Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bike tour of Toronto Islands

I went on a bike tour of the Toronto Islands this morning - an event sponsored by the Toronto Bay Initiative ( A 10 minute ferry ride takes you to one of three spots on the Island, a car-free island inhabited by about 650 people. Many smaller islands were formed from sand drifts from the mainland years ago, and they have now been connected by landfill. The Islands still maintain separate names and identities despite being connected now. The Toronto Island historian/archivist Albert Fulton took us to different spots throughout the islands and explained the history - an amazing 4 hour tour. We saw the beaches, a lighthouse a church, a school and children's ampitheatre and cute little residences - some of which are the original wooden cabins from 1905. At the end of the tour we spent time looking at archived materials at Albert's house/the historical society. I received a much more in-depth understanding of the island than I ever could have gotten riding around on my own!

The women from the Toronto Bay Initiative had some gifts to give out at the end of the tour - thank you gifts for being a part of the tour. They called two names out of a hat - one of which was mine! I received a bike bell and light, and a man named Paul got gloves and a map. He already has bike gloves that he likes so he gave me the gloves. So now I'm all geared up for biking wherever I go!

The coolest thing on the island was the "Boutique" - a little red cart that functions as a materials exchange! People from all over the island (it's not very big) bring clothes, books, magazines, and other small items to the cart to leave for others who may want them. If people have larger items to dispose of/give away, they post a note on the bulletin board. It's so small and functional - I took tons of pictures of it but can't upload pics until I have a wireless connection again.

Me at the Boutique:

My bike is from Bike Share ( -I became a member ($30) and now have access to bikes at any one of their 16 locations all over Toronto. I can rent a bike for 3 days and then have to return it to re-rent it or get another one when I need it. The concept works so well when people take the bike out for the day and return it each night. You can then check which locations have which bikes and take it out the next day as needed. The bike has a bit front basket so I don't have to schlep stuff around on my back and comes with a lock. There are so many bike rides I want to do so I'll have to rent a bike that fits me well - the handlebars on the one I had today were a bit too low.
I'm now staying with a couple from Globalfreeloaders. They're very nice though slightly stressed as they're planning to move to Vancouver in a month and don't have anything sorted out yet about where they're going to live or work. Their two cats are adorable (one looks like Calvin!) and the futon they've let me sleep on is comfy. I continually find it interesting to share space with others - to quickly try to adapt to others' schedules, eating habits, etc etc etc and espcially quirky neuroses! I'll probably be leaving here soon to give them space to pack up and deal with their move; I'm considering renting a hostel room for a week, or even renting an apartment on a short term basis for 2 weeks or so. (PS - they just asked me to stay until Friday! I'll definitely take them up on the offer as this allows me much more space, alonetime, and a nice home with cats to come home to! They also have a garden with veggies and herbs that I can help myself to and free laundry! Not too shabby!)

I took a long, long walk this evening - found lots of cute bars and restaurants. I eventually ended up at a little cafe in Little Italy (a block from where I'm staying).

Some other thoughts from today...
I think our lives are always changed by every new connection that is formed, every new energy we come in contact with, and some naturally have a stronger effect than others.

When we are thinking about a long lost friend or acquaintance the universe is trying to tell us to get in touch with them for some reason. I reached out to a friend from Vassar that I haven't spoken to since graduation and found out that she just recently quit her job and is out in Hawaii traveling and WWOOFing with her boyfriend - New Zealand next! I love hearing about other people following their hearts and connecting to the world in passionate ways! Keep it up!

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