Talk Description to Me

Episode 119 - Toronto and the Toronto Islands

August 27, 2022 Christine Malec and JJ Hunt Season 4 Episode 119
Talk Description to Me
Episode 119 - Toronto and the Toronto Islands
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Talk Description to Me is hitting pause -- for the time being! To mark their final episode in this two-year run, Christine and JJ packed a picnic, hopped on a ferry, and headed to the Toronto Islands. Sitting on a park bench, facing the Toronto skyline, the two friends shared one last description-rich conversation before unplugging their mics for a spell. 

To all of our listeners, thank you for taking this journey with us! Please stay subscribed so that you don't miss a moment when we plug back in!

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JJ Hunt:

Talk description to me with Christine Malec and JJ Hunt.

Christine Malec:

Hi, I'm Christine Malec.

JJ Hunt:

And I'm JJ Hunt. This is talk description to me, where the visuals of current events and the world around us get hashed out in description rich conversations.

Christine Malec:

JJ you and I are both dyed in the wool Torontonians. And we love we love the city that we live in. And right at this moment, we are in arguably both have one of our favorite spots in the city, which is not quite in the city, which is the Toronto Island. And so we took a 15 minute ferry ride who doesn't love a ferry ride to get here. And this is a place that's so special to both of us for different reasons. But it's also a good place from which to talk about the city, because you get picturesque views of the skyline and the harbor and the port on the island itself is just a little speck of wonderfulness close to the city, but you really feel like you're not in the city. So I'm going to situate where we physically are at this moment so that the audio soundscape makes sense. We are facing the water. There are some boats in front of us that JJ will describe but I'm mentioning them because you'll hear a little tinkling, which is the rigging in the breeze. And behind us is a recreation a little pathway where people and bikes go by. And it's it's a lovely summer day. And so I just learned recently that the so Toronto is on the north side of Lake Ontario, so in Toronto toward the water is always south. But the shore actually is going from southwest to northeast. I didn't know that until recently. But So JJ, can you with that in mind. Can you describe if you were looking at a map like the big picture, how does the island look, I heard it described as shape like a croissant.

JJ Hunt:

That's a good description of it. Yeah, a tasty description and accurate. Yeah, if you're looking at it from like overhead on a map, the island is actually actually a it's a chain of 15 small islands. So it's not one singular Island. And it is kind of croissant shape. And it is got a bit of a curve to it. And it is out from the main shoreline of downtown Toronto. So you're on down, you're in downtown Toronto, and you're looking out, the islands are straight ahead of you. If you're over overhead, there's just kind of a little harbor between this the string of islands that comes really at points like when when we you know one tip of that croissant curves toward the city near the island, you know where the island airport is, it's very, very close to the mainland, like you could you could easily swim. You know, I can't remember what it is 100 feet 200 feet or something like that it's very, very, very close. The other end it's a little bit farther away. This used to be the islands used to be a nine kilometer long Peninsula and sandspit that was connected to the mainland, actually on the east side, but in that connection would sometimes be flooded. And then in the 1850s I think it was the region was hit by two major storms that flooded that connection to the young city so the second of the storms 1950 in 1858 Pardon me cut a 500 foot channel in the land and that's what turned the peninsula into a series of islands and so it's on the other side now on the west side that the where you're closest to the mainland and that's built up land that's where the island Airport is.

Christine Malec:

And so you do occasionally you'll be hearing planes go overhead and that's this little airport that some people hate and some people love it's very polarizing but you can get to you get to Montreal to Boston to different you know this is low key it's it's a treat if you're traveling.

JJ Hunt:

It is a super convenient airport, you know, in a rather unfortunate place because otherwise the island is so peaceful, so quiet, doesn't have major cars major traffic and then you've got the airport here so gosh, so convenient but...

Christine Malec:

Yeah, there you can live on the island. There is a pocket of residential space on the island for those lucky few and yep, they really don't. Yeah. So, one of the things people love about being here one of many, many is view of the city. And there are certain spots that are you know, I guess, photogenic and people take. So what is it that makes a perfect view of the city before we break down what it actually looks like? What is what is it that makes this is the best photo op?

JJ Hunt:

Oh, great question. I mean, so first of all, specifically for Toronto, one of the things that makes it makes a good photo is that you get all of the skyline in one shot, it's because you are out from the from the downtown core, you are looking straight at it. So you get to see the entire city skyline. All of the downtown buildings, all of our most famous buildings, the beautiful, the ugly, all of them, they're nicely, you know, situated in a nice long line, it means you also get great big sky, if you're right on the shoreline here, there aren't a lot of trees in the way you can, you know, you can angle your shot in such a way that just one or two branches is coming in from the upper corners to give a little bit of depth a little bit of perspective. But otherwise, you get a clean view of the city. And so whether it's a beautiful sunny day, or a really rainy day, or at night, a going back from the island in the evening, when all of the lights of the buildings are shining and the CN Tower has got its glow on it's it's a beautiful skyline. So I think that the main reason this skyline and a lot of Skylines Are you know, what makes a good picture of it, or a good view of it is, is the clarity you get to see all of it, it's, you know, very clean.

Christine Malec:

And I'm guessing that what stands out when you first look is the CN Tower?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, I mean, the CN Tower. It's huge, so big. And you do get you do get a sense of it. So the way the skyline is from here from from this angle, and almost every picture postcard almost every online image that you're going to find the city skyline is taken from the islands. So the CN Tower is either in the center or in the West, because the majority of the biggest downtown buildings are to the east of the CN Tower. And so to the east, that's where you got all the all the condo buildings, all the skyscrapers, all the office towers, and then the CN Tower, which is, you know, like I said, center Center West. And then now there are more and more condos that have been built to the west. And and that stretches on for a longer a longer strip of land than it used to when we were kids. There was there were one or two condos well to the west, so kind of at the edge of the city into a tobiko the suburb, you know, the closest kind of neighboring little suburb to the west. But now that stretch between the downtown core and and a tobiko to the west, that's all filled in with condos along the along the, you know, along the waterfront. So you don't have quite the same break but the CN Tower, which is, you know, more or less in the middle middle west. It is tall, I mean really tall, built in 1976 in the what was then thought of as a retro futuristic style. I always like to say that the CN tower looks like a knitting needle that has first skewered plumb and then above it an olive. So really, really really tall spire quite narrow and that's one of the things that strikes you from this point of view is how narrow it is really tall and narrow. And then with two thirds of the way up, you get the plum shape. So this kind of ball that's in the middle, that's where I think it's seven decks tall, seven stories tall, and then the spire continues goes up from there, then you get this little tiny pot above that lets the All of that's about halfway up the mast and then this kind of tapered mast, one section tiered really one section on top of the other on top of the other on top of the other until you come to a very, very tiny point at the top and it is tall. It is super tall, 1815 feet tall. That's an equivalent of 147 stories tall. Toronto is filled with skyscrapers. The second tallest building currently is 987 feet tall 72 storeys, so the CN Tower 147 The next biggest is 72 storeys tall like just enormous height difference in this one tall tower and really from here, you get a sense like I said, of how narrow it is how thin it is, when you're standing underneath the CN Tower, and you're looking up then you can see there are three ribs three of these very gently curving ribs that hold up the body that make up the body of the Sandtown when you're standing under it. You can feel and see how big those ribs are those big poured concrete ribs. But from here, you don't get a sense of how much concrete is poured into that thing. It just looks like a big tall knitting needle,

Christine Malec:

Right. And so Skyline like the rest of it. I'm not clear, I guess on how much detail is visible in a skyline. So when you're looking out, I guess, you're seeing like a bunch of fingers pointing up like high rises to look like fingers. Is that... ya?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, in Toronto is now so packed that a lot of those fingers are clumped together and overlapping. So it's not just one hand worth of fingers, or two or three in a row. Yeah, it's two or three or four long, and then five or 10, deep. So there are lots of fingers that are overlapping these buildings, generally in Toronto, tall, mostly glass buildings, glass, blue glass, kind of green glass, condo buildings, a few that have more kind of the the classic, you know, tan cement or tan block and window. But mostly right now, because so many of our buildings have been built recently, it's this blue glass. But from here from this angle, if I were to hold up a finger, my index finger at arm's length, most of the buildings are about the same size as my index finger. So that's the kind of scale we're talking about. And you can see individual windows in those buildings, you can't see what's going on in them. But you can see floor after floor after floor of those of those windows, and up at the tops of the buildings, some of the commercial buildings, you can see the names of the buildings, the whole building, there's the CIBC building, there's the Western Harbour Castle, you can see the names of the of the buildings here. So that's kind of that's, that's how far away we are.

Christine Malec:

So I'm imagining a lot of right angles, is that typical of of all cityscapes, or are there some cityscapes Skylines where you'd see more curves?

JJ Hunt:

No, definitely some. Toronto's buildings are, and people will complain about this, they're pretty dull. A lot of our skyscrapers are just, yeah, just kind of boxes standing, you know, you know, tall, narrow boxes standing on it. And that's it. There are a handful of buildings that have a little bit of curve to them, or they they're a little bit tiered. So you get to the top and it's one layer smaller, and then another one that's smaller another and you can get a bit of that. The Westin harbour Castle has a rotating restaurant on the top. So it's got like a puck, that sitting on top there's one condo building in the downtown core that's got a it's when you get to the top, it's got a slight bulge that then curves back in. It's almost like a, like a fine pointed paint brush. Where that where it curves toward the top on one side. But mostly in Toronto, and in a lot of cities. The the condos themselves are just dull glass rectangles, you go to somewhere like Singapore, you much more interesting, much like it doesn't have to be this way. Yes. dull. And this is that and honestly, it's because so much of our of our skyline has been built in recent years. Yeah, I mean, we've got, I was reading some numbers about this. Before we came, we have something like 80 skyscrapers currently in our skyline. And there are 30 more that are currently under construction. And there are another 90 that are in the approval stage. Toronto has the third most skyscrapers of any city in North America behind New York and Chicago. And our construction boom is, is out of hand. There's an outfit actually that tracks the number of construction cranes that are in use in North America. So it knows this outfit knows how many construction cranes are in every single city that's using them. And Toronto has had the most the most cranes every have any North American city every year since 2015. In the first quarter of 2022, we had 252 construction cranes in use, and LA had the second most with 51. Something like 45% of all available cranes in North America are in Toronto right now.

Christine Malec:

That's madness.

JJ Hunt:

It's ridiculous. And it's mostly condos that are going up. That's why that that you know, the shoreline to the west. It's all condos along there. It's why most of these buildings, big tall glass, fairly dull condo, so it kind of blocks out some of the some of the more interesting buildings. Some of the some of the older buildings that used to be there are grand structures. Now those are being dominated by glass condo towers.

Christine Malec:

And so we're at you know, obviously at water level, and when you look out, is it obvious to your eye that the land is rising a bit so like We're in our you know, our neighborhood where we live is North it's a significant thing is 510 K in or whatever okay north of the lake so can you see that?

JJ Hunt:

You actually can't because of this wall of buildings okay? There's you can't see any part of the city Beyond The Beyond the skyscrapers when you're in a plane you can you still don't get a sense of the rise, but you can certainly see the neighborhoods. So once you get past that downtown core and you start to move a little bit north, obviously the buildings get a lot smaller except for corridors you know, you get like, you know, major streets north south, you're gonna have a few apartment buildings along there. But Toronto Other than this, this like packed downtown core, Toronto is really a city of have houses of neighborhood of pot of neighborhood pockets. And so once you get over the this, this cluster of buildings, it shrinks, like the city gets really, the buildings get really low, and it's all trees. That's what you see mostly because it's, you know, houses neighborhood neighborhoods full of single family homes, with lots of trees on the front lawns, but you don't get a sense of the of the rise. From here, certainly because it's blocked. Really the best way to get a sense of the rise of the city is to get on a bicycle and try and

Christine Malec:

yep, oh, I can remember. I've heard it said I haven't done a ton of traveling. But I've heard it said that. That's one of Toronto's strengths is that the zoning is such that you have neighborhoods and so you'll have commercial and residential mixed so that you don't get like this dead downtown core at night kind of thing.

