Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Spring in Toronto .. permit me a "Yay!"

For me spring in the city means, among other things, taking Hayley for long wanders in the park. We are lucky. We live in the former North York (of Mel Land as I like to call it) with lots of big ravines and lots of big parks. Lots of walking trails too so me and border collie can go wandering around in search of errant sheep and tennis balls.

We went to one of favorite parks, Cedarvale, that connects on to a ravine trail and has lots of nice big open spaces. Now, this is what the World's Smartest Dog and I are pursuing: open spaces. Hills. Grass. You know, all the stuff from which us urban prisoners are so deprived. I am only one of about three million people in this city but I pretty much figured that other people felt the same way.

Well (and you knew there was a "well" coming) off we go and indeed the park is filled with people. But here's the funny part: all the open spaces in the park are empty save for dogs and their humans. We have all this lovely grass to ourselves. Why? What gives? What are the other, sad border collie-deprived humans doing? Where on they?

They are on the pavement. Sidewalks run thru the park. In Cedarvale there are a lot of sidewalks and they go a good distance. In the little park right by my house, there are sidewalks and they seem to go nowhere; you can walk across the whole park in about a minute. They ripped up a good chunk of the home park (Shermount) and laid down a couple of new sections of pavment that made no sense to me at the time.

Now I am getting it. In our concrete jungle where grass and open space are at a premium, there is one thing people truly desire: Wheels. All kinds of wheels. Any kind of wheels. Wheels on bikes. Wheels on skates. Wheels on boards. Wheels attached to things I first took to be dwarf all terrain assault vehicles but are actually Infant Conveyance Device (ICDs)

I was baffled ( a state that increasingly becomes my natural state). Here we were in Cedarvale park, with all these huge open spaces, fields large enough to play soccer and cricket, and what were people doing? Cramming these narrow walkways, shoulder to shoulder, so they could use their wheels. I understand the desire to avoid cycling/skating/boarding in the streets in Toronto .. I dont even like to drive my car in the streets of Toronto ... but I really was sort of confused.

A beautiful spring day. Warm and sunny after a long and snowy winter. Air that you could breathe without a mask, grass that at the time was dry and almost green, and what did the throng come here to do (come here in their cars to do, most of em)? They came here to go .. and to go fast. There they were, all massed onto that narrow walkway, zipping around as quickly as possible. There is no one in Toronto who does not bitch about the traffic; so here they are in a traffic free zone and they create their own. Really, I just dont get it. Hayley didnt get it either. She is trained to sit on the side of a trail when a bike goes by; she was spending more time on her butt than on the move.

Cedervale park is one thing; its big and the sidewalks are fairly long. Little Shermount Park, by house is another thing. Its small. The new sidewalks really don't go anywhere. But there are jammed too, filled with wheels, wheels just moving for the sake of moving. They got rid of grass in that park, just so we could have more wheels.

This past weekend we had the threat of a transit strike in Toronto. No buses, no subways. Thankfully it did not happen but the possibility had the entire city on edge. No transit!! What shall we do!! This will mean more cars!! More traffic!!! Oh no!! People were frothing at the mouth with despair. The subject of wheels was more prevelant than hockye .. yeh .. it was a big deal. We need wheels they whined, we need them to transport us but if they take away our public wheels the private wheels will overwhelm our city!

So lets get away from the wheels. Go to a park. Relax. Jump on some more wheels. Ride them around in circles.

Whatever. This weekend Hayley and I will return to our park. And we'll use our feet.

No comments:

Top Blogs Pets

Add to Technorati Favorites