When I first moved to Thompson some 11 months ago, I knew there would be an adjustment period. Moving from the Greater Toronto Area, I knew that the size of the city would take some getting used to, as well as the absence of some of my favourite restaurants and stores, not to mention the dramatic climate change.
As it turns out, 11 months later and there are still things that make me stop and say, "Wait, what?"
Two recent bylaws that have been brought forth by the City of Thompson have made me take a step back and have brought me to the realization that I'm not in Kansas (Mississauga) any more. First is the new Sunday shopping bylaw, that would allow stores to open as early as 9 a.m. on Sunday. The second is a bylaw that would lower speed limits in school zones.
Here is everyone's chance to say, "Ha! I told you so!" I'll admit to it, living in the Toronto area does create a kind of bubble effect, and can lead to the thinking that everywhere else in Canada functions in the same ways as the big city.
My first experience with Sunday shopping was the first weekend I lived here, back in September. I followed my normal Sunday routine, waking up around 10 a.m. to prepare for a day of watching NFL football. My routine includes a trip to the grocery store to pick up rations for the day to sustain me throughout my couch-sitting marathon. What a kick to the groin it was when I arrived at Safeway and was greeted by a sign indicating that they didn't open until noon. You mean I have a choice of missing the first quarter because I'm shopping, or paying a ridiculous mark-up at a gas station?
What is this? Where am I? How are grocery stores not open until noon? I've been spoiled much of my life, living not more than a 10-minute drive from at least three 24-hour grocery stores, and have even had the displeasure of working night shift at one of them, I'll tell you this though, Saturday night after the bars close, the grocery stores are a lively place.
The speed limits in school zones bylaw is another one that caught me off guard and actually realize that there hadn't been one in place previously. Since the day I got my Ontario driver’s licence over 10 years ago, it's been drilled into my brain that you slow down when you're near a school. That may have stuck more so in me than some others, and to this day, my only speeding ticket was in a school zone. I've even caught myself in Thompson a few times, where I'll notice I'm driving by a school and I'll pump my brakes (how progressive of me).
These are the moments that snap me back to the realization of just how far I really am from home, and it can make it feel that I've not only travelled to a different place, but a different time. Oh, to live in Toronto, a futuristic place where grocery stores are open 24-hours-a-day and milk comes in bags.