road-tripping the end of the world

Posts tagged “burlington

the motel strip in burlington

A while back, a BBC author wrote a short article asking where the Steinbecks of our generation are; a follow up has been posted, as he traces Steinbeck’s route in The Grapes of Wrath around the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression:

Of note is that the ‘cheap motels’ of the US are rapidly becoming the part-time home for the homeless middle-class; they live there for the first half of the month, when they receive their unemployment benefits, and spend the latter part of the month in shelters.

Plains Road in Burlington, Ontario, has interested me of late, as it has retained a rather long motel strip, ageing back as far as the 50’s. Brief queries have suggested this strip of motels ‘boomed’ when there was an active beach culture along Lake Ontario, before much of it became industrialized or too polluted to support such a thing. How these motels persist now is a bit bewildering, and they may start to vanish now that the condo-culture that has gripped Burlington to the point of insanity now creeps along this very old part of town.

I wonder when, if not already, these motels will be re-purposed to reflect the dire consequences this current depression has had on our economy. Given Burlington strives, persistently, to have as high a per-capita income as possible in Canada (a few years back, the average home in Burlington cost $700,000), it would seem to be a painfully ironic turn of events.

On an entirely random but related note, our house once received a phone message at 4am from someone asking if we still wanted to meet at one of these motels on Plains Road … wrong number, but a hilarious result.