andrew burke





Road Trip 2012: Toronto

Posted on: 2013-03-31

In May 2012, my mother-in-law gave us her old car - but we live in Halifax and the car was in Edmonton. So we flew there and drove it all the way back to Halifax. We had great weather and I had a new camera. This is part 11 of a series of blog posts about the trip.

(All of the photos are hosted on Flickr - click on any to see bigger versions and browse the full set.)

We had spent much of our lives in Toronto, and I still have clients there, so our time there wasn't quite as touristy as it was in Alberta or Chicago. Still, it was good to see the city - especially after a few days in its rotated-90-degrees sister to the west.

We met up with some (but not enough) old friends. We watched the yuppies, fashionistas, students, and bankers from the Tim Hortons at Bay and Bloor. We stuffed ourselves at an all-you-can-eat Indian Buffet at Yonge & Eglinton. We walked around the Annex and Yorkville.

Sadly, we discovered that one of our old 'local' cinemas, the Cumberland 4 in Yorkville had closed for good:

Tears In Rain

(Nice use of a Blade Runner quote, though.)

Speaking of closed institutions, we also got to see the newly renovated Maple Leaf Gardens. It was actually my first time ever inside the building: I had never seen a game or a show while it was open, and it had been closed for most of the time that I had lived nearby. It has now been turned into a gigantic grocery store, complete with a wall of cheese, specialty pavilions for many different kinds of cuisine, a liquor store, and much more. It was a splendid grocery experience, but it still seemed kind of blasphemous in a famous temple of hockey. Thankfully, they marked Centre Ice - right in between the "Asian Sauces" and the Spam:

Center Ice at Maple Leaf Gardens

We visited with some friends up near St. Clair and Dufferin, and took the controversial and endlessly-under-construction St. Clair streetcar line. It was a warm evening and on the way back we were torn between taking the streetcar or walking along St. Clair to the subway station. A streetcar came along just as we were pondering our choices. We only got about a block down St. Clair before there was a screeching of wheels and a crashing thud from the front of the car: someone in a black SUV had decided to try pulling a fast U-turn in front of the streetcar, but hadn't noticed that there were now raised curbs along either side of the track and had gotten stuck long enough to get T-boned. The entire side of their vehicle was dented in and their windows shattered. The driver paused for a moment to figure out what to do, and decided to double down - with a squealing of tires and a few more thumps, he lurched off the tracks, sped back along St. Clair, and took the nearest side road. A few seconds later a cop car pulled up, asked the driver if everything was okay (no damage at all to the streetcar or its passengers) and then sped off after the SUV.

We decided to walk to the subway.

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