150421 McCaul - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

Streetcars, traffic, and people at the intersection of Dundas and McCaul streets around 10 a.m., on Friday, April 17, 2015. This audio is made of two layers recorded from the same position on the south-east corner of the intersection, with the Sony D50 facing north-northwest while its microphones were in its non-standard 'wide stereo' position.

I mentioned elsewhere that I had wanted to record the traffic along this stretch of Dundas for almost a year. That's true. Prime street recording weather in Toronto is remarkably scarce: the winds need to be low and the temperature should be between five and fifteen degrees. If it's much colder than that it becomes unpleasant to be outside and still for the long periods required; self-noise from rusting jackets and quiet little sniffles will ruin a recording. If it's too warm outside then cars and stores will have their doors open and their music playing, or the drone of air-conditioners becomes inescapable. There are just a few weeks in spring and fall when conditions are perfect.

But there's another reason why I finally recorded this when I did: heavy streetcar traffic. The TTC is quickly rebuilding the intersection of College and Spadina, so the 506 College cars are being diverted onto Dundas for the duration. That may not happen again before the new streetcars replace the sounds of the current fleet.

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