Midtown after dark

When darkness falls upon Toronto, not everyone is tucked away in bed. Town Crier reporter/photographer Karolyn Coorsh went on an overnight excursion through midtown on Aug. 28, where she met up with some of the night owls working the graveyard shift.

1:20 a.m. — Yvonne Forrester, night shift security guard, office building at Yonge St. and York Mills Rd.

[attach]717[/attach]Yvonne Forrester begins her workday at 11 p.m. at a four-storey office building just west of Hoggs Hollow.

After working in a lab for many years, Forrester switched to security three years ago. She says she prefers working the overnight shift.
“It’s quiet and I like working by myself,” she says.

But Forrester is never completely alone. A computer technology firm in the building is staffed round the clock and delivery people come and go at all hours of the night.

Forrester says the trick to working nights is sticking to a routine and getting the proper amount of rest during the day. One strict rule: no caffeinated drinks at night, only water for Forrester.

3 a.m. — Buskers Tamsynn-Lee Isaacs and Gibbran

[attach]718[/attach]Heading home from a night on the town, Tamsynn-Lee Isaacs and aspiring musician Gibbran decide to put their new busking permit to good use at the southwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton. With Canada Square as their backdrop, the pair attract a small crowd of spectators as they sing and strum pop hits like Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight”.

Isaacs, who lives in the area, says midtown is a great spot to busk because there’s less competition. Street performers are always fighting for good spots in the downtown core, she says.

4 a.m. — Cab driver Kubrom Kuflu buying groceries

[attach]719[/attach]Kubrom Kuflu has just come off his shift for the night, but before he heads to his Symington and Davenport area home, he needs to pick up a few things.

Good thing Bloor Superfresh, at Dalton Rd., is open 24 hours. Kuflu runs in and buys bottled water, milk and coffee before he is on his way.

5:00 a.m. — Vesta Lunch cooks Omar Tafoya and George Golias

[attach]720[/attach]The smell of bacon and eggs permeates this 24-hour Annex diner, a Toronto staple and favourite of the after-hours crowd.

Behind the counter is the cheerful George Golias and his equally jovial co-worker, Omar Tafoya.

Golias, who’s worked the counter for the past 17 years, calls himself the “stomach doctor”, who cures ailments (read: hunger) with a nice helping of corned beef or roast pork.

Plenty of people come in and sit on the duct-taped green barstools throughout the night, says Golias, including clubgoers and bartenders on their way home. All have a story to tell or a problem to solve.

“I feel like a marriage counsellor,” says Golias, who has no shortage of stories himself.

Mostly people are friendly, Tafoya adds, but he has had to break up the odd drunken fight.

Golias proudly notes just how 24-hour Vesta is ­— in its 54-year history the eatery has only been closed once for renovations. The front door key was lost long ago, he says — no need for it, since it’s always doors open.