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Our Town features stories about urban life by Globe and Mail readers. If you have an anecdote, an overheard conversation or a telling moment to share, please e-mail it to ourtown@globeandmail.ca or visit the Our Town link at http://www.globeandmail.com/national. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number.

Taxis hate it. We love it

For the past five years, I've lived on Boothroyd Avenue, a tiny, dead-end street of maybe a dozen houses in east Toronto.

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After I moved in, my neighbours gleefully informed me that when winter struck, I might have to help them shovel the street. As the newest kid on the block, I assumed my neighbours were kidding. In January, 1999, the "blizzard of the century" hit Toronto, and I realized they weren't.

This was the storm that convinced a panicky Mayor Lastman to call in the army. Looking out my front window after the blizzard, I couldn't see any army vehicles, much less city snowplows. I did, however, notice that most of my male neighbours were shovelling heaps of snow off the street and onto people's front yards.

I got dressed, grabbed my shovel, and joined the busy throng. My neighbours said it might be days before the city deigned to plow a street as small as ours. So we shovelled, drank beer and cleared paths.

Snowstorms aside, living on a dead-end street is wonderful. We experience minimal traffic -- a rarity in car-choked Riverdale. Vehicles that do make it up Boothroyd have to reverse to get out or perform a complicated turning manoeuvre at the top of our street. Taxis and delivery vans hate us, but most of the people on our street like it just fine.

The Boothroyd spirit is perhaps best reflected in our annual street party. This event takes place in early fall and features a great deal of eating, carousing, singing and impromptu jam sessions performed by the many musicians who live on the street. I usually join in on the mandolin. I can't profess any musical expertise on the instrument, but no one seems to mind.

We sit in lawn chairs and sing and laugh long into the night, faces illuminated by overhead streetlights, hands clutching bottles of beer or pop, celebrants at an annual ritual on a tiny Toronto street.

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