February 20, 2008
A Piece of My History is Destroyed
Few brick and mortar businesses have had a lasting impression in my life. There are too many bars and restaurants to include, I’m talking about actual shops. One in particular helped make me who I am today, Suspect Video.
I realize a large number of folks reading my blog aren’t in Toronto, but I felt I really needed to share this. This morning I received an email from my mum that there was a six-alarm blaze in downtown Toronto. When I checked the news and Toronto blogs I found that it was right in the heart of downtown, right where I spent a large chunk of my life.
Suspect Video is a video store that specializes in indie and cult classic films. Sure, Suspect would carry many “good” Hollywood films, but if you wanted something different that’s where you would go. The staff were always knowledgeable, something you just don’t find at your typical Blockhead Video. I grew up in their Markham Road location, coming downtown specifically to rent a few movies. When I moved downtown they opened a second location on Queen St. W. at Bathurst. This was back in the mid-90’s and during that time the store became a main stay along an increasingly trendy neighbourhood.
When I decided to start saving money so that I could backpack Europe (and later meet my wife there), it was Suspect where I would go. Each night I would pop in to rent several movies to fight off the temptation to join the boys at the bar. Yes, a video store helped me save money!
I have been looking at the photos this morning astonished at the news. I’ve been thinking about Luis, Doug, Daniel, Merrill, Colin and the rest of the staff and former staff. I’ve been thinking about the customers and the huge loss they must feel right now. In my last post explaining how MC Abdominal covers life in Toronto so well in his song he actually even mentions Suspect!
I understand Suspect had over 30,000 videos/DVDs at the Queen location. They also had tons of hand-written reviews on each DVD by the staff. All of this has been destroyed. I have great memories of visiting Suspect, whether it was to rent a movie, buy a Maximum Rock N Roll, pick up a zine, get news on a screening they were presenting, or to just say hi to the my fellow film geek friends who worked there.
Suspect on Queen will be sincerely missed and fondly remembered forever.
Photo by: JL1967