This is the first of a series of posts dealing with my third trip to Eastern Canada. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of a year later or to add further clarification. These are indicated by “NOW”.
My new camera got scratched just before the trip. Often it's not too bad but in some lighting it's pretty bad. Some rain coming but hopefully not as much as the last trip.
With only 3 hours' sleep, caught the 4:15 am Akal Airporter. I considered trying to get a bit of sleep but the music on the bus was just a little too loud for that. At the airport I found out that I'd accidentally booked a window seat too close to the wing; luckily that got rectified just before takeoff. I had breakfast at Tim Horton’s. I got a bottled Pepsi there so that after security I could fill it with water.
At security I got randomly selected for a search and was given the choice between a full body patdown and a hand test. I was told the hand test was faster; even if it had been the slower option that would still have been my pick.
Over half the flight was over the US and it didn't seriously started to cloud over until Michigan or thereabouts. I got a free can of Coke early on and then a glass of Coke later on. Got nice photos of Fargo (North Dakota is a wider state than I'd realized). The plane was initially early but got caught in a holding pattern over Waterloo (other flights delayed due to weather) and thus the plane arrived a bit late in "Toronto" (actually Pearson Airport is in Mississauga). I meant to eat lunch at A&W but didn't end up passing it. I asked a security guard were it was but her first language didn't seem to be English and I don't think she knew what an A&W was. I was going to go to Tim Horton's instead but accidentally wandered into the start of the baggage area and couldn't turn back, nor could I leave the baggage area on the other side if I wanted my luggage back.
So after grabbing my suitcase I found my way to the bus area (all transit this day: Toronto Transit). The 192 Rocket bus was already there so I took it right away to Kipling Station, Etoicoke (part of Toronto, formerly separate). Got the front seat after the first seat which was handy for storing baggage.
At Kipling I took the Bloor-Danforth subway line to Spadina Station, where I transferred to the 510 streetcar, which I took to King St. A short walk took me to Global Village Backpackers hostel; no lockers within the room so I decided to move my $US to my backpack.
[NOW: The Bloor-Danforth line is now also called the 2 Line. Global Village Backpackers has closed down.]
Walking to Spadina & Queen, I had a late lunch at McDonald's. Walking east along Queen St, I passed the former Silver Snail comic shop (building demolished), HMV, BMV Express (recently closed down), then pass Condom Shack (definitely not in Victoria) and Old & New City Hall before walking north along Yonge to Yonge-Dundas Square. At the Square's water jets they had a giant playing card motif this time.
[NOW: Queen St’s HMV has now closed down].
Walking to Edward St, I visited a still-open branch of BMV plus the so-called World's Biggest Bookstore, slated to close this year. I returned to Queen and stated heading west, passing the previous places but spending a bit more time at the City Hall area. Saw the water jets and the fountain with the animal head sculptures. I made it to Queen Video. There I bought some DVDs and asked about Silver Snail; it turns out it's right by Yonge-Dundas Square. Continuing west (to cut out stuff from my itinerary for Tuesday) I passed Criminal Records (gone; apparently these criminal records have been wiped clean) and visited Neurotica (DVDs, records; I glanced up at the x-rated section, saw the title Anal Rage, decided I didn't want to read any more DVD spines in that section).
[NOW: World’s Biggest Bookstore did close down, but not until 2014.]
Frantic City Records was gone; Eyesore Cinema next door had a DVD set I wanted but it was too pricey. Finishing my walk west along Queen for now, I visited 2Q Video before heading south to King St. Heading back east I noticed that two places I was going to visit for the first time were gone (King Hollywood Video, Art Metropole). I dropped off the DVDs at the hostel and continued east to Canada’s Walk of Fame; a bit hard to photograph this time because people were, well, walking over it. The old tiles are turning a rust red and becoming hard to read. Heading back west I had dinner at a Pizza Pizza I saw earlier. I got back to the hostel but instead of turning in decided to do a short jaunt south and then east. At a convenience store they had a less beat up copy of my map book for $30; decided to stick with the beat up copy for now.
Wanted to walk some more but realized I could easily wipe myself out on day 1 so forced myself back to the hostel to write this, then clean up and sleep.