. But there are also many ugly industrial areas and this is where I found myself. I had stopped at the corner of Kenhar Drive and Westin Road. The area was flat, with no trees. There were  lots of parking lots and industrial buildings with just a small fringe of grass along the streets.

But there was one surprise on the corner of Kenhar Drive and Westin Road. There was a Spirit House or, more precisely, a spiritual monument that could have been located near any large building in Bangkok. It was beautifully maintained and there were the requisite offerings and flora to keep the Spirits happy. (There were also lots of salt bags at the base of this monument to keep the Spirits from slipping on the icy ground during the winter months.)

This monument was a bit more Chinese than Thai, but I have seen many like it in the heart of Bangkok – minus the salt bags of course. How strange to find a place for Spirits in this woe-begotten part of Toronto. Ugly buildings, barren roads and parking lots abounded, but at this corner of Kenhar Drive and Westin Road, a Spirit House that seemed to be guarding a parking lot, reminded me of Bangkok. Someone here clearly wanted to please the parking lot Spirits.

I think it would be tough to be a Spirit trapped in this place, but who knows. Maybe there are some that can thrive in a parking lot at the corner of Kenhar Drive and Westin Road.

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