Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend in Toronto, Ontario

Cutting her cake -Sonia and Rene bought this lovely ice cream cake!
Wilma, Margaret, Sonia and Eunice - rene took this picture.

Margaret, Eunice and Sonia at the table.

The birthday lady - showing the gifts I brought her. The CD and the necklace, bracelet and earings, plus Princess, her much loved dog.

It was a cold, but nice weekend as I stepped out of my door and pulled my little red suitcase behind me. Clickity, clack, clickity clack, along we went for our six or seven minute walk to the Go Terminal on Hunter Street.

For some unexplicable reason, I was early and as I went onto the bus platform, I saw the Toronto bus sitting there ready to be loaded.

My little red suitcase and I trotted over to the short line up and waited for the driver to come back. As I looked back, I saw the line grow bigger and bigger as more people came. I was glad that I was one of the first in line as I would get the seat near the driver.

One big heave and my little suitcase was put into the "hold" on the side of the bus. The next hurdle was to get up those narrow and windy stairs. Each muscle which I never knew I had; protested about this injustice to them, as cane in hand, handbag looped over my neck, I clambered aboard the waiting bus. Gone are the days I can gracefully get into a bus or a car!

The ride in was uneventful, passing Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and then finally into Toronto and the downtown area.

The place where Wheeltrans picks up passengers is under the clock at Front and Bay which is about a five minute walk from the Go Station.

I was early so found a cozy little spot in the quieter part of Union Station and had a coffee and read my little pocket book about cat adventures.

The rules in Toronto for Wheeltrans is that the passenger has to be outside waiting for half an hour under the clock at Union Station so as you can imagine, I was quite cold.

I qualify still for Wheeltrans in Toronto as I had it before, so was very lucky to be able to keep it even when I moved away. The fare is the same as a regular Toronto bus ticket.

For those who may not know what Wheeltrans is, it is a specialized service for people with disabilities. People using walkers, scooters, wheelchairs get picked up at their homes and brought to their destinations. In the case of Toronto's Wheeltrans service, one has to call the day ahead and hope to get a ride.

Calling from Hamilton almost ensures that you get a ride as they service out of town people and deaf people on that line. I learned a valuable lesson one time, I should book my return trip while in Hamilton, otherwise I and hundreds of other people will be trying to get a ride and may not succeed.

It happened to me once that I had to remain at my friend's place for two days before I could get a ride back down to Union Station to return to Hamilton.

A mini-van, with a ramp, picked me up - a very pleasant driver who was so very helpful to me, helping me over a snow bank and taking my suitcase from me. Those things really mean a lot to me.

I arrived at my friend Margaret's early as I was the lone passenger this time. Normally, there may be other passengers who are going in the same direction but this time, I was alone.

What a blessing it is to have Wheeltrans still. I could not climb the stairs in the subway with my suitcase.

Sonia and Rene arrived about 2 p.m. and Eunice came later Sonia and Rene had insisted that they go to the Mandarin and buy lunch for everybody which was very gracious of them.

We had a lovely time and chatted together. As always, I took the pictures and have already sent them to be developed at Japan Camera in the mall.
The next day, Margaret and I spent a quiet time until the Van came to pick me up. This driver was extremely talkative. He and his wife had seven children, all of which went to University here in Canada and all are doing well. They are from Somalia. His Grandmother and Mother-in-Law live with them in a big house which they bought.
I really enjoyed talking and listening to him and in my view, he has done extremely well. It was a great arrangement really, two parents working, children being looked after by the grandmothers who also looked after the cleaning and the cooking.
It just shows what a cohesive family group can do if they all pull together.
The bus going home was so crowded, with people standing and I was thankful I got a seat in the very back.
All in all, a very nice weekend.

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