Here vs There

Here vs There
Toronto vs Ucluelet skyline. Toronto photo by Richard Kidger on Unsplash. Ucluelet photo by Sandy Lue

I’m taking a break from the beach today.

Typical of the Pacific North West, it is bleak and rainy outside. It’d be cold and wet too, if I’d not chosen to stay inside.  Being no fool, I chose instead to kick-off a new series of blog posts.  It’s about living ‘Here vs There.’

I have the luxury of living in two places. One is in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, population: six million. The other is in Ucluelet, population: 1,717.

In Toronto I am never more than ten minutes from a super store; fine arts is a choice of museums away and dinner is easy with over sixteen thousand restaurants to choose from. In Ucluelet, the nearest Walmart is two hours away, art is the view from my living room  and I can have any food I want, so long as I make it.

Transitioning from one place to the other takes planning.  Whenever I come to Ucluelet, I have to adjust my clothing and gear.

The weather is always one of  sunny, foggy, overcast or mild. Sometimes it’s all of that in one day.  In any case, there’s always the chance of rain.

I wear layers under my waterproof jacket which has a hood and  lots of zippered pockets. The pockets are necessary for storing my scarf, keys, sunglasses and bear spray. The zippers are necessary for when I catch a sun spot and have to de-layer to soak up some rays.  If you’ve ever lost your keys on a trail, you’ll know why zippers are important.

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Probably the most obvious change in gear is my hand bag.

In the city I carry a slouchy leather hand bag.  It’s big enough to carry my wallet, phone, keys, hat, gloves, aspirin, notebook with a checklist of to-do items and a pen to check off old items and add new ones.  In Ucluelet I carry a change purse with one bank card, a health card and Co-op membership.  And enough cash to pay for serendipitous finds in the local thrift shop.

Ahh, the west coast thrift shop … now there’s another difference between living here vs there.

But that’s another blog post for another time.   Stay tuned!

Ucluelet. April 2019


Have you had a Timmie’s today?


I had a Tim Horton’s yesterday and it was so good! 

In case you’re not Canadian … Tim Horton’s is a popular fast food chain specializing in donuts and coffee. It is a prominent feature of Canadian life and in large cities like Toronto, there is a Tim Horton’s at every major intersection. According to Wikipedia “Canadians eat more doughnuts per capita and have more doughnut outlets per capita than any other nation.”

So why was my Timmie’s so special?  It wasn’t just because the breakfast bagel was soft, the bacon crispy and the lettuce and tomato super fresh.   It wasn’t just that the coffee was dark roasted with real cream or that the apple fritter donut was ooey-gooey sweet with a hint of cinnamon spice.  Nor that this was the first stop after an early morning, two hour trip through winding mountain roads where I halted any car sickness by clenching my fists and biting my teeth.

No, the reason it was special was because I haven’t been able to have fast food for four whole weeks.  In my little town of Ucluelet and the nearby town of Tofino, there is a municipal ban on all fast food franchises.   No McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks (gasp) or Tim Horton’s.

Tell you the truth, I don’t miss them.  Lower metabolism and higher susceptibility to gravity makes me avoid fast food. Normally. But nothing makes something more appealing than not being able to have it.

On this day, I enjoyed my Tim Horton’s breakfast.

And because I could, I had A&W burger & fries for dinner.

Back in Ucluelet. April 2019