Took my new bike out for a spin along the lake shore this evening – fabulous!
I am neither particularly competent nor particularly competent as a cyclist. Additionally, I have had some issues with my back for a number of years. So we have splashed out on a power assisted Schwinn bike which we managed to catch at the half-price point at Canadian Tire (by explanation for non-Canadians, Canadian Tire are one of a number of stores that publish a weekly flyer featuring significant bargains if you are prepared to watch and wait!). This is like having a security blanket – I know that if I get tired or feel a bit insecure I can cut the electric motor in, and it’s great for starting off!
So, for now, it’s goodbye skating, hello cycling!
There are lots of trails to explore within Toronto, as well as numerous Provincial Parks further afield. This means that, for now, I can enjoy the exercise and beautiful surroundings, without having to brave the traffic. It would be nice, though, to be confident enough at least to ride down to the shore rather than load the bikes on the car, though I will be very glad of the battery to get me back up the hill if I ever reach this stage!
We have continued to be blessed by the most amazing mild, sunny weather. The sunlight seems much more intense than in the UK – so often as I look at the Lake I think of the phrase ‘shining waters’. Perhaps this is less surprising when you realise that London is actually a lot further north at latitude 51N than Toronto at latitude 43N – the sun really is stronger.
Whenever we go walking on the shore, as we did on Sunday, I still pinch myself! It is so beautiful, so incredibly peaceful and restorative, yet here we are living in a major city.
And the expanse of sand at Woodbine Beach as it curves into Ashridge Bay is to die for . . .
Woodbine Beach in winter, from Ashridge Bay - this is a huge expanse of sand!
Below is the Google street-view of the house we are hopefully buying (ignore the house numbers as they are only approximate and may not represent our address!) – you can move around the locality and see the immediate surroundings.
The house is about five minutes from the GO station (Danforth) and just a couple more from the subway. There is a small Mall just up the road on Danforth, as well as a variety of shops along Danforth itself. And Loblaws, one of the key supermarkets, is a five minute walk (they also sell petrol).
We can walk down Beach’s leafy streets to Queen St – if we walk the most direct route we come out at the bottom of Beech Ave, on the corner of which is our current ‘local’,Quigley’s, with the Remarkable Bean close by and the shore a further five minutes or so’s walk.
We had already established before we arrived that we want to live in or close to the Beach, a popular area in East Toronto.
There’s just something about the neighbourhood; the constant glimpses of the lake as you walk down Queen Street; the shore itself, wide sands curled by rocky breakwaters into a chain of lagoons – a vast expanse of water merges with the horizon to the south, whilst to the west the CN Tower gives graceful focus to the downtown skyline; the beautiful leafy streets lined mostly with heritage homes, from the relatively humble to huge mansions; the lazy bustle of Queen Street, with its streetcars to Downtown, its eclectic selection of shops and eateries; the strong sense of community and identity.
They say that people who come to the Beach to live rarely want to leave.