Monday, April 5, 2021

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 15 September 21 Toronto, Mississauga, Richmond, North Saanich, Victoria

This is the 15th and final in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

Got up at 5 and took care of some of the checking out process. Walked to Dufferin and the east along Bloor. One rude idiot decided to spook me from a car. Had breakfast at the McDonald's On Bloor St E and then continued on over Prince Edward Viaduct to where Bloor becomes Danforth and walked a ways there, slightly further east than I normally do. A former theatre got converted to a Circle K/Tim Horton's, with the above on the marquee. Heading back, I rested at a fountain in the Greektown part of Danforth.
[NOW: The fountain was at Alexander the Great Parkette.]

Returning to Bloor, I walked down Yonge to Yonge-Dundas Square, where I relaxed a bit at the water jets. I walked to the former location of Backpackers on Dundas. Even though it's now something else, I walked up the short outside staircase to recapture par of the feel of walking to and from there. I also revisited Toronto  Coach Terminal largely to get some final shots.

I got to BMV books on Edward St just before it opened and bought a Lex Luthor hardcover. I walked along Yonge and Bloor to Thunder Struck, thinking of getting a collection I saw there, but it didn't open until 12. I crossed the street to Bloor's BMV Books, where I got some Blu-ray s and comic trades, plus a hardcover omnibus of Batman's earliest stories.
[NOW: The title of the latter was Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus. Some of the Blu-rays were seasons of Sons of Anarchy; for one season I realized too late they had put in DVDs instead.]

I walked to College and visited The Beguiling. I managed to find the new location of Neurotica Records, but it didn't open for over half an hour. I made it to Queen St, where I had lunch at a Subway. Bone tired from the trip in general and also from today's heavy purchases, I "hit a wall" and decided it was effectively time to end the trip.

I returned to Parkdalle Hostelerie and retrieved by luggage from where I put it on the middle floor (my room was on the top floor but reception is on the middle floor. It was too hard to take photos and wheel two suitcases so I did a few stops here and there as I made my way to the bus stop a short distance away. I got on the 29 bus (all pre-flight transportation today Toronto Transit) and took it to Dufferin Station. I found a place where I could show my bus transfer to enter the subway system. I took the 2 Bloor-Danforth train to Kipling Station and from there took a 900 bus to Pearson Airport Terminal 3, Mississauga.
[NOW: The 900 bus is called the Airport Express.]

The only check in options seemed to be self-serve, but I managed to pay6 using the machine and then find the suitcase drop off. I briefly rested outside but decided to go through security sooner than later as it can get busy. The put your things through the x-ray as you scan then, so your stuff can be briefly split with others' in between. I was randomly selected, but only for a hand swab, my favourite kind of enhanced screening. By this point security had gone through my backpack. One guy thought I had packed the yellow pages. It was almost for sure my map book he saw but I was too tired to correct him. I repacked the stuff you have to take out (mini-notebook, cameras). I did a little exploring before finding a place to sit down and type this. 

[NOW: As noted in the last sentence all of the above was written at Pearson.]

Went from where I was relaxing to my gate, which was further away than expected and included among other things going down an escalator, crossing a hall, and going up another. Remembering my trip over that had one window seat that had no windows, I asked about that but the woman couldn't understand the question  and  insisted in my phrasing it in a way so as to let her answer what I already knew, i.e. that I already had a window seat). Grabbed a sandwich at Tim Horton's. The seat had a window but a jet took up a lot of the view. There was a toddler behind me but only noisy at start and end of flight. Probably didn't miss much in terms of photos due to clouds. One flight attendant looked like Colonel Sanders. There were two drink and snack runs but no extra water runs like the trip over. Again, no screen showing where the plane was.

Arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond I had a nice visit with my friend Rachel. We found a decent food court and I had a Wendy's meal. After we passed through security, I was worried as usual about the body scanners and|I did again get beeped, but somehow my body knew what was really going to happen because I automatically put my hand out after the beep. It was indeed a hand swab. At my gate now waiting for the announcement to board for home.
[NOW: The last two paragraphs were written at Vancouver International. The rest was written at home.]
Not much left so might as well finish. The overhead bin had stuff spread out. I considered calling for flight attendant assistant, but rather than hold up the line, I shifted things myself. it was very dark and rainy but I was further from any view obstruction so the lights from Richmond below during takeoff looked pretty magical. Quick flight to Victoria International Airport, North Saanich. The security area looked completely different from two weeks ago so a good portion of the construction must have been completed while I was away. My checked in suitcase made it okay. Not many people so it was a Tofino bus to Victoria I think. Everyone else got off at one stop and the driver let me off across from my place, which apparently was easier for him anyway than Embassy Inn. Outsides of elevator doors in my building apparently painted yellow while away.

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 14 September 20 Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton

This is the 14th in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip. 

Got up around 5:45 and walked to the King St McDonald's. Kiosk receipt worked I think. Order took a while; even the front staff got a bit annoyed at the back staff.  I walked to Exhibition Place and arrived at Exhibition GO Station. The Lakeshore West train (GO Transit/Metrolinx) arrived right away. I thought I had dropped my Visa card but found it in another compartment. I got off at Port Credit GO Station, Mississauga. I walked down to the waterfront at St. Laurent Park and walked briefly along the main drag of Port Credit. Returning to the GO Station, I asked if I could make the starting location Union Station instead of Exhibition Station, same price. Good thing I asked because the machine had given me a daypass to Guelph instead. I paid the difference, got the corrected pass, and took another Lakeshore West train to Oakville GO Station, Oakville.
[NOW: I stayed at Parkdale Hostellerie. That McDonald's has moved east a ways.]

In Oakville after passing Hog's Back Park I walked along Kerr to the waterfront. I was going to wander a little ways but there was construction. on the main drag I crossed a river and was going to wander further but there was construction there as well. I made my way to Comic Connection, where there's a pop machine with a "Let the Lord Decide" button. I can't pass up mystery buttons on pop machines so I tried it I was bestowed upon me Lemon-Lime Sprite. Not bad. I walked to The Beat Goes On. It was 15 minutes before opening. I decided I didn't feel like waiting to returned to Oakville GO Station.

I took another Lakeshore West train to Appleby GO Station in Burlington. I visited another The Beat Goes On before Lunch at Burger King. I made my way to Spencer Smithy Park at the waterfront and found a spot that goes up a small ways to give a nice view of the waterfront. I visited Book Nook and A Different Drummer Books before walking to Burlington GO Station. The Lakeshore West train was a little late but then took me to Aldershot GO Station, where I transferred to an 18 GO Transit bus (double decker; got a top front seat) and rode to Hamilton GO Centre in Hamilton.

I saw a 25 (Hamilton Railway, which has no trains currently) bus right away. Having no time to check my notes I got on. I soon realized I needed a 27 (Hamilton Railway) and was going the wrong way so got off. On Inverness I saw a 27 bus going the other way and so waited across the street and a 27 arrived soon after. I got off at Big B Comics, jogged across a bridge over the nearby highway, and took another 27 bus to another The Beat Goes On, I just missed another 27 going back so found a Shoppers Drug Mart and, feeling dehydrated, got a couple bottles of lemon lime flavoured water. I just missed a 20 express bus (also Hamilton Railway) but a 27 arrived soon after and I took it to McNab Transit terminal. I got some Blu-Rays and a DVD at Cheapies. 
[NOW: Cheapies has closed.]
I crossed through Gore Park between lanes of traffic. It's nicer than the name suggests. Statues and a nice fountain. At a stamp and coin store I asked about a couple comic collections. I passed on a $120  Batman collection I used to have, but got a $10 British Marvel Annual from 1968 that would make for an interesting conversation piece. A woman working there was from Kelowna and was really nice. At Tabby's Variety there were some cheap DVDs. Some I passed on because the front covers were photocopies so I opened them to find obviously bootleg discs. However I did get a bunch of still sealed DVDs that looked real, all but one part of Mongrel Media's foreign output.

I was getting close to time o get my bus but wanted to do a little more wandering. I walked past FirstOntarioPlace, which as Copps Colosseum was the main setting  for the Canadian series Power Play. There was no time to catch the 18 bus back at Hamilton GO Centre but I caught it at another stop. A 12 GO Transit bus to Union was there but wanted to take the train back most of the way (more comfortable) so waited for that.

The was a single decker and all the window seat was full but as the trip progressed I got more confident about shooting over people's heads. The bus arrived at Aldershot GO Station a bit late but still made the Lakeshore West train just in time. The apparent reason for the full bus and later the full train was an Argonauts game. I got off at Union GO Station and walked to Yonge-Dundas Square, where a toddler had decided to join a musician busker until her mother retried her. I visited BMV Books. I walked to check out the horror section but someone else was checking that section slowly.

