March 17th 2004
So now I am a resident of Milton. How strange indeed that I, a poet, should reside in a town named after such an esteemed poet as well.
Ironically the same poet who wrote Paradise Lost.
A fitting summation of the last few months. Or few years depending on how jaundiced your viewpoint maybe. I however have always had a bosom big enough to allow hope eternal to spring thereupon. So I think I am looking forward to the sequel, which if I remember correctly was named Paradise Regained. Or should be. Or will be.
So lets take a quick look at my new home for a while and see what, if anything, Milton has to offer the local inhabitant.
Milton is located in southern Ontario just 43 km west of central Toronto and is part of Halton Regional Municipality. Halton being the Municipality that controls Oakville and Burlington as well. So I haven't really moved far away. Merely up the road so to speak.
Oddly enough to get here from Oakville or Burlington takes longer than getting to Toronto as the major 401 highway runs slap bang through the northern part of the town while you have to take mostly back roads to get South to Oakville for instance.
For some reason, and I think it may have to do with the sort of pass through the Niagara Escarpment just to the west of us, Milton has numerous transportation links, including several major highways and the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways, which serve the town's commercial and industrial needs. As a result of this the manufacturing sector of town include auto parts, steel recycling, and aerospace and telecommunications equipment.
And a biscuit factory.
Oddly enough I have never smelt that freshly baked cookie smell once since coming here and I drive past the factory every day. Whenever I go past the Christie factory in Etobicoke there is always that enticing smell emanating. I think I will have to talk to the Dare Company and suggest that they vent a few fumes once in a while in order to attract customers.
Milton's economy was traditionally based on agriculture, which you can see by the types of shops and co-ops that dot the towns edges. Unfortunately while evidence of these farms still remain all around, the actual farms themselves are now being divided into lots and sub-lots for the influx of people currently turning this once sleepy little town into Toronto's new dormitory area.
Mind you because of the escarpment there are many attractions that make people trek out to Milton for sport and pleasure as well. Its vast forestland and spectacular cliffs attract nature lovers, hikers, rock climbers, and skiers.
Eden Glen has 12 ski, snowboard and tubing slopes and is great fun as a place to learn to ski. Or at least learn to watch your legs go off in opposite directions. Mind you they do have training courses there so that in the end the only cross eyes you will get are from the wind chill.
Several of Milton's attractions offer access to, or views of, the escarpment, including Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake. Crawford Lake being the site of the reconstructed Long House I once wrote about and a marvel on its own. Rattlesnake point is a lookout on the top of the escarpment that offers brilliant views across the whole of the Golden Horseshoe. During fall the view out on to the autumn leaves is magnificent. Assuming of course that you have a good changing of the colours that is.
Milton also features many historical sites, including the Ontario Agricultural Museum; and the Halton County Radial Railway, Canada's first operating electric railway museum. Which I always thought was up near Campbellville but apparently is actually in Milton.
They have a “Steam-Era” fair at the show grounds in the middle of Milton every year as well. The feature of this show being tractors from way back when. Mind you judging by the many farmers who come into my store looking for batteries for r1930 era tractors this is an event for people to show off their current equipment rather than an antiques show. It takes place every Labour Day weekend. Which will give me enough time to take a day off to make some observations.
There is also an Automobile museum just outside town, which must be Milton's best kept secret. At least I haven't seen much mention of it in all the Towns information packages. Online or off. In fact since there is no mention of it anywhere except on a signpost outside work even I am starting to doubt that it exists. I guess I will have to track this one down.
Then there is the Ontario Renaissance Festival, which features a re-creation of a 16th-century Tudor village and a good fun outing for every family member during the summer months. Or at least it did! I learnt yesterday that the backers of this event had pulled the plug on the show after nine years. Without apparently informing anyone of their decision. Thus putting hundreds of people out of business for the coming summer months. In North America greed is endemic. Even, or should I say especially, in a good socialist state like Canada.
I tried to find out if Milton had any famous persons who lived or were born here and could only come up with two.
Colonel Chris Hadfield who was, I think, the first Canadian in Space. Or at the very least was in space.
David James Elliot who many of you will know as Lt. Harmon Rabb in the TV series JAG.
Other than that, and me, there aren't that many famous persons to have had their start in Milton, or who will admit to it anyway.
So that is my new town for a while.
It should be fun to venture forth form my basement apartment and discover new areas to regale you with tales.
Mind you now that I am further out from civilization there are many other places in or near Milton that I can take the odd day drive out to see.
Acton for instance. Which is “worth the drive” apparently, but we will make up our mind on that one.
March 5th 2004
The interesting thing about living in Canada is that some of the events that take place just couldn't be made up.
