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Very often, in writing this diary, we tell of the less pleasant things, as well as some of the good things about the area. Our purpose in providing this information is to enable buyers to beware. No-one else will tell you the unpleasant things about an area. We have never seen information like this made available before. Buying a home is the most expensive investment you will ever make. We are not sales people. Apart from our own homes, we do not own any property in the area. Please do not write to us telling us the good things about this area .. any sales person or the local tourist office can provide that information. Of course, they are only interested in selling. That is the only information they want you to know. For other such matters of interest about Guelph go to http://www.sentex.net/~oficserv/Guelph.html

Sunday 31st December 2000

Well, there goes another year. As everyone keeps saying: "The older you get the faster the years go". It seems like only yesterday I was up half the night frantically backing up everything and worrying about Y2K. I wonder now whether it was actually a problem for anyone at all.

We have been hit by one snowstorm after another. It has been about 15 degrees below normal. In between there have been really lovely days of brilliant sparkling sunshine.

Yesterday I was just wishing I could find someone to help with the heavier shovelling. I went to the front porch and there stood in the driveway two men just wishing they could find someone who wanted shovelling done! The work that would have taken me an hour they got through in about 15 minutes. That was a relief .. but only short lived. The snow began again and although much lighter, was back in place by later that evening.

Saturday 16th December 2000

This past week has been very cold. The snow banks are about three feet high. I have spent hours shovelling using the snow blower. What with that, walking the dog and going to the gym .. I'm just about exhausted. Just the same, I'm glad we don't have your problems with flooding (in the U.K.) I'm not too confident talking about that though. Today the temperature went to about four above. It began to rain. With all that snow and the eves troughs being blocked with ice, of course, an ice dam formed and my roof began to leak. So, I pulled a lot of the snow down from the roof using the back of a rake. This afternoon I went to buy an eves trough and roof-edge heating set. I'll have to get all the measurements first though. Also I am hoping the ice-dam will fall off, so I can put the set in place.

To cheer myself up I bought a Zen table fountain. I found the prices at White Rose were best. (Table fountains seem to be a new fad for gifts and decor this year. Do you have them in the U.K.?) This was an easy little set to put together. However, the pump did not work. Then I remembered - pumps of any kind have to be primed. Nowhere did the instructions mention this priming. So I had to immerse all the pipes in a bucket of water and then quickly put them together before the water ran out. Then it worked! I went out for a walk and left it. Bad move! The table was all soaking when I got back. Even though it didn't look as though it was splashing water.

Sunday 31st December 2000

Well, there goes another year. As everyone keeps saying: "The older you get the faster the years go". It seems like only yesterday I was up half the night frantically backing up everything and worrying about Y2K. I wonder now whether it was actually a problem for anyone at all.

We have been hit by one snowstorm after another. It has been about 15 degrees below normal. In between there have been really lovely days of brilliant sparkling sunshine.

Saturday 9th December 2000

Yesterday I went on a long trip with Cherry/Maxey Bus to see the lights in Sarnia. They're well worth seeing. I don't think I have ever seen such a display. The Net address for details and pictures is http://www.celebrationoflights.com/. If you go you should get details of the neighbourhood competition lights as there are many of them. Really excellent displays. They would be difficult to find tho', without proper maps. There is a small map and the street addresses if you use the "Take a Tour" button.

Of course, Niagara Falls Parks are really beautiful too- and they have the advantage of the marvellous lit falls. This is an address for the USA side of the Falls http://www.afestivaloflights.org/Festival2000/Highlights.htm This is not clickable, you will have to highlight it, then Edit and Copy, then Paste to your address area and press enter.

We had a "Christmas Dinner" at The Guildwood Inn on the way to Sarnia. We also visited Murrays Christmas Shop at Arkona. They have all kinds of decorations and pretty "collectables". We didn't get back until midnight. At one point I thought we wouldn't get home, as we passed through a snow squall near Mitchell, where visibility was almost zero. This went on for about half an hour. We have quite a lot of snow now.

I'm quite worried about the cost of natural gas etc. I had hoped my preference for a cool house would help.

Wednesday 6th December 2000

On Tuesday the weather suddenly turned ugly. We had snow squalls and white-outs. The temperature dropped to minus thirty Celcius in the windchill. This morning I had to shovel!

On Monday I again accompanied my friend to a specialist appointment in downtown Toronto. This time I had made up my directions and made sure that the exit to the 427 was at Renforth and I knew exactly where it was. So, what happened? .. The 401 was blocked solid for miles and we were very fortunate to be near the exit for Winston Churchill Highway. We were also very fortunate to be politely permitted to cross five lanes of traffic by numerous kindly truck and car drivers. This allowed us to drive directly South to the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). From there we went East to Toronto as usual. We now know that it is best to allow two hours at least to reach downtown Toronto from Guelph. Even then, if we had been unable to exit the 401, who knows how long that blockage would have taken to clear.

The weather was beautiful, clear and bright. The temperature was about minus three Celcius.

