David Dunlap telescopeBy a remarkable coincidence, Amy and I had moved to a city with its very own open-to-the-public telescope: the David Dunlap Observatory. Most weekends while the weather isn’t too cold, the observatory opens its doors to the general public and allows them access to the 74-inch reflecting telescope, the largest in Canada and responsible in part for the first direct evidence of black holes. Amy and I queued up for a while, took a look at the Moon very close up and then went out onto the Observatory lawn to take a look at Jupiter and its moons through the local astronomers’ hobby scopes.

Tourist-3We also got the chance to test out my awesome birthday present from Amy – a hand-held 20×50 Soviet telescope in fetching party-approved colours. The stamp reads TУPИCT-3 (sometimes Romanised as TYPNCT-3), which translates to “Tourist-3”, and the manufacturer stamp indicates that it was made at the Lytkarino Optical Glass Factory (ЛЗОС/LZOS) just outside of Moscow. With a tripod (which I have, thanks to standardised thread sizes), it’s easily capable of resolving the nearer and larger heavenly bodies when the light pollution permits. I now have to figure out some way of attaching it to my camera.


Lake Superior (1)My and Amy’s master plan for the rest of our lives took a step forward recently when we moved to Ontario, principally for Amy to attend graduate school. Rather than shell out $2000 to hire a moving van, we entrusted out possessions to Canada Post for a quarter of the price and drove Amy’s car the 2200 km to Toronto. We found a small motel right on Lake Superior for the overnight stay (the Coach House Motel, near Terrace Bay), and had just enough time to drive/walk down to the shore before sunset. The following day was more of the same, and we rolled into Toronto just in time for a late dinner.

Lake Superior (2)The next few weeks were a frantic flurry of apartment hunting, job finding (Amy: 2, John: 0), kitchen stocking, furniture buying and assembling, paperwork filing and local community investigating. We are currently ensconced in the small town of Richmond Hill (motto: A little north, a little nicer), which is pleasant but principally a bedroom community for the looming presence that is Toronto. After one month’s residency, here is my evaluation:

Pros Cons
Excellent library services Not really on Toronto’s mass transit system
Good fibre-optic coverage Lack of jobs
Lots of parks and trees Expensive car insurance
Cycling supported Major lack of entertainment options
Relatively cheap food shopping Staggeringly high house prices
Used furniture often left on the street for salvaging Far away from Toronto, which is where everything interesting happens
Good thrift store options Lack of volunteering opportunities
Recycling encouraged Forced reliance on cars for transportation