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, it's so it's interesting. There are some real ups and downs to the way Toronto has developed over the years. Like I said, it's really a city of single family homes, relatively few apartment buildings in the late 1910s, early 20s. I guess there was a lot of small walk up apartment building, like construction in lots of different cities around North America. The kind of classic brick construction of these four storey walkups rows of windows on every floor, black iron fire escapes at either the front or the back, maybe some maybe these buildings would be new shapes with a narrow courtyard and the center either the front or back. That's a very classic design. You see them all over Canada in the US, but not as many in Toronto, because in the 1910s and it's just someone say still today, Toronto is government was really a little bit uppity and kind of anxious. And they were worried about tenement buildings, tenement housing, they were really concerned that tenement buildings were going to ruin the city. And so they passed a bylaw, that more or less banned apartment buildings in residential neighborhoods. And that Bylaw is kind of I think it's still in place and it contributes to the way the city has developed. So we have all of these neighborhoods have city family homes, have single family homes, pardon me, but the apartment buildings are few and far between except on major streets. And then in the in the outskirts of the city, which were built later. Yeah, so we got these neighborhoods full of single family homes. Generally, their two story houses some bungalow some three story old Victorians. They generally have modest front yards and modest backyards. Most of the neighborhoods in the city have sidewalks. And yet it's a lot of neighborhoods that have the retail strip the main street, and then kind of branching off of that grids of these of the residential streets. And lots of most of the houses in Toronto are of brick construction. So lots of red brick or brown brick houses. There was a lot of good clay and shale in the Don Valley. So when in the early days of the modern city that clay was quarried and turned into bricks at the Don Valley brick works. So pre World War Two, it Toronto was built largely with local bricks and you can find those bricks in a lot of the major buildings in Toronto but a lot of the houses too will be these this red brick houses. These are the bricks that line the curbs of downtown Toronto. I think we've talked about this before, on the city streets in downtown Toronto, right at the curb with with the curb in the road meet. There's a row of bricks of red bricks that's kind of separates the you know the pavement from the curb the sidewalk the cement. And originally these were built into the East West streets to channel rainwater because the city sloped south they didn't need them on nor sanitary it's only on the East West streets. And so you would have these kind of catch basins made of or these these gutters made of red brick that would you know, direct the water to catch basins. And it's a distinctive part of the city. That's an unusual design. Most cities don't have that it's become so The norm in Toronto that a lot of new streets that are built, they still put that little big brick gutter in, just because that's that's the way Toronto does it. It's part of our aesthetic, it's part of our landscape. So that's, that's how those are built. And by the way, those bricks are everywhere. If you go down to Leslie spit, which is landfill park this long, knobbly spit of land that juts out into Lake Ontario, it was and still is being built with like dump truck after dump truck of demolition Rubble, that's how the whole split was made. And so if you go down there, you can find lots of these worn down old bricks from Toronto's early days that have been tumbling around on the shores of the park. And so now they're smooth from rolling around in the water. Some of these old bricks have rounded corners. Others are in the shape of like capsules, they're they're basically the bricks have been worn down or almost pill shaped. And sometimes they you can find bricks that actually have the name of the the original brickwork stamped in them, oh, you get a bit of history there. And there are lots of bricks that are made with holes in the center, I think they're called cord bricks, so that the bit of a mortar pops up between them makes them really solid, they're lighter. They're, you know, good construction bricks. But what happens with these bricks when they get tumbled around is you get holes in the middle of these brick shaped rocks. Oh, and so what people do is they gather them up, and then they find bits of rebar again, because this spit of land is made with you know, construction Rubble, you'll sometimes get like a like these twisted arms of rebar come out of the shores of the park, it's a little bit dangerous. So people take these bricks with holes in them, and they and they kind of loop them on. So what you end up with these are these bars of rebar that have these bulging muscles of stacks of little bricks go up and they make these sculptures all along the shores of of the spit. It's pretty cool.