I always go to Pizza Pizza at least once so today got elected. I got a large bacon pizza. Returning to Union, a woman was surprised I was taking photos of the tracks, My explaining that I was a tourist led her to being further surprised that I would leave BC for Toronto even briefly. Make it back to the hostel and did the bulk of the packing. Will likely tweak tomorrow.


Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 13 September 19 Toronto, Niagara Falls ON, Niagara Falls NY

This is the 13th in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip. 

I got up just before 5:30, then walked up Dufferin, then east along Dundas (where it becomes the Chinese district closer to the downtown core) to Yonge-Dundas Square. I grabbed breakfast at the nearby McDonald's on Yonge. Heading towards Toronto Coach Terminal, I briefly slipped and spilled a bit of my drink on my arm and camera. fortunately my drink was club soda. I managed to snag the front seat on the Megabus, this time a single decker. With a brief stopover in St. Catherine, the bus made its way to Niagara Falls. At one point during the trip the sun shone so brightly I could only look ahead through my camera LCD screen. I toyed with the idea of taking the GO train back because I was schedule to return earlier than I'd liked, but couldn't find a schedule or even confirmation that it stops by the Via Rail station. Also don't know how many runs are the train and how many are still a bus and train combo.

I took the Olympic Torch Legacy rail to what feels like another world, starting with the extreme tacky Clifton Hill street and area. Just before the street is Nightmares Fear Factory. On the street itself is Frankenstein's House of Horrors,  Dracula's Haunted Castle, the Haunted Mansion, Movieland Wax Museum, etc.

I walked down to the falls proper. There are three falls. looking left to right from the Canadian side: American Falls (straight and wide), Bridal Veil Falls right beside it (straight but narrow;  it's right beside  the American Falls so it has a  bit of a tooth missing effect in between), and the Horseshoe aka Canadian Falls, which curves from the American to the Canadian side; the other two are entirely on the American side, though the best views of the Falls are across the Niagara River from the Canadian side.

I wandered to the Horseshoe Falls and back and then walked to the Rainbow Bridge, which is grey. The price of pedestrian entry doubled from 2016 from 50c to $1. I started across it to the American side.I saw a Chinese couple work their way to the International Boundary point and then turn back. I wonder if they realized that once you start across the bridge on either side, you have to at least attempt to enter the country on the other side. There were quite a few officials at the entry point at Niagara Falls, New York. I easily cleared Customs and walked along the Falls area. Lots of rainbows. On Goat Island you can get really close to the Horseshoe Falls. Sadly near the Falls was a sign with a suicide prevention number. I walked to Luna Island, where you can get up close to the Bridal Veil and American Falls. i returned to the mainland section and wanted to go up the observation deck, but there was an unusually long line (it's also the Maid of the Mist line). I like visiting the downtown area of Niagara Falls NY so I walked along Pine, visiting Rite Aid, Walgreen's, House of Fantasy (comics), and another Rite Aid, where I bought some Halloween candy. Heading back I got a strawberry Slurpee from 7-11. Returning to the Observation Deck, the line was now its normal size so I paid $1.25 to go on the deck that hangs over the water.
[NOW: I meant that the sign was sad because it usually means that a suicide did occur. House of Fantasy has closed.]

The important thing to know about the Falls is the Canadian side is better, yes, but the American side is not to be missed. If you're at the Falls and have the proper travel docs, make time to visit both sides. Your trip to the Falls is incomplete without seeing both sides.

I crossed the Rainbow Bridge back to Canada. On the Canadian side there was a bit of a wait because there was only one official and there was an issue with the people ahead of me. But things went quickly after they were processed. I returned to Clifton Hill and had lunch at the Burger King. it shares a building with the Frankenstein exhibit, so there's an image on top of the Frankenstein Monster holding a whopper.

After a little more Clifton Hill,  I returned to the Falls and  again walked to the Horseshoe Falls and back, getting photos of the new zipline. When I walked there earlier, there was rain right by those Falls (often happens there) but this time it was mostly just hot I think it was at this.point that I noticed rainbows at the Canadian side as well. I returned to Clifton Hill, this time taking a side street to photograph the Upside Down House.I also photographed the area around the SkyWheel (Ferris wheel) and Dinosaur Adventure Golf. I noticed a new Autopia in that area. I explore a bit more of Clifton Hill, noticing a new "6D" zombie attraction and walked down to the Falls once more. I tried finding a water fountain but no luck, an issue with past visits as well.

I would have liked to have stayed a little longer,  but it was getting time to catch my bus, and I had done all the major beats anyway, so I walked up Clifton Hill one last time and crossed through Olympic Torch Legacy Trail back to the downtown, arriving at Niagara Falls Bus terminal soon after. I finally got my water. Since this was the 4th and last trip on Megabus, I folded the travel number to just show that one. The driver wanted to see the full sheet. He said he couldn't find the number and asked to see more. I showed him the first sheet. Hie said that was for Sept 11. I pointed out that that was journey 1 and this is journey 4. He said if he couldn't find the number he couldn't let me on. I insisted that I had paid for the trip and he finally relented and let me on. Don't know why he couldn't find the travel number because there was no issue the other three times. There was a couple on the front seat so I sat behind them. As the bus filled, the woman in front of me reclining her seat. I told her there was someone with big legs behind her but she wouldn't move her seat back up.

The bus made good time to Mississauga and then hit congestion. The bus finally made to Toronto Coach Terminal. I was hoping that the trip back would relax my legs, but due to the reclining woman (who also didn't have her camera turned to mute), I was even more sore after the bus ride. I made it back to the same McDonald's as earlier, then did a reverse of the Dundas/Dufferin walk back to the Parkdale Hostelerie.


Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 12 September 18 Toronto, Markham, Vaughan

This is the 12th in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip. 

Still a bit to go in the trip, but this was the last day to be *primarily* toronto focussed. The guy above me and a guy to my side had some sort of snoring duet going last night. I got up before 6 and got some nice sunrise photos along Bloor. Had breakfast at the McDonald's across from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM, no relation to the Spaceknight). It's an okay McDonald's but the McDonald's that used to be there had a second story which had a nice view of the ROM.
[NOW: I was staying at the Parkdale Hostellerie.]

I walked to Bloor-Yonge Station and got a daypass. In the Bloor section, I took a 1 Yonge-University-Spadina train to Finch Station (all transit today Toronto Transit),. I walked along Yonge past Steeles, where on the east side I crossed over from Toronto to Markham. After about a block I crossed over to the other side Vaughn and visited Galeria.

On Steeles avenue a 60A bus I wanted arrived. Disappointingly, since I wanted photos of that stretch of Vaughn, most of the seats filled on the right side so I was on the left taking photos of Toronto instead. I think the Vaughan side would have been more interesting, more multilingual. I got off at Pioneer Village Station and took the 1 train to Vaughn Metropolitan Centre for exterior shops before returning to Pioneer Village Station again via 1 train. I took a 935 bus south to Wilson Rd. I thought the address I wanted was 1701 but was actually 1700. Most cities that would mean right across the street but in Toronto evens and odds don't always correspond So I had to doubleback to a mall (Shepherd Centre, not to be confused with Shepherd-Yonge Mall a ways east) a few blocks away. I found the store, Red Nails II on the bottom level. I took a 35 bus (non-express version of 935) to Jane Station. I visited another Red Nails II. As I suspected, 2 for 1 Movies wasn't open for the day so probably won't get there again before they close down.
[NOW: I didn't get there again/]

I took a 2 (Bloor-Danforth) train to Royal York Station and at Excalibur Comics got a couple hardcovers. Back at the station I took another 2 train to St. George and transferred to a 1 train to St. Andrew Station. David Mason Books proved to be in the basement of an office building. The worker there didn't seem comfortable with my being there, though his overweight cat was sweet. He made a remark about my leaving so quickly as I left (it was all vintage books, nothing for me).

I walked along Canada's Walk of Fame; cheekily Canada's Walk of Fame has its own square. Some locals seem unaware the walk is there: I had to wait as others walked over the squares,  one guy stopped right on a square to do something with his phone, and two people were having a conversion with a square in between them. I visited Ben McNally Books, partly obscured by construction.
[NOW: Ben McNally Books has moved.]

I tried to find a bus stop to my next stop. part lof the issue was I put the wrong number down (22 instead of 72) but things were confusing even after I figured that out: there wasw an eastbound stop and a southbound stop, both by Union Station. I thought the southbound stop was towards the terminating stop so was waiting at the eastbound stop. I noticed at least two southbound 72 buses. I waited about half an hour for the eastbound bus, which stress me out since I found myself thinking of other ways I could have gotten to my destination. The 72 bus finally arrived.... and promptly looped around to the southbound side, letting me know I had wasted half an hour for nothing. A couple of fair enforcement guys got on the bus, but not to check fairs on that bus.Finally arrived at Atomic Comics.

