Jorge’s Guide to Toronto – III

We’ve Only Just Begun…

The guide to the city I live in continues…

In this chapter, I will be dealing with another section of town, as well as a small section on how to ride our public transit system.

Toronto is a large city. It’s certainly not as populous as, say, New York, but it’s got its share of people.

If everyone drove cars here, it would be a nightmare. The city follows a loose grid system, and thus is not all that efficient when it comes to moving traffic around.

This is where our public transportation system comes in…



Ride the Rocket (Or, a Quick Breakdown, So to Speak)

There is no need for me to go into too much detail when it comes to the Toronto Transit Commission. If you want to read a bit about the history of the TTC, this page is a great place to start.

I will simply be giving some tips to getting around this fair city.

Before I begin, you might want to open another window and have these maps handy.

The core of the TTC is the subway. It is the backbone of the public transit system. There are four main lines that run through the city. Two of the subway lines basically end up uoutlining downtown (Bloor/Danforth and Yonge/University/Spadina). If you look at the map you will see.

Supporting this spine would be the streetcars. They run along some of the major streets downtown and just outside of downtown. Their point of origin is usually a subway station.

Last, but not least (and definitely most numerous) are the buses. If the subway is the spine, that would make the streetcars the skeleton. Obviously the buses would be the skin.

Er…

Anyway, the buses crisscross the city, allowing for (somewhat) convenient transportation from one area of the city to the other, provided you have the time.



The Better Way (Or What to Do When Riding the TTC)

You will probably notice more courtesy on those trucks in Jamaica that carry a thousand people (riding in, on top of, off the side of, and possibly underneath the vehicle) than you will on a civilized system.

Our public transport system is not primitive. Just the people are.

Here are some helpful tips to keep you sane when on the move…


  • When a subway arrives, make sure you stand aside so the people on board can get off. There are times when people are slow to realize it’s their stop. They might be asleep, or perhaps drunk, so they realize at the last second that it is time for them to get off. They usually run into you on their way out as you enter the vehicle, because you’ve usually waited for a reasonable amount of time and have figured that everyone has exited already. They will usually be rude, and will confront you to make themselves feel better. Make sure you don’t kick them in the crotch or punch them in the face, because you can stil go to jail, even though you are in the right. Try and be more subtle. Step on their foot by accident, or step on their laces so they become untied, and will possibly trip later.
  • If you are entering a vehicle, try your best to move to the back. It is also acceptible, if you are going to be only going a short way, to stand near an exit. This will facilitate your speedy exit from the vehicle without getting everyone to get out of your way twice. That being said, try to make sure you keep a patch clear so people can get in and out without too much difficulty
  • If you see a free seat, take it. WHen you are sitting, that is room for another person to stand. If an elderly, disabled, or pregnant person enters the vehicle, offer them your seat. There are too many young people who don’t respect people, and thus don’t offer them a seat. Come to think of it, there are too many older people who have no respect, too. Do the right thing.
  • Don’t stick your face out in front of an oncoming subway to see if you’re fast enough to pull your head aside in time. You are not that fast, and it gets messy.
  • You will notice that there may be an announcement over the loudspeakers while riding on the subway. This message will ususally be indicating that there is a problem somewhere. Unfortunately, the person that designed this speaker system is the same person that designed the drive-through speaker system, too. You will not be able to understand what is being said. Feel free to look around at your fellow passengers and make humorous comments about it like did he just say what I think he said? or I wonder if we should get fries with that?
  • Almost all bus drivers hate you.
  • Closing your eyes to nap on the subway deprives you of one of the best forms of free entertainment ever: people watching.
  • If you ride the TTC there is a chance I will write about you on here. Don’t be a prick to me.



Greek

A visit to Toronto would not be complete if you didn’t at least visit Greektown. They even have their own webpage!

Greektown is located along Danforth Avenew between Chester Avenue and Jones Avenue.

This is the largest openly Greek neighbourhood in North America. It is an excellent place to find Greek culture and thus, there are some pretty amazing places to eat.

Certainly you will find various franchises all around the city that have a Greek theme. But the Greek food along the Danforth is to die for. Don’t get me wrong, these franchinses do have good food. However, it’s like saying McDonald’s is the ultimate place to get a hamburger.

When you are in Greektown, you will notice that people are very friendly. They all want to shake your hands and hug you. It is a warm atmosphere.

Make sure, though, that when you introduce yourself to people, you should only ask them for their first name. Trying to pronounce Greek last names will usually lead to a brain hemorrhage.

Seriously, with names like Cosmopolotipolis, Frangalankalopopopolis and Cantseemtofindsnuffalupagus you can see why.

You should also make sure you bring one of your new Greek friends to any restaurant you might want to go to. They will be very helpful in pronouncing some of the food names that you encounter.

Once a year (usually for a weekend) there is an event called Taste of the Danforth. It is an excellent event that has childrens games and other activities. There are usually specials at all the restaurants along the Danforth (not just the Hellenic ones). Over a million people attend this event every year.

Oh! Almost forgot. Mind the flying plates and flaming cheese. It’s a dangerous world out there!




Index

  1. Introduction, Italian, Chinese

  2. CN Tower, Portuguese

  3. TTC, Greek

  4. Zanta, Ukrainian

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7 Responses

  1. yummm flaming cheese…not too experienced with them flying plates, but the cheese i have tried. it was basically the only vegetarian thing on the danforth, except for bread 🙂

  2. Mmmm…saganaki…hot, fried, flaming cheese! My very favorite! I was 100% certain that I lived in the largest Greek neighborhood in North America, but it is entirely possible that I live in merely the largest greek neighboorhood in the U.S. Oh, the food! Yeah, not much for vegetarians around here, it’s true. Just fried cheese and salad, but I could LIVE on those two foods alone. I’ve known veggies who have moved because they can’t take passing all those whole lambs (still in their sweaters) in the butcher windows on the way to the subway. But the smells that fill this neighborhood around Orthodox Easter are simply To DIE for! Between the hot cheese and the outrageous pastries available in the cafes around here, I’m not sure I could ever leave. The only bummer is the achingly slow crabby (OH WAIT! I mean “European Cafe Style”)-service at these places. The service in tavernas is better. Everyone gets a big bear hug and a shot of homemadeOuzo. Or five.

    I’m all about visiting every Greek neighborhood I can. I’ll start with Athens and move on to Toronto from there!

  3. Let me know when you get to your review of Newfietown. You want to talk about friendly people? We’re all about the hugs, not to mention ‘hugs with benefits.’

  4. Those Greek names were hilarious, Jorge!

    I suddenly want to visit Toronto!

  5. Another great entry about Toronto.

    Mmmmm Spanikopita & Moussaka! 2 greek foods I CAN pronounce, so they are ususally a safe bet. 🙂

    Re: getting on and off the subway – I like that you mentioned standing aside to let people off. One of the things that bugs me is when the people at a station try to rush in before they let anyone leave the train. Hello people! If you dont let the passengers get off, there’s really no room for you! This just causes chaos and jostling and general unplesantness. My defence: razor sharp elbows! 😉

  6. This is great, you having a guide to your city in the manner in which you do….
    I still think… well… nevermind. I don’t get “paid” to think. *shuts my little consultant self up*

    Just wanted to stop by and say hiya, happy holidays to you and yours…
    🙂
    sol-

  7. Snuffalupagus!?

    OMG. I haven’t heard that in a while.

    I miss snuffy… and sesame street.

    Alas.
    Being old sucks.

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