The Last Gate


I'm writing this at gate F99 at Pearson's Terminal 1. When you consider that Pearson's Terminal 1 has six general gates, running A to F, and that each gate is further subdivided into about a hundred individual boarding/deplaning points (also, and more properly, called gates, in my opinion), I guess you could say that gate F99 is the last gate at Pearson's Terminal 1. After the amount of walking I had to do from entering the building, it certainly feels that way.

This will be the first time I enter the United States since Family Day, 2020. At that time, I had planned to cross over by train. However, CN's overreaction to a First Nations blockade shut down all freight and VIA Rail passenger rail service across Canada (GO Trains, intriguingly, were unaffected), so I ended up taking the bus to Niagara Falls and hiring a cab to drive me across the Rainbow Bridge to the Amtrak station in Niagara Falls, New York, where I continued my weekend trek to Boston and back.

At the time, COVID was already starting to make the news -- to the point that I wondered that, blockades aside, whether it was wise to travel across International boundaries in case I suddenly found myself unable to come back. It would be a month before that became an issue, and then the shutdown began. I stayed off public transit for over a year, really upped my work-from-home game, and I was left looking back to my trip to Boston, to check out its subways and LRTs, as something of a last hurrah.

I would be back travelling, of course. I trekked to White River in northern Ontario via GO Transit, Ontario Northland, and VIA Rail. I paid a visit to Vancouver, to meet the family as they spent a month in a cabin in the woods of Pender Island. I came back to my transit rambles across GO Transit and the TTC, and I have the Timelapse footage to show for it. But until now, I haven't been south of the border to explore some transit operations, until now.

The plan is to fly to Atlanta, check out the city's Metro and streetcar, then take Amtrak to Newark (like New York, only cheaper), spend another day checking out New York, then take the Maple Leaf Amtrak train back across the border to home. I'd planned to have this trip back in May 2020 but, of course, the pandemic hit, leaving me with nothing but vouchers.

Still, I'm here now, and it's good to be back.

Thus far, the trip has been smooth. I caught the 25C express GO Bus from University of Waterloo to Square One, then MiWay's 107 AirPort Express bus to the people mover station to access Terminal 1. The check in process was a little confused, but security was smooth, and the passing through of US customs was a breeze thanks to their pre-clearance app. Indeed, I reached my gate at 4:15 p.m. Boarding is expected at 6:45 p.m. The airport is pretty quiet. Whatever the mayhem that affected the place last summer, it seems to have eased, now.

But it's not all hitch-less. I've just been told that my flight has been reassigned, to gate F66.

Another long walk back across the airport, then...

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