I hiked a ways, passing a cat rolling around on a driveway, to what was supposed to be a a 505 steetcar but was actually a bus; probably construction somewhere. I got off at Yonge-Dundas Square, and remembering a good lunch I once had with Monica in Oshawa, went to the nearest Five Guys. The staff were all women; maybe the five guys are transitioning? Overpriced, and when my order was up, the woman put fries in later orders (I skipped fries due to lack of combo deal) and then napkins in all of them before offering them all at once. Was a bit annoyed having to wait for fries for customers who ordered after me. Also, as she listed a number of numbers at once, she called my number first, but someone who replied a bit louder got their order first. Really good burger but I won't go there again.

I had the lunch at Yonge-Dundas Square. I got an Asterix collection from Edward St.'s BMV Books.I tried to find a DVD/music store inn the PATH (underground city) but couldn't recall the name so couldn't ask around. I checked out a nearby record store that sold DVDs. I took a 1 train from Dundas Station to Union Station, the transferred to a 509 streetcar (gentrified model) to Queen's Quay Station.

did a very long walk along the waterfront, seeing views of Billy Bishop Airport on the Toronto Islands that I hadn't seen before. I also saw a swan. My camera threatened to pack it in but then started working again. I continued along the waterfront, crossing Humber Bridge over Humber River and back. A guy asked if some place I couldn't make out try as I might was very far. I did point out a large map  but he didn't seem interested in looking at that.

I crossed from the south end of High Park to the North end, checking the small zoo en route (bison, reindeer, emus, etc). I met up with my friends Jan and Dave at nearby Keele Station and we revisited the park (we saw a cormorant and a blue heron, as  well as a few ducks; can't recall what type). They were going to treat me to a healthy place, but no meat options and most of the dishes have beans. so they ordered there and treated me to the Queensway McDonald's.

We were going to go to the waterfront but the sun had gone down so we sat overlooking the highway instead. Mostly to be a tease, when I took a photo of them as the end of the meet, that McDonald's was in the background. while the main reason it wasn't the only reason: McDonald's provided excellent night lighting for the photo.

I was going to walk back to the hostel, but after a few blocks took a 501 streetcar back. While typing this, I heard a couple guys talking about a crazy lady outside, likely the one from the night before last

Friday, April 2, 2021

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 11 September 17 Toronto, Vaughan

This is the 11th in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

In the middle of the night I could hear a street woman calling for help. She eventually quieted down and I went back to sleep. Woke up later than expected (6:48). Walked to Dufferin Station. Got day pass and got a 2/Bloor-Danforth train (all transportation today Toronto Transit) to St. George Station. From there I switched to a 1/Yonge-University-Spadina train to the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station in Vaughan. Along the way there was an announcement of an emergency at Queen's Park Station that got cleared. I was going to walk from there to Canada's Wonderland for some photos but landed a breakfast meet so instead transferred trains and returned to St. George in Toronto. Slight delay along the way due to second medical emergency. Still I had just enough time to get to Over Easy for breakfast with my friend Aidan. Aidan offered to pay. had he not I would have asked to go somewhere else. Food was good but grossly overpriced. Pop there, which I passed on is $3 no refills.
[NOW: I stayed at the Parkdale Hostellerie.]

I visited the Toronto Metropolitan Police Museum, which now has tighter security: they search bags and do the wand thing. Still, a nice but small museum. In the prison cell section, use your camera to zoom in on the graffiti on the wall to get the "prisoner" (mannequin)'s opinion of the food.

I got on the 506 streetcar, one of the few remaining old style streetcars to Roncevalles Ave. The old streetcars are bulky but have character. Aidan said this is the last year for them sadly. I visited that street's She Said Boom! as well as A Good Read, Another Story Bookshop, and, on Queen St, West End Comics. I took a 501 (gentrified) streetcar to Sonic Boom Records, then another 501 to Queen and Greenwood. There passengers were asked to switch to a bus of the same number due to construction, but there as a KFC across the street from the stop so I had the Tuesday special there. I walked to Woodbine Beach and swam three times. The second time I noticed, while already in the water, a buoy saying to keep out. The third swim was a ways past that area. but then I stopped as I had more shopping and travelling to do and wanted my clothes to dry/be less sandy. Still, glad I swam because I'm told it's been rainy in Victoria, so this might have been my last outdoor swim of 2019. But we'll see. I passed through more beach area to Nursewood, which has some interesting architecture, kind of like Ancient Rome. I was going to good to Queen St East's Book City mainly for photos along the way but changed my mind, in part because I didn't know where the detour would actually take me when it happened. Instead I visited Planet X Comics, then after a short hike took the 64 bus to the east end of Danford Ave. I visited that street's Buy & Sell Kings. I found Blu-rays but not DVDs. Graphic novels but a woman was reorganizing them so I could access them very easily. I walked to Main Street Station (a busker there was playing on his clarinet or recorder the Do-Ra-Mi song (Doe, a deer....) and took a 2 train to Donlands Station.
[NOW: I can't recall for sure, but I think that was my last swim of that year.]
On the west end of Danforth, which is really an extension of the east end of Bloor, I got some DVDs at Circus Books & Music. A woman there wanted me to go to a climate change event, but it was for September 27. I'll be home well before then. I also visited Game Centre, Re: Reading, Mike's Music. I walked to Castle Frank station and took a 2 train to Bloor-Yonge Station. there I took a 1 train (right before the doors of the train closed) north to Lawrence Station. I walked a ways north to the new location of Hairy Tarantula (comics). I returned to Lawrence and took a 1 train south  one stop (but a fair distance away) to Eglinton Station. At Yonge's BMV Books I bought some comic trades, including at least one I saw prior to heading to Montreal. I love not having to worry quite as much about baggage now. I took another 1 train to Dundas Station. I grabbed dinner at Burger King. I relaxed a little at Yonge-Dundas Square I'm pretty sure I recognized the busker there from his music, which is quite good.

I took a final 501 gentrified streetcar back to the hostel.
[NOW: Estate matters omitted from final paragraph.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 10 September 16 Montreal to Toronto

This is the tenth in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.\

People are often shocked when I say I'm away for 15 days. Well, we're into the double digits now and still lots to do.

Room was noisy again last night, but I think it was people unpacking. Power snorer was gone. Got up around 5 and walked to McDonald's. My luggage was so full I couldn't even extend the handle. Had I bought even one more DVD it would have gone in my raincoat. Left behind the GO Transit schedules, figuring I can get new ones. I made it to my favourite McDonald's on rue Ste-Catherine, having found the coupons, Kiosk worked. Glad I left Auberge Bishop earlier than planned as briefly got turned around.
[NOW:  Auberge Bishop has closed.]

At the Megabus terminal I was a bit worried because some luggage got weighed, but then seemed only concerned with the hard shell cases. Made it on board no problem  even though even a butterfly would have trouble fitting into either backpack or suitcase.

I again got a top front case due to reservations. This time there was a Kirkland pickup so Megabus took a more northerly route to Vaudrieul-Dorion, bypassing Île-Perrot. But we were back on Autoroute 20 well before it became Hwy 411 on the Quebec/Ontario border.

As common lately unfortunately we weren't allowed to leave the bus at the only other stopover, Kingston. Did a bit of real daydreaming towards the end of the 6 hour ride, but not as bad as sometimes and I think I managed to keep with the photos. Getting off at Toronto Coach Terminal, I visited the Edward St BMV Books before grabbing lunch att the nearest McDonald's on Yonge, not far from where Backpackers on Dundas used to be. Kiosk worked and a woman working there helped me get my order to my table so I was obviously loaded down.

I walked past Yonge-Dundas Square and made it to a streetcar stop at Queen and Yonge. A guy who seemed friendly asked me some questions; gave truthful but minimal answers just in case: "Where are you headed today" "The hostel."

I got on the 501 streetcar (Toronto Transit) and payed my fair from the fair machine on board. The newer, more gentrified streetcars have a machine towards the middle. I got off near Parkdale Hostellerie. When  I got the same room with lots of options, the woman was surprised I wanted the same bunk as before. Lower level, can exist either side, has a counter for my glasses and power outlets right above it, and easy access to the door and the locker with minimal disturbance of other guests. Of course I was going to take that one again even without my OCD. I took my inner suitcase out of my outer suitcase at last.

