Book Excerpt: Return to Toronto

As I approach Toronto I turn on the radio and sing along with Everclear’s “Santa Monica.”

Highway 400

My pace slows as I merge into the glut of vehicles returning to the city after a weekend away at the cottage. The last 100 kilometers take me nearly two hours while I covered the first three hundred in very nearly the same amount of time.

Midtown Toronto

It is one of my life’s conundrums to work as a wilderness guide and live in midtown Toronto at an intersection that the province of Ontario – not the city – has designated as an area of intensification. This means 68-storey buildings climbing into the sky from where 12-storey buildings once sat. It means six years of light rail transit construction along and beneath the neighborhood’s main east-west artery. And perhaps most tragically, it means I can no longer escape a couple of blocks into the older residential area with its grand, old maple trees and postage stamp front yards and not hear the noise.

Condos spring up across from play pads, surrounded by modest single family homes. Bulldozers and backhoes knock down brick bungalows and dig gaping holes in the ground for parking spots and storage lockers. Huge, orange, cylindrical trucks suck water out of the light rail construction site at three in the morning because the city gave them a permit to work 24-7. The noise permeates every second of my days in the city.

I don’t see us living in the middle of the cacophony forever. For now though, it is the compromise for loving a decidedly urban person who maintains a steady source of income within a short commute of our home. In turn I have easy access to the network of highways and airports that zip me into the wilderness, as well as the freedom to go whenever I want.

I’m writing a career change memoir and I’d love your feedback as I post small ~300 word blurbs. What do you want to know more about? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Comment below or e-mail me.

Photo credit: Gullygamer

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