Friday, 7 August 2015

On the Waterfront Trail

The last leg of my journey has begun. My parents and I are now on the road to Montreal. Armed leftovers from the last three suppers, departed at 20 to nine, even though my plan been to leave after nine to reduce the impact of commuters. However, Mummy was ready and restless.

Despite having been told the night before that I had already ridden it about five times, my Father expressed amazement that I was easily able to follow a recommended bike route Cathy and Mike's down to Queen Street. Mummy was surprised at how many cycle-commuters there were as "Toronto isn't a biking city." The truth of the matter is that does a better job than Montreal (especially in the matter of bike racks). However T.O. doesn't blow its own trumpet on the matter like Montreal does. Also, the riders we were seeing were likely only going shortish distances whereas the sprawling suburbs are the sources of Toronto's notorious traffic and the ultimate of T.O.'s most notorious S.O.B. a.k.a. Rob Ford.

We made our way to the Waterfront where my father began displaying the dangerous and irritating habit of apparently being unwilling or unable to stop in less than 20 meters and/or twenty. When challenged on the point he has produced several lame excuses, at least one of which relate to his being lame. Combined with his habit of reading the signs he sees out loud suggests that one of these days he is going to plow into the back of Mummy's bike after she brakes after hearing him yell "Stop" as a witless attempt at wit and failing to come to a halt.

I am tempted to put him on the train.

We followed the Waterfront Trail for most of the day as it weaved back and forth passing industrial areas, residential areas, conservation areas and a nuclear power plant. The trail is a mishmash of perfect bike paths, quiet streets, busy roads, crowded parks and boardwalks tied together with haphazard signage and maps of varying degrees of accuracy. At one point, just after a steep hill, we couldn't figure out where the trail was supposed to be. At this point, a dad arrived by bike with his (disabled?) teenage son on trike. We chatted. We were surprised that the father didn't know about the Waterfront Trail despite him cycling into Dowtown Toronto on a regular basis. As our map sections were printed PDF's that we have been chucking in recycling bins every 15 kms or so, we happily gave him one as an aide-memoire to find the whole thing online.

My estimate Google Maps generated estimated distance for the day was off by about 25 kms. I account for this difference by the fact I may have asked Google for the Toronto-Oshawa distance rather than the Cathy to B&B distance. Also, I don't think Google Maps plotted us along the inefficient but mostly nice Waterfront Trail.

At one point early in the day, we passed the Redpath sugar refinery. Just next to it, there was a sea-going bulk freighter (or "saltie" in the Great Lakes parlance) called "Andean" tied up at the dock. It didn't take that much thought to suspect it was delivering sugar products. A little further, I saw what looked like a large landing craft, possibly a landing ship, tank (or LST) painted in "dazzle camouflage" and undergoing repairs. I wonder what that was about?

Late in the day, I stopped to photograph a sign advertising kilted window cleaners ("Nae peeking allowed.") I have the notion that it is a gimmick aimed at bored housewives. Another interesting sign was one for the parks in Pickering which forbade "Obnoxious or annoying behaviour". Unfortunately or possibly revealingly, it wasn't one that someone referred to above didn't read out loud.

1 comment: