guelph, ontario.

January 28, 2007

it’s no secret that i’m a big-city person. there’s not too much that i generally find attractive about small-town life. not to say that it’s bad or anything, of course. a lot of people like it that way. it’s just not for me. i’ll easily take the rush of the subway over dust-covered lanes.

there’s a lot of smaller towns in southern ontario. the cluster northwest of toronto, consisting of kitchener, waterloo, cambridge and guelph is a particularly interesting one, mostly because this area, with a population of about 650,000, manages to support three universities (waterloo, guelph and wilfrid laurier) plus a number of colleges.

(i ought to make something clear. kitchener-waterloo is not a small town. it’s a city. a smaller city, yes, but still a city. still, though, it has the small-town feel to it, at least from my perspective. imagine new westminster, surrounded by a whole lot of nothing, and you’ll get what i’m saying.)

so, on friday night, when my train pulls into guelph station, i was quite surprised at the street scene around me. although it was late, about seven o’ clock, i could see the storefronts on the next street over behind the railway station. they looked exciting and colourful, cosmopolitan even! there was a brutalist office building, branded by the co-operators, mixed in with old brick houses. i could tell as the train pulled out of the station that this was a place with some serious charm.

matthew, sean’s boyfriend, is doing his degree at the university of guelph. we were talking over coffee yesterday. as he was taking great pleasure in jocularly criticising my choice of jeans for the day, i retorted that he was a country boy from guelph, where, owing to the fact that the university is home to the ontario veterinary college, there was nothing much to do except go cow-tipping. both sean and matthew were quick to point out that guelph was not the dump that i had assumed.

returning to toronto, my bus – inferior in many ways to travel by rail – had one distinct advantage. in order to get from the highway to the coach terminal (located adjacent to the railway station), the driver took us through the small(er) streets of downtown guelph. as the bus twisted and turned, my original impression of guelph was magnified. cobblestone streets, a neo-gothic roman catholic cathedral, sandstone edifices, ivy league-style offices on campus, shops, restaurants and cafés.

normally, i wouldn’t think too much of it. i’d make a note to return someday and that would be that. considering that my dad lived there for about four months doing a term of landscape architecture at the university, and that i was accepted to guelph – with a small scholarship, i might add – made me think that, maybe, i should have gone that route instead of the ubc route.

the weekend was very enjoyable. in fact, with the exception of going to the bar and falling flat on my face (à la michelle williams), resulting in a mildly-bruised hip and a moreso-bruised ego, it was virtually perfect.

2 Responses to “guelph, ontario.”

  1. Milan Says:

    I’m glad to hear you had a good weekend. Make sure to soak up all the best of Canada before your trans-Atlantic hop.

  2. mkushnir Says:

    i’ll do my best; as i said before, it’s not hard to fall in love with toronto.

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