[tpm] country hacker, city hacker

Liam R E Quin liam at holoweb.net
Thu Oct 3 19:58:51 PDT 2013

On Thu, 2013-10-03 at 22:02 -0400, Brandon McCaig wrote:

> - Commutting. I've never driven in traffic as heavy as Toronto,

The smart people take the TTC (the public transit).

I would not advise riding a motorcycle much in the city.

Disclaimer: I moved out of Toronto 8 years ago and live in the country
to the East of the city :-)

> Aside from driving, I don't really know how to get around
> affordably.

The downtown core of Toronto is very safe. You go to the subway ticket
booth and get a free "ride guide". If you live in the city you buy a
monthly transit pass for $130 or so for as many rides as you like:

> It sounds like the subway is the fastest way to get around, but
> from the maps that I was looking at it only seems to cover
> certain parts of the city and even then only stops every so many
> city blocks so I imagine you'd still have quite a bit of walking
> or have to transfer between transit systems to get to your
> destination.

Yes. People tend to walk a lot more in the city than in the country.
In Toronto apartments near the subway stops are more expensive than
others - they often say "steps to the TTC" if they are a long way away
and "right next to TTC" if less than 10 minutes' walk :-)

The Toronto Star and Now Magazine --
used to be among the best places to find somewhere good.

> When I visited I was afraid of trying to cross Dufferin Street
Cross at a crosswalk or an intersection. People will stop for you.

>  In crowds I get anxious and nervous and self-conscious. I
> imagine that I'd be forced to cope and adjust to it in Toronto,
> but in the short term it will probably be difficult for me.
The realization that no-one actually really cares what you look like,
that there's so much diversity that people aren't really judging, can be
very liberating.

> - Finding an apartment that I can afford, on such short notice,
> that isn't too far away from the office[1], isn't a dump, and
> isn't in a bad neighbourhood.

I did this with the help of a realter who drove me around to several

I used to live a short walk from Wingold Ave, on Lauder Ave; the
landlord, York West Developments, was awesome.
 Having said that, my choce would be to live much, much closer downtown
and to take the Dufferin bus to work. Make it *easy* for yourself to get
around, so that you can do things; there's a ton of totally free events
every week in the city, and you can meet people, have a good time & not
pay much money. All the way from Bloor and Dufferin east to Bloor &
Spadina or George, is the "annex", an awesome studenty district with
cheap food and fun stores.

Moving expenses may well be tax deductible, keep all receipts.

One strategy is to plan to move after a year (or less), once you know
your way around the city and can choose where to live.

>  Legalities aside, I imagine both companies will
> be sore about it if I suddenly leave in the middle of this
> "contract". I'm afraid of potentially burning a bridge that I may
> need to fall back on.

Sometimes you have to take opportunities.

> - Actually moving down there. I'll need help so either I have to
> trouble somebody to ride down with me (not a small favor to ask)
> or I have to hire help. I have to transport two vehicles, and a
> small amount of large furniture.

If you have a car, remember that parking in Toronto tends to be
expensive. Like, $100/month or more. Parking on the street will probably
require a permit that you buy at city hall, and spaces are always at a
premium. For my part I'd get rid of the car and if you need a car in
Toronto, use autoshare or zipcar. If you did that you could then rent a
suitably large van for moving, and drive it with the motobike inside.

> Funnily enough I had one super awesome taxi driver that warned me
> about it and insisted that I don't let them short change me. He
> didn't actually give me any numbers to go on other than that
> rent could easily be $2000/mo. for example.
It can be, but there are cheaper ones, especially if a basement
apartment is OK, e.g.

> - Having reliable and safe parking for two vehicles (by spring
> when my motorcycle will come out). Ideally sheltered parking, but
> I don't even have that here. If the transit system is good enough
> then I might be able to sell my car and rely on that,
I'd say most people in downtown Toronto do not drive, even though the
mayor (Rob Ford) would like to destroy the public transit system.

>  but I'm not
> too sure about that. If my residence doesn't have laundry then
> I'll need to haul my laundry down the block or across the city...
> Then there is beer store runs, grocery shopping, etc.. I can't
> imagine doing those kinds of things on public transit and staying
> sane.
Get over it darling :-) people do that all the time.

I used to go to The Big Carrot (a natural/organic supermarket) on the
subway and then take a taxi home with my stuff.  The $20 fare was worth
it to me.

> - If my car or motorcycle breaks down then I'll need to take it
> to a garage to get it fixed.
And if your teeth fall out you'll need a dentist, and if your books fall
off the wall you'll need to go to Ikea and buy shelves :-)   To find a
good garage, ask people, go by reputation, same as in the country. Our
local garage in Milford, ON., is awesome. But we had a good one on Front
Street in Toronto, too, when we lived at King and Parliament (a good
area but a bit far from Wingold, could easily take 45 minutes).

If you're being paid less than $30K it'll be hard, and you'll be cooking
pots of soup for yourself, and looking for a roommate situation rather
than an apartment.  Me, I'd do it anyway :-) But then, I flew across the
Atlantic to work in Toronto, at Bloor and Spadina.


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org freenode/#xml

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