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


Multi Modal in Toronto

I took a walk in Toronto and here is what I saw.

Downtown Toronto
Toronto Street Car – which I did see

Iconic Toronto street car

New Flexity street car – which I didn’t see. Image courtesy of TTC

I would’ve liked to take a shot with the newest of the Red Rocket replacements. However the Bombardier specials are late in roll-out and not as frequent on the Spadina route.

One  day when I have more time (and I’ve figured out the six different types of TTC payment options),  I’ll hang around long enough to board.


New city bike lanes

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Richmond is a three lane, one way street leading into the heart of down town.   It is an alternative to the busy Gardiner and DVP highways.  In a rash of Green fever, the city converted one of the lanes into a bike lane.  It’s had mixed reception.  Harassed drivers complain about added congestion to the already congested rush hour crawl. Frustrated cyclists cry “It’s about time! There should be more bike lanes.”   Both sides have their point.

As a driver myself, I hate the bad behavior of some cyclists.  Specifically the ones who ignore road rules, scoot through stop signs and straddle the roles of pedestrian and pedalist. But even good cyclists have to ride defensively; to avoid errant drivers, sudden dips in the road and randomly opened car doors.  Defensive riding means sometimes swerving left … into shared lanes … into my car.

Which is why I like bike lanes.

Stylish and Cool

Of course there’s always the old style way of getting around.

At  a sidewalk patio I eavesdropped on these shoes – I couldn’t help it, they were so loud.

The Stylish pair on the left was hitting on the Pointy Pumps to the right.  They were fated to meet don’t you think?

On the opposite end, Blue Jeans and Nikes didn’t say much.  She had her coffee and newspaper. She was cool.

Toronto, Canada.  August 2016


Toronto Street Art


I know I’ve been away too long when I discover parts of my hometown that I’ve never seen before.  Less than a block from where I used work, there’s an alley festooned with street art and urban murals.  Made famous by Rick Mercer, Graffiti Alley runs parallel to Queen St West and stretches from Spadina to Bathurst.

Hubby and I were en route to Ossington for a photo crawl but stopped at Bathurst for a quick look.  Our quick look turned into three hours of roaming and photo shooting.




The street art was amazing.  Vivid and vibrant, the murals thrummed with energy and colour.   In Seoul, I’d been impressed with the city’s attention to art in public spaces.  The art in Toronto is different.   It is  brighter, edgier;  more street-wise.  The murals are complex, detailed and quirky. They reflect the diverse make-up of the city.


Although visually appealing to look at, the murals don’t always make for good pictures.   My favorite shots were juxtapositions of art and real-life.  Sometimes, art and reality transpose themselves.


Queen Street West, Toronto.  July 2016