The Emperor of Bay Street

The emperor penguin has a demanding presence. They are large in size and they are able to endure harsh environments.

“Sounds like me.”

The young man was reading an article from a nature magazine. He was impatient while he was seated in the King Street streetcar. Traffic was congested, as usual.

“I don’t want to be late for work. I have a target of hours that I need to reach per day.”
“It’s okay to relax before work. Read a magazine to distract you from the time,” said his therapist.

The young man followed the advice of his therapist and the following week, he picked up a nature magazine for his commute. Although, he still looked at his watch for the time.

“Don’t these people know that my time is valuable,” muttered the young man under his breath.

To a certain extent, the young man was right. Like the emperor penguin in Antarctica, the young man also had a demanding presence. He graduated top in his law school; he worked at a top US law firm before moving back to Toronto. He earned a reputation as being the top lawyer on Bay Street. He had reason to believe that he was the emperor of Bay Street.

Male emperor penguins are protective fathers. They keep the egg warm during the frigid winter in Antarctica. It is his job to shield the egg while the mom is gone. 


The young man hated that word. He didn’t know his birth father. He was told by his adoptive family that his biological mother died shortly after giving birth. His biological father soon put the new baby up for adoption.

That is all he knew of his birth parents. He always held resentment to his birth father, even though his adoptive family loved him and provided for him.

“Why didn’t my birth father at least try to raise me?”
“We don’t have the answer,” said the therapist, “But we know it must have been a tough decision.”
“Whatever. I don’t care. I’m building my own life now.”
For the young man thought he was the emperor of Bay Street.

As the young man reached his destination, he looked at his watch and realized that he was late.


The young man pushed through the small crowd assembled in the streetcar. As he got off the streetcar, he started running towards his office. Without noticing the human life next to him, he almost tripped next to the homeless man.

“Move! ” yelled the young man to the homeless man.

As the homeless man said nothing and quietly moved to the side, the young man rolled his eyes. The young man quickly ran to his office and proceeded to bill his clients as the emperor of Bay Street.

The homeless man walked slowly to the corner of the wall. He smiled.

He suffered from addiction and he came from an abusive home. Despite the pain, his heart was pure. When he met her, his life improved. He got a cashier job and started dreaming of a life with her. She became pregnant and he was excited to become a father.

The birth was complicated. She didn’t make it but his baby boy did.

“Sir, this is your son.”

As the homeless man looked at his son, he felt a deep love and protection for this tiny being. However, he knew he couldn’t provide the child with the life it deserved, for addiction was his greatest battle and he just lost his support.

“I will protect the child from the harsh reality while his mother is gone. This child should be adopted to a loving and providing family.”

A true emperor will protect the young, like the emperor penguin.

For the homeless man was the true emperor of Bay Street.

Decades later, the homeless man was living in a tent. It was raining a lot and the man needed a magazine to protect his head from nature’s tears. He picked up a magazine from the ground. It was a legal magazine.

He flipped to page 15 and there he was – his boy. He knew the face. The boy looked like his mother.

The boy was the top lawyer on Bay Street, according to the writer. The father smiled. He was proud of his son. He protected his son from the brutal environment of the streets.

The homeless man sat next to a garbage bin on Bay Street, seated as the reigning emperor of Bay Street.

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