Two years ago, I reverse hailed St. Clair West as the worst street in Toronto. Time to give back the belt, St. Clair. In hindsight it was hasty of me to drop this (dis)honour on a street that was undergoing massive construction. Right now, for instance, the actual worst street in Toronto is Dundas West between Bathurst and Bloor, since it's being torn asunder by construction and is a nightmare to drive or even walk down. But, calling poor Dundas West out on the carpet would be as unfair as citing Stephen Hawking as the world's worst jogger.
So yeah, even though St. Clair on its best day is still not a great driving route, it's not 'the' worst. That title has now been passed to the little pocket of evil known as Dufferin Road between King Street and the CNE. Now, some might argue that this is also an odd bit of road to single out since it's so short; start to finish, this whole stretch of road is barely 600 metres. Plus, even on such a short street, bad traffic can be evaded by dodging onto one of two side street options, either Springhurst Ave or Liberty Street. The only downside is the preponderance of goddamn cyclists on Liberty, as the Liberty Village is one of the six or seven most hipster-soaked areas in Toronto.
Dufferin South, as I'll call this stretch of road, is indeed small, but perhaps that's what makes it truly a bitch to drive. Driving down St. Clair, okay, it can get aggravating because you've potentially got a long way to go. Driving on Dufferin South, however, is STILL just as aggravating because even though it takes only a minute or two to complete, it's still a "tough minute," as Jerry Seinfeld would say.
The major reason is the absolute shit quality of the road itself. Even when Dufferin South is completely free of traffic, you're still gritting your teeth on the drive since it sounds like the combination of cracked pavement and streetcar tracks are tearing apart your car's undercarriage. With traffic added, it's even worse. Then you almost get the feeling of hanging on for dear life as you're trying to keep your vehicle steady and not swerve into the oncoming lane. Driving Dufferin South without traffic is like Indy and Short Round trying to ride that rickety mining trolley in Temple Of Doom --- a difficult prospect in itself, and adding traffic is like having having having to deal with both directing the cart and having Thuggee warriors chasing you and shooting arrows. By the time you reach either King Street or the CNE, you feel like Mola Ram should tear your heart out.
And the traffic, oh wow, the traffic. It's a unique little mixture on Dufferin South as it's one of the rare Toronto streets that gets a high volume of transport trucks. They're trying to reach the highway, you see, and trying to get there by cutting through the CNE grounds to hit the Gardiner Expressway. So it's not uncommon to have to negotiate your way behind a big-ass truck down this tiny road. Plus, as noted, there are streetcar tracks because (surprise!) a streetcar also goes down that road to make the stop at Springhurst. To top it all off, buses go down that road too. So you can be driving down your one lane (because of course, the second lane is blocked off by people who have parked their cars) and have to deal with a truck, a streetcar and a bus all at once. May god have mercy on your soul.
During the writing of this post, I've continually misspelled 'Dufferin' as 'Duffering.' It's an odd typo but a fitting one, since you can't drive Dufferin South without suffering.
.....oh yeah, in that other post I also made mention of a 'best street in Toronto.' I guess I should end this one on a similarly positive note. Let's say....uh....Woodbine, south of Queen and leading down to Lakeshore. Never had any problems with that drive and, best of all, you get to look at all the lovely multi-coloured condos as you go. Damn, I need to spend more time in the Beaches.
4 hours ago