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The little family Pyke » Archive of 'Jul, 2010'

Toronto Island. Part 1 No comments yet

We’re back in Austin after a really great week with Marcel, Gen, Julienne and Ella on Toronto Island. We pretty much spent the whole week kuiering, eating, napping, walking, riding bikes, going to the beach and similarly pleasant and relaxing pursuits.

The island was once a bustling suburb with about 650 houses, hotels, shops, movie theatre, bowling alley etc, reduced to a community of 250 houses and cottages when the city decided in the 50’s to clear the houses and turn the island(s) into parkland. Over a period of decades most of the houses and structures were demolished and cleared, but a group of hard-core islanders refused to leave and stood their ground, protested and generally made life difficult for the sheriff until the clearing was stopped and an agreement was reached with the city in which people were granted 99 year leases on the property on which their houses stood.

Of course those ramshackle cottages are now highly sought after (there is a wait-list to get on to the wait-list to purchase one), even though the plots are generally small and people don’t own the land and are not allowed to sell the cottages for more than the replacement value of the structure. Anyway, interesting place.

Gen grew up on the island (back before the cottages had indoor plumbing) and she and Marcel rennovated the cottage that belonged to her Dad. They now live there with Gen’s mom.

Even with small inconveniences (everything from groceries to building supplies has to come over with the ferry, petty politics, nowhere to buy a packet of chips) the island obviously a great place to live and a wonderful place to visit. Nobody locks their doors, everyone looks very quaint with their bicycle baskets loaded with supplies and you don’t have to keep a constant eye out for cars.

Apparently it is a little tougher in the winter – but there are also plusses, such as being able to build a skating rink in your back yard with nothing but some pieces of wood and water.

So aside from the island activities, Adam and David had a ball with Ella and Jules. Adam and Ella are just a few months apart, and immediately became best friends and worst enemies – fighting over the same toys but still managing to amuse each other enough to keep them out of our hair for a while.

Semi-daily David No comments yet

Why yessir, that is a Texas BBQ baby-back rib bone in my hand.

And you know it’s good when even your legs are covered in grease…

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