The Garden City Refugee

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On the Road – Bay Street Bums, Triggering Liberals, Black Squirrels and More

December 26, 2019

Highlights and pictures from a Christmas Day adventure in the universe’s center:

1. En route to the bus, I spotted a community resident bum with a shopping cart full of all his worldly possessions in tow lying on the floor next to the ATM inside the branch of a credit union. Despite the early hour, he was wide awake and reading a book.

2. I wonder if the people who drove to and left their cars by the GO stop at Fairview Mall were aware that:

a) Fairview Mall is not an official park-and-ride location
b) their cars would stand out like sore thumbs because the mall was not open

3. One of above noted parties was a loud couple who paid their fare with money they dug out of a Ziploc bag. Though the bus was practically empty, they opted to park themselves right behind a grumpy old fart across the aisle from me who had clearly gotten up much too early for his liking. The old fart responded by putting his seat back, sending the male half of the couple one seat over and the female half to the row behind. During the ride to Burlington, I learned that they too were headed for Union Station, but had little idea how they were supposed to get there. They knew they had to transfer at Burlington, but didn’t know whether it would be to a bus or a train. They said they would figure it out when they got there.

4. Between Vineland and Beamsville was a new ad from OPSEU facing the QEW. Tell me again why public sector unions “need” to advertise.

5. In a pattern he would repeat on the trips to and from Burlington, the driver felt the need to repeat the automated announcement giving the details of each upcoming stop. It was particularly unnecessary at Beamsville, where the poky little stop hardly merits one announcement, let alone two.

6. After the driver had kindly gotten out to help her with her bags, the woman who boarded at Grimsby began complaining to him after her Presto card was rejected. It’s not the driver’s fault you were allegedly overcharged for a recent trip. Take it up with customer service. As I can personally attest, by and large, they are happy to help. In any event, the driver let her board without paying and instructed her to buy a ticket at Burlington. Which she did.

7. During the entire ride from Grimsby to Burlington, Grumpy Presto Woman, sitting right in front of me, had her head down with both hands over her ears. Shrug.

8. On both trips over the Burlington Skyway, the driver made an announcement advising of “turbulence” because of high winds and asked passengers to stay in their seats. Um, I’ve taken that bus plenty of times over the last five-plus years, and I can’t say people getting up and moving around while the bus is in motion has been a real problem.

9. As we pulled into Burlington, the driver made the announcement, “It has been my pleasure to serve all you wonderful passengers this morning. Have a merry Christmas, season’s greetings and a safe and prosperous new year to you and all your families.” Well, it sure beats the F-you treatment in the Old Country.

9a. Speaking of the O.C., longtime readers may be surprised that this marked my sixth Christmas since defecting from the SPRM.

10. I’m guessing this is a result of either a dissatisfied customer or someone who realized he had failed the IQ test by paying through the nose for a charger when there are plenty of free outlets throughout the station:

11. Free ice cream in the tunnel leading to the tracks:

12. According to the customer service ambassador on my C.U.-bound Lakeshore West train, “Standclearthedoorsarenowclosing” is one word.

12a. If they can do automated announcements on . . .

  • GO buses
  • TTC subway lines and streetcars
  • St. Catharines Transit
  • Welland Transit
  • HSR
  • NFTA-Metro (Great State of New York)
  • OC Transpo (in both Canadian and Quebecese)
  • STO (Gatineau)
  • RTC (Québec, ville de)

. . . why, pray tell, do they need a human doing the announcements on the train? And why, pray tell, don’t they have a display board on all cars of the train?

13. Think they use enough salt on the platforms?

14. Even early on Christmas Day, the line at Tim Hortons in Union Station was 10-plus deep. Same at McDonald’s.

15. My name isn’t “Bud” . . .

16. You’re welcome, but as UCU is a publicly funded institution, it’s not like I have a choice.

17. Now here’s a liberal-triggering sight, the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, that stands proudly outside Queen’s Park. Recall that in 2018, in an action that sparked national outrage, radical far-left extremists succeeded in getting a similar statue of Sir John A. removed in Victoria. They also declined Premier Ford’s courageous offer to take it off their hands and put in on display here.

18. A look at Queen’s Park:

19. Free clothing. And a Starbucks cup.

19a. Starbucks was about the only major chain to have most of its stores open on this day. Most Tim Hortons, Subway and McDonald’s locations were shut tight, even in the heart of downtown Toronto.

