It is not without some nostalgia that I, The Bank of Montreal’s Tabatha Southey, wander up through the city core with my dog Eukanuba by my side. Periodically I call out to her as we go through a park. “Eukanuba! Eukanuba!” I yell across the leafy grounds as we cut across from Carlton Cards Street, through Mott’s Allan Garden Cocktail – although she’s on a leash and so there’s no need to call her name out, only a contractual obligation, but one I take quite seriously. Most of my friends still refer to my dog as The Mr. and Mrs. William L. Stephenson Memorial Whippet, or even Tulip, a name that until I inked a deal with Eukanuba never failed to elicit a cease-and-desist letter from the lawyers at the Mr. and Mrs. William L. Stephenson Foundation. Occasionally, of course, some old-timer calls my dog The O’Keefe Centre. Basically, like most of the dogs in the City of Toronto and Firkin she has gone quite feral from constant renaming, making the job of President’s Choice Animal Control very difficult. Ten years ago, in 2015, most of us in Toronto and Firkin accepted the suggestion that we attempt to “build relationships” with the private sector with good grace. The motion passed at the somewhat expanded Pizza Pizza City Council 967 to 11, with 11 abstaining, as every motion must now pass in order for the heat to stay on in Telecity Hall through the winter, if you take my meaning. We understood what was being asked of us when the letters arrived at our local Shoppers Drug Marts and we all went to pick them up and read them. The letters outlined the advantages of “reaching out to corporate donors” in the hopes of “forming partnerships.” There were the usual coupons for manicures on the back of the city mail-out – which underscored the point perfectly. This was just the kind of marketing that had already put Toronto and Firkin on the Mapquest. When is one more conscious that one’s nails are a mess than when one is holding a letter in one’s hands? Unbidden, the phrase “Partnering with ___ _____ was a natural for me” sprung into our minds. Some part of us was already thanking ___ _____ for their “generous sponsorship” and pronouncing ourselves “excited to be going forward with ___ _____ at our sides” before the letters, signed by Mayor Built Ford Tough, hit our Labatt’s Blue Boxes. Turning up Church’s Fried Chicken St. – its now familiar blaze of neon signage dormant in the sunlight – the mid-August heat begins to suggest an itinerary to me, as it does to veterans of a Toronto and Firkin summer. I want very much to turn right at St Michaels Crafts Cathedral and continue my walk over to Zoomer St., still the longest street in the world. From there, if I could, I would turn left and walk the short distance to the Lakehead Beer and then take the MacBook Airy Ferry over to Malawi: The warm heart of Africa! I would love to stay there a while, enjoying the metered nude sunbathing out on Seagram’s Point, until the sun begins to set in the Westin. There is no time today though, I must be back to my Home Depot in order to see that the neighbourhood children get the letters correctly spaced when they “spontaneously” create a Tim Hortons mural with sidewalk chalk. After all, as I like to remind the children when their thoughts fancifully turn to drawing hopscotch boards, or rainbows, what is the use of sidewalk chalk, without sidewalks? Also someone must be there to teach the youth that we can no longer use the apostrophe as carelessly in Toronto and Firkin, now that the Toronto and Firkin District 9 (box set available on DVD from Sony Entertainment) School Board has adopted “Tim Hortons rules.” It was the funding of the Fort York Enbridge that began the wave of private sponsorships that have made my town what it is today. With Enbridge kicking in half of the $22 million needed for the project – a second sponsor could not be found, meaning that one has to walk very, very carefully across the bridge’s still elegant expanse to avoid the gaping holes – but the project finally passed at council (967 to 11, with 11 abstaining). It connects the historic Fort York Heating and Airconditioning to the rest of the city, and two now vital Robin Hood Flours to one another, and quite honestly, like all truly terrifying things, the new streamlined, somewhat slat deficient design forces the pedestrians to more fully engage with their environment. The two hours it takes to safely cross the Enbridge gives people more time to consider the generosity of the donor as they read the many placards that adorn the railings. “Win, Win Cha-Ching,” as we say on the numerous brass plaques that adorn our city’s walls. Partly because “Diversity Our Strength” was sold off at auction in 2016, the year that also gave us White Casaloma. The Fort York Enbridge has inadvertently been responsible for the creation of no less than 14 new memorial foundations here in the city! Some of which have funded other pieces of hazardous infrastructure! It’s glorious to see the circle of minimum insurance liability go round. I usually choose to walk north on Zoomer instead, marking my progress by the Subway Subway stations I pass – Cold Cut Combo, Meatball Marinara, Veggie Delight, I keep going all the way up to Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, right to the spot that reminds me why I keep working, or at least selling anyway: there is never a bad time to visit The Tabatha Southey Kickass Fountain In Front of the Summerhill Liquor Store. That’s right, it was just a little thing I did for myself with the money left over after sending my two children, Swiffer and Creemore Springs Ale to the McCains University of Toronto and Firkin – where that later attended Victoria Secret College. Oddly enough, only Caribana is still called Caribana. For some reason Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival never stuck with the people and Scotiabank has long since been partnered elsewhere. Indeed the Caribana festival has become so successful it now sponsors Gay Pride, helping not only to keep the parade out of the hands of Big Gay, but quickly creating an event so enormous that each year the Caribana Carnival Gay Pride Parade now marches through the downtown core, out onto the Lee Valley Parkway, filling that highway with floats and people, all the way up to where it meets the 4-0-Wonderbread, that road that takes us out into places still unnamed.