Melt down before there’s any snow

I was at a training session to learn the rope of the Ministry of Health databases.  It’s nice to get training for change instead of being given a password and just left to figure it out myself.  The training was held at the some office of the Ministry of Health but the whole floor was empty cubicles.  Kind of spooky.  The course instructor kept apologizing for glithes in the system due to staff turnover, system transitions etc etc. I walked home after the course which took me about 1 hr 20 min.  It is so mild out, it great to walk through downtown and see the sites.  Tonight I walked by the CBC and the CN Tower which are across the street from each other.

Tonight there was a melt down on the subway. Apparently some road construction tunnelled down to the subway so they have closed part of it and put on shuttle buses. Fortunately I was walking home and missed the chaos but need a plan B in case there is no subway tomorrow am.  Last weekend I went to St. Lawrence market in an historial quarter of the city and the pictures are from that area. 

Obviously this software needs some tweaking in terms of placement of pictures!


I am enjoying the warm Toronto weather.  Really!

I have looked at some condos to buy.  For a 1000 sq ft condo the taxes were $ 569 per month or $ 6828 per year.  My taxes in Van for my condo were $ 1800 per year for same square foot.  I guess that is because snow clearing is included here.  😉 .  Municpal taxes include the local health dept in their budget and 100 library sites in the GTA.  hmmmm.  Could it be the fantastic public transit that is paid for by municpal taxes?  ok it takes you everywhere, comes every 2 minuties, but it really really dirty.  Small wonder infectious diseases spread so easily here.  The trains and streetcars are jam packed.  And they are not handicapped accessible.  People with strollers have to get help to lift the stroller onto streecars.  I never see people in Wheelchairs on the subway or buses.  Bicycles are allowed on the subways but I am not sure what they do about streetcars.  One far of $2.25 takes you everyone on the subway and street cars. There are no zones. Here are my lastest pictures.  My friend’s son Ryan took me on a tour of the Distillery District and then to Yuk Yuks for a few laughs. 

 I was out riding my bike along the lakeshore on Sunday and tried out the Map my Ride app for my Iphone. No gears necessary as everything is so flat.  Good thing as the gear cable got damaged en transit. Even walking is flat everywhere.  I think you keep fit walking all those hills in Vancouver.  

This is the old Toronto City Hall 

Escaping wedding party   

first after work drinks

Someone at work was leaving today (the turnover is pretty high) and I was invited to join the rest of the team at a pub near where I work.  There is a pub on every corner.  It was  a very good-natured get together.  Such a contast to VCH.  Everyone I work with here is under 40! They have been very open to accepting an ‘older worker’.  😉  Everyone is much more sociable than they were at VCH.  The pace of work is faster here, the level of complexity is less, although there is more activity going on.  There’s a lot of duplication of effort and work that is a waste of time.  But I will fix all that!

One thing I liked better about Vancouver is my garburator.  Apparently the city of Toronto has some ban on garburators.  
Every night the sideswalks of Toronto are lined with black garbage bags.  Even during red carpet events the garbage bags get put out.   It seems there are no dumpters here. 
The cyclists run rampant here, weaving in and out of cars, ignoring traffic lights and riding on busy sidewalks.  Few of them wear helmets. Vancouver has done a much better job of channeling cyclists onto bike routes.  There don’t seem to be any bike specific streets here, although they published a bike map.
The public transit is better in Toronto.  The subway and streetcars come every 2-5 minutes at least around downtown.
Parking on all streets is limited to 3 hours everywhere in Toronto including in front of my townhouse complex.  I am on two waitling lists for parking.

new condo

I have finally decided to move and have found a new condo to rent. It is on the Harbourfront, close to  Porter Airlines Terminal and the Ferry to Toronto Island.  It’s a  2 BR townhouse so there is space for visitors.  Parking is still in process of negiotation!  It’s on a dead end road so it will be quiet.  I assume the flight path for the planes is over the water.  I was considering buying but everyone here told me horror stories of bidding wars that are escalating the prices beyond what property is worth. There’s lots of condo’s going up.

