Saturday, May 22, 2010

Building a City...

New Braniff, Ontario.
St. Albins, Ontario.

Two cities joined as one by a short stretch of Queen's Highway 405.
Two cities languishing in neglect by the government tasked to ensure their economic safety.

New Braniff and St. Albins are two fictional settings in the novels GREY DOGS & THE WILLOW and CRIMSON LETTERS FROM KANDAHAR PROVINCE by Ian DG Sandusky.

Located close to the Canadian / American border in Southern Ontario, the two once-small towns experienced an economic boom in the early '60s, causing unprecedented growth and expansion. The border between the towns is up for dispute, as over the years the outward movement of subdivisions, industrial centres and manufacturing districts has blurred the once clear lines seperating the two.

New Braniff finds its closest living relative as an amalgamation of Hamilton, Ontario - a production centre that once boasted flourishing steel processing plants, chemical refineries and industrial storage. As all good things must come to a crashing end, the downturn in the economic clime has led to massive layoffs due to plant closures, bankrupcies and corporate downsizing. Houses spiral outwards from the city core, beginning to show signs of falling apart from residents who just don't give two shits anymore.

Taking the long, curving 405 South from the city leads (eventually) to St. Albins. while the two towns are joined at the hip like a pair of diseased Siamese twins, the highway runs a roundabout trek, taking far longer than needed to join the hearts of the incorporated townships than if a traveller navigated the throughways and byways, tangled backroads to reach either destination.
There is, however, no direct route through the subdivisions and industrial cores that can lessen the time spent driving to anyone who doesn't take the trip frequently, as dead-ends and streets to nowhere abound due to poor city planning.

St. Albins - a great place to raise a family - if your name is cancer.

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