Christine Malec:

Oh, gosh. Oh, look, can we talk a bit about the shoreline as opposed to the skyline? So when you're coming on the ferry and looking back at the shoreline, how is Toronto's shoreline? used? What do you see just right on the waterfront?

JJ Hunt:

Ok, so that's a good question. So this is going to be from memory because we're a little bit further back from that. But I mean, there's not a there's not a lot of natural space on the Toronto shoreline at this point. It is when you're downtown closest to the docks. I mean, you're really seeing like a short cement wall like there's, there's it is it is a cement wharf all the way along the downtown core, you get to Harbourfront Centre. And it's still you've got there's a boardwalk but, you know, from what you're actually facing from the water is a short cement wall with the boardwalk on top. And then, you know, within the first 100, 200 feet of the shore line at Harbourfront there are a couple of arts buildings are old power plants old some of these old red brick power plants that have now been turned into theaters and whatnot. And you to the to the east, it's it's still fairly industrial, there are a few neighborhoods that are being built in that area. But those are very much under construction. Some of these construction cranes are down there building new residential neighborhoods as we speak. The shoreline itself, there's not much to it it the shore looks like the skyline because the buildings often come right up close. And there's not a lot of natural space of green space. So you actually the skyline becomes visually anyway the shoreline if that makes sense.

Christine Malec:

Okay, but there are keys and things where people have boats moored more or less permanently. So is there any sense of the recreational use of the other shoreline when you look at it?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, if you go a little bit further east so you're you kind of not in the lanes of of where the ferries are, but if you continue if you if you you know get getting a canoe or something like that and you paddle a little bit to the east, then you get a censers marina on the on the city side to the east and then farther to the west. If you continue on toward like the Hyde Park area, there's a there's a you know, a yacht club and whatever there I mean, Yacht Club makes it sound a little fancier than it is. It's still relatively small boats, you know, we're talking 25 to 50 foot sailboats and small yachts I guess. And you know, there are some pots, some pockets of that along the city, but they don't dominate. We're not like if you're in Vancouver, for example. There's lots and lots and lots of places to find Marina. downtown, not as many not as many in Toronto I'd say.

Christine Malec:

And what about what you see on the water? What kind of watercraft and activity do you see going on on the water between here and the island?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, lots of lots of these little sailboats modest sail, but not little, little, but like, you know, modest sailboats puttering around, you know, on a beautiful sunny day, quite a few kayaks and in canoes. So, you know, at different points a little bit outside of where the ferries go back and forth. There are spots where kayaks can go back and forth from the city to the island. I've never done that you've done that.

Christine Malec:

I've done it in a canoe a few times. And it's pretty dreamy. It's pretty nice sign.

JJ Hunt:

And then the ferries themselves so the ferry boats are kind of the most notable boats that go back and forth. And the Toronto ferry boats are really quite charming. The the service ferry service began in Toronto like 1833. And the boats that we have in service now aren't quite from that time, but they feel like it!

Christine Malec:

Ha! The do, eh! They feel very homey, like it's the same boat since I was a little kid. I think they are.

