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A Day of Adventures: From Backyard Bonfires to Toronto Treks

Unexpected Train Troubles 

After a night of backyard bonfire hangouts, we indulged in a much-needed sleep-in this morning. Feeling refreshed, we decided to head to Toronto for a day of exploration and adventure. Our host family kindly offered to drive us to the train station, but upon arrival, we discovered it was closed for planned track work. Not to be deterred, they drove us to the nearest operating station in a neighboring city, only to find out that this station wasn’t running either. Instead, there were replacement buses available.

Finally, we made it onto a double-decker train to Luna’s delight. Normally, the journey from downtown Hamilton to downtown Toronto takes a little over an hour. We disembarked at Exhibition GO, and the first thing I said to Luna was how funny it smelled like police horses here, only to look up and see a stable right in front of us. New York had trained my nose to recognize that smell instantly.

Discovering Fort York 

With Veda's scooter in tow, we made our way towards Fort York, where I had found an Indigenous festival happening through a quick search. It was so nice to just lay in a park and listen to music. I found myself reminiscing about my time in San Francisco and the Power to the Peaceful Festivals. Wow, those were the days. Although Saturday had hosted more people and the big acts, we spent a few enriching hours exploring and learning about the "Every Child Matters" movement.

Understanding Every Child Matters 

"Every Child Matters" is a movement to honor and remember Indigenous children who were forced to attend residential schools in Canada. These schools, operating from the late 1800s to the 1990s, aimed to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture, often through harsh and abusive practices. The movement acknowledges the trauma and ongoing impact these schools had on survivors and their families. The orange shirt has become a symbol of the "Every Child Matters" movement after Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor, shared her story. When she was six years old, her grandmother bought her a new orange shirt for her first day of school at St. Joseph Mission Residential School. Upon arrival, her shirt was taken away, and she was forced to wear the school’s uniform, which made her feel worthless and insignificant. This story encapsulates the broader experiences of loss of identity, culture, and self-esteem that many Indigenous children faced. The orange shirt represents the suffering and resilience of the survivors and calls for awareness, remembrance, and action towards reconciliation.

Exploring the Toronto Music Garden and Fire Station 

Visit After absorbing the festival's atmosphere and listening to great music while Luna showcased her gymnastics skills, we set off for a walk through the Toronto Music Garden by the waterfront. This turned out to be a delightful park with labyrinths and dead-ends that Luna adored running around in. Just as we arrived outside Toronto Fire and Marine Station 334, another family with a little girl knocked on the door, so we joined them for a spontaneous tour.

Fire Station Fun 

While Luna is not as impressed by firefighting as I am, she still thinks it is quite exciting to sit in firetrucks. I mean, who doesn't! Our friendly guide, Amir, shared that this station handles around 5,000 calls a year, in stark contrast to my station in Sweden, which averages about 400. My main truck back home is a ladder truck that reaches 30 meters high, whereas the ladder at Amir’s station down the road extends to a staggering 70 meters (230 feet). He told me that it might sway a little when it is fully extended, and in my mind, I'm thinking that yeah, our ladder truck sways at 30 meters! Even Luna was impressed by this fact. Since Luna had scraped her knee, Amir kindly cleaned her not so acute scratch and gave her a band-aid, adding a sweet touch to our visit.

Vegan Dinner and Heading Home 

After our impromptu fire station tour, we headed to a vegan restaurant where we could customize our own bowls. Luna concocted a meal she absolutely loved and would have given the place five stars, but they lost points for not having any vegan chocolate cookies.

We then caught the bus back to Hamilton, which conveniently dropped us just about 10 blocks from our home. I walked while pushing Luna on the scooter, ending our day on a high note with a bit of exercise and fresh air.

Ending the Day with a Splash

When we got back home, we discovered that Byram had fixed the hot tub. The girls wasted no time jumping in and enjoyed a relaxing soak. Once they had enough of that, we headed down to our bed and ended up having a sweet movie night there

Tips of the Day

  • Wheels are invaluable when exploring new places.W hether it’s a scooter or a bike, having a set of wheels can make covering ground much more enjoyable and efficient.

  • Trust Google Maps when it comes to public transport. Somehow, Google always seems to know the best routes and current schedules. This day was a reminder of the joys of spontaneous adventures, the richness of cultural experiences, and the simple pleasures of spending time with family. From the kindness of our host family to the fascinating discoveries along the way, it was a day well spent.

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