 I walked up to Bloor; it was drizzling most of the rest of the day, but found it a bit refreshing and didn't bother with rain coat;  due to humidity wasn't even really getting wet. Eyesore Cinema wasn't open today. I visited Zoinks and Doug Miller Books. At Dollarama I bought a couple padlocks to replace the one I lost the key to. I visited Seekers Books. Got some comic trades at Bloor's BMV Books, including ones I wanted to get earlier but for space reasons needed to wait until I was back from Quebec. Visited Thunder Struck (comics; same location as the former Labyrinth, also comics). I visited Bay Video. Game Centre near Yonge apparently merged with the one on Danforth.

I visited ABC Books. I noticed as I had previously suspected that a store that I never entered but which had been a running gag during every visit had closed down. Yes, no more Not Just Condoms. So, for one final time... But wait, there's more!

I revisited BMV Books on Edward St now that I was less weighed down. There was some sore of climate thing happening at Yonge-Dundas Square. Ate dinner at Burger King. They screwed up up order and I was too tired and hungry to take it back. Still, cheaper than McDonald's.

I walked to The Beguiling on College St, again getting some trades I couldn't get earlier, including some I had had my eye on last time. I also visited She Said Boom! on College St. I gradually made my way back to the hostel, including a stretch through Dundas St. After that long bus ride, that hike felt really good. Oh, and even got same locker as before so I put on the lock. I don't think anyone will steal; it's mainly so people know it's in use.

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 9 September 15 Montreal, Laval

This is the ninth in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

Was definitely impressed that washer and dryer at Auberge Bishop were only $1.50 each. Got woken up twice by the power snorer. The second time was close to 5 so I decided to go for a walk I'd been meaning to get in my usual early morning walk in anyway but the later sunrise has meant I've been getting up later than I normally do in Montreal visits.
[NOW: Auberge Bishop as clsed.]

Concert area was being taken down. I had gotten a bargain price 512 GB memory card and yesterday it seemed to work okay (I've been using my camera to check the time). This time I noticed some picture errors. Think I caught it before too many photos were ruined but it was now time to retire that card. I walked along boul. De Maisonneuve  to the Mañana (hand with globe) sculpture; always make me think of the Muppets song ("Man-an-na-na... do dooo... do-do-do"). I walked along rue Ste-Catherine. Where nit meets Pl Jeanne-Mance, there was a novelty machine about facial recognition; some of the uses of similar machines seem sinister so never tried the "fun" stuff today there. I made my way back to the hostel for breakfast.

I walked to Station de Métro Lucien-L'Allier but while there changed my original plans. I decided to take the Orange Line train (all transportation today STM) to Station de Metro Cartier in Laval, which is on Île Jésus. I did what I wanted to do yesterday and crossed Pont Viau over la Rivière des Prairies back to Montreal, Île de Montreal. I walked to Station de Métro Honoré-Beaugrand and took another Orange Line train to Station de Métro Mont-Royal. I walked a little ways. Due to a bike Grand Prix there was routine info for today and one sign suggested the 11 bus was unaffected.  It was so I only rode it a short ways. On the plus side my seat's window had that mesh used for exterior ads which makes photography difficult anyway.

It wasn't easy but I found a place where I could walk up Mount Royal. Along the way some people were really promoting one racer named James Piccolli. No idea if just friends or if he's big in the racing world.
[NOW: Apparently the latter.]

I made it to the main area for views of the city and got some nice photos. I walked back down and revisited Jean Coutu (they were out of lime mineral but they had the same brand of lemon mineral water, also good), Libraire L'Échange, Bouchenarie du Plateau, Fox-Troc. I walked to Renaud-Bray on rue St-Denis, visited Librarie Millennium (comics) then back on St-Denis visited Planète-DB (comics; new  location), Débédé (books; not yet open for the day), Librairie Michel Fortin.

I crossed through Square St-Louis and visited the pedestrian only street rue Prince-Arthur.I walked to the hostel I stayed in the first year (Hotel de Paris; not bad, just a hike from the Megabus), the Gare de l'autocars, then Place Émilie-Gamelin (now has a garden), then Archamabult. I walked along rue Ste-Catherine and ate at a McDonald's with outdoor seating. Lots of sparrows. Inside the Complexes Desjardins it was in, where there was a private function about to start by the fountain, I visited Renaud Bray. 

I took a Green line train from Station de Métro Place-des-Arts to Station de Metro Berri-UQAM, then a Yellow line train from there to Station de Métro Jean-Drapeau. There I walked from Île Notre-Dame to Île Ste-Hélène and back. Couldn't find a particular sculpture I like but it might have been moved/removed/covered by the construction. One exhibit was supposed to open on the 13th but was still under construction. 

By now it had  gotten cloudy so instead of relaxing in the sun I put a couple of cancelled plans for today back on the schedule. It was that or get chilly. Returning to the station, I took a Yellow line train back to Berri-UQAM and from there an Orange line train to Station de Métro Rosemont. Near there I visited Studio 9 BD (comics) and then walked  (including under one or two tunnels to rue Masson. I visited a couple French bookstores (Librairie Rachael, Librairie Papette Limasse) and then checked to see whether Vidéotron's website was right about there store there still being open or if Google was right about it being closed. Google was right; you could barely even tell a video store was once there.

I took a 47 bus to Station de Métro Laurier where I took an Orange line train to Station de Métro Square-Victoria-OACI. Square Victoria is a 2-section park between lanes of traffic. From there I walked to the very nearby Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal). I visited the waterfront. I was curious about the Ferris wheel, but couldn't find price info so I just assumed it was too expensive.

I visited March Bonsecouers,. Despite being in the old town w2th an old town exterior, the inside is very modern and expensive looking., I bet stuff there costs your second born, not just your first. I also visited the hub, Place Jacques Cartier one last time.

I took an Orange line train from Station de Métro Champ-de-Mars back to Berri-UQAM and wander Ste-Catherine one last time, with a quick rest at Pl Jeanne-Mance. Grabbed dinner at the DQ on rue Guy Concordia. Back at the hostel, I did a very elaborate packing job to get around Megabus' luggage limits. Not sure if I kept within weight limits. Hoping for the best tomorrow. never had an issue before but refusing luggage over limits is part of their policy. We'll see.

 [NOW: There were no luggage iossues.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 8 September 14 Montreal, Laval

This is the eighth in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

Some trip days get out of hand and all you can do is ride the wave. Heard some of the concert a block over plus people whooping it up afterward. Someone in my room was doing some power snoring. It was raining in the morning. Walked to where the Illuminated Crowd sculpture is suppose to be but as I suspected it was either gone or covered by construction.
[NOW: I left from the now-closed Auberge Bishop.]

I returned to the hostel for breakfast. The TV had Friends and the radio had music that clashed with the TV. One address on my itinerary didn't look right and since the connection at the hostel is slow, lost a bit of time correcting that. Walked to Station de Métro Lucien-d'Allier and took an Orange Line train to Station de Métro Place-d'Armes  (all transportation today STM) and walked to the Old Montreal for some  photos with few people around. Returning to the station, I took another Orange train to Station de Métro Côte-Vertu. Due to construction I got confused trying to find the right bus stop but finally did. I took an 84 bus north to near the Ottawa River. I crossed the same bridge to Laval that I did in my first visit in 2013. I still recalled from that visit that the street curves left and if you continue forward you wind up non another street. I did  a very long hike along boul. Cure-Labelle, longer than I should have attempted really. One bridge I had to enter a dormant construction zone to pass over. I did briefly step on a nail. I finally found the Superclub Vidéotron. Mostly anglophone DVDs you can get elsewhere so I passed. I doubled-back through that bridge and turned on to St-Martin where I had lunch at a McDonald's. Kiosk worked. I actually misplaced the coupons but now had the number memorized. Not far was Cosmos BD (comics). I hiked to the more or less nearby Terminus Montmercy where I took another Orange Line train to Station de Métro Cartier. Bought some DVDs from a nearby Superclub Vidéotron, the only one in fact that's a repeat from past years. The closing of most of them plus the off season weather is why I've been doing the longer walks rather than the more fun sticking closer to Montreal; last chance to see. I would have liked to have crossed the Ottawa River on foot but was way behind schedule so returned to Cartier. Accidentally went the wrong way one stop to Station de Métro de-la-Concorde, but then I corrected and got off at Station de Métro Jean-Talon.

There I transferred to a Blue line and got off at Station de Métro Snowdon. I'm pretty sure I was there before for unrelated reasons to this time. Recognized the McDonald's.  Visited Komico, then returned to Snowdon and took it to Station de Métro St-Michel.  i was going to take the 141 bus  but with the day I was having was worried I'd take it the wrong way. In fact I did get turned around a few times before finding the Jean Talon branch of 1000000 Comix.