20. This guy looked like he was seriously trying to take a dump:

21. To heck with the wide sidewalks on both sides, just jog on the street. You’ll get more attention that way. Which is the real motivation for most joggers these days.

22. The pharmacist is in . . .

23. Scenes like this were most common on this day, particularly so on Bay Street, as community residents street urchins replaced the normal hustle-and-bustle business crowd.



In the first scene, outreach workers had approached the woman in the shelter, who was adorned in plastic-bag stockings, and asked if she needed any assistance. Presumably she did, as they hung around and were on the phone with someone while tending to her. Later in the day, I would encounter another street urchin in the washroom at Nathan Phillips Square who had taken his bike and all he possesses, including his hair brush, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, inside to tend to business.

24. Um, whatever . . .

25. Star Metro Toronto boxes like this one have always been filled with garbage, even when it was being published. But now, at least they serve some purpose as they help get trash off the streets.

26. Here’s something to cover in your next workshop: Domain names don’t contain spaces.

27. Scenes in Yorkville:



28. Black squirrels like this one were following me around all day. I knew I wasn’t alone. You may understand. You may not.

29. Speaking thereof, there’s a missing “R” here:

30. In front of me in line at the one Tim Hortons on Bay Street that was open was a woman who went on and on with special requests and kept piling on to her order. It’s a donut shop, not a grocery store. Later, I listened as a guy on the train told us about a similar experience at a McDonald’s when a guy in front of him wanted onions on one half and pickles on the other. As he said, “Dude, it’s not gourmet, it’s McDonald’s.”

31. At that same Tim Hortons was a kiosk, similar to the ones at McDonald’s, where you can order and pay, then just pick up your food and drink at the end of the counter. The unintended consequences of abnormally high minimum wages.

31a. Did you know that Switzerland, a country without a minimum wage, has the highest wages in the world?

32. Also at that same Tim Hortons, I watched an ad from the Government of Ontario telling us “Our plan is working.” I don’t like it when Liberals use our money for partisan ads and I don’t like it when Conservatives do it either. Shame on you, Doug Ford.

33. Snowpeople . . .

34. I didn’t know the Royal Ontario Museum had an exhibit about the Liberals . . .

35. Scenes at the waterfront:



36. In stark contrast to the ride in during which I had an entire car to myself, the Burlington-bound Lakeshore West train I was on was absolutely packed. It was much the same on the double-decker Niagara-bound bus, where there were few seats to be had. Many of my fellow travelers, by the way, were openly defying Metrolinx’s no-eating/no-drinking policy. In addition, every car seems to have one jerk who has to have music piping through his earbuds so loud that half the people on the train can hear it, and the jerk in my car was sitting right next to me most of the way.

37. At the other end of the car were three teenage girls in their late 20s. One talked about wanting to visit Chicago, the other really wanted to visit Germany and the other would, like, drop everything for love.

38. From the “Don’t Ask Me, I Just Work Here” file: A GO driver at Burlington got out and asked when the Niagara-bound bus we were waiting for was scheduled to arrive. And I was the only one within earshot who had the correct answer.

39. Another one from the same file: When boarding the Niagara-bound bus at Burlington, I saw the red light come up on the Presto reader for the woman in front of me. When she told the driver she had the auto-reload feature set up, he replied, “I don’t know anything about that, check inside.” What makes such a response even worse is that Metrolinx has been pushing the auto-reload feature so hard you’d think every employee would be babbling about it in their sleep at night.

40. With so many visitors and tourists aboard his bus, the driver made sure to point out some sights as we were crossing the Burlington Skyway, almost as if he was driving the WEGO sucker bus in Niagara Falls.

41. While the driver was waiting to make a left turn after pulling out of the Stoney Creek stop, a guy walking down Centennial Parkway who presumably wanted the bus went into a full sprint. He managed to get to the front door before the bus took off, but since he was not at the curb and in the middle turning lane, the driver would not open the door. The guy then let the driver know he was #1 in his books before turning away and making his way to the stop. I can understand the guy’s frustration, as the driver could have let him on safely since there was no other traffic around, but it’s probably against regulations.

42. Upon disembarking at Fairview Mall, a Hamilton-bound traveler asked for my help in trying to use the machine to buy a ticket. Yet after punching in a few things on the screen, he took off and started looking around the stop. So then I left. If it’s not important to you, don’t expect it to be important to me.

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