Day 89 Kleinburg to Toronto, Ontario: Zombies? - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 28, 2011

Day 89 Kleinburg to Toronto, Ontario: Zombies?

The cyclists at Kleinburg recommended we come in to Toronto along Islington, while Marsha and Mary Ellen recommended Don Mills Road. We flipped a coin and are on Islington. We judged it unsafe to come along the roadway, and so have been noodling along the sidewalk.

As we proceed, just like Crocodile Dundee in New York, we say hello to everyone. At least we try to. Most just stare through us. The people here are white, black, East Indian, African, and etc. I decided to try extra hard with the non white ones, figuring they might still have some life left in them. No chance. Except for an old Chinese lady and an old Sikh man there was basically no reaction.

Perhaps we are thinking of ourselves as too special. Perhaps we are a big deal in rural Manitoba, but this is the big city, where they have seen everything. On the other hand, can it really be a daily occurrence to have a parade of bikes, trailers, flags, and high viz clothing, topped by two seniors with flashing lights on their heads?

We have yet to hit the expected multi ethnic food wonderland, and so have stopped at Tim Horton's (second disastrous day in a row!). Inside it is a multi ethnic wonderland, with staff and customers of every conceivable racial group. Here, they do seem to be talking, but we mostly can not understand them, though the language is English. Dodie ordered oatmeal, with fruit. They said it only comes with maple, berries, or plain. The link between berries and fruit seemed like too much of a leap. Besides, they had none of this exotic concoction prepared.

I will say this: a black man asked to borrow my pen, and he called me "brother". I felt much better after that.

Mega power transmission into the big city
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Yeah, and how do I get there? So far the city shows no bicycle (or pedestrian) awareness.
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The 407. At least it does have a paved shoulder!
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Islington Street
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We made it to Toronto! (sort of). GPS says it's still 15 km to the Lake
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The immediate scene around the Welcome to Toronto sign. OK, so it's a city, I guess.
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Toronto's other cyclist!
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Multi ethnic shops far from the city
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The Humber River. We enjoy our last look at something "country" before reverting to being urbanites, for the weekend.
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Well folks, this bit is being written in the New Town Family Restaurant on Gerrard St. E. - around the corner from Marsha's house. This marks the completion of a four hour battle through Toronto traffic to get here.

Battle is really a correct term to use, and we faced every impediment imaginable: rain, waves of water splashed from busses, left turners, right turners, driveway puller outers, no bike lane, no cycling on sidewalk bylaw, bike lane ends abruptly, road blocked by construction, streetcar tracks in the road, driver aggression, broken pavement, etc.

Plus, neighbourhoods seemed to change without rhyme or reason. When we thought we were really entering the city, there would suddenly be a suburban looking bit; the Queensway was in no way fit for a queen (or anyone else), Queen Street looked in parts like a neighbourhood Marsha might choose, but the real spot was kilometers away.

Islington lead us here
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The Queensway. Unless the Queen is into adult video, this is not really her Way.
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Clearly authorities know that cyclists will have a quaint desire to avoid death on the no bike lane street, so they moved to ban bikes from the sidewalk. Smart!
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In one skirmish I pounded on a car whose driver had cut me off, and the driver burned rubber to escape. In another I threatened a little Asian lady who was crowding Dodie off the road in front of me, and relations were not that great with the driver of a minivan/taxi who was doing the same thing. We went down sidewalks, the wrong way on one way streets, and anything else necessary, with Dodie in the lead, calling the shots. This was like a bicycling mid-term exam for Dodie, who had once taken 5 minutes to complete a left turn in Thief River Falls, Minnesota! The final exam will come in Montreal, where the drivers have all the same tricks, but in French!

Outlying apartment buildings
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More Queensway
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Queen Street
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Queen Street Shangri-La
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More Queen Street
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It is actually quite interesting!
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This City of Toronto truck tried to barge us off the street.
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Interesting hotel
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Dodie in the heart of the beast. The sign advertises another Shangri-La development
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I guess I will need $188 to be properly attired here
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Shangri-La
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Dodge this!
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Marsha and Dodie head into "Little India"
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Say what?
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Our restaurant had a large outdoor seating area with Indian silks making up the roofing and picnic style seating. Here Marsha introduced us to her friend Rosie. Rosie is actually the one who will put us up in her spare room over the weekend.

Our menu tonight
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The restaurant has a party atmosphere
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We several lamb dishes, naan, butter chicken, and saag - all Indian favourites - and Marsha went across the street to bring back some pistachio tea. It was green from pistachios, and milky and extremely hot so that you had to sip slowly.

So that was ethnic wonderland stage one. We went home to Rosie's, past an Ethiopian restaurant, with plans to check out Greek Town on Danforth tomorrow.

Today's ride: 48 km (30 miles)
Total: 5,587 km (3,470 miles)

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