Eyelash Adventure: Part 1 - Toronto
The adventure begins on the last Friday in May 2022. As I departed my home in the Buffalo, NY region and ventured towards the Canadian border, I was hesitant. I wasn't sure what the situation would be crossing. Would it be easy? Would it be a challenge? I had filled out ArriveCan documents, so I felt I was ready. I am after all Canadian, so it shouldn't be a big deal to get into Canada.
I haven't been in Canada for about 5 years however. Maybe in early 2018 I visited, but I suspect it was more likely back in 2017 that I was last there for a Poker Run up in Lagoon City. So it had been a while. My family hadn't seen me since before COVID-19
As it turns out the process of crossing the border went fairly well for me. Once in Canada I was happy. But I wasn't alone. My co-pilot for this adventure was Terri. This will be her first real trip into Canada as an Adult. And I was looking forward to showing her all the places that were special and memorable to me.
On the QEW, I pointed out the bridge in St. Catharines near where Tim Horton died. He crashed his car near Lake Street after passing over the bridge at a high rate of speed. He was on his way back to Buffalo, after a loss in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
Traffic was steady, and past Burlington, the HOV lane became very useful. I did notice that the speeds were slower than I had remembered. It used to be that the speeds were about 120 km/h to 130 km/h . But the speeds were generally 110 km/h to 120 km/h. I am guessing that the OPP have been cracking down on speed violations as of late.
We continued on into Toronto. It was a very overcast morning with some very low clouds. The clouds hid most of the city from view. I was a little sad, as I wanted Terri to be impressed with the number and height of the buildings. But even seeing the bases of them, and being down in the streets Terri said it was like "Concrete and Glass overload".
She was very sad that there wasn't any grass or trees to be seen. It is worth noting that Toronto once had the title of being the "Forrest City" of North America, due to it's numerous trees. A title which it may not be worthy of any longer.
The CN Tower, the 9th tallest free standing structure in the World, and the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, wasn't even visible today. Couldn't even tell it was there beside the SkyDome. Nah, I don't care what it is called now, it will always be the SkyDome to me. We passed by Union Station, the Royal York Hotel, and the old and new Toronto City Halls.
We eventually snaked our way up and around to see Dundas Square. I told Terri that this was essentially Canada's version of Time's Square. I mentioned that this is kind of the Northern HUB of the Toronto PATH system. A system of underground connections which links much of Downtown Toronto. We then continued North to a neighborhood where I was more familiar with things. The Deer Park neighborhood up at Yonge and St. Clair.
Toronto was growing more and more. Several of the Condo's and buildings I had watched being built 20 years ago now looked dated, and newer buildings were being built next to them. Even some fairly newer low or medium density buildings that I was familiar with were being demolished, presumably to make room for new Condo's. It was also neat seeing just how many Traffic Signals had my reflective markings around them. A concept I came up with, back in 2003 up in York Region.
The building that I worked in, for CFRB 1010 AM, Mix 99.9 and EZ Rock 97.3 back in the day, had also changed. The electronic sign which I had helped to maintain and set up, was no longer there. It also seemed that the studios were also gone. No more hints of Radio at that location. I wonder where the studios were relocated to? I knew that the Mix 99.9 got purchased and rebranded, and is not more so a hip-hop / R&B station. 97.3 is actually more like Mix's old format. And CFRB still does it's same News Talk. But I will comment that on the drive up to Toronto, I attempted to tune into many of the radio stations I was formerly familiar with to get traffic reports, and never did ever hear one single traffic report! Why is this?
I took a little detour over to check out the Bathurst area along St. Clair. I often walked that stretch of St. Clair when I would carpool with my father who worked at St. Michael's College School. It is an all boys Roman Catholic high school, which my father had gone to. I know he also wanted me to go there, but honestly, at the time it didn't have the technical or hands on courses that I was seeking. Interestingly enough tho, the Saint Michael's Majors, the Schools OHA hockey team, was a team that Tim Horton played for when he was a junior. We also drove past Casa Loma, and I explained how it was a private residence which was being made by a 'rich dude' to resemble a Castle. The 'rich dude' in question is Sir Henry Pellatt, a Canadian Banker essentially who was instrumental in bringing Hydro-Electric power into Toronto.
Returning to Yonge Street, I found a parking space (Yeah, I followed that sign!), and we made our way into Boccone for lunch. Boccone is an amazing place to get a good Italian style lunch. For me, I always enjoy the Veal 'Sangwhich' with mushrooms and peppers. The Veal here is so amazing, it is for sure worth a try.
Back when I worked in radio, I would come here regularly for lunch, get my Veal Sangwhich, and go down into the Wine Cellar in the basement to enjoy it with my Italian friend while we drank Brio, and played Briscola! One might think that I am actually Italian!
In any case, the Veal Sangwhich was outstanding. I spoke to the owner or manager I believe. I did recognize him, and we spoke briefly about how I used to come here often for lunch. They have had to sell off the bar and the sit down restaurant, but Boccone was still there and still busy as it seemed. I do wish I could find a good veal sandwhich is the Buffalo area that wasn't super expensive.
I found an old picture from a while back where I ventured back down to the wine cellar. This is indeed a very cool place to eat. I am not sure that they often let people down there anymore however. Maybe? But I was just hungry and wanted to eat so I sat upstairs where it was easy.
Thus concludes Part 1 of this multi-part adventure. Part 2 will include a trip on the TTC, and an adventure up into York Region where I grew up. The journey is just beginning!