Why would anyone bring 25 bottles of nail polish with her to Toronto, but leave her can-opener and every single knife, fork and spoon she owns in a storage unit in Saskatoon?
This is just one of the many odd decisions that have come to light as I was unpacking all the boxes and suitcases I’ve been schlepping around with me for a month. But I have done it—unpacked and stowed it all.
Almost everything survived the Greyhound shipment from Saskatoon to Edmonton and the subsequent shipment from Edmonton to Toronto in good order—with the possible exception of the boxes themselves, which arrived in coherent but poor condition. I have the feeling that if they had been transferred between vehicles one more time, they would have fallen to pieces and my belongings would have been strewn everywhere.
I would recommend to anyone who wants to ship by Greyhound that they eschew cardboard in favour of something sturdier, like large Rubbermaid containers. Also, they should take into account during the packing phase that some of the items are likely to arrive upside down. But in general, I was most satisfied with the condition in which my goods arrived: only one item was actually damaged, and that was an umbrella that apparently came unsprung during the trip—its handle emerging through the corner of one of the cardboard boxes where it was exposed to the vicissitudes of life in the fast lane.
In short, I highly recommend Greyhound—to the point where, with the cost of taking luggage onto airplanes, particularly in the U.S., I would even give serious consideration to shipping some of my belongings by Greyhound if I were going on an extended vacation. (As long as I could be sure the luggage would arrive before I was leaving for home again. But that can be a problem with luggage that goes with you by air as well.)
My New Apartment
The apartment I selected (and to which I have now signed a one-year lease, as is fairly standard around here) is near Yonge St., about a kilometre from Eglinton. A friend from Toronto tells me that the nickname of this part of town is “Yonge and Eligible,” and there are certainly lots of young, well dressed and attractive people living in this area, but “Yonglinton” seems easier to say so I am going with that.
The rent in this apartment is sort-of equivalent to what I paid for a similar-sized space in Saskatoon — when you take into consideration that there utilities were extra and here they are included. This place also offers a microwave in addition to the dishwasher and air conditioner (the latter of which works, I hope, unlike the one in Saskatoon). On the other hand, I have no storage to speak of. (Mind you, at the moment I have nothing to store, so it is fine.) There is also no parking. But I don’t have a car.
You may be amused to know that one of my considerations for taking this apartment was that it did not appear on The Bedbug Registry. Bedbugs are a big issue here in Toronto, as they are in apartments and hotels in other parts of North America, particularly in the east, and I’ve seen more than one mattress sitting on the sidewalk out front of a Toronto apartment building waiting for the garbage truck.
Positive features of this neighbourhood include lots of small (and several chain) shops, grocery stores, produce outlets, flower shops, ethnic, funky and classy restaurants and a lot of movie theatres. I had the best piece of pizza I have ever tasted (maybe I was just really really hungry. It was pesto pizza. It was great) at a tiny Italian place just around the corner from here, and the next day bought olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grapeseed oil at another Italian take-out. In the past two weeks, I’ve eaten at one of several Thai restaurants in the neighbourhood and demolished an outstanding burger and a great curried-chicken wrap. (It is lovely to have no groceries, cutlery or can opener for several days, but the party’s over now. Speaking of parties, I also enjoyed a cupcake, chocolate icing on chocolate cake, for my birthday, from a cupcake store. There is also a chocolate shop which I’ve been avoiding, and a tea store that I am looking forward to visiting.) I have shopped at a place that sells boxes and trays and hangers to help get you organized, a kitchen shop, a bath and bedding shop, and I even bought a shirt and skirt, on sale. I’ve also done a lot of window shopping: a person with a lot of money could have a very good time here.
On Monday, after I had picked up the key to my new apartment, I rented a car for 24 hours and went downtown to the Greyhound express courier station on Front St., and collected my packages and luggage. Then I tried to think of all the other things I should do while I had a car, and to get as much of it done as possible. That included some shopping at Canadian Tire and Future Shop, and retrieving the luggage I had been using while I was at my friend Pat’s house. (We had a lovely farewell supper at her table, attended as always by about four of her six cats. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my camera at that point.)
The days since are a bit of a blur but I’ve nearly walked my feet off getting all the things I needed to get in order to subsist until I can figure out how best to get my stored belongings here from Saskatoon and Edmonton. There is still lots to do, but I have the important stuff at last—a home phone number, a local cell number, high-speed internet and television (go, Riders!). I took the subway to Staples at Yonge and Marlborough to buy a table for my computer, then took a cab home. Then I did it again the next day because I liked the table so much I decided I wanted two! (I have now put the phone number to Beck Taxi into my iPhone so I don’t have to look it up again.)
One evening I walked 2.5 k to a Home Hardware to pick up cleaning supplies, and another day I walked back up to the dentist’s on Lawrence and Yonge for part II of my root canal. I’ve done several hikes for groceries. So I am really beginning to feel as though I belong in this area, and today I even got some work done on my novel, so I am also feeling inspired. I’ve also seen two movies—mainly just to take a break before the TV got hooked up.
As you will see from the photos here, I am what could be described as “sparsely furnished” at the moment, but I have everything I need to resume work as a writer and editor, so I am good to go. In a few days, I will write a post about the places I’ve been outside this neighbourhood (no moss on me!) and a few more differences I’ve observed between Toronto and the West. I’m classifying this as a “during the move” post because I still don’t have the furniture, books, etc. that would allow me to consider myself completely “moved.” But I’m on track and feeling optimistic.