More observations of life in metropolitan Toronto

A simple consultation to scrape out her ear from a previous infection turned into an adventure of epic proportions.

I’m beginning to have less faith in the medical establishments with every passing year. It’s become a giant bureaucracic mess in which the left hand doesn’t talk to the right, leaving patients and caregivers wondering why they should bother following advice over minor ailments to begin with. Honestly, half the time we’re sent to some or other specialist these days seemed a little over-the-top in my view… But, they said to go, so we went.

Except there was no appointment.

The simple fact that a specialist was contacted by the general practitioner to take a deeper look into her ear would imply an in-person meeting, in my view. In particular because it involves a child who suffered from an ear infection. I failed to understand why anyone from the specialist office would consider a phone interview appropriate. I know for a fact our general practitioner did NOT book a phone appointment for my child… πŸ™„

Anyway, long story short there was a mix-up and after an hour of driving through construction to get to the specialist in an obscure mid-town Toronto neighbourhood, we made our way back home with instructions to repeat this trip in a week and a half for a proper in-person consultation. πŸ™„πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ™„

Never mind all this.

Here’s what I observed about metropolitan Toronto as my teen girl and I navigated against the GPS’s advice, which caused my daughter endless stress, toward our home in the western borough of Toronto.

“Why bother using the GPS if you’re just going to ignore it?” is the standard refrain I’m subjected to every time we venture someplace out of the ordinary… πŸ™ƒ

I have some very good answers for that snarky comment, but they land on deaf ears. I suspect when she becomes a driver, she will understand that instinct, and experience driving in this particular city, sometimes (not always, I’ll give her that) will override the GPS recommendations.

Anyway, this is what I observed:

Eglington Ave is a main sub-artery running east and west across the middle of Toronto, slightly south of the 401 (TransCanada highway). We exited the 401 at Allan and drove south to Eglinton which launched me into a short but poignant history lesson for my daughter. My mom told me many times how much the area around ritzy high-end Yorkdale Mall had changed since I was born. We lived in a neighbourhood near that mall when I was an infant, in the basement apartment of a lovely Jewish family, holocaust survivors with two teen boys. We are still in contact with the one son – I saw him on my trip to Vancouver when I visited my brother in May.

Eglington has been under major construction for a million years, or so it seems. (Actual dates are 2011 – 2020 and the new date to finish is 2022 but I can guarantee you the end is nowhere near based on my observations).

Reason for the construction: they’re building an underground extension to Toronto’s inadequate subway system which will certainly improve transportation in the core but maybe not so much beyond the city limits.

At one point, we were stuck behind a van. I saw the traffic lights way ahead, past a dozen cars in front of me, turn three time during which we moved exactly zero inches. Why? Nobody knows. I suspected there was pedestrian traffic which delayed turning cars which caused a domino effect for the rest of us who needed to drive straight. There was also construction on a condo building with a crane blocking the road and construction officials directing traffic to stop as other equipment criss-crossed the street.

We have two seasons here in our province: winter and construction. 🀯

When we finally reached our medical building our next challenge was to find parking.

Ha ha hahahaha!


I found parking after a short drive around a pretty, traditional, old neighborhood with charming brick homes, at least 25% of which were under construction. (Surprise!) 😐 Actually I found parking almost immediately but my law-abiding child said no several times when signs pointed out the illegality of parking there. Never mind the entire road was filled with illegally parked cars. πŸ™‚ (I’ve never actually parked illegally before, but I was close to do it that day…)

We parked (legally for one hour) beside a newly constructed modern home and walked up a hill to Eglington, entered the clinic and talked to the secretary who announced that this was supposed to be a phone interview.


Anyway, after a long conversation about what and why, we got a new appointment, were directed to the restrooms at my request where I happened to admire really cool wallpaper filled with pictures of old, handwritten manuscripts, and returned to our car.

Next, the GPS directed us east toward Bayview, south to the 401, then further east toward the Don Valley Parkway which would lead us south down to the lake and its city center highway the Gardiner Parkway West. The Gardiner would eventually lead us back to our western neighbourhood Etobicoke.

Let me start by saying these directions are utterly ridiculous because Etobicoke, where the house is, is west, not east. Why the GPS wanted us to drive an extra 40 minutes east just to get on a clogged highway, when we could easily navigate the clogged city streets in the vicinity, was beyond me.

My darling child once again rolled her eyes at my refusal to obey the GPS when I U-turned halfway to Bayview Ave and turned south into Avenue Road. (Still with me? Bayview and Avenue are big roads like Eglington but run north/south through the city.)

I knew that area by Bayview and Avenue 25 years ago, so I told Sonja to relax and enjoy the scenic part of Toronto she hasn’t seen before. I figured, as long as we drive south toward the CN Tower, Toronto’s most iconic landmark, we’ll be fine.

“Were going to end up at U of T campus,” I told her. I love the University campus and so does Sonja, we’ve walked through it several times before, visited bookstores, delis and shops along the area.

Eventually we ended up on University Avenue south of the campus which is the hospital corridor and includes Mount Sinai where both Sonja and her brother were born. She knew the area as well; the convention center has fun events like the Auto Show, Marvel Expos and similar which she and her gal pals have been to numbeous times. The downtown is touristy and fun so she pointed out memories just like I did earlier on Avenue road.

We eventually made it home in one piece, three and a half hours after we left, at which point we were greeted by Tucker and Nessie, and a whole set of new adventures began then. πŸ˜€

But I’ll leave this anecdote for another day.

Don’t forget to check out my book tab and load yourself something to read, written by me. If you want to be entertained by Tucker the Beagle shenanigans, I loaded some clips to TikTok.

Note: I’m dog sitting while the boys are out of town and every paragraph in this post was interrupted by some drama with said dogs. They have now been banished behind the gate into the area formerly used by Tucker when he wasn’t yet house-trained, and affectionately called penalty box, a hockey term. These two trouble makers are the primary reason why I have not finished editing my latest manuscript but that’s ok, I’m getting paid to watch Nessie.

Tucker and Nessie in the penalty box

8 thoughts on “More observations of life in metropolitan Toronto

  1. HI Claudette,
    You could have been writing about healthcare in the US. It is a joke, to the point that I will do anything not to go to a doctor.
    GPSs don’t always know best. On Thursday evening if I didn’t know the area it would be sending me to a completely different location. I guess I learned my lesson of having an idea of where I am going before I am leaving the house.
    I feel bad for those 2 little angels behind the gate πŸ˜‰
    Blessings, and good luck on next week’s trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate when the GPS takes the “scenic” route with all these unnecessary twists and turns, that albeit have zero traffic signals but ridiculously out of the way to get to point B from point A.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tucker and Nessie in the Sin Bin. I have never used GPS to guide me. I use maps and look up where the unknown place is, and plot my own directions. Daughter tried to guide me with GPS once and we wound up going in circles.πŸ€ͺ
    Don’t get me started on medical offices and their issuesπŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ˜‘πŸ˜€πŸ€¬

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think I’ll just not comment on the first 3/4 of this post except to say supremely ridiculous in so many ways, and end with the fact that Tucker clearly likes having a friend… at least for the mischief part of his life.

    Liked by 2 people

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