I moved into Brockton 8 years ago, 4 months before my daughter was born.  To be honest, it wasn’t our first choice in neighbourhoods; it was what we could afford.  Since then I’ve watched our neighbourhood grow as my two children grew.  I’ve walked the streets with strollers, scooters and bikes, seeing houses change hands and new stores, restaurants and galleries take up empty store fronts along Dundas, College and Bloor Streets.

I realize now how lucky I was to land here.  There is so much about this neighbourhood that is interesting.  It’s such a mix of people of different cultures and ages with so many different interests and professions.  There is a lot going on here.

Now Brockton feels like home.  The sidewalks and park benches are familiar friends.  Strangers are now neighbours. But even though I’ve been living here 8 years, I feel like I just scratched the surface.  There are decades of history to explore, there are stories in every kitchen, and with a turn on every street corner there are new faces and new experiences to discover.  Starting this magazine, the Blok, I hope to find out more about this wonderful place and its inhabitants and share it with anyone that wants to spend time with it.

For this first issue, I chose the theme Roots/Routes.  I wanted to focus on the history of the neighbourhood and highlight how the area is defined by the routes that border or run through it.  There are some fantastic personal stories to explore and some other surprises along the way.  This issue only touches on the some of the history here and the thousands of years of history before European contact is sadly not included, but I hope that this is a starting point for conversations between friends, family and neighbours about this neighbourhood.  Please enjoy!

Jason Bomers


Root Vegetable Poetry

For this issue on Roots, I really wanted to do some printmaking paired with poetry.   I ended up doing some old school “potato prints” with my children, simply by cutting these vegetables in half, painting them and stamping them down.  I’m really happy with the minimalistic, almost abstract quality of the prints.  For the poems, I was inspired by Douglas Florian, who’s animal poetry is some of my children’s favourites.  I’ve been reading Omnibeasts (pictured below) since my first daughter was 1, and now she can recite some of the poems by heart.  Florian’s clever rhymes and paintings hold the interest of children and parents alike.  See more of his work at

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For flavour, you can’t beat a beet,
But if you cut it in half, you can make it bleed.






Care for a carrot?
Of course!
I’ll take it for the first in a super soup.
Maybe with melted butter as a side in a second.
Or for dessert I can make
it into a delicious carrot cake.
Oh heck, give me a raw one and I just might
Give in and give it a great big bite!









They say it’s one of the healthiest foods
It really packs a whack of goods
Full of Vitamin A and Vitamin C
And extremely low in calories.
It’s characteristics are so fine,
And to your body it’s very kind,
But the biggest reason I like it to eat
Is that this chubby lump is very sweet.







You sure make me feel less queasy
and your superb taste is so easy
Your flavour is so versatile
hanging on my tongue for quite a while
Put me in your favourite curry
or blend me up in a soupy slurry
Ginger’s flavour never fails
Especially when drinking Ginger Ale.






Spicy, slicey, dicey, dip
A bulbous top with a skinny tip
A special flavour in a soup
Or roasted, shaved, a unique root
What I’m talking about here, I’ll let it slip
Let me introduce you to the lovely parsnip.








It’s never sadish or badish.
It makes me gladish; it’s radish.







Oh Pota- to, potato oh
How much I love you so
You make me turn a smile
With all your different styles
Mashed, roasted, scalloped, baked
So many ways, so many takes
But for my favourite delicious sin
I first peel off your velvet skin,
Then scrape out those little eyes
and turn you into french fries.

Things That Roll on My Porch

valcoOur 1st Baby Stroller – the Valco (three wheeled large stroller) – This was the first thing that rolled that we put a baby in. It was an expensive stroller which was bought by our collective families as a shower gift.  It cost about $500 which now seems like a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a stroller.  This stroller was recommended by my brother.  It’s quite big for what it does — not exactly a cadillac, but big enough to feel uncomfortable and awkward when going into a store and also big enough to get some bad looks from the childless while walking on a busy sidewalk.  After the children were babies, this stroller lived in my backyard for 2 years growing moss on it.

macclaren The MacClaren Umbrella Stroller –  This stroller is an incredible feat of engineering.  We’ve got the model that reclines so a baby can have a nap.  You can fold it down with one foot and one hand to fit in the trunk of your car or bring it onto transit.  You can have a kid stand on the back of it when they are tired.  We bought one and then another so that we could each push one kid in a stroller.  For us this was the ultimate stroller, one that you can enter any store with ease.  Our youngest child eventually didn’t buckle any more as she was in and out of it all the time.  The worst thing about this stroller is that if your kid gets out of it and you’ve got a diaper bag or knapsack on the back, it’ll flop backwards causing swearing, sweating and bending.

smartcarThe Mec “Smartcar” – This trailer/stroller is extremely handy for 2 kids, although it can be trouble if you’ve got two grumps.  The kids sit side by side and can easily sit on each other, hit, knock each other’s snacks or drinks over.  But the smartcar is the champion of winter.  It handles amazing in snow and ice with its big wheels.  Our first Smartcar was bought on Craigslist from a family who claimed that it was left on their front lawn.  After trying to find it’s proper owner, they decided to make a bit of cash.

