Stop throwing away razor blades!

Here’s another ad from the 1921 Toronto city directory:


I love the very idea of Broughton’s Pink Stropping Dust. Sadly, Google turned up no additional information on Geo. H. Broughton or his wondrous dust. It is seemingly lost to history.

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The spur of the moment

Here’s an ad in the 1921 Toronto city directory, placed by Might Directories, the people who created the directory:


I wonder what training you needed to become an Addresser or Mailer. Did Might Directories have a reserve force of on-call Addressers and Mailers ready to spring to action and prepare thousands of pieces of mail on short notice?

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Somebody counted them

Here’s a section from the Toronto 1921 city directory that caught my attention:


The last sentence states that Toronto contains 1,802 streets and 121,311 buildings of all kinds. This means that somebody went through the city directory and counted the total number of buildings. Most boring summer job ever.

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Garbage bin

Near Church Street parking garage, March 2015.


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YouTube testimonial

Toronto, December 2014. I’m impressed that this person used multiple chalk colours.


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Borders #5

When I was taking Google Street View screen snaps of national borders, I wondered: what happens if you cross from a country where people drive on the right of the road to a country where people drive on the left?

After looking around a bit, I found one. Here’s the border between Guyana (left-driving) to Brazil (right-driving). To solve this problem, they use a form of interchange:



Problem solved! But it doesn’t make life easier for the driver who is used to travelling on the other side of the road – the instinct will always be to swerve the wrong way. I think I’d take the train, if there was one.

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Borders #4

Here’s some more Google Street View pictures of national borders.

Here’s Peru to Chile:



The landscape here seems extremely desolate. If you travel here, it looks like you need to bring water, and lots of it.

Borders in the middle of cities aren’t enforced too tightly. Here’s a border between Paraguay and Brazil:



I like that there’s something called Super Diana.

And here’s the border between Brazil and Uruguay:



502 kilometres to Montevideo!

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Borders #3

I keep being fascinated by Google Street View snaps of national borders. For example, here’s a snap of the border between Ecuador and Colombia:



Here’s the view from the Colombia side:


In rural areas, the border crossing employs less technology. Here’s a border between Ecuador and Peru:



Here’s some signs at this border:


I find this all very cool. You can travel the world without leaving your laptop! More in the next post.

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Borders #2 – Point Roberts

I love the very idea of Point Roberts, Washington. It exists because of a historical accident: when Canada and the United States agreed that the 49th parallel would be the western boundary between the two countries, they didn’t notice that there is a bit on the west coast that is below this parallel. So there is a town in the United States that is only accessible through Canada:

point roberts

The main road between British Columbia and Point Roberts has a proper border crossing, but there’s one stretch of the border that’s just separated by a curb:

point 2

Step over that yellow curb, and you travel from Canada to the United States. A sign warns you that this isn’t really a good idea:

point 3

This would be a little tricky for the neighbourhood kids if they happen to hit a soccer ball too hard or something.

Unfortunately, there are no Google Street View shots of Point Roberts, though Google Earth shows a nice little small town that just happens to be in America. Wikipedia describes more about Point Roberts, if you’re curious. For one thing, it’s also sometimes called Point Bob. Because why not?

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For some reason, I became fascinated recently with looking up national borders on Google Street View. Maybe it’s because I have travelled to the United States recently and had to remember to bring my passport and had to go through security and all that stuff.

I’ve now learned that some borders in Europe aren’t as tightly controlled as borders elsewhere. Presumably, it’s the whole Euro thing, but some borders have always been easy to get through. Consider this roundabout:

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One side of this roundabout is in France, and the other side is in Belgium. There are probably people who have gotten lost and wound up in the other country by mistake. I can’t see how they ever could have instituted passport control here.

Other European countries are like this too. Here’s one crossing from the Netherlands to Belgium:

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All you see is a sign welcoming you to the Antwerp region. And here is Netherlands-Germany:

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The blue sign on the left says “Nederland”, and is the only indication that you have changed countries.

At one border crossing between Germany and Poland, you can tell that you have crossed the border when the pavement changes:

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To be fair, the Poland side appears to be in reasonable shape, but the German side has been freshly redone.

And here’s a crossing between Slovenia and Italy where new construction is starting on the Italian side:

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This one’s really only interesting because of the sign just inside the Italian border:

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Yay, McDrive!

The only borders that I saw that had border crossings were ones to areas outside the Euro zone. Not coincidentally, these were crossings into countries where Google Street View hasn’t been yet. Here is the Croatia-Serbia crossing:

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This was close as Google Street View could get, though it did show the sign that says Goodbye To Croatia:

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Google Street View was able to get a little closer to two other borders. Here’s Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina:

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This was not a major highway, so Google could get reasonably close. Finally, here is Greece to Albania:

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I’m kind of disappointed that Google Street View hasn’t been to Albania yet, because I would like to have seen photographs of the bunkers.

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