JJ Hunt:

They literally are! I think some of the boats that are still in service are like 70, 80 years old. I mean, they're amazing. They're four, eight boats in total, I think there are something like four that operate back and forth at the airport, and then four that operate to the main islands. And each boat is unique. But most of the main passenger ferries have a very similar look so long oval kind of capsule shaped holes with like an oval kind of footprint with a low black hole. And then a big lug a large white deck house on the fair first level that's lined with Windows. And that covers all of the first level except for the two ends, the ends of the boats are open, the second floor is open. So it's got a roof. But open sides, there's only a waist high blue wire fence with an oak railing all along the second level, then otherwise, the second level feels very open no walls or anything like that there is a covering because there's a third story of like a third level. That third level is that's where the pilot houses are. And there's a pilot house at the front of pilot house at the back with smokestacks and the inflatable raft canisters between them. The lots of like the original trimmings on these boats, so like the bolts and the rivet heads are all clearly visible. The Oak trim, the way you sit down on these boats is on like oak, picnic benches like like park benches. Really old timey, really beautiful. We were laughing on our way over the there are life jackets that are strapped to the ceiling on the second floor, these bright orange life jackets. And it looks like the same life jackets that have been there since you and I were like they really these are like the, you know, they look like U shapes that you put around your neck. And like I think the instruction video that comes with them is like [Old time radio voice] "Hello, welcome to the Toronto ferries if you'd like to put your life jacket on slip it over your noggin!"

Christine Malec:

Ha ha ha!

JJ Hunt:

Supper old school. I love those, they're so ancient.

Christine Malec:

Just for the record. JJ did look in the we saw 2012 on one of the lifejackets. So it's not they're not from 1833.

JJ Hunt:

Not really from 1833, they just feel like it.

Christine Malec:

They just feel like it. Now, can we talk about the shape of the island? And you answered a question, but I didn't actually know it's 15 separate little islands. So there's I know from my experience here, there's bridges all over the place. But I never thought much about what they did and what was between them. And people talked about canals. But again, I was unclear. So it's a collection. The islands, the islands making air quotes actually refers to 15 little islands. So can we kind of talk about how those are laid out?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah, in this in this, you know, this gentle C shape, this, you know, crescent shape, little pockets, and some of them are quite tiny. And they're connected by Little Foot bridges. And some of them are some of these islands are quite large and have, like you said communities of people on them. So you get a sense of the canals weaving between them. But you don't necessarily recognize that you're on one island or another you've just crossed to another. It does feel quite connected. Because of all these little little island little bridges that go from one to the other summer quite high. Some of the bridges are are fairly high and that allows boats sailboats and whatnot to go under. But some aren't. Some are like little, you know, little, little tiny foot bridges that don't have much of an arc to them at all.

Christine Malec:

I believe the whole island is about five kilometers across and from like having biked it and ran it and walked it and yeah, I believe that's right. And so the residential part is mostly in the east and there's is a really interesting and gamey history there array of people who've lived here and had recreational properties here,

JJ Hunt:

the islands got quite a history that that's, you know, grew up with the City of Toronto, and obviously extends well before colonization. So the the kind of Toronto relationship with the island, the modern colonial city relationship, there were times when the island was a place for summer homes. And I think a lot of the original houses that were built here were built as summer homes, little cottagey kind of places. And so the houses that are here, still, a lot of them still have that cottagey kind of feel to them. Instead of the brick construction over here, you have a lot of Ford and bat. And you've got a lot of wood frame construction, and some shingle houses and things like that, that, you know, all the houses over here have plumbing and electricity, it says, you know, these are fully service places. But that's that it that community, I think, grew from being a cottage place to being a neighborhood. And so it kind of still has that feel, it's somewhere in between. It's not, it's not quite like going, you know, being in a in a in a community of cottages. It's not quite like being in any other neighborhood in Toronto, it's kind of some combination of the two. But before that before colonization, these lands were known to many different Indigenous nations, the Mississauga the credit, the Anishinabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples all had relationships with the islands, which I think back then most of the time would have been a peninsula. By the 1700s, this land, the islands, they were being used as a place of healing by the Mississaugas of the credit. There's just something about this location, the lands the relationship to the to the shore, to the mainland, the climate, the breeze, it gave this place, a real comforting kind of recuperative quality. And so the people of the Mississaugas of the credit would come here to the islands intentionally to heal if someone was unwell, they would come and they would spend time here so that their, their their family member, the community member could heal, it then became a place for ceremony. Lots of different kinds of ceremonies held on this on the island, it was understood to be a sacred spot. And, you know, you and I were talking about this on our way over here. We know lots of people and we are people who have come to the island at different parts in our lives, to rest and to relax and to recuperate. Not because of a connection to you know, indigenous spirituality. And not just because it's a break from the city. It is obviously it is a nice break from that kind of, you know, city life and city hustle and bustle and the noise and whatnot. But beyond that, there's just a really lovely peaceful energy here and the breeze over here. And, and honestly, that holds true not only in the summer, when it's gorgeous and sunny and and warm and you get a nice cool breeze. But in the winter, when it's biting cold, it's raw. And there's something about being here in the winter when it's raw.

