2017-05-28 Sun

High Speed Rail

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It isn’t precedent-setting. The UP-Express has already set the precedent for a little train-that-couldn’t that was isolated, over-expensive, and built to make money for its promoters.

A prediction of a 73-minute trip between London and Union Station is a Red Herring. You might be lucky and make the door-to-door trip between London and Toronto in 73 minutes IF you lived in a loft above the stations. But if you have to travel from where you live/work to get to the station, and then travel again to where you work/live once you arrive, your trip door-to-door is going to take much longer than 73 minutes.

Look at a map of Ontario and Toronto. Toronto’s curse is that it sits right on the lake. The city could only grow inland, and that it has done and continues to do.

Since day one the downtown core of Toronto has always been on the periphery of the city. Locals fail to see that, because, let’s face it, no matter where you live in the GTA when you travel to downtown Toronto you travel on a converging path with everybody else, so it FEELS like you are all traveling towards a centre of some sort, but you’re really just traveling to a point on the periphery of an urban space.

Toronto Union Station never was and never will be and never can be the centre of the city.

The geographic centre of Toronto GTA, no matter whether you measure it by population or dollars or whatever is more likely to be at Yonge and Steeles than on the docks/wharves of Toronto.

Toronto’s subway crisis (overcrowding and so on) is brought about because practically no one travels to the true centre of the city; they all rush to a single point on the periphery.

If Toronto had any brains, or perhaps guts, or perhaps both, it would invest in an east-west subway line that ran along (or under) Steeles avenue or even highway seven.

Build a new city centre in what will soon be the centre of the city.

Be honest! We don’t have that many sheepskin tanning factories left in downtown Toronto; it’s all electronic fund training, and it’s not that difficult to make a set of laptop computers. Commuters do it twice a day. Just take them to the office on Steeles tomorrow morning.

But I digress.

When I lived in Etobicoke (adjacent to the Kipling subway station and later adjacent to the Long Branch loop) It was a two-hour drive by car to London, almost any time of the day. It is, after all, a 200-kilometre trip, and if you drive at 100KM/hr in the right-hand lane, you always have space in front of you as cars speed by you in the other two lanes, so there are no traffic jams for you, so it is a two-hour trip. Elementary school arithmetic m’dear.

I had a friend in London. I’d phone him at 10:00 a.m. and say “Meet you at the café?” and he would say “yes” (this was a pre-arranged meeting) and we would arrive at the café in Cambridge within five minutes of each other. The driving time from London to Cambridge was equal to that of Etobicoke to Cambridge. One hour plus one hour equals two hours.

Now Unless you live atop Union Station, you’ll have to drive-and-park downtown, or take the TTC to Union Station, either option adding time to your trip.

It was in those days and is still today a 60-minute trip, door to door by TTC from my home near College Subway station to my friend’s home in Markland Woods (A toney sub-section of Etobicoke). It follows that in place of a two-hour drive from Etobicoke to London we have a one-hour ride by Toronto Transit Commission to Union Station, and then a prediction of a 73-minute ride to London. Once you reach London you have to take a cab to get to the factory.

Why take the train when the car is faster and cheaper? Unless you need to bilk the client by the hour and for travel expenses.


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Here is a shot of the latest condominium to go up on our little street.

The orange-hued building at the right of the photo is facing my bedroom and livingroom windows.

To the left of that is the new tower that went up after I moved in here. Used to be a parking lot heavily used by folks visiting Women’s College Hospital – which was demolished and rebuilt since I moved here.

To the left of that is the CN tower, dwarfed in perspective by the new condominiums.

And then, the new building, which has replaced what used to be my local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada when I moved in here.

And finally what used to be called The New Aura Building, which was still under construction when I moved in here.


Oh. Five years ago this month, since you ask.

Each morning I watch the shrinking patch of sunlight cross my bed spread …