Having spent four lovely days in the warm and fuzzy embrace of Toronto, I’m now exploring Kitchener-Waterloo. I spent a few hours here several years ago, and I decided I would come back for a couple of days at some point. That point has arrived.
A few initial impressions that I may or may not expand on later:
It seems a lot more like American cities here. It’s very sprawling, and there’s not the grid that you see in Toronto, Ottawa, or Montréal. Development patterns just look a lot more like a small- or mid-sized American city. (EDIT: Speech recognition added a “good” to that last sentence that didn’t belong there.)
It also seems a lot more white and Anglo (and Germanic) here. A quick glance at the areas demographics on Wikipedia confirms this suspicion.
I wonder how people here react to the fact that most of their broadcast media (TV at least) is based in Toronto, and that there’s nothing really local. I guess there never has been, so they probably don’t notice the difference. That said, this would be a pretty decent sized market in the US. (EDIT: There are apparently local stations here but they were not on my hotel cable.)
They do have their own newspaper, though, and like most Canadian papers, it seems a trifle healthier than most American papers.
I really love the converted shopping center on University Avenue that’s become sort of a big international food court. I ate there last time I was here and returns tonight as well.
I also love my room, and I’m reconsidering whether I want to leave.
It was 64F when I arrived. The next morning it snowed and the temperature never again climbed above freezing.
Thanks tto the cold, this was very much a trip of specific destinations rather than my usual random wandering. I’d already planned to hit several museums, and I ended up doing most of my traveling on the subway rather than on foot. But it was lots of fun, and I did get some significant strolling in.
Seeing my friend Margo and exploring Brooklyn a bit.
Prerogative of being middle-aged and single with no dependents (human or otherwise): after discussing the idea for 30 seconds with a friend at dinner, I just decided to have a long weekend in New York in about three weeks. I will visit friends, buy books, and see this. I got a great deal on a room in a very nice hotel centrally located between two subway lines. From decision to execution took all of 30 minutes.
Another prerogative: I can change my mind just as easily as I made the decision in the first place, with no repercussions or arguments whatsoever.
I really find Lynchburg kind of intriguing. It’s a shame it carries all that Jerry Falwell/Liberty University baggage that makes me (and I imagine much of America) reluctant to visit. It has very much a small-scale Pittsburgh vibe, from the topography to the impossibly large Victorian mansions in Rivermont. It’s a parent there was a lot of money there a hundred years or so back. There’s some great architecture, and the view from the park on the other side of the river is really nice.
I think a lot of people expect Virginia to be very southern and pastoral and bucolic, and there is certainly that aspect of it, but most of urban Virginia — not just the western cities of Roanoke and Lynchburg but also places like Richmond, Hampton, and Newport News — feels considerably more Rust Belt than Sun Belt.
Maybe a full weekend soon. Given two days in Lynchburg, I should finally be able to find at least one decent place to eat there, right?
Afternoon on the Trans-Canada Highway, evening in Ottawa. I have a feeling I’ll end up spending an extra day here just like I did last time. I think I’m always a little surprised by how much I like Ottawa.
This makes me a little sad. Winston-Salem seems finally to be abandoning its never-much-used quadrant system. As street signs age, they are being replaced with new ones that lack the “NW/SW/NE/SE” indicators.
The quadrant system for identifying streets seems to have been introduced in the 1950s. Several North Carolina cities (Hickory and Concord for starters) implemented some version of the system over the years, and it was not a big success in most of them. In fact, it seems to have been largely ignored in Winston-Salem by the 1980s, no longer being used in published addresses even though the designations continued to be included on the street signs.
When the ex and I moved to Winston in 2006, we added the “SW” to the end of our address from day one, just because that’s the sort of geeks we were. I liked the the whole anachronistic nature of using this convention most people no longer observed, even though the city apparently still did. I believe the quadrants may even have still been part of the tax map database as recently as a few years ago.
I haven’t seen any official notice of the change anywhere (though I haven’t looked very much) but it’s pretty obvious that the signs they are a-changin’.
It’s kind of hard to curate posts that are less than a year old, but I tried. This is the final year to be covered in my “twenty years” retrospective. I may talk about the actual anniversary tomorrow and try to draw some broad conclusions. Or I may not. You’ll have to check back by to see which it is.