Christine Malec:

So true.

JJ Hunt:

It's wonderful.

Christine Malec:

And we're contradicting ourselves a bit but part of the reason why that's all true is a lot most Torontonians don't come here. Yeah, when you talk to them. Oh, yeah, I always mean to go and I went there once and so not you know, it's not like every Torontonian has a relationship with this spot. And that's partly why it's been I have

JJ Hunt:

That's right. That's right. Especially in the winter.

Christine Malec:

Yeah, oh yes.

JJ Hunt:

It does take an extra step you've got to go the icebreaker boat. One of the boats does the icebreaker you can't go to center island, you got to go to the residential dock. And then there's no there are no services over here. There's power but there's maybe one restaurant...

Christine Malec:

It's not for tourists in the winter.

JJ Hunt:

So you're coming over here in the winter, you know you throw your skates in your backpack and you better be well dressed. A couple of different touques and mittens and all your all your gear because it's it's biting when it's so so wonderful.

Christine Malec:

September, man. Oh yeah. That's my my best memories. I'm not saying a lot because I have so many good memories here. But September is the best because you still got great weather, maybe a little crisp, but not so many people and bright sunny days. We're almost in September, and I just Yeah, it's a beautiful place. Then there's recreational stuff going on here in the summertime. So Centreville is this little spot where there's rides and bike rentals. And is there still is there a log ride? The log ride!

JJ Hunt:

Ya, the Zumba Flume or wherever it is.

Christine Malec:

Ha ha ha!

JJ Hunt:

Center island so sweet. It's I mean it's a it's an amusement park that is, you know, pretty clearly designed for you know kids 10 and under. So it's got a it's got a vibe to it. It's not like big roller coasters and whatnot. center island has smallish rides, select lots of little kid rides, including those, like old fashioned cars on tracks. So little old fashioned cars that you get to sit in a kid gets a steering wheel, but they can only steer like three inches to the right or left. Otherwise, the car is just being bumped along by with it by a little a little rail. And so that kind of goes through some of the old trees that are here on the island. And, you know, they have paddocks where they have some a handful of there's a little island farm where it's like a little petting zoo kind of farm. And then it's got like a main street kind of feel to it like an old fashioned Main Street. So all of the snack shops and the ride entrances look like you're, you know, you're going into an old fashioned ice cream shop or something like that. It's it's it's got like an old timey kind of feel to it.

Christine Malec:

Is there still a cable car?

JJ Hunt:

Yeah!

Christine Malec:

The Cable car!

JJ Hunt:

That's a fun one, too. Yeah. A little gondola that takes you up and you can go kind of over the city, or pardon me over the over the island.

Christine Malec:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so in the summer, of course, you know, tourists common and people, you get a lot more than in the fall in the winter. And I'm curious whether what you saw on the ferry was a representation of what you see in the city, because clearly this is somewhere you'd come if you were visiting the city, you would you would come here, but also, I'm just wondering the demographic of what you saw on the way over on a boat.

