White-tandem-bicycling home from the Canadian National Exhibition grounds on July 12th, huffing north up Strachan Avenue with a borderline case of “Should we get off and push?” we are assailed by an assertive yet imploring “WAIT—wait for US!” The cry pierces the darkness from beyond the gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park. We are, of course, more than happy to take a breather on the corner of Queen Street West. It’s not like we’re going anywhere fast anyway. Besides, the minute we are stopped at a red light, car windows roll down and cyclists and pedestrians gather. Our glowing eyeball is a magnet for curiosity, celebration, memories of Burning Man, for some an homage to Tim Burton, for others a wink to Lady Gaga. At the very least, we are a great photo op.
“Wait … WAIT!” I mean, this chick is serious, not threatening, but definitely on a mission. By then, this gaggle of delightfully fanatical fans is waving and jumping frantically as the light takes eons to change. Finally, a fellow sparkle-sporting woman leads her equally sparkly brood across the street. “A-MAZING! WOW, THANK YOU.” Her lungs and her passion are enough to start a revolution; one, it turns out, that she’s already launched, focusing on celebrating art, artists, and creativity. “C-R-E-A-T-I-V-I-T-Y,” she then hollers down a relatively sleepy Queen Street West on a Sunday night. The dead were probably rattled awake in their coffins in the funeral home on the corner. But who cares!—because it’s creativity we are talking about: hope, subversion, education, free expression.
Rachel, we find out, dedicates her life to this single-minded mission (check her out: rachelweinstock.com). And right now she is already cooking up her next creative incarnation. “OKAY … OKAY … WAIT … WHOA … LET’S GET A PARADE OF THE ARTS TOGETHER! We could go down Queen Street West on a Sunday afternoon. Your art-bike has books covered. We need to create the same street theatre for musicians and visual artists and dancers … here’s my card. Let’s hash this out.”
Okay, Rachel, the gauntlet’s thrown down. Who’s in for a Sunday-afternoon Art Parade along Queen Street? Bicycle floats, art-carts or cars, costumes, sparkles, leather, whatever … the whole shebang? Who’s in? Seriously?