Showing stories tagged with: toronto

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<p> <img class="left" src="/images/Visit_Home/.lowres/IMG_0170.jpg">For the first time since my parents moved away from Saskatoon (and perhaps before then: trips home had already started to feel a bit weird as I grew apart from many &mdash; but not all &mdash; of my highschool friends), I have a Home. I'm <em>from</em> Toronto now, in some incomprehensible sense, given that I've only ever lived here one year. Maybe in two years I'll be <em>from</em> New York in the same sense, or from somewhere else entirely. But for now, as the overnight Greyhound pulled into the city in the clean early morning light, it was with a strong sense of comfortable recognition &mdash; the recognition of a journey I've done a dozen times: the tight curve of the <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=cn+tower&sll=40.67172,-73.956249&sspn=0.008479,0.019312&ie=UTF8&ll=43.640897,-79.380437&spn=0.004045,0.009656&z=17">Gardiner offramp</a> and the tower in the distance.</p> <p>The buildings are tall here, but not even mildly claustrophobic like I find Manhattan to be some days. My initial aggressive approach to boarding the subway was both unnecessary and unwelcome, but my NYC layer sloughed off pretty quickly. People smile at each other as they negotiate the "who gets which seat" dance at the busy subway stops. And a friendly conversation was struck up as our train apparently struggled to make it between <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&saddr=st.+clair+station,+toronto&daddr=davisville+station,+toronto&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&dirflg=w&sll=43.693205,-79.395355&sspn=0.016167,0.038624&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=15">St. Clair and Davisville</a> &mdash; a stop-and-start failure of no known cause.</p> <p>Toronto, a bit like my <a href="/blog/travel/disjointed.html">SF trip</a> is instantly filled with people to meet up with. And like my first few trips back to Saskatoon after highschool, it's a gathering place for people who went to <a href="http://www.uwaterloo.ca/">Waterloo</a> &mdash; the <a title="Greater Toronto Area" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Toronto_Area">GTA</a> is the main feeding ground for Waterloo. It's also full of <a href="http://www.greenparty.ca/">Green Party</a> people that I know. Just add beer.</p> <p>I know the town, I know the people; I know the subway and the currency and the health care system and the neighbourhoods and how to get anything done that I need. I have places to stay, numbers to call, and even a reasonable sense of direction, sometimes. But I think it's mostly about the people.</p> <p>Home. </p> <p>Maybe I'll even move back here some day. </p>
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Blogging From Toronto

<p> I'm on a GO train. The GO stands for Government of Ontario. It goes from Toronto Union Station to The Boonies, but I'll get off at Whitby where I'm staying with my cousin. The funny GO Train Driver Man just said "This is Pickering Station. GO Transit reminds you that if you've parked your car in Pickering, this is where you should get off. It's a lot easier than walking back from Ajax." Funny man.</p> <p>Since we landed just under a week ago, I've written two exams (in three hours!), I bought new dress shoes (sheepskin, sigh). we've moved seven bags and a bike box from the airport to my parents' truck to their house to their truck to my cousin's garage, found a flat, and spent some time enjoying the sun. I promised Clare more summer left in Toronto than we had all year in Dublin, and I think we're nearly there -- it's clocked in at 5 gorgeous days so far.</p> <p>"Rrrrroolling into Ajax, folks, this is Ajax. If you want to get off here, you should wait 'til we stop and open the doors. It makes it much easier."</p> <p>Before we left, I went cycling, and had a lot of parties, and some stressful packing. </p> <p>The cycling was good, but my knee kinda gave up after climbing Ireland's tallest cliffs (not the famous cliff's of Moher, but the less accessible Slieve League cliffs.) It was supposed to be 7 or 8 days, but I stopped after 4. On my last night out, there was nowhere for me to stay, so I pulled up a quiet little lane that turned out to be one of Ireland's many walking paths, labeled with recognizable little yellow men. It wasn't the best place, being somewhat visible from the road, but I was quite tired and grumpy. I pitched tent, ate the cold veggie burger and wedges I'd picked up at the last town, drank some water, and gone to sleep.</p> <p>An unknown amount of sleeping later, I woke up to the sound of a car pulling up. I scrummaged around quietly to find a comforting teddy bear in the form of a metal bike pump and my bike tool. At first, in a fuzzy Canadian mindset, I assumed it was a park ranger coming to patrol the trail -- ha! Then I remember I'd left my bike unlocked outside my tent. Then I heard techno music, and several male voices. This was, dear reader, not a pleasant time for me. Yet somehow, they hadn't seemed to notice me. Then they did "holy shit, a tent!" "Hey is anybody in there?" Shit. "huhhh? yeahhh," I said as sleepily as possible. We proceeded to have a brief conversation where we assured each other we were not threats, and as a token of goodwill I leant my "bogroll" to one of the young gentlemen. The techno music lasted about an hour, but things seemed safe. They seemed to be kids about 16 or 18 doing such anger-inducing drugs as Marijuana and Valium. Yeah. Kids these days. A car pulled up a while later, which was a minor upper for me, and I think a deal went down since one fellow was heard to say "no names, boys, no names," after the tent was pointed out to him. </p> <p>Those kids should try adrenaline.</p> <p>I went surfing while I was cycling, (I got off the bike first) by walking into a tourist office, being pointed to the nearest surf shop, knocking on the door and seeing about 7 people ready to go out for a lesson. Perfect timing. It was pretty fun. Though the waves were smaller than last time, the instructors were much better and I felt like I was almost there, including a few brief moments of tentative and wiggly standing up. </p> <p>The parties were also good -- a monumental gathering at our old faithful, The Waterloo, with a bunch of my work friends and some of Clare's architect friends ended for me at about 4:30 on a buddha bag at a friend's place. It was a great time, with warm conversations and a few people out that don't come out much, which was nice. There was also a shindig with Clare's family and one with her high school friends.</p> <p>Then frenzied, stressful packing that I'd prefer to forget.</p> <p>(..time lapse..)</p> <p>I'm on a GO train again, after my first day of work in Toronto. I have a lot of names to learn. I had a whole 10-desk office to myself today, but Wednesday there will be another engineer back from holidays or something, and then next Monday the office will start filling up with other sales people that don't fit in the main, larger office. The office is on the 27th floor of the TD Canada Trust tower, right beside Union Station in Toronto. Nice view!</p> <p>This Friday my cousin is getting married, so that should be exciting. Until then, I get to live the commuter's life -- up early and home late. This is distinct from my Dublin life only in the "up early" part, mind you. </p>
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