I was going to take the 129 bus south but hit construction yet again and wasn't sure which stops were still active. So even though I bumped it from the itinerary yesterday I ended up seeing the Biodome at Olympic Park after all. With all the construction I admit to have entertained the thought of taking off to Trudeau Airport and flying home,  but I shall at persevere.

At Station de Métro Pie-X I took the Green line train to Station de Métro de-Serres.  I  walked along Wellington (which ha\d a street fair for two small blocks to Superclub Vidéotron,  but it closed for the day at 5 and it was just after 5. I could return tomorrow but I doubt  it. In fact, having done this power walks outside of STM range, tomorrow I want to focus on places I've visited previously, so I've bumped a couple of things and just having a low key day tomorrow.
[NOW: I never made it back and that Superclub has now closed.]

Returning to the station I took a Green line train to Station de Métro Lionel-Groulx, where I  took an Orange line train back to Place-D'Armes. I ate dinner at the Old Montreal McDonald;'s and then wandered the waterfront a bit. I visited Place Jacques-Cartier once more and then walked to Station de Métro Champ-De-Mars. I took an Orange line train to the central hub, Station de Métro Berri-UQAM and after a briefly passage though the underground city (RÉSO) (Le Parchemin is closing) started walking along rue Ste-Catherine. I visited Boutique Volume. They have a book I wanted but not at I price I wanted to pay,especially given my concerns about Megabus luggage restrictions. I relaxed at Jeanne-Mance. Water jets were on with  different night colours. If it was earlier/less cloudy I 'd have gone in and cooled off. I passed through the rue Crescent concert again. less people than yesterday. Despite being free outside, I think it was a better spectacle than the Weird Al concert I went to recently. Tomorrow is wind down/greatest hits day!



Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 7 September 13 Montreal, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Île-Perrot, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Longueuil

 This is the seventh in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

See yesterday for accents note. At Auberge Bishop there's almost always someone sitting on the stairwell using their phone.

[NOW: I added the accents in for this blog post where applicable. Auberge Bishop has now closed.]  

I walked to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. On the Bishop side there was a couple of Pinocchio art pieces. There was some construction at McGill University. I think I passed La Baie/The Bay, which still has that nice classic logo.  I stopped off at Station du Métro Peel and got a three-day STM pass (all transportation today STM). Returning to the hostel I was disappointed to find their breakfast had no juice this time. I walked to  Station du Métro Guy-Concordia and took a Green Line train to Station du Métro Lionel-Groulx (all trains regardless of line colour are predominately blue). At Lionel-Groulx I took a  411 bus (emptier than in 2016) to Terminus Macdonald in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

I was going to get something to drink at Couche Tard but due to prices hunted down a drinking fountain instead. I crossed over the Ottawa river to Île-Perrot passing through the city of the same name as the island as well as Pincourt, I  thin crossed the Ottawa River a second time to Vaudreuil-Dorion. Heading north I completed an apparent 10 km hike to Superclub Vidéotron (got some DVDs). I completed the hike in reverse.
[NOW: That Superclub Vidéotron is now closed.]

I made it back to Terminus Macdonald  later than I'd hoped. Bus was packed. Kept fighting sleep and for a time had top take photos without knowing what I was shooting due to space. Finally made it back  to  Lionel-Groulx.

I took an Orange line train to Station du Métro Berri-UQAM, whe3re I transferred to a Yellow line train to Station du Métro Longueuil-Universite-de-Sherbrooke, the sole place in Longueuil to access STM transit. McDonald's there didn't have a kiosk so I skipped, determined to to keep in motion for another long walk. I made it to another Superclub Vidéotron and got some DVDs. Now pushing 3, finally had lunch at a Dairy Queen. Comics Révue Sud was locked. Don't know if closed permanently or not as  it's up a staircase. I made  it back to the Metro; Outside is a sculpture of three giant pigeons trying to get at a giant Campbell's tomato soup can. Wonder what Warhol would have thought of that.
[NOW: That Superclub Vidéotron is apparently now a Microplay. I later learned that Comics Revue had moved nearby. The art piece proved to be a temporary art exhibit called L'Odyssée.]

|I took the Yellow line back to Berri-UQAM in Montreal, then the Orange line train to Station du Métro Mont-Royal. I visited Librairie Le Port de Tête (books), A Paul Boutique (music), then in the other direction of rue Mont-Royal, Librairie l'Échange (books and movies), Bouchanerie du Plateau (same), Fox-Troc (books and movies; got some DVDs)

For some reason at Renaud Bray Bazar I thought some DVDs were cheaper than they were. Normally no refunds but he made an exception since I noticed right away. I visited La Cinoche (DVDs) and then took the 97 bus back to Mont-Royal. I took and Orange line train to Station du Métro Champ-de-Mars and used an underground path to cross the highway to Vieux/Old Montreal. I visited the main area (rue Jacques-Cartier) then grabbed dinner at the Old Montreal McDonald's (kiosk worked), then Jacques-Cartier. The sun was starting to go down but did manage a very short visit to the waterfront. There is now a Ferris wheel at the amusement park there. I walked to Place d'Armes (concrete park) and the nearby Station du Métro Place-d'Armes, where I took an Orange line train to Station du Metro Lucien L'Allier. |Crossed through construction to St-Catherine. Was going to walk along there but there was some outdoor music event one block over from rue Bishop, rue Crescent. Noticed there was a Hooters there. Didn't realize there were any left. Nice to be kept abreast of such details. Made it back to the hostel, wondering how I'm going to pack everything without pulling out my inner suitcase, which would risk getting some items refused by Megabus on Monday.

[NOW: Renaud Bray Bazar is now closed. I did manage top pack everything.]

Friday, February 12, 2021

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 6 September 12 Montreal and Quebec City

This is the sixth in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

As before, not doing accents unless they get autocorrected in. Got up before 6 to study plans for today, then had breakfast a same McDonald's as yesterday lunch. Different machine and didn't print receipt.Walked along rue Ste-Catherine and looked at dog sculptures including one that looked like it was about to poop. One guy shouted,  "Hey dude! have a good day!" I shouted back "You too!" which he seemed to appreciate. Got a little turned around reaching Le gare d'autocars but I recalled seeing it on Ontario St yesterday so found it soon enough. Was concerned because the line was a lot longer than expected but it turns out it was for two buses going to different locations so I still got a decent seat on the Orléans Express. 

[NOW: I added the accents in for this blog post where applicable]

The other bus took off on time but my bus left 9 minutes late as the driver was talking to two other guys. Camera blurred more than I'd have liked so had to occasionally turn it off and one to correct. On the way over a woman on the radio kept saying something accompanied by very forced but loud male laughter. There was one stop in Drummondville, than an earlier stop in Quebec City (hereafter called Quebec this report) before finally reaching Le Gare du Palais in Quebec. For both Quebec stops the driver only announced in French.
[NOW: Most of the muincipalities between Montreal and Quebec City have Saint/e in their name.]

I got off and went to the Couche Tard, the French version of Mac's, still with the owl so not Circle K. I did my best to ask for a daypass in French. The guy said, "At least you tried. You did pretty good, actually." I also grabbed a pocket map.

It took a bit to get my bearings (first time in Quebec) then I went to rue St-Jean and visited Librairie Pantoute (Books), off to the side Libraire Première Issue (comics), Libraire Compte du Livre (movies and music; bought a bunch of francophone DVDs; this place wasn't on itinerary but glad I visited), Libraire St-Jean Baptiste (books), Librarie Laforce (comics),  Libraire Nelligan (books); going my memory; some sore types might be off. Also visited CD Mélomane then on rue Cartier visited Bouquinerie 4 Seasons (book store slightly larger than a typical closet),  Le  Bouquinerie du Cartier (books).

I noticed that my pocket map was missing as one one printed map, but found the bus stop anyway and took the 800 bus to the mall Place du Cité (all buses within Quebec are RTC). After a quick check of the mall decided I wasn't interested in any mall stores so skipped two. I walked to VidéoDrome but it wasn't open yet. I walked to Librarie La Liberté which was in a construction site (another theme this trip) but I somehow made it to this bookstore.
[NOW: RTC is short for Le Réseau de transport de la Capitale. VidéoDrome has closed.]

I walked to the nearest bus stop south of the construction and took an 801 bus to Université du Laval and took it to a stop that should have been near a CD store but wasn't. I also noticed that a bus that was supposed to connect didn't. I later realized that I somehow got wrong info from Google and this bus ran parallel but further away from where I needed to be. I decided the CD place was forfeit but I did get DVDs from Vidéo Centre-Ville. My bag didn't beep on the way in but did on the way out creating confusion especially with language barrier. He finally asked to see my bag so I showed him the earlier purchases so that satisfied him. 

