The Slow Road Home


Coming back from Book Expo, with a long Sunday evening ahead of us, Erin and I decided to take the slow road home. After dropping off a friend at the Woodbine/Gerrard area, I headed down Woodbine and drove the entire length of Lakeshore Road. From Woodbine Avenue all the way out to downtown Burlington.

I don’t think a more diverse cross-section could possibly be driven. From the revitalizing new urbanist lands of the former Greenwood Racetrack to the affluent shops of Burlington’s downtown, we travelled past beaches, industry, streetcar suburbs, fifties suburbs, affluent burbs, the works. We even saw an oil refinery along the way, about one kilometer from some very rich homes (can’t think these would be the most comfortable neighbours). About the only thing we didn’t see enroute was a farm.

It’s a fascinating route. Even at its ugliest (arguably at the Lakeshore/Don Roadway intersection), there is a sort of savage beauty to it. The Gardiner stands overhead; there are port-related industries to the left, scrub land to the right, and railway tracks heading towards a metal bridge over the Don River. It’s impossible to conceive of anybody wanting to work here, let alone live there, but it is still beautiful. Possibly because there’s so much for the eye to see.

Thirty minutes later, leaving the Gardiner behind, you enter the old village of Mimico. Lakeshore Boulevard is a wide street with streetcar tracks that should be on their own private right-of-way. The condominium developments are out of scale and somewhat ugly, even though the density is welcome; far better is old Mimico, with its two-story shops, old houses and lots of trees. This is not the same street.


And it’s not the same street in Mississauga, either. You can read the street as the old highway leading west of Toronto, passing through the small villages of Port Credit and Clarkson, before they were swallowed by sixties sprawl.

But the strangest part of the road is where it leaves Mississauga. First of all, the roadway jogs one concession road to the south, blocked from the lake by a huge refinery. Five minutes later, you’re into the treelined richness of Oakville. Did the two cities plan their neighbourhoods in complete isolation? Must have. Nowhere else is the boundary between two cities more plain.

Lakeshore Road can be read like a story. It’s buildings are the words and the plotline. From there you’ll find the conflict.

Further Reading

Even along Lakeshore Road, we weren’t far from a Starbucks. This site has some pictures of Starbucks on our route.

Memo to Stephen Harper

Just thought you should know, when the Liberals derided you for sidling up with the Bloc Quebecois to try and bring down the government, the fact that they said “the Conservatives are in league with the separatists” to delegitimize your effort was an act of intellectual laziness.

You proceeded with your alliance regardless showing all Canadians, rightly so, that the members of the Bloc Quebecois have been elected through absolutely free and fair elections held within their ridings. They’re representing constituents not unlike your own, who are fundamentally offended by the smell of corruption eminating from the Liberal party.

If the Liberals wanted to criticize you for obstructing the business of parliament and trying to bring about an election most Canadians did not want, there were better ways to do it. It was unfair and inaccurate, and working with the Bloc in no way diminished the credibility of your actions when you were just doing your job.

Which means, now that the Liberals have secured Bloc support to pass bill C-38, the legislation legalizing same sex marriages in this country, the fact that the bill is being backed by separatists in no way diminishes the credibility of the legislation. All of the members of the BQ, just like all of the members of the NDP, four members of your own party and all but 34 of the members of the Liberal Party, have been elected in free and fair votes by Canadians well aware of their MPs’ stance on same sex marriage. So, trust me, the vote is legitimate. And you come across as fundamentally hypocritical and desperate in suggesting otherwise.

Indeed, I’m surprised at you. I thought that, under your leadership, the Conservatives were supposed to be better than the Liberals, above their corruption, above their arrogance and above their hypocrises.

But as the past two months show, that’s simply not the case, is it?

Further Reading

CalgaryGrit nails Harper’s errors in logic.

On April 12 a majority of the members of the House voted to direct the government to immediately hold a public inquiry into the Air-India issue.

Will the Prime Minister honour the will of the House, yes or no?

On November 2, 2004, the House passed a resolution calling on the government to recognize the existence of the fiscal imbalance. Almost eight months later, the Prime Minister still has not reacted.

Is the Prime Minister close to admitting that the fiscal imbalance exists?

Both of these motions only passed because the BQ stood up alongside the Conservatives and the NDP. If that makes these votes legitimate (and they do), then it makes the Liberal-NDP-Bloc passage of Same Sex Marriage just as legitimate.

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