JJ Hunt:

So that's a good question on the ferry on the way over here, I'd say that the kind of crowd that we were seeing was, was pretty representative of just the city as a whole, lots of different groups of people, different walks of life, different ages, different ethnicities, different skin tones, lots of cyclists, lots of people with strollers, lots of people families pulling these kind of collapsible wagons. So you know, you load up this little collapsible wagon full of all your picnic supplies, and maybe a little sun umbrella if you're going to go to the beach, or you know, all that jazz, and you wheel that onto the ferry, and we'll get back off again. So the first floor of the ferry is all strollers and in people with their bikes and people with their, you know, their collapsible wagons, and whatnot. And the second level is always a lot of summer camps. So lots of teenage counselors and dozens and dozens and dozens of kids!

Christine Malec:

Ha ha! There were gaggles of children.

JJ Hunt:

So excited to be on the ferry, they're running back and forth, you know, holding on to the oak railing and peering through the wire mesh to see the island come into view as we approach and yeah, lots of lots of different folks, lots of different, like family groups and friend groups. It's interesting different times of day. I laugh sometimes if I'm here in the fall, fewer people so you kind of get a better sense of some of the individuals who are on and even have the experience. I don't know if you've had this before where you kind of feel like when you come over onto the island with a group of people that's like that's your group of people. And then you kind of bump into them once or twice on the Oh yeah. And then you might see them again on the ferry. So some of that kind of goes on and I've seen groups this always makes me laugh but if you if you for some reason are coming over onto the island in the evening, you might see a couple of people come over just to take pictures on the ferry or from the island and then they immediately catch next boat back Oh, so it's really just like it's a ferry trip. Yeah, like that's the day you go on the ferry. You take a couple pictures you have a laugh, and that's like a little you know, little mini evening activity is just just a ferry ride. And why not I guess, it's a it's a nice place to be.

Christine Malec:

I love boats. People come here to party too. I think teenagers sometimes you know, it was when you were talking about the time of day I was thinking about fairies leaving the city at like you know five six in the evening.

JJ Hunt:

That's right different demographic that's a different demographic that's leaving then then you get a you know, some that are gonna stay on a little later and have their beach party and maybe they're gonna go over to the nude beach and have a picnic and a fire in the evening and you know, smoke weed they want to smoke and have their have their good time.

Christine Malec:

Oh, yeah. Well, in our text exchange this morning, the phrase to hammocks came up, and so I think that's maybe in our afternoon, a classic Island day.

JJ Hunt:

Ha ha! That's right. We've got spanakopeta, chocolate croissants...

Christine Malec:

Oh yeah.

JJ Hunt:

... and two hammocks.

Christine Malec:

That's what life on the island is all about. It's what a visit to the island is all about.

JJ Hunt:

I'm all about it. This is the 119th episode of Talk description to me. It's also our last episode. For now. In the two years we've been on the air, we've covered everything from riots to jazz hands tornadoes, to tick tock trends, journeys into space to wonders of the world. And I have to say, we're proud of every episode. We're hitting pause on our weekly release schedule, but we're gonna keep our website and podcast feed alive. Our hope is that the show can become a resource, a library of real world description that members of the blind and low vision community can continue to tap into, maybe you've got a favorite episode, maybe like us, Your memory is less than perfect, and you just want to revisit something we've described. We hope that even as an archive, the show can continue to reach new listeners and be a source of information and cultural literacy for the community. So if you're inclined, please keep sharing favorite episodes and links to the podcast feed. Although our funding future is uncertain, we love this work. And we know that we're not finished creating description rich content. When world events unfold, we'll try to post breaking news episodes. And when everyday description situations arise, or if we just miss each other, we might hop on a call and conjure up a mini episode or two. Our accounts on Twitter and Facebook will remain active and will still be a source of innovative description content. It's hard to put into words what this work has meant to each of us. And from emails we've received along the way. We know that the podcast has meant a lot to some of our listeners too. As we step away from this iteration of our collaborative work, we do so with great affection, some sadness, and the certainty that there will be more to come in the future. Thank you for listening. We'll talk again soon.

Toronto Skyline
Behind Toronto's skyline
The harbour
The Islands