The 1 bus I had intended to take was not due for 17 minutes according to a screen so I walked a little ways and took another 18  bus back to Palais du Gare, where I grabbed another map. I had a late lunch at the McDonald's on St-Jean. Kiosk printed the receipt. 

I visited the outside of much of the old town and vicinity including Hotel de Ville, a lookout with a view of the water, the Plains of Abraham, La Citadelle which was partly blocked by construction, the Fortifications (basically the top of the wall that surrounds much of the old town, a staircase leading to a tackier area and whatever else I felt like photographing.
[NOW: I realized later that the Plains weren't where I thought they were so I didn't actually make it to them this trip.\

Returning to Le Palais du Gare, I got a sandwich from Couche-Tard. When the Oreléans Express bus arrived I could have grabbed the front seat but certain electronics were forbidden that seat so I erred on the side of caution and moved further back. At the other Quebec stop (Sainte-Foy) a guy sat beside me and apparently obliviously elbowed me from time to time as he did his thing. Ate the steak sandwich while taking photos. Mostly spam, blech.

It eventually became too dark to take clear photos for the most part. Most people got off at Longueuil, perhaps taking the metro from there. I got off at La gare d'autocars in Montreal. I briefly got turned around but corrected and worked my way through the occasional construction to Auberge Bishop. Right before I arrived someone right behind me should "I hate pickles!" Me too actually but I wasn't going to go scare strangers with that profound revelation

[NOW: Auberge Bishop has closed.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 5 September 11 Toronto to Montreal; also Longueuil

This is the second in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.
Last night there was a thunder and lightning and car alarm storm. Got up just before 5. Got on the 501 streetcar (Toronto Transit). With the new streetcars You have to pay from a machine in the middle. Strangely the transfer said 301 not 501. Confirmed 501 upon exiting. I briefly visited Yonge-Dundas Squad. The 24 hour McDonald's near the hostel from 2016 was closed for machine upgrades. A nearby Burger King didn't open until 7. Checked McDonald's again and then bought breakfast from Circle K.
[NOW: The hostel was Parkdale Hostellerie.]

I got on the Megabus at Toronto Coach Terminal; my pre-purchased seat gave me an upper front view from the double decker. The first part of the day was pretty misty on the bus ride. At times during the trip it was so sunny I was fighting sleep. We weren't allowed to get off briefly during the one stopover in Kingston.

The bus entered the province of Quebec. Note that for next few reports  I won't bother with accented letters unless autocorrect picks them up. Three things are noticeable about Quebec signs: the French, obviously, comma instead  of periods for decimal points, and speed *minimum* signage.\
[NOW: Where applicable I've added accents for the blog posts.]

As the bus entered Montreal it hit construction not far from 2019. Got off at the Megabus depot and made my way to Auberge Bishop. It was too early for check in so I dropped off some stuff. and had lunch at McDonald's on rue St-Catherines, the same one that I first visited during my first visit here; slight wait to find a seat. I visited 1,000,000 Comix, Capitaine Quebec (comic shop), and Cheap Thrills. I returned to the hostel just before the 2 pm check in time and was allowed to check in then.
[NOW: Auberge Bishop and 1,000,000 Comix have closed.]

I wandered rue St-Catherine and hit construction near the first pedestrian only area.  I visited Renaud Bray in Complexes Desjardines, Librairie Zone Libre (French only bookstore), Boutique Volume (got a Blu-ray and some francophone DVDs), and Archambault.  I hit another pedestrian area of rue St-Catherines, le village gai  (I think you can translate it). As before, they had pink bulbs overheard, but not there were bulbs subbing for the other colours of the rainbow, with pink subbing for red and I think violet. Towards the end it started to rain.

To get some overhead views, I crossed pont Jacques-Cartier (Jacquess Cartier), with rain soon subsiding, over the two islands comprising Parc Jean-Drapeau (Île Notre-Dame and Île Sainte-Hélène) to Longueuil. I briefly got off and returned to the bridge, this time getting off at Île Notre-Dame. I was on the wrong side of the bridge but there's an underground path with some historical info leading to the proper side.

I visited the area with the Biosphere and Metro Station and walked into some mist spray to cool off.  I returned to the area of the bridge I left off from and got off on the main island of Montreal (Île de Montreal). On rue Ontario I saw the gare d'autocars and hoped I was right that the Orleans Express stops there. But then I saw an Orléans Express bus. That works. Useful for tomorrow.

I briefly wandered up rue St-Denis the numbers jump from the 2000s to the 3400s) but most of the stores I wanted to visit had closed for the day, so before going too far I turned around. I  cut through Parc St-Louis and then another street which is so steep the sidewalk has a staircase. I passed through Chinatown and made my way to Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal). The McDonald's there is normally pricey but not with the coupon codes. Both machines this day worked properly, but unlike the BC and ON  kiosks, these still have the "Light" option before "Remove" before items you don't want, like BC used to have. 

[NOW: BC Mcdonald's recently brought back the Light option.]

As with 2016 there is construction at the cobbled streets. I seems that they are replacing the older kind of cobbled roads with more comfortable cobbled roads that are not as reflective of the old days sadly. I cut back through Chinatown and made my way back to the hostel. Noticed I have a tear in... the seating area of my body. Seems to happen sometimes on vacation, maybe due to reduced access to washrooms or maybe too much fast food. Also lost my locker key somewhere so had to have the lock broken. If that's the worst that happens this trip I'll be happy.

[NOW: The tear was on my body not clothes;  the key turned up too late.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 4 September 10 Toronto, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax

This is the fourth in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

Had another nice chat with one  of the people from the night before. We're keeping in touch on Facebook. Got up around 5:20. Saw a skunk and managed to get some photos without getting sprayed, but since it was still dark, will see  later how they turned out. Went to the McDonald's on King from day 2 though had to doubleback because I accidentally put my coupons in my locker. Tried a different kiosk and this time it work so now at 4-3 in favour of getting receipts.

[NOW: That McDonald's has moved.]

Walked to Exhibition Centre and from there to Ontario Place and back, getting some nice sunrise photos including of the CN Tower in the background. I cut through Exhibition Place again and got to Exhibition GO Station. It doesn't open for customer service until after 12 but got a daypass via a self serve machine. I asked directions to the neat washroom and was surprised that there was none there. However, the eastbound Lakeshore West train (all transportation today GO Transit/Metrolynx) that arrived had one so I used it at the layover at Union Station, where it become a Lakeshore East train. It's a doubledeckerand I took it to Oshawa GO Station in Oshawa. Along the way ticket police came by. He hadn't seen a daypass with my specific destination before but was unconcerned.

I took a 90 bus to downtown Oshawa. I visited Sunshine Variety and decided it was enough to just see the outside of the video game store Skyfox. I visited Memorial Park and did a long walk north. the two stores there that I went to were slightly late opening. Got a couple DVDs from Buy & Sell Kings including the third and final parody era Brady Bunch movies, Brady Bunch in the White House. So one theme seems to be completing sets this trip. Back Downtown I visited Entertainment Cube.
[NOW: The store near Buy & Sell Kings that I visited was Gnu Books.]

At Comic Alley Toys i started to put down my backpack but he asked if I was planning on stealing anything and when I said no he said to just keep it on. He doesn't like treating customers like potential thieves, which I appreciated. Briefly leaving downtown again I visited Deja Vu Discs where I  got some DVDs and Blu-rays and then back downtown I visited Worlds Collide comics, A British store (Promenade?) didn't open until 12 unfortunately.
[NOW: I think the British store was Paraphernalia Books 'N' Stuff.]

My former supervisor Monica treated me to pizza for lunch and also bought me more for dinner later. I just missed a 92 bus by about five minutes or so so I jogged a ways to work off some of the lunch. I finally took the 92 bus to Whitby. There I visited the new location of Comic Book Addiction and photographed the vintage Hulk and Spider-Man pinball machines.
[NOW: I think the pizza place was Reginos.]

I waited at a GO bus stop hoping one would come but finally got moving again and made it to Whitby GO Station as a Lakeshore East train was arriving. I just barely made it; the doors even started to close on me. I took it to Ajax GO Station in Ajax. I walked a way to their Buy & Sell Kings and Deja Vu Discs, plus a convenience store.

