Toronto

My earliest memories of travel are of trips to Toronto. From our rural existence, surrounded by trees and farms, we ventured east a few times a year. For four hours, I’d be on the edge of my seat, counting mile markers as the highway delivered us into Canada’s metropolis. Fields to suburbs, two lane highways to eight. Eagerly awaiting the moment when the city would rise before my eyes. Shopping malls. Apartment complexes. Office towers clad in gleaming glass and stretching into the sky. For a kid from a town of 5,000 people, it may as well have been a rocket ship to another dimension.

At the edge of Toronto, our approach had one distinct feature: the highway exit traveled beneath a subway overpass. Nirvana was timing our exit from the highway with a train passing overhead. The road then hooked around to pass a train storage yard, filled with a fantastic number and variety of coaches and I strained against my seatbelt to peer over the fence as we drove by. It was the big city. I was hooked.

For years, I rode the streetcars and buses and subways — face pressed up against the glass — trying to absorb it all. Now, I still do.

“But why think about that when all the golden land’s ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?”
— Jack Kerouac