The Garden City Refugee

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On the Road – Wood Shavings, Fortified Wine, Toothbrushes and More

November 6, 2019

Highlights and pictures from another adventure in the universe’s center:

1. En route to Fairview Mall to catch the bus, I spotted this bumette wheeling all her worldly possessions, including several pieces of furniture, in a pair of shopping carts spread out over a full lane on Scott Street in pitch darkness. It was a shame that the driver who came within an eyelash of hitting and potentially killing her was too polite to blast his or her horn.

2. The signage all along the #12 GO bus route has been changed to reflect the new stop at Centennial Parkway, replacing the infamous Nash and Barton park and ride location. I like how they separated the stops based on which direction you’re going, but the people at Metrolinx are obviously unaware or simply don’t care that St. Catharines, Grimsby and Beamsville are all in Niagara. The wording “Towards Niagara Falls” would have been much better, especially since the Falls-bound buses are signed “Niagara Falls” and not just simply “Niagara.”

3. Said new stop at Centennial Parkway does indeed have more parking spaces, as Metrolinx advertises, as well as a larger shelter. Yet there’s still no ticket machine there and it makes for a much longer walk to catch the Barton bus. One step forward, two steps back.

3a. I realize that there undoubtedly will be ticket machines coming when the adjacent Confederation GO station rises from the ashes, but that’s still years down the road. And since passengers having to buy tickets from the driver was and remains the major time-waster at Stoney Creek, they might as well have kept the stop at Nash and Barton until the Confederation station was ready.

4. Near the Burlington Skyway, the bus was following a big rig from G. McFeeters Wood Shavings in Smithville. Who knew there was a big market for wood shavings? And from Smithville, of all places.

5. After getting off the #12 bus, I was following a woman into the Burlington GO station who thought it was beneath her to open the door. Then after performing such an indignity, she just stopped dead in her tracks after getting through the doorway.

6. At the Burlington GO station, there was a booth from Metrolinx promoting the Presto auto-reload feature, yet the two staffers were too busy chatting with each other instead of trying to attract the attention of the many passengers who had just disembarked from the #12 bus.

7. Anyone looking to take a Burlington Transit bus from the Burlington GO station no longer has to walk through the tunnel to the north loop as all the buses now operate out of the new south loop.

8. Spotted on the way to the train inside the Burlington GO station:

8a. Don’t ask me what “Fortified Wine” is.

9. Perhaps this toothbrush was left over from someone who was brushing while waiting for the train:

10. Not surprisingly, the express train to Union was packed with half-asleep commuters with their heads down and completely engrossed with their phones. All that broke the silence was the snoring of one guy across the aisle.

11. Another case of workers’ money being squandered by a union more concerned with its own interests:

11a. I fondly remember a bygone era when a worker would fear his employer more than his union.

12. As there are so few stairways leading down to the station, I sometimes wonder if it takes longer to get to Union or inside Union. The crush of humanity when those trains open their doors is not for the faint of heart or the wide-eyed visitor new to and in awe of the universe’s center.

13. Across the aisle on the northbound #1 line was a woman busy putting on mascara and painting her eyebrows. Applying cosmetics on public transit does seem to be an increasingly popular activity for some reason.

14. Also spotted while on the northbound #1 line was an ad from The Globe and Mail with the slogan, “Power to the Informed.” If you’re relying on the mainstream news media these days, you’re the uninformed.

15. Three well-placed substitute letters can make all the difference . . .

16. As opposed to a noun salon?

17. Personally, I can find better uses for $35 . . .

18. But what about all the other made-up genders?

19. Scenes at the Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens:



20. It’s scary to think how much federal tax their customers are going to be paying in the coming years . . .

20a. How dumb do you have to be to believe that throwing money at the government is going to save the planet?

21. Anyone who loves freedom would not have voted Liberal . . .

22. Skiis and biikes for aactive peeople . . .

23. The clerk who served me at A & W in the Eaton Center food court had a poorer grasp of the Canadian language than the clerk who served me the last time I was at an A & W, which was at Place Ste-Foy in (Ville de) Québec.

24. Behind the counter of said A & W was a poster highlighting their climate goals. Unlike the case with the Liberals, taxing people out of house and home wasn’t among them.

25. Eating lunch at the Eaton Center food court proved to be quite the adventure. Soon after finding a seat, a bum came up to my table and mumbled, “Um . . . cum . . . chum.” Figuring that he wanted money and wasn’t looking for a dinner companion, I ignored him. He then repeated the gibberish before moving on to other tables, where he kept striking out, though he would at least get a polite “sorry” from the other patrons. A few minutes later, I ignored another money-seeking bum, but just as Bum #2 disappeared from view, a rent-a-cop was ushering Bum #1 from the food court while keeping an eye out for the whereabouts of Bum #2.

Once finished, as I was getting ready to move on, another guy took a seat at the table to my right. With a pencil that he probably sharpened with his teeth, he proceeded to begin composing a novella on what was once the inside of a paper bag. As with the two bums above, since he didn’t exactly have a professional appearance and “pay for” was in the first line, I didn’t take him for a writer who was suddenly overcome with an inspiration. Over the next 10 minutes, he took great care in creating his short story, going back to erase his mistakes, then he looked it over again after he was finished his first draft and made a couple of additional changes. He wrapped it up by drawing some designs on the bottom, then he folded it up neatly, put it in his pocket along with his cigarette lighter and headed for the garbage station. There, he picked up a drink cup out of the can and sucked on the straw someone else had used to extract every last remaining drop, making sure nothing was wasted. Ewww.

26. While observing the creation of his literary masterpiece, I couldn’t help but notice the other patrons around me who could barely divert their attention away from their phones long enough to eat.

27. These cyclists were with More Life, an organization which had gone on a day-long city-wide blitz handing out free flowers. Whatever.

28. This guy couldn’t even bother to man his own station:

29. New in the York Concourse at Union Station is a similar machine to what they have at the Niagara Falls Bus Terminal, where you pay $6 for a 24-hour rental of a charger. Unlike the case in Niagara Falls, however, there are free plugs and USB ports nearby and throughout the concourse, including a dedicated desk with free charging outlets. In reality, the paid charging station is an IQ test.

30. While on the platform waiting for the Burlington-bound train, someone passed by carrying a clipboard with “Learn. Fear. Return.” written on the back. Whatever.

31. Justin Trudeau has a place to stay if and when he visits Burlington . . .

32. It’s long since become common knowledge that colleges and universities today are nothing but purveyors of left-wing political propaganda. Here, Appleby College doesn’t even try to hide it.

33. Rather than follow the posted signs, a couple of guys in a yellow pickup truck opted to proceed the wrong way through the construction on the one-way, one-lane service road at Beamsville and somehow managed to avoid a head-on collision on their way to Ontario Street.

34. On the QEW near Vineland on my return trip was a truck from Bison Transport and parked at Fairview Mall was a car with Manitoba plates. As I’ve said before, the SPRM does follow me around.

35. Anyone forget their sleeping bag and water bottle?

36. Obviously a fan of Bruce Willis and the Die Hard movies . . .

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