Continuing the diary....


Monday, 30 August 1999

The day dawned beautiful and clear, although a little chilly.

Dad and I took the GO train to Toronto. G O stands for Government of Ontario.

On arrival in Toronto we headed for the CN Tower the world's tallest freestanding structure, which was opened in July 1976 and is a communications tower, has a revolving restaurant and nightclub. It stands
1 815 ft high. It’s twice the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The views from the observation deck were magnificent. Because the air was crystal clear you could see the land on the other side Lake Ontario (the USA) and as far north, east and west as the eye could see.

We spent about 2 hours up the tower looking at the views and taking pictures then went down and across the road to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to find out when conducted tours of the studios talk place. Wednesdays at 12:00 and Fridays at 3 p.m. I'll have to come back another day!!!

We decided to push on to the Eaton Centre, a huge mall with over 300 shops and Eaton Department Store, Canada’s oldest at 150 years old and which is in the process of being liquidated. As a "John Orr's" is not my cup of tea, we didn't stay there very long. As time was not really on our side now, we decided not to go further to the Science Centre but to head back to Union Station, stopping in at a little Coin & Stamp shop en route to see if Dad could sell his stamp collection there. We’d bring the stamps in to town next time.

Got back to Union Station with about 45 minutes before our train departed for Oakville, so we sat and watched the people. The station is clean and people even place their rubbish in separate bins for paper, cans and glass. Everything is so orderly in Canada, and the public complies with all the regulations. Public transport is useable and clean. As we stepped off the train at Oakville, a man came alongside us and said "Not like the trains in Joburg are they!?" I said it definitely wasn't. He said our accents were distinctly regonisable as he was from Denver near Joburg and had been in Canada for 35 years.

Later that evening I answered the phone and it was a friend of Glynis's who had a friend who worked for City TV in Toronto and she was going to organise that I go to the TV station for a visit.


CN Tower, Toronto

Looking through the glass floor in the CN Tower

EATON'S, downtown Toronto

Tuesday, 31 August 1999

On the cards for today: a trip to Milton to a stamp shop for Dad and a picnic lunch out there somewhere.

Well the stamp shop turned out to be a hobby shop where Dad was able to buy some things he needed. Glynis and I spent the time keeping Bradley and Mark's hands off the toys - an on-going job, but at least they enjoyed themselves in the shop.

We then went up to Crawford Lake, which is clear lake on a limestone base about 10 km north of Oakville. We ate our lunch under the shady pines then went for a walk along the boardwalk around the lake through the forest was very cool. Bruce joined us while we were there, coming from yet another job interview at Barrie up further north. This is the 3rd time he's been there and they want him to go back again. He's hoping they take him on there, as he likes the area and the job as petroleum sales representative.

Indian Village

Lake Crawford

Bruce took Dad back home in his car and Glynis, the boys (who were sleeping by now) went back to Oakville via Burlington Air Park to find out where they fly "ultra lights". They looked at me as if I'd come from Africa when I said "microlights". I was given a few town names where they do fly - will investigate.

Wednesday, 1 September 1999

Dad and I went to Toronto today to tour the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The tour was the typical public tour (which is what I expected as I've conducted many of those myself at work), just a whistle-stop tour including two TV studios which are all on the 7th floor of the building, the newsroom and a news studio with 3 robotic cameras. I told the tour leader that I was from the SABC and she was going to give my card to someone in the news editing section to arrange a private tour for me next week.

We had lunch in the coffee shop inside the CBC building and then continued on our journey.

CBC Building, downtown Toronto

Dad wanted to take two stamp albums back to the Stamp & Coin shop in Yonge Street. The old chaps there were quite miserable and didn't seem at all interested in the stamps. I didn't really want to go back there but Dad wanted to see what they'd offer him. $100 was all they were prepared to offer for the two books because they were incomplete sets. The one chap said a coin Dad had wasn't even worth the time it would take to look up the value in the catalogue! So back into my daypack the albums went and we set off for the nearest subway station to catch the train to Eglington Ave from where we'd get a bus to the Toronto Science Centre.

The centre was very interesting with hundreds of interactive displays, but mainly aimed at younger children. We spent about an hour and a half walking around and eventually decided to call it a day because we were both tired and still had to negotiate the bus, subway and GO train to get back home - and in the 5 o'clock rush hour!

That was easier than we'd expected and I can only imaging it's because the people of Toronto are so calm and unflustered. There weren't as many thousands of people as I'd imagined so it was sort of easy going. You only have to wait for about 15 minutes for a bus, 2 - 3 minutes for a subway train, and the GO trains leave every 15 minutes to half an hour. The train takes about 40 minutes to get from the centre of Toronto to Oakville, which is about 30 km away. We arrived in Oakville at about a quarter to 7 and because it's September, the sun only sets at about 7:30.

Thursday, 2 September

Booked air tickets from Vancouver back to Toronto this morning. Plane leaves at 10 to midnight on Sunday night and after a 3 and a half hour flight arrives in Toronto at 07:20 on Monday morning (times in local time, that's why it seems like a 7 hour flight). Also checked up on the train tickets to Vancouver.

Bruce has gone off to Chattham in SW Ontario near Blenheim where we went last week for an interview. While he was out we went to another hobby shop to get train parts for Dad's friend John Cowie. Again Mark loved the model trains and things. I saw a Star Trek Enterprise model which I will go back to buy one of these days as I've always wanted one and the only kit I saw which was in Cape Town was over R200. This one was around R80. (Note: Didn’t go back to buy it after all as it was to delicate to take on the plane)

After that we went back home for lunch and then took Dad to a stamp shop in Oakville to have a look at his collection while we did some shopping. Again he was offered about $100 which he was not too pleased about.

