Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amazing weather, awful commute

The amazing fall light, beautiful warm weather and changing leaves all make the drive to and from Toronto quite aesthetically appealing. Especially as I can opt to take smaller roads through rural areas for part of the morning trip. And even the Don Valley Parkway looks out across the surprisingly green ravine system that runs through the city. All that said, though, the daily travesty that takes place on Greater Toronto Area highways is alarming.

Cars and way too many tractor trailors crawl along, sometimes idling or moving as slow as 5 kms/hour for miles and miles. A one-way journey that should take up to 1 hour, regularly takes 2. And I, along with hundreds and hundreds of other drone-like commuters, are sitting alone in our cars, spewing ridiculous amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. Constantly, day in and day out.

I have one week left to commute and readily admit it would never be my choice of how to live. Whether driving or travelling by public transit, the infrastructure here doesn't support the fast, efficient and convenient transport of the ever-expanding population outside of the city of Toronto (or inside for that matter). I have also travelled by Ontario's GO train and found that it did not save me time, money, nor was it a pleasant way to go. It's extremely crowded (after just its first few suburban stops) and is ergonomically deficient. Passengers are stuffed into cramped spaces, face each other bumping knees and elbows, have no where to place belongings such as coats, umbrellas, briefcases, or cups of coffee and can barely open a tabloid (forget a broadsheet) if they choose to try to read the newspaper. It's definitely a more green way to commute and if I found myself living in the burbs long term, that would become a necessary way of life. Many do and will continue to do so in order to own homes in residential areas that are affordable and ideal for raising families.

With the upcoming Ontario election, I'll be paying close attention to the partys' transportation plans. A few ideas:
- expand and improve the GO experience to the east, west and north of Toronto in order to move more people via public transit (it has to be affordable and/or convenient and/or somewhat pleasant to get people out of their cars)
- improve the overall GO and TTC transit infrastructure as they are not scaled to handle the population growth as well as increasing demand for green solutions
- disallow tractor trailers to travel during rush hour as they take up a lot of space, are spewing that much more emissions and are dangerous when trying to brake in stop and go traffic (and can be terribly aggressive as well)
- stagger business operating hours in order to spread out the rush hour periods in the morning and evening

In the meantime, I'll take GO at least twice next week to try to offset some of my environmental transgressions, as well as my guilt.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Moving Time Again...

While I'm extremely excited about having a place in Toronto, it's now time to pull off yet another move. This time, I have to figure out what was shipped from Vancouver and is in storage, if it will fit and the logistics of transporting the stuff in storage, the stuff at my parents and the remaining essentials that I need to get right away. Plus assess the clothing situation (e.g. can I continue to wear summer clothing for another two weeks and then unpack the winter things or not?)...

This is of course while I'm still learning the ropes at my new job and commuting from Oshawa (12 hour days). The solution - be organized, get enough sleep and take it one day at a time. And continue to be thankful that all is going so very, very well. :)

Sunday, September 9, 2007


More to come, but had to say that Maggy and I are on our way. We have a new home starting September 29th!

It's perfect and in a great neighbourhood. Lots of dogs and parks for Mags, close to work and shops and restaurants for me. As of October I'll be able to walk to work which is fabulous - and 180 degrees from commuting from the 'burbs.

It's very exciting to see the next piece fall into place. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Carpe Diem

I've been reminded once again of the importance of seizing the day. Of not putting off to tomorrow what can be accomplished, with enthusiasm, today. Of really being clear on my priorities and the important relationships in my life.

It's interesting as I really feel I'm on the right path. And yet, these lessons continue to arise, almost more intensely now.

Since returning to Ontario, there have been many rich moments, both wonderful and challenging. It's as though moving has been validated over and over again in quite intense ways. With the stuff that makes life real and meaningful and scary and fulfilling. While eye-opening and invigorating, these events can be numbing as well.

All this to say that I am looking forward to tomorrow and to being as present and connected as possible. To reaching out and to giving and to being a part of a much larger whole, one encounter and one moment at a time.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Yonge and Bloor

More than a year ago, I was staying at a hotel in the heart of Toronto at Yonge and Bloor. I was still living in Vancouver and was visiting on business. During those few days in the city I looked around closely, then closed my eyes and listened inwardly for the answer to the question "could I live here?" I received resounding intuitive confirmation that "yes I could live here, happily!".

During that visit I began letting my close friends and family know that Maggy and I would indeed be moving back to Ontario, to Toronto, to be close to them and to build a new life there - within the next year.

That was in May 2006. In December 2006 Maggy and I made our journey home. In August 2007, I found myself wandering those exact streets as I headed to my new job at - you guessed it Yonge and Bloor!

This weekend I stayed at the same hotel, this time exploring the nearby neighbourhoods to see where I would feel most comfortable living - at least for the next year or two until Maggy and I have found our feet.

Again, I felt the need to connect with the environment - to actually feel and live and breathe it - before I could start my official search for a place to live. I found myself excited and invigorated as there is so much energy here. The ROM and University of Toronto are just down Bloor, Queen's Park is nearby, Yorkville is right there, the Village is several blocks south, restaurants and theatres and interesting shops are everywhere. I even discovered a natural health store where the aromatherapy scents smelled oh so much like Vancouver! And believe it or not there are wonderful residential enclaves all around.

It was clarifying for me as now when I look at a map, the locations have meaning. Although I still have a lot to explore, I am ready to move forward with the next step of finding that new downtown home. Wish us luck!