At Circle K I got a fountain drink of lime flavoured carbonated water. Probably would have tasted nice except that it was warm. Took a Lakeshore East train to Union Station in Toronto. Perhaps in part due to the pizza I was fighting sleep during this stretch. It briefly spat rain outside Toronto was especially crowded in downtown core. Checked a whole bunch of pawnbrokers on Church St that were next to each other, plus some convenience stores. One Circle K had no drink cups. Another had no ice but was cool enough. I ate at Yonge-Dundas Square and had the rest of the pizza. I thought about heating at the hostel but it's paper bag was starting to disintegrate due to grease. I returned to Union Station and took Lakeshore West train back to Exhibition GO Station. A couple women moved as I sat down. Shrug. I revisited Exhibition Place and Ontario Place and back. Looked at a few more convenience stores but decided to same money by briefly putting water bottle in freezer.

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 3 September 9 Toronto

This is the third in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

Had a nice chat with others in the room last night. Woke up briefly at night but otherwise "slept in" to 6:20. Walked to Bloor and had breakfast at McDonald's at Bloor/Ossington. Receipt machine work. Passed by by a restaurant named Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu. Hmm, I'm concerned that tofu might have meat in it. At Bloor-Yonge I bought a daypass for later. I walked up Yonge St. One construction sign said that the construction started in "Jully" (sic). I made it to Finch Station, one of the terminus stations and took the 1 train (all transportation today Toronto Transit) to Lawrence Station. A 124 arrived as I did and I took it to Videoflicks. A 41 bus arrived as I finished there and I took it to Eglinton Station.
[NOW: The hostel was Parkdale Hostellerie. Videoflicks has closed.]

At BMV Books on Yonge I bought a Mr. Show DVD set. It gets talked about a lot on Breaking Bad commentaries due to Bob Odenkirk. I took a 1 train from Eglinton to St Clair Station, visited Book City, then took a 512 Streetcar to Gunn Loop.

Nearby I took an 89 bus to Keele Station and a 2 train to Kipling Station. I took a 124 bus to near part of the Toronto/Mississauga border, crossed over and passed Etobicoke Creek, crossed back shortly thereafter and walked to the McDonald's I always pass when arriving in Toronto from Victoria.. No kiosk and a nearby DQ didn't have a deal I wanted so continued on. near some construction I asked directions on switching from Dundas St to Bloor St. Good thing I asked or I'd have gone the wrong way. With the construction it still took me a while to get to Bloor but I made it.

A long while later I passed 2 for 1 Movies again and considered going in but was late for lunch and didn't want to get caught up in that. I did briefly go into Book City and then went to the Bloor/Runnymede McDonald's from last night. Tried a different kiosk I think. no luck with receipt.
[NOW: 2 for 1 Movies has closed down.]

I had undercalculated my timings so glad I did some of the stuff yesterday. I took a 2 train from Runnymede to the Yonge section of Bloor-Yonge Station. I could have taken it further, but I hit a walk I wanted to do. I made it to where Bloor becomes Danforth. I wanted to go to Mike's Music but today's itinerary was supposed to be tomorrow's until I changed things to accommodate a meet and forgot to change Monday's closed destinations. I'll get another chance at that one.

I visited a third Book City, Re: Reading, Game Centre (bought the final season of Nikita on Blu-ray, completing that set), and Circus Books and Music. noticed that a 7-11 near a hostel I stayed at before, The Only Backpacker's Inn was gone. Took a 2 train (which hit delays) to Kennedy Station and from there a 3 above ground train to McCowan Station.

The 16 bus was I think very late. One showed up full and another showed up right after almost full, so I took that one to near comic Room/Paperback Exchange. First time there but sadly another casualty of the switch to Monday. Won't get to it this trip again. I took a 54 then a 43A bus to Kennedy Commons. Visited Deja Vu Discs and noticed the Chapters there hadn't switched to indigo like most. I took a 43 bus to Kennedy Station, then a 2 train to the Yonge section of Bloor-Yonge Station, then a 1 train to Dundas Station. I grabbed dinner at the McDonald's I went to often when staying nearby in 2016. Their kiosk worked for receipts. Tied 3-all. Visited Yonge-Dundas Squrae, which no longer had the weekend event. Across the street at Toronto Eaton Centre was a group of preachers, one with a megaphone. My feeling as an agnostic is they're part of the atmosphere of the area. It wouldn't be the same if they were gone.

I got ona 501 streetcar that had a cute puppy. Without the leash it would have gotten off too soon. The woman of a young duo got on the streetcar as the doors were closing but the guy was took late. Security checked everyone's passes and caught at least two (unrelated) women. No issue with my daypass of course

A bit tired, I got off too soon, so jogged a ways and took another to near the hostel.


Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 2 September 8 Toronto including Toronto Islands

This is the second in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

Woke up at 3:30, got up just before 5. Walked along Queen west to Queensway. The McDonald's there didn't have a kiosk so headed east along King and found another one there and used a coupon code. The kiosk didn't print the receipt. Walked along King and stumbled up set up for the last day of the Toronto Film Festival and thus overlooked the Canada's Walk of Fame. Walked along Yonge I had to cross the street because a street cleaner kept blocking my path. Nearing Yonge Dundas Square I started to slipped one ice cream(?) from night before but caught myself in time. Security was guarding the event set-up there.
[NOW: The hostel was Parkdale Hostellerie. The McDonald's on King has moved.]

I got a sandwich at 7-11 for later. I walked past the former location of Backpackers on Dundas from 2016 and passed a guy who was a decent sin ger but singing a really homophobic song. I got what shots I could of Canada's Walk of Fame with the festival stuff there. Just before I passed a petition protesting it blocking King St. Worked my way to the waterfront, passing a Railway Museum by CN Tower. 

I took a ferry to Centre Island, aka Centreville Island. I explore the Centreville Amusement Park which you only pay to go on rides, not wander through. Very little was open. i visited Olympic Island before returning to the amusement park. At the Far Enough Farm section a pig took a liking to me. A peacock seemed to be trolling a caged bird. There were two cats; one came to me when I sat down.
[NOW: The first island I believe is also called Middle Island.]

I crossed over to another Centre Island and visited Chelsea Beach aka Centre island beach. managed to gets signs welcoming visitors to both names in same sign.  I visited Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and contined west, where this Centre Island becomes Hanlan's Point. I visited the same clothing optional beach there and took lots of photos even though you're not supposed to. Mind you no one else was there when I arrived though neither the sand nor Lake Ontario were wearing any clothing; but I didn't see any issue with photos as long as no one was in the photos. Mine stayed on. I left just as someone was arriving. I returned to Chelsea beach and visited the Pier there.

I crossed over to NYCC Island and back and then Snake Island  and back. Just after this Centre Island became Ward Island I visited Algonquin Island and back. I visited the Ward Island ferry terminal and then had lunch at Ward Island Beach, there I think a young seagull want ed some food. I walked a ways along the boardwalk but switched to the main road because a 10K was underway and people running along loose boards was distracting. On the main road people were running the other way (earlier in their race) but still less distracting. Because It was so overcast I I walked to Hanlan Point Ferry Terminal and left about two hours earlier than usual (mind you I arrived an hour earlier than usual).

Passing Yonge-Dundas Square, I fouhnd the map book I was looking for at a Shoppers Drug Mart and grabbed a Big Gulp at a 7-11 across the street. On College Street  I visited some stores and a landmark that got bumped yesterday including Beguiling (made a note about some trades; have to pack light until my Megabus trip to Montreal is over; Denison Square just south of College (a statue of Al Waxman was marked up; non the plus side the bench by the statue is normally occupied requiring another visit but not this time; She Said Boom! (moved a few doors down), Balfour Books and Soundscapes; Neurotica (couldn't find and door at address locked); Sellers and Newell Books; MVP Master Video production (closing and locked). Finishing College, I made my way to High Park briefly, then Dundas St W. There I visited Type Books, Pandemonium (got $2 Blu-ray), Book Exchange (closed today).
[NOW: MVP has of course finished closing.]

I made my way to Bloor and Jane where Red Nails II (comics) had closed for the day 15 minutes later. The nearby 2 for 1 Movies was closing down. Not much i was interested in and couldn't find anyone working in the store to ask prices. I had dinner at the McDonald's at Bloor and Runnymede. Again the kiosk wouldn't print the receipt. So of the three visited so far this trip two have had printing issues. I passed the Bar with No Name, a name which amused me because in the comics the villain killer Scourge killed 18 super-villains at one. The Bar had closed down. I walked south along Brock and made my way back to the hostel, where I chatted for a bit with someone from the UK working in film.
[NOW: 2 for 1 Movies has of course finished closing.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2019 Day 1 September 7 Victoria to Toronto

This is the first in a series of posts covering my trip to Eastern Canada in September 2019, adapting emails originally sent to friends. I use NOW to refer to any updates since I did the trip.

