#10 – ride a streetcar from one end of the line to the other

This was the item that started the list.

…and then, immediately after getting overwhelmingly excited about it, I got very worried that it would be terribly, terribly boring to actually complete – especially once N suggested that we choose the Queen streetcar, which goes all the way from Longbranch Station in Mississauga to Neville Park in the East Beaches.

Luckily, I was wrong.

We had planned to get up super early in the morning, and ride the streetcar while witnessing the world slowly waking up.  As usual, though, “the plan” quickly went out the window – this time in favour of sleeping in and enjoying a leisurely breakfast (an acceptable substitution).  We also took our time getting to the subway, since the sunlight was so beautiful and the sky was so clear that we wanted to try some double-exposure photography while conditions were ideal.



(Each picture above contains at least 4 exposures… which is double what we had intended.)
(We double double-exposed them.)

For a first try, and considering our near-complete ignorance of photographic how-to, it was still a pretty neat experiment.  Though the pictures didn’t turn out, I now have a more concrete sense of the process, so it’s easier to understand how to adjust for next time.  Try and try again!  It’s also kind of fun to try to identify each layer of the photographs…

After some gallivanting in Christie Pitts, we trekked out to Long Branch station by subway and bus (so as not to dilute the experience of the long, singular streetcar trip), and stayed true to the mission by grabbing a quick snack at a nearby cafe – Fairgrounds Organic Cafe & Roastery.  I bought an iced americano, a hello dolly bar, and a half-pound of their Mystery Roast coffee beans to try, and N got a muffin.  Perfect fuel for the journey ahead!

We hopped on the streetcar, confirmed that it would take us all the way to the end of the line, and headed all the way to the back to grab some prime seating.


We settled in, readied the cameras, and then pulled out the scavenger hunt list we had prepared for just this occasion.


Only, I had forgotten it.  Life happens!  So we spent a few minutes making a new one.

We spotted:

  • a dog on the streetcar…


  • …sticking his head out the window


  • a graffiti artist working on a mural (and many more works of street art)


  • people holding hands


…and much, much more.

By the end of our adventure, the scavenger list looked like this:

  • an animal on the streetcar
  • a person carrying a plant
  • more than 2 children in a group
  • someone helping a stranger on or off the streetcar
  • the letter Q on a sign (remarkably easy to find on the Queen St. streetcar line…!)
  • someone wearing orange
  • someone carrying something odd
  • someone who gets on for only one stop
  • an animal that isn’t a cat, dog, or bird
  • the number 1009 (we missed both #1009 Queen West and #1009 Queen East)
  • a store or restaurant named after a person
  • people holding hands
  • 10 different graffiti murals
  • a convertible with the top down
  • the letter Z on a license plate
  • a dog with it’s head out the window of a vehicle
  • someone reading a book on the streetcar

It was much more difficult than I anticipated to spot someone carrying a plant!  I was sure that someone would be carrying flowers on such a lovely Sunday… It was also much easier than expected to find people wearing orange, for which I would like to congratulate the residents of this beautiful city on their bold and uninhibited summer palettes.  We saw so many people wearing orange, in fact, that we decided to make a game of it to see who could spot more.  (I won.)

Though N and I were both initially somewhat unsure about the value of the scavenger hunt, it made the whole trip feel like a mission, and also made it feel a bit like an urban road trip.  In fact, I kind of want to do it all over again with some of the other streetcar lines…  It was a really amazing way to see parts of the city that I’d never normally see, and I’ve since made a list of tons of places to revisit, including many in neighborhoods in which I wouldn’t normally find myself.

In the end, that’s really what the summer list is all about!