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  • Day4

    A Striking Day in Toronto

    March 5 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 2 °C

    Since this was to be my last full day in Toronto, I really wanted to do something a little more ambitious. Whenever I find myself in a city that I have not visited before the first thing I like to do is walk. I don't usually have any set destination as it is the journey that I am interested in, not the end point. Today was my chance to really wander and see what makes Toronto tick.

    Of course in order to be able to walk the streets, there was one important requirement I needed - fine weather. You can imagine my smile when I looked out of the apartment window at 6 am and saw that it was going to be a great day. In fact it already had the makings of the best day so far.

    At about 8.30 am I set off. Although the sky was clear the temperature was bracing - hovering around 0 C. I was so glad that I had packed gloves and a beanie. I don't mind the cold air, but frozen ears and fingers are not much fun.

    My only vague plan was to roughly set out in the direction of the rising sun. By watching the shadows on the footpath I knew that I was heading in the right direction. If I kept walking in that way I knew that it would take me through the centre of the city and eventually to the waterfront of Lake Ontario.

    The first couple of km were familiar territory as I passed the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto. Ahead of me I could catch glimpses of the impressive CN tower. At over 550 metres in height, this building is apparently the tallest free standing concrete building in the world. I was glad that it gave me another place to aim for in my walk.

    About one hour and 4.5 km later I was standing at the foot of the tower. It certainly was a spectacle and I suppose I could have spent some time travelling to its observation deck, but I was more interested in reaching the lake. When I arrived at the shore I discovered that almost everything was still closed for the winter. It was perfect as I had the whole place to myself.

    I found a nice seat in the sunshine and watched the planes taking off from the small airport on Centre Island. Although the sunshine was warm, the air temperature was still low enough to ensure that the piles of snow scattered around were reluctant to melt.

    Eventually I began heading away from the Lake in search of something for lunch. This turned out to be a rather greasy hamburger in a grossly over heated indoor food mall, followed by a very forgettable cup of coffee. I was glad to get back out into the cold again.

    I soon saw a collection of police vehicles and flashing lights. Things started to get interesting. As I walked closer I could see that hundreds of people were marching with placards and angry chants. Most were wearing matching red beanies. Since I had nothing better to do, of course I joined in the march.

    It did not take long to learn that most of the marchers were teachers who were on strike because of budget cuts that had been initiated by the new premier of Ontario Province. Since I was once a teacher in a previous life, I felt like I was in familiar company. They were happy to chat with me and tell me why they were so unhappy. Some things are the same the world over. It was also interesting that the, once popular and charismatic Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, now seems universally disliked.

    My time with the strikers gave me a fascinating alternative insight into life in Toronto. But I was getting tired. After walking around 14 km I was ready to return to my apartment for a rest.

    Tomorrow afternoon I will be catching a flight to Havana to begin the second part of my travels. It has been good to have time to myself but I am looking forward to meeting all the other members of our team and beginning our Cuban Adventure.
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