So, where were we? Ah, yes....just outside of Toronto....
Following our less-than-successful adventure in the heart of darkness otherwise known as Kensington Market, we packed up our troubles and headed east, for about an hour, to Whitby. To be brutally honest, I didn't have high hopes for Whitby because we had driven through it on the highway two times already and it looked, well, it looked like what I am seeking: suburban sprawl. Why that meant it would not be great, I don't know. Completely irrational, actually.
But when we actually got off the highway and cruised around town, Whitby had more to offer than first glance indicated. All the developments we rode through were actually quite small by local standards and really quite green, in that there was a good amount of green space around them, along with biking trails and other indications that this was a livable place for human beings.
We soaked up the scenery and used up a good amount of videotape before heading to Kniterary, a yarn shop in downtown Whitby where we were greeted with large smiles and other signs of welcome that washed Kensington Market right out of our hair. Indeed, we were whisked upstairs among a group of women who wasted no time in making us feel right at home. They discussed honestly their town, which had grown from 15,000 in the 1970s to well over 100,000 today. Not suprisingly, traffic is a major problem and the change from quiet small town to sizable bedroom community has not been without troubles.
It was very refreshing to hear such honesty. I think it is easy for groups to become cheerleaders for their hometowns - it is natural enough to want to impress visitors, so I have worried a bit about getting the real scoop. The Kniterary knitters didn't worry about that - they pointed out the advantages to living an hour from Toronto (access to world class health care, arts, culture, airport) as well as the down side (the aforementioned traffic and the loss of the small town feeling that was among the original draws for some).
More than that, they had great chemistry. The group was lively, smart, funny and irreverent. We liked it. A lot.
I liked it so much that I totally forgot to take a photograph of the group (although I have excellent videotape). So, if you want to have a little taste of life in Whitby, please have a look over at Geri's blog. She is a retired school teacher who has taken up knitting and spinning with a passion. See what I mean - lively, smart, funny and irreverent.