My first visit to Toronto was a ninety-minute layover between Vancouver and Montreal. I got in to Pearson before 6am, so it was still the-middle-of-the-night (PST), and all the coffee shops were closed. I had tried to sleep, but the night was very short and brightly lit, and somewhere over the Great Lakes I had seen the sunrise. When I looked out the window of the lounge I saw a landscape of tarmac, with the distances hazed over. There was an enormous pile of refuse from some construction project. Then I boarded a plane to Montreal.
My second visit to Toronto was a layover, too. We spent the time between trains at Union Station, eating hotdogs from one of the carts on Front Street.
In the first four years I lived in Ontario I spent less than a week in this city, including more layovers at Pearson or Union station. Last winter we moved here, and I suddenly found myself living in Canada, the one I’d seen in TV, or read about. I was surprised to see the CN Tower looming at the end of a street, to look up and see MuchMusic’s corner of Queen West, or De Grassi Street on a sign. This was CBC Canada, and Globe-and-Mail Canada, where people say “aboot” and have cabins on Georgian Bay and along the line of smokey hills the crimson forest stands. It was strange to see that the postcard version of Canada was a real place.
I’ve wanted to start a blog for years, and my arrival in this version of Canada seems like a good place to start. Welcome to Toronto!
One thought on “Welcome to Toronto”
Who are you?
My son, taking a Lit course at UVic asked me to read a short story assignment, ‘Highway 18’. He gave it to me because all his life he has heard stories of growing up as a teen in Duncan. Me and my friends getting pulled over by police and getting harassed and having property stolen by them; pit parties; daily racism; assaults at house parties; scary things that happened; swimming all day at Paradise….Duncan things. Your ‘Highway 18’ made literature of my youth and you touched on things that only a relatively small group of us, 200 or 300 of us would know. So, who are you.
I used to live on Ypres, but a block down. My grade six pal Inet lived where you described the story’s character lived. I chatted with her last night and she didn’t know a Rebecca Campbell, although we both know members of “the Campbell family”. Inet reminded me that across from her house was the transition house for “troubled teens” in the 90’s my dad lived next door. Did you stay there?
I’m asking because you’re writing our lives, about a place that is gone. It’s a beautiful story. You did it well.