Last weekend I drove to Ottawa.  I got lost on the way but found again with my Iphone GPS.  I was visting my friends Barb and Glen who I have known for over 30 years.  We talked non-stop all weekend.  The weather was sunny and I enjoyed the fall colours on the way.  We stopped in Gananogue for a play called Winfields Progress.  It’s a long drive though.  It was my first time on highway 401.  12 lanes at some points but I wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  I think because the roads are flat here, I don’t mind the driving. 

I have been really busy at work.  Now I know why people consider Vancouver so laid back. It’s cause it is.  There is subtle pressure to work late.  Taking holidays is frowned on.  The work I am doing is getting data for people. I haven’t a clue on where to find the data and they have multiple sources with different processes to access the data.  I am going to a 2 day workshop on how use the Ministry of Health database.  I am  preparing data on services for the elderly, mental health, emergency depts.  There is a whole lot of stuff going on and it’s hard to keep on top of everything.  I hope it will get easier over time.
I am enjoying walking home from work as I get to enjoy a walking tour of some unique homes along the way. It takes me about 40 min.  The architecture is so different here.  Many houses are heritige style of the Victorian period.  Some have been converted to suites.
The weather has been pretty good. Only one really cold day so far.  I am enjoying the extra hours of sunlight.  I continue to find people here more open and friendly than in Vancouver.  People are more open like Maritmers and Americans and people strike up conversations with strangers. 
After watching BNN for so long, it is interesting to see the buildings of the corporate headquarters of companies that I have only know as stock shares.  You get a very different take on the economy from Toronto and I don’t see any evidence of an economic downturn here.  I have not made any connections with stock traders yet.
I will post updates every couple of weeks.  I am doing well and every day continues to be an adventure.

Vancouver to Toronto

I am starting a journal of my move from Vancouver to Toronto in Week 3 as I haven’t had time or internet connection up until now.

The big event this week was the arrival of my jeep (aka Funmobile). Now that I have my wheels I have started exploring Toronto. My first stop was IKEA to get a comfortable chair. However, it took me 4 hours to assemble it. I bought 2 chairs but will wait on assembling the second one until I have a bottle of wine handy.
On the job front, I have been to so many meetings in 2 weeks my head should be spinning. However, when there is so much activity going on, you just let a lot of the noise drift by and try to pick up what is important. So far I seem to have a different skill set to the other people on the team I work with. They are all very bright and experienced people, but their experience is limited to Ontario. Since there are some aspects of Health Care that are more developed in BC, I am bringing that to the mix in Toronto. I work in Performance Measurement which is mostly about data analysis. I am going to learn how to do GIS which should be interesting. My first project will be set up a database of service providers with census data to map gaps in services by geographic areas.
My rental accomodation leaves a lot to be desired. Last night I was awoken at 2 am by drunken men shouting in the street. The apt faces a busy street so it’s hard to get a good night sleep. I am going to start looking for real estate and hope I can find a quiet place where I can still walk to work. I am about a 40 min walk to work so I take the subway in the am and walk home along Bloor Street which is fashion central.
Todays discovery was a giant Loblaws which is on the scale of Whole Foods on Cambie and more. I should have taken some pictures. I have taken some pictures and they are posted here. I will post more as time goes on.
I am spending more money here because I take public transit everywhere because everything is too far away to walk. My personal possessions have not arrived yet, which includes my bike. I hope there will still be some biking weather left by the time my stuff arrivies. The weather vaires by as much as 10 C in a day and varies from very humid and warm to chilly but more often warm. I don’t have a good sense of what clothes to wear by the thermometor so I take layers with me. It is always more humid than Vancouver.
Since I arrived 2 weeks ago, I have been shortlisted for 3 other jobs, 2 in Vancouver and 1 in Ottawa. However I think I made the right decision to move. Although the move was very challenging, with finding a tenant for my place in Vancouver and getting rid of stuff there, etc, I feel that I am now working with a team of professionals who understand and value my skill set. I feel the health care system here is better resourced than in Vancouver. The computers here are all the lastest hardware and software, which was not the case in Vancouver. The doctors here are engaged in the planning processes as are faculty from the U of T.