It makes me wonder who would steal a kids stroller/bike trailer and what they would use it for.  I’ve used it to buy groceries; which is strange because once full of groceries it feels eerily the same weight as my two kids combined.  I also feel like it would be a great cart for the homeless to keep all their belongings in or for someone to collect beer and wine bottles with.  I’ve come close to returning beer bottles with this thing instead of the car, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  It’s just too depressing using something that you should be pushing your kids in to feed your alcoholism.

Thinking about it now, using this stroller as a way to return and get more booze makes perfect sense – forget shame, think happiness!  I should have used this on my way to pick up the kids from school.  Drop off the empties, get a few tall boys, and chug them back so that I’ve got a little buzz by the time I meet the kids.  My kids require booze. I’m wondering if I came to the school with some beers whether I’d be the most unpopular parent in the schoolyard or a champion.

I once left my kids outside of the beer store at Dufferin Mall in this stroller because it wouldn’t fit through the door and I couldn’t be bothered to get them out to come with me.  I just wanted to run in to get a few beers on the way to the park.  I came out to find mall security, asking me whether these were my kids.  I almost felt like saying “of course not, who would do such a thing?” and walking away.  After doing that, I realized how simple it would be for someone to come along and just roll them away.  My wife was not super happy when I relayed this story to her about my brush with Dufferin Mall police.

This first smart car has now made it to the family cottage where it rolls impressively on soft sand carrying kids, beach chairs, umbrellas, sand toys, food, tents, and crocs.  Much better than using a wagon.  Now we have a second smart car/trailer which i used when the kids couldn’t make it back from school because they were up in the night or the unfortunate combination of stayed up too late, got up too early.

wagonThe Wagon – Useful for a short period of time and for short distances.  The thing I don’t like about it is it’s loud hitting every bump on the sidewalk.  It has a little door that the kids like to try and open, even though it’s just as easy to step up and over.  The front and back seat is also something to fight about, especially if a bird poops on one seat and you don’t clean it off for almost the entire time you own the wagon.


Trike with handle – Used for when kids are first learning to pedal, but are completely inept, so you do all the work.  Most of the time I’d have to pop a wheelie with this thing or my kids would just steer themselves into traffic.



Scoot bike – One of the best things that ever happened to us and our kids.  This is when they can first actually propel themselves without you pushing or pulling them.  Total freedom for parents and kids alike.  When your kid first tries it, it’s totally frustrating for them and terrifying for you. (Will they brake in time? or continue on into traffic?).  But it’s worth persevering.  You can actually feel human again as it’s your child’s first step to independence.


Pink bike with training wheels, streamers, a basket and toy child seat – When girls are 3 years old they want to be as fancy as possible and need to accessorize, even on a bike.  The more pink the better.  I skipped the training wheels with the second child. They sound awful and cause anxiety when they hit the pavement.

Pedal bike – The only thing better than a scoot bike is a pedal bike your kid can ride.  Teaching your child to ride a pedal bike seems like a bank commercial or an episode from the Wonder Years but it’s impossible not to smile when you see them ride a pedal bike for the first time.  This bike means you can travel some distance, even means you might be able to ride your bike alongside as well.

scootersScooters – We’ve got 2 two wheeled scooters our first born received as presents.  One of them my eldest daughter smashed her face on the sidewalk with. There is a lot of potential for face injury with these.  Our second child has a 3 wheeled scooter and she can really fly on it.  The 3 wheels makes it stand up, which causes less bending (big +). The biggest bummer about the scooter is that you can’t lock it at school, so once you drop your kids off, you have to carry the scooter and helmet over your shoulder like a hobo.

carriageCarriage – Yes, at one point we did have a beautiful old school carriage.  It’s big wheels and suspension made it great to push. You could put the baby in facing you or facing out and completely enclose it with hood for a nap.  It fit a lot of groceries too, but in the end, way too Mary Poppins for me so it had to go.  I was getting enough looks in my Portuguese neighbourhood watching the kids all the time.  We passed this down to my brother in law and it was stolen from their porch by a homeless woman to keep all of her belongings in.  I know this because my sister in law saw her in the park and confronted her but couldn’t put up much of a fight.  I hope this thing is still being used out there somewhere.

It’s a good thing we have a large porch and we never actually use it to sit on.