Sunday 3rd December 2000

I say the same thing every year - but it's true .. hallelujah; only 19 more days and the sun will begin returning to our side of the hemisphere! And every year I have to look up the spelling of the word "hallelujah".

The weather for the past three days has been quite springlike: very sunny and clear. The temperatures have been about minus two or three. That's not too bad if one dresses appropriately and walks fast. As a British nobleman once said: "There's no such thing as unsuitable weather, only unsuitable clothes!"

Saturday 2nd December 2000

Went, with Cherry Bus Lines/Maxey Travel, to the "One Of A Kind Craft Show" in Toronto.

It was a really lovely day for a pleasant ride and I enjoyed the Show very much.

We took the 401 east to Toronto and turned South onto the 427/Renforth/ Airport road. A good landmark at this turn-off is the radar tower, which looks like a golf-ball on a plinth, in the distance. It actually stands to the left of the 401.

The 427 divides into two sets of lanes. Both sets lead to sections of the Queen Elizabeth Way (or QEW). However, the right lanes go to Hamilton and the left go to Toronto. It is important to work your way across to the appropriate lanes as the traffic is very fast and aggressive. You definitely need to study your map the night before and draw up very clear instructions if you have not travelled these immense North American highways previously.

The QEW becomes the Gardiner Expressway. I am not sure when the name changes. There are several exits where one can get off the Expressway onto the Lakeshore Drive. This is a very pleasant drive by the Lakeshore, with boulevards and lakeside parks.

We took the exit at Jamieson. This eventually led to the Showground and was clearly marked.

The One Of A Kind Show took me six hours, including lunch and a fashion show. There were lovely examples of every kind of art. I bought: a pendant, which is an ocarina; a pair of moose-hide mittens, which are washable and have thick washable liners; also a tape of a Spanish guitar player.

I bought a tape of "Pavlo" classical guitar music called "Fantasia". He was playing at the show. He has a web site on his business card:

and an Email address
Also at the other side of the show there was Mary Anderson, playing the Celtic Harp .. just beautiful. I picked up her business card and she's with Sentex, so I didn't bother to buy one of her tapes right then. She's at:

and an Email address
I had an excellent lunch at the Café de soleil. This is outside the actual show, in the front of the building, which is an immense sun lounge. The lunch was delicious: smoked salmon on a buttered croissant, with fresh salad. The coffee wasn't very special. Fortunately the Culligan Water treatment company was supplying free samples from their drinking fountains .. I didn't see any other drinking fountains in the Show area.

Twice in the past few weeks I have driven to Toronto downtown with a friend. I do the map-reading and she concentrates on driving. She has to go to a specialist. Why the heck would specialists locate themselves in downtown Toronto?! It's the dickens of an area for an old person to drive to and the public services are not suitable for an old person alone. The parking fees are atrocious - if parking can be found anyway. Once one has to use multiple focus lenses, then driving, parking, looking around quickly become really distracting and disorienting. Fortunately I don't need glasses - and at my age that's a miracle! I can totally understand her problem just the same.

To get to Edward Street you take the exit from the Gardiner Expressway onto York Road. North on York road and twisting to the left, York is then named University. Edward Street is a turning on the right. Just on the right there is a multi-storey parking lot (at $7 per hour).

The first time we travelled on the 401 and took the Avenue Road (11A) exit. Before Avenue Road watch for Jane, Keele, Dufferin, Wm. Allen, Bathurst Street then Avenue Road 11A. Also notice that the 401 is also known as MC - or MacDonald Cartier Freeway.

Avenue Road travels south. Pass Lawrence and at Eglinton Avenue Road turns left on Oxton (this is to get around the Upper Canada College). Keep in the right lane and the road becomes named Oriole Parkway. Then it turns right again and becomes named Avenue Road again. It continues south passing Saint Clair, Dupont and Bloor. Then, to get around Queens Park, it bears to the right and becomes named Park Crescent. It circles the Queens Park then straightens south again and is named University Avenue. Pass Carlton Gerrard and Elm on the left (notice that there is no left turn on most of these streets). The next on the left is Edward. If you pass it, then you can turn left on Dundas and take the next left again to get back to it.

There is another multi-storey parking lot for the Carlton Hotel. I think that is also about $7 per hour.

A quicker way home: When you come out of Edward Street,turn left on University. This could be difficult as there are no traffic lights. Fortunately there is a big traffic island down University, so one only has to take half the turn and can wait in the middle for the traffic. University bears to the left and becomes York. York passes under a huge covered railway bridge. Keep in the right lane and almost immediately there is a sharp fork to the right leading to the Gardiner Expressway West, QEW West. When you see Kipling, the next turn will be the 427 north which is a right exit. When the 427 leads to the 401, keep in the left lanes, as the exit you need for the 401 west is an unusual exit to the left.

Return to other months of Diary from Canada at http://www.sentex.net~oficserv/Canlet.html

Return to home-page of OFICSERV Computer Office Services & Drafting at http://www.sentex.net/~oficserv

Link to the Movies Pages at "movies.yahoo.com"

Visit a site for many photographs of North American Birds and animals.

Rhona Raskin Home Page at http://www.rhona.com.