After shopping we drove along Lakeshore Drive to look at some of the homes there. Oakville is a delightful lakeside town, hanging baskets of flowers in the town centre and quaint shops. Everything is SO CLEAN. I could definitely live here!

We got home at about 5 and felt buggered. I heard on the radio that it had been 30 degrees during the afternoon. Glynis and Bruce bought an air conditioner at the beginning of summer and it's hardly been switched off since. Only at night is the chiller turned to fan only, so as to get some air into the apartment. Nights have been quite warm too.

Friday, 3 September

Got up at 06:30 this morning so I could go for a walk. I wanted to go down to the lake shore to watch the sun come up, but as I got into Trafalgar Road, I saw I’d never make it there in time as it was a quarter to 7 and the sun was up already. I must leave much earlier as it's about 4 km to the edge of the lake from the apartments. I decided to walk around the block instead and when I got back I measured my route on the map and found I'd walked almost 4 km in an hour.

We decided to go to Niagara-on-the-Lake today and left at about 10:30. Today is the beginning of a long weekend, it's Labour Day on Monday, and we hoped that the road wouldn’t be too busy. The road to Niagara is a double, sometimes triple lane highway which is usually busy. In fact, all the roads are busy all the time. The speed limit on the highways is 100 km/hour but most cars go at about110 - 120. Heavy vehicles are not restricted, so they go fast too, but as can be expected, they drive safely!

Well, we didn't quite get to Niagara-on-the-Lake, because we lost the turn off, so we took the scenic route along the Niagara River to the Falls to take some more photos. Glynis dropped Dad and I off and we walked a short distance to the falls to take some pics and agreed to meet in 45 minutes time.

In the midday sun, the falls were bright, and we walked through the falling rain of the mist to get a few pictures.

Phoned Leon on the way back, it was 1:30 p.m. here and 7:30 p.m. in S.A. As I write this now, it's 7:20 p.m. here in Oakville. Chris (who used to work with me) is 4 hours behind us in Vancouver.

Dad on the shore of Lake Ontario where
the Niagara river enters the lake

Glynis and Bradley on the lakeshore

Saturday, 4 September

Got up at 05:15 and left the apartment by 05:30 to take my walk to the lake shore. My planned hour's walk only took me half an hour so I got there just after 6. It was very pleasant sitting on a bench waiting for the sun to come up. It was not at all as cool as it was the morning before, although there was a bit of a breeze blowing down the road towards the lake.

On my way along Trafalgar Road I passed a skunk eating some seeds next to the road, and it hissed and spread it's tail out but didn't spray it's smelly stuff at me thank goodness. While I was sitting on the park bench I heard a scratching sound in the willow tree next to me and after a while a raccoon appeared. It suddenly stopped walking because it saw me, then ran to the edge of the grassy bank, turned round and looked at me again then disappeared down a hole in amongst the broken concrete pieces and rocks on the edge of the lake.

The black and gray squirrels were as active as usual, scurrying around in the treetops, squeaking excitedly. The occasional walker passed me along the pathway behind my bench as well as others with their dogs, always on leashes and a little plastic packet in hand to pick up the pieces, it's the law, and as can be expected they all obey the law!

Close to about 6:45 I set up my video camera on a rock to get the sun rising, which it did most beautifully for me. I even had flocks of Canada Geese flying through my shot, as if on cue. It was really worth getting up early for.

Sunrise over Lake Ontario

I strolled along the shore trail and down to the little harbour on Sixteen-Mile Creek. A delightful river harbour lined with yachts of all sizes. I'll have to go again with my camera as the tape ran out after sunrise.

I strolled slowly through a quiet, but not deserted downtown Oakville, people sitting in the numerous coffee shops. I had to bypass Tim Norton's as I had no money on me. Tim Norton’s? A franchise coffee shop started by a Mr. Tim Norton, selling delicious coffee.

I wandered along some of the streets past some of the very quaint houses one sees around here. I arrived back at Wallace Pines after 8 and needed some breakfast.Bruce went off to work at the pool shop, we dropped Dad off at Oakville station to train spot for about 2 hours then we went off to do some shopping. We saw some model planes flying around somewhere near the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar Roads, but didn't know where to get to them - we didn't try hard enough. Glynis took the boys to a park near the lakeshore to play for about half an hour. Bradley fell asleep in the car. Took Bruce his lunch, then came back home to have ours.

A rest in the Park

Sunday, 5 September

Bruce, Mark, Dad and I took the GO train to the Exhibition in Toronto this morning. The bonus was the 1999 Canadian International Airshow, which just happened to be this weekend. According to the magazine, it's the biggest airshow in the world. In my opinion, Durban's Virginia Airport airshow in South Africa is far better. Although we had grandstand seats at the waterfront, the displays took place over the sea, and seemed too far away. Filming was almost impossible because of a cloudy sky, so all the displays are a fully zoomed in shaky black spot against a white sky and because of this, I have taken the liberty of reproducing 2 pics (Pic 2 & 3 at right) from the Official Annual Magazine of the Canadian International Air Show 1999.

We left there and walked to the flight Centre which was a huge static display of aircraft in a hall on the other side of the exhibition centre, and there in the corner were some ultralights. I spoke to someone there, telling him I had a "MAC CDL", similar to the "Talon" on display, and got myself invited to go and fly with them next week!! Going to be exciting.

We all left the "Ex" at about 5 p.m. and wandered wearily through the crowd to the station to catch the train home.

  Pic 2



Pic 1



Pic 3