Taking a measure of Toronto, before new road work.

I've spent the last few days in Toronto, cruising through a heavy schedule of interviews with sources both old and new. And the writing fills in most of what's left around that. So my time trolling this largest of all Canadian cities hasn't been as leisurely as I'd hoped. I still get out for runs in the morning - opting for along the waterfront of Lake Ontario and through the large-ish and beautiful-ish urban oasis that is High Park. My downtown exploration thus has been limited to the so-called "Mink Mile" along Bloor Street (high end designer stores anchored by the massive Holt Renfrew where employees seemingly wouldn't even look up from their folding if you were engulfed in flames). I went searching for the ghost of Harold Innis at the University of Toronto. I ventured out to what had been a small town (Richmond Hill) in search of a hidden homestead from the mid-19th Century. Not much to find there, now that the "town" has grown into a city of 188,000 hockey fans. Truth be told, my location specific jaunt up to Richmond Hill ended at a mixed-use sports complex from which I can only report that club soccer and league softball also suck to watch on this side of the border unless you're out on the field. I'll do one more day here - with neighborhood exploration plans and some creative thoughts about where the links to what I'm researching might lie. Tomorrow I head toward Ottawa and Montreal, with stops planned in both. More time on the road after that. Which I welcome. I'm a lover of cities and Toronto could supply a varied diet of urban delights for quite a while. But I'm trying to think about how to connect what I've seen here in terms of book-related content with stories from some pretty distant, yet still related, places. For that sort of thing, hours on the highway - or preferably the winding roads cut from the same cloth as those romanticized recently in the NYTimes - means time to process bigger thoughts. Plus no matter what I encounter along the road it can't suck nearly as much as Toronto's summertime highway construction. If there is a hell, the passage in and out is managed by the same people organizing the closure schedules for the highways around this otherwise mannerly city.