Perhaps a quick recap of some the strange events that heat up the passions here in the country which is going through a serious cold snap may have the rest of you in warmer countries shaking your heads as you laugh at our strange peccadilloes.
While Ontario still mulls over the right to have Sushi with fresh raw fish out in Newfoundland a Judge has sentenced a local truck driver Carl English, to three years during which time he is not allowed to eat Atlantic Salmon.
Apparently English was sentenced for illegally catching and possessing the fish. At no stage was he eating the fish as it was destined to be sold I gather.
Probably on the illegal sushi market in Toronto.
What is now taking place though is that a whole raft of lawyers in Ottawa are now trying to determine whether this judgement goes against the Charter of Rights and indeed whether the Supreme Court of Canada should be called in to make a ruling on the issue as to a Canadians right to eat fish. Only not raw fish apparently as I gather that the Ontario stupidity with regard to Sushi didn't get this legal attention.
Which may just be as a result of Newfoundland's taking down of the Canadian Flag at their Premiers request. - The Premier was a little annoyed (to say the least) at Ottawa's reneging on their promise to provide Newfoundland with more money from their oil fields. Or more correctly put they weren't prepared to provide Newfoundland with money from the Equalisation Fund (which is tax money from the “Have” Provinces which is given to the “Have not” Provinces.) as well as revenue from the fields.
Aside from the cheek of expecting to be given money while you are making it where was the Premier when the Liberals in power everywhere else have broken every promise they made anyway?
No sorry. They have in fact raised taxes on cigarettes in Ontario as they promised.
Three times in under a year.
In the meantime Newfoundland has taken a leaf out of Quebec's book and started chanting the separatist mantra.
“Plus ca change plus ca meme chose.”
Then we had the interesting sight of a Liberal Cabinet Minister actually resigning.
Which is when you realise that the evidence against her must have been so overwhelming that there was no hope of lying her way out.
Judy Sgro the Minister of Immigration stepped down after to many whispers of her strange way of conducting the department's affairs started to appear.
The first was the Romanian Stripper who was allowed to stay in Canada after she had worked on Sgro's campaign during the last election.
Well not exactly allowed to stay. Let's just say that working for Sgro was a condition of her deal. Apparently working for Sgro, or doing favours for her, seems to be the way to get immigration status in this country.
Shortly after “Strippergate” popped up another bombshell was dropped.
An Indian under a deportation order made the claim that he had provided Sgro's campaign team with Pizza's for the duration of the election in exchange for “preferential treatment”. This is the same person who was implicated in a huge credit card fraud and had sent proxy people to stand in for him at other deportation hearings.
Perhaps he should have merely given the judge an extra large rising crust pepperoni instead.
Ottawa once again has risen to the occasion though. The anguish there wasn't about the morals, or lack thereof, inherent in the Government, but whether the Minister should have declared the Pizza as a campaign contribution.
I swear I do not make this stuff up!
Our esteemed heads of Government are of course overseas at the moment. Well it is freezing cold after all and why stay in the country you lead. Or pretend to lead, when you can be feted in a warmer country overseas.
Paul Martin the PM has been gallivanting around the world on a photo op jaunt while Her Supreme Empress Highness Adrienne let-them-eat-cake Clarkson was in Paris shopping.
Martin used the Tsunami devastation in Asia to pop across for a set of photo's showing him in various moods. Sadness, pity, worry, felicitation etc.
Mind you they all make him look like a ferret with constipation.
At least he was able to completely ignore the Canadian DART team that was sent to the devastated areas to help out the population. Which given his proclivity for the camera must mean that his antipathy to the military is greater than we believe. Perhaps the fact that the Canadian public shamed the Government into promising more aid may have something to do with it as well.
He has since moved on to China where a row over a Conservative MP visiting the family a deceased and disgraced member of the Chinese Government broke out. As did a lot of questions over Martins lack of questioning of the appalling human rights record of China.
Seems that trade is more important than morals when it comes to government. Unless it involves same sex marriage that is. Martin for some reason blathering on about holding an election around the issue. In China.
I bet even the most inscrutable Asian was taken aback by this latest round of off the wall posturing.
Actually I am noticing a trend toward appeasing the visible minority voters in Canada rather. There wasn't this much cow towing and appeasement displayed when the odd genocide and earthquake take place in the Middle East or Africa.
But then I am a noted cynic.
Lastly I was rather amused to hear from my daughter an exchange that took place in her store the other day.
"Oh look there's a CD by Ladysmith Black Mombazo"
"Is she any good then?"
The above exchange was between a husband and wife at the HMV in Oakville Centre who were being served by my Daughter. Subsequently the wife pointed out to the husband that they were in fact a band and that they were coming to the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts sometime soon. Which I think I need to find out more about. Some form of sanity is desperately needed here in this cold winter weather.
Even if it is only the sounds of sunshine.