You can't miss them. Yet, during late evenings when they're not there, you do miss them.
Smack dab in the heart of Chinatown on the north-west slab of sidewalk at Spadina and Dundas are the Chinatown Grannies.
They sell vegetables grown themselves, discarded stuffs found hunter-gatherer-like from around downtown neighbourhoods, and anything else they've somehow got at wholesale, often off of trucks that are doing deliveries nearby.
Stand there, observe for a few minutes. It becomes obvious this entire spectacle is altogether social in nature as everyone is haggling, talking, laughing, yelling, smiling, all while hundreds of passers-by navigate the resulting narrow sidewalk pathways.
Their presence is a necessary element in what makes Chinatown... Chinatown. Take it away, and well, it's a slippery slope to what the Old Dundas Chinatown looks like today: Gentrified and Granny free with a whole dash of hurry.
And who doesn't like their Grandma?
Unruly Spadina up against urban renewal - By John Barber, The Globe and Mail, Friday August 17 2001