Sunday, December 1, 2013

Toronto Part 2: Walking in Sarah's Shoes

To say that Sarah is an expert at Toronto's mass transit system is an understatement. But then, nearly every person who lives in that city uses mass transit a lot! Even the school-aged children use the subways and trolleys without fear or worry. They do it every day. It's how they get around. Coming from the wide-open west I am used to hopping into my car and driving myself wherever I need to go, but these city dwellers don't really need a car, not much anyway! For the last six years I have worried about my daughter and how she gets around that  huge city. Sometimes, when she is walking home from late-night sessions at the library or from a play or concert she calls us on her cell phone just to talk while she walks. In the early years we would panic. "What? You are out this late in a city that big and you are all by yourself?!" She always assured us that she was fine, that she never felt unsafe, that the streets were always so full of people living their normal lives that if anyone tried anything she would be surrounded by people to help her. She is always careful and vigilant, don't get me wrong. I am still not totally convinced, but after having been there for a week and seeing for myself, I am impressed with Toronto. Sure, their mayor is a fruitcake, but most of the people I observed were friendly and minded their own business.  They were courteous on the subways, trolleys, and buses giving up seats for mothers with children. They helped a young woman who I saw take a very bad fall as she tried to get on the subway train. They recycle! The city is a clean place and every trash bin has a recycling slot for cans, bottles, clean paper, and trash. There are students and lovers of the arts out at all hours attending cultural events. I never felt unsafe.

Here are some photos from my walking tours of Toronto. Let us begin with the ever exciting subway! I've never been on a subway, keep in mind. The trains come in so fast it scared me at first.

  The Anglican Church of the Redeemer (1879). Avenue Road and Bloor St. I love the mixture of old and new. The most important part of that mix is that they value the old instead of tearing it down.

 The Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park. Sarah told me there was much controversy about this new addition to a very old building but I loved it! They preserved the old while building an awesome and interesting new wing. They integrated it into the old part of the museum without destroying it.

We walked up Bloor Street where all of the mucho expensivo stores are.
Yeah. We didn't go in any of them.

I don't recall where this gate leads, but there are beautiful old gates all around the city at park entrances, the different colleges of the university, churches, etc. Intricate iron and brick work everywhere!

I loved this old building!

 This is the Victoria College building on the University of Toronto campus. If you are a fan of "Anne of Green Gables"  you will recognize this as the location they filmed the Queen's Academy scenes.

This is where her classmates lifted her up on their shoulders and shouted,
 "Anne Shirley wins the Avery!"

Sarah was excited to show me the Christmas windows downtown. They really are quite spectacular! The following were in the windows of The Hudson's Bay Co.
 You can tell by the colors the elves are wearing! We heard a Mom telling her kids, "after we see all of these windows we'll go inside and get hot cocoa, just like every year." What a fun tradition!

 You can see the man in the window is holding the 
traditional Hudson's Bay Trading Company blanket.

 I loved the little elves pounding on the table for their Christmas Eve dinner. Reminds me of when my kids were small! There was Christmas music playing and excited children everywhere! These city kids lead quite the life!.

 The children are trying to wait up for Santa.
 The little mBallet Westice under the floorboards are all tucked into their match box beds! So cute!
 The guy above was very upset about his tangle of lights. I feel your pain, Dude!

 Sarah took me to the massive Eaton Center for some shopping.

Then she took me outside again to Younge-Dundas Square, a.k.a. Toronto's Times Square. Although much smaller than the one in NYC, it was still bright and exciting as people were waiting for the annual Christmas tree lighting.You can see it there in the following photo. There were street performers and tons of families. Everyone was very excited.

 This photo was taken from our seats in the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts where we watched The National Ballet of Canada perform Swan Lake. It was stunning and so beautiful! The stage really didn't look that small, it's just the panoramic shot.
 I loved it! Do you think I could get the coach to go to a Ballet West performance with me?

It was definitely a different lifestyle and cultural experience I was having.
 I can see why Sarah loves it so much there!

1 comment:

URFAVE5 said...

I wish I would have been with you! What a fun trip! I admire Sarah's independence and wish I had more of that in me and I wish I could instill this independence and confidence in my children. She has learned and grown up into such a remarkable woman.