Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day & Centre Island

Today is Canada day. July 1st. The date of Confederation. This is the date in 1867 when the Confederation of Canada was born. While Canada is an independent country, it is still a member of the British Commonwealth.

Here in Toronto the weather was gorgeous. Sunshine, blue skies, cool winds, and a temperature around 26 degrees Celcius ALL day. My son and I went to the Harbourfront Centre, which is of course on the Harbour front. We even went on a Harbour Boat ride across the harbour to Centre Island (link1)(a small group of islands in Lake Ontario) although we did not disembark.

I learned some new things about Centre Island (link2) today. There are 600 residents living on the island and they are required to live there under some pretty interesting restrictions. The government owns the land so residents only own the house and not the land. Houses are not sold on the open market, but instead they must get permission from the residential council to sell their houses, and they can only be sold at 1950 prices (between $50,000 and $300,000) and only to someone who will live on the island ALL year round.

Yes there are ferries plying back and forth every day between the islands and the mainland - as Toronto is called. Because houses cannot be sold at open market prices, owners tend not to sell, but to instead gift or leave these houses to their descendents (children and grandchildren) especially if they grew up on the island. For those families that do live on the island, the parents either usually work downtown, or work from home (such as artists and writers).

There is an elementary school on the island. In fact I know of 3 children in my neighbourhood (St Lawrence - just east of Downtown Toronto) who actually do take the ferry to Centre Island School and back every day. There are no cars on the island, only buses and a few council trucks, and some golfcarts I think.

During the summer there is an excellent amusement park running, called Centreville.

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