So, here I am in Toronto airport, waiting to go to Chicago…
I had a good time here; went up the CN Tower, visited Casa Loma (where a bunch of films including X-Men had scenes filmed) and, of course, Niagara Falls. Now, the falls are very impressive and awesome but it’s difficult to get an appreciation of the scale of it all until you’re there and especially sailing headlong into the Horseshoe Falls themselves. Over the last 10 thousand years or so the falls have eroded back kilometres of land to their present position and a rate of several metres per year. Now, that rate has been slowed to a scale of per decade because of water siphoned off for the hydroelectric power generation in the area.
Of everything I’ve experienced here I think that’s what I’ll take away with me most, how human activity can cause such a major impact on the workings of nature. Sure, you hear about global warming and the melting of ice caps every day but there was something about the falls that really drives it home.
So too with Toronto itself.
Lots of cities have tube systems, and Toronto’s is relatively small compared to the likes of London and New York but what really impressed me was that a large portion of Toronto’s commercial sector is underground. I don’t just mean sub-level shops or underground parking. I mean entire malls reaching as far underground as some buildings do above the surface. Last night I went to explore and found myself at least three stories underground at a food court as busy as any I had ever been to. I envisioned it as if the Artilleryman’s dream of an underground civilization, from War of the Worlds had come true or the rag-tag survivors in Dmitry Glukhovsky’s Metro 2066 had rebuilt beneath the surface.
It may be everyday to the locals and I may be too easily impressed but the sheer scale of it all, a whole different world beneath the streets left me with a feeling that is hard to match.
So, now I think my flight may be pulling in and I hope Chicago holds just as much awe as this small corner of Canada did.