Sleepy so apologies if lots of typos. Tried to catch most. Last night got the idea to print ON and QC McDonald's coupons, Can't use printouts directly but you can type the number codes into the self-serve kiosks. Managed to fall asleep last night only to be woken up at 1:30 by a text from a spammer.
[NOW: Hopefully I caught the typos before posting to this blog.]

Put on new backpack for first time. No chest straps but small shoulder straps so it still doesn't bounce. Walked from my place to nearby Embassy Hotel where I caught the YYJ Airporter to the airport in North Saanich. At first I thought |I had left by debit and credit cards at home so was directed to the currency exchange which doesn't open until 8. Luckily I finally found them (like I said, new backpack; only just learning the various hiding spots).
[NOW: The airport is Victoria International Airport.]

Grabbed breakfast at Tim Horton's. A 500 mL Coke cost $2.75. I mailed out a cheque I kept forgetting to send out and then went through security without incident. Westjet plane to Toronto was on time. I accidentally sat down on the wrong side of the plane. This was a relief because on the side I sat down initially the window seat had no window. No map screen during flight sadly. For a long period of time during the flight we flew over clouds that weren't that fluffy on top, just flat, so I turned off my camera occasionally rather than essentially repeat the same shot. Clouds partly cleared around the Great Lakes, though they didn't go away until just before landing. Over one lake a cloud formation looked like the head of a cockatiel. I'm a bit sleep deprived but I'm not THAT sleep deprived. 

The plane landed 19 minutes early (passing Canada's Wonderland in Vaughan shortly before landing)  but took a while upon landing to reach the terminal. The flight attendants or at least one made a few attempts at humour during the flight so eventually one said she hoped we were enjoying our tour of the airport. I got off the plane at Pearson, which is actually in Mississauga, not Toronto. Noticed my phone was still on PDT. Grabbed lunch at Tim Horton's. The cashier refused to give me my receipt. Still, it was wise to get lunch then as it takes a while for the luggage to show up, a lesson learned the hard way from past trips. While waiting for the suitcase I ate the lunch and finally figured out how to change the time on my cell.

I took the 900 bus (what few transit I used today were all Toronto Transit) to Kipling Station in Toronto. Just missing one, I took the next 2 subway train to Dufferin station and transferred to a 92C bus to Duffferin and Queen. I had to ask directions but finally found the hostel, Parkdale Hostellerie. 
[NOW: In full, the bus was the 900 Airport Express.]

After checking in I walked back to Bloor where I had gotten that 29C bus and walked west to Dead Dog Music. Heading east, bought an incomplete but $2 DVD screener set for $2 at Eyesore Cinema.  I visited Zoinks!, then Doug Miller Books, passing some sort of Asian outdoor event at Christie Pits Park en route. Bought a comic trade at Doug Miller. Sad to report I confirmed my suspicions: Bumpkin the store rabbit passed away shortly after my 2016 visit.

Continuing on along Bloor I passed the former site of Honest Ed's and visited Seekers Books and BMV Books (got a couple of TV Blu-ray sets at the latter). Got some DVDs at Bay St Video. Indigo across the street and a few other places I checked didn't have a map book I was looking for. I decided to cut out a number of places for time but I'll have at least two chances to get to them later. On Yonge St., I got another Blu-ray set at ABC Books (got a Blu-ray that completes my sets of Weeds seasons) and used a coupon number at McDonald's. I visited the Edward St BMV Books then Silver Snail Comics, then Yonge-Dundas Square. It's worth noting that Bloor and Yonge have something in common with Greater Victoria: construction.

I did a long walk west along Queen St, passing another live thing at the park by City Hall, and after a brief detour along University Ave, made my way back to the hostel. As it happened someone was holding the door open for others so I showed her my squab that proved I was staying there. 

[NOW: That park is Nathan Phillips Square.]

Sunday, March 8, 2020

10 Interesting Lesser Known Female Characters (Mainly from Superhero Comics)

For International Women’s Day I decided to spotlight ten interesting female characters from comics, mainly superhero comics as those are what I’m most familiar with. This list is intended to be ten I find interesting, and I tried to avoid characters that even non-comic readers would already be very familiar with. I figure everybody already has a pretty good idea who Wonder Woman is for example. I tried to include a range of different types, and from different titles. So Julia Kapatelis is a great character, but since I’m including Myndi Mayer from the same Wonder Woman era, I decided to leave her for another time. I’ve also tried to include a range or moral fortitude, so some of the girls/women below are absolutely people to aspire to be, while others are a cautionary tale.

Alley-Kat-Abra: Felina Furr is a feline on Earth-C, a world of anthropomorphic animals. Gaining magical powers from a meteorite fragment, she and others who gained powers through similar means joined together as the Zoo Crew. Alley-Kat-Abra proved to be one of the more serious, level headed members of the team. At one point it appeared that her feline nature brought out the worst in her and she killed teammate Little Cheese. However, the killer proved to be an imposter named Dark Alley, and Alley-Kat-Abra was able to rejoin the team.

Annie: Annie is a Life Model Decoy who through unknown means appears to be fully sentient, aiding and romancing Red Hulk on missions. She is fully aware of the fact that she is a machine but seems to take it fully in stride, even joking about it (“I-am-a-robot”). While created in a lab and not through normal means, and probably not capable of giving birth, she is female in form and self-identifies as such.

Blackthorn: During an invasion of Earth by the Horde, Alice L. Pagrovna, tired of living a life of being unnoticed, agreed to the Mortituri process to fight the aliens, a process that grants members of Strikeforce: Morituri powers with the caveat that the process will kill the volunteers within a year. Aline gained a newfound love of life through her adventures and even became pregnant. Between this pregnancy and another member accidentally “stealing” her death, she was able to survive longer than the usual one year limit.

Dream Girl: A member of the 30th Century Legion of Super-Heroes with precognitive powers, she originally appeared to be more beauty than brains. However, upon becoming leader of the Legion in the middle of the Great Darkness Saga, where the team clashed with Darkseid, a hidden side of her and she proved to be more than up to the task of leading the team, proving there was a lot more to her than her looks.

Jean DeWolff: A tough, no nonsense cop, she nevertheless befriended spider-man during a time when the police distrusted him. She secretly had feelings for him that she hid using her tough exterior. She had a passion for the 1930s, dressing in 1930s clothing and driving a roadster. Her sense of duty never faltered even when her dad, himself a former cop turned bad. Sadly she was murdered by an ex-lover who had become the Sin-Eater.

Myndi Wayer: When the Post-Crisis version of Wonder Woman arrived in the United States, publicist Myndi Mayer decided to become her agent. She and Wonder Women didn’t always agree with her profit motives, but Mayer proved to be quite willing to work with Wonder Woman’s agenda, even if she sometimes pushed it a bit. Her presence forced Wonder Woman to confront her own desire for adoration. Sadly Mayer’s cocaine habit led to an unhappy ending for her, but she managed to at least somewhat win over people with very different values from her own.

Songbird: Screaming Mimi was a minor villain, a member of a group of female wrestlers called the Grapplers, differentiated from the others by her sonic powers. But her stint with the Masters of Evil led her to join other former Masters as the Thunderbolts, villains posing as heroes. As Songbird she found herself enjoying playing the role of hero, to the point when after the truth about the Thunderbolts was exposed, she decided to switch sides and was key to turning the Thunderbolts into a hero group, albeit one  filled with reformed super-villains and eventually received a pardon. Now despite her criminal past she is generally trusted by the superhero community.

Spectrum: Harbour patrolwoman Monica Rambeau was bombarded by extra-dimensional energies and became Captain Marvel. Highly capable she soon joined the Avengers and not long after that even became team leader. Circumstances have caused her powers to fluctuate in recent years and she went through a series of new code names after Genis-Vell, son of the previous Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) claimed that name. Still she remains one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Universe.

Terra: Some people, male or female, just cannot be saved. Terra was a foul-mouthed teenage girl committing minor crimes seemingly talked into switching sides by Changeling and joining the New Teen Titans. However, she was actually a mole for Deathstroke the Terminator, using her super cute looks to help gain the team’s trust, particularly Changeling’s. Unlike Songbird, no amount of heroics could ever redeem her, and she ultimately died trying to kill the team.

Viper: While very well known to comic readers, Viper is pretty obscure to everyone only just watches marvel movies and shows. Viper is a cruel and cunning terrorist. A high ranking member of hydra as Madame Hydra, she eventually struck out on her own and led other teams, killing the previous Viper simply to swipe his name. While she showed a certain amount of warmth to Spider-Woman when she believed herself to be Spider-woman’s mother, she is normally quite ruthless, and despite her lack of powers, her cruelty and cunning make her a thorn in the side of superheroes.