Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Deerfoot Trail

I had to make a trip today to the southern end of the city for a visit with my favourite dentist, Doctor Julie. Every now and then small bits of porcelain break off and roll around my mouth, sort of like when an iceberg is calving. It happens every now and then and even I know that a tooth with a missing bit isn’t a good thing.
My appointment was for 2:20 and I knew that if I left at 1:50 I would get there just fashionably early. When I looked at the clock and it just stared back at me with a 2:00 o’clock smirk on its face, I realized I would have to hit all green lights getting to the dentist. I was only about five minutes late, but both Sarah and Dr. Julie was standing in the hallway waiting for me. I’m thinking they were on their way out for a coffee because of the 2:20 no show. They managed a smile and wave and strapped me into the rocket seat. Okay, no straps, but I do feel like an astronaut for the first few minutes though.

I am pretty sure real astronauts do a pre flight checklist, and aren’t trying to find out if the people about to stick the sharp pointy things in their mouth have had a good day. They were in a good mood and other than bombarding my body with lethal amounts of X-rays, we had a good time.
On the way down I was thinking about how shitty it is to get around this city. There just isn’t what I consider proper east – west, north - south routes that make it easy to move about the city. I was born and raised in Toronto and it has a couple of great highways to move people around. There is the 401 which in and East – West road and has sixteen lanes in one section I think. It still isn’t enough, but the traffic does move. The major North – South route is the Don Valley Parkway.
It has been about 35 years since I was a regular on those roads and my memory of them is probably pretty far from realistic. I am sure that now driving on either one at rush hour is like entering the seventh gate of hell wearing a thong. I started to think about how Toronto is aligned east to west because of it’s location on Lake Ontario. Toronto was built by the lake and over the years spread in every direction except south. It was called York in 1793 and I am sure that traffic congestion wasn’t much of a problem and when traffic problems arose they had time to work them out. Mostly.
Calgary is a different kind of city, with no real good reason for it being here other than the fact that William Cornelius Van Horne ran his railroad through Calgary on Aug 10 1883. The Elbow river joins the Bow river here and I guess anyplace on the prairies that has water is a good place to put a town. There are no real natural barriers in this part of Alberta, so Calgary just seems to spread like spilt milk does on the kitchen floor. I am sure there is a reason for the odd amoeba like shape, but I can’t figure it out. For the milk or for Calgary.
While driving down Highway #2, Deerfoot Trail or Queen Elizabeth II Highway, take your pick, I realized that Calgary more or less follows this road and has spread out north to south not the east to west that Toronto did. It only took me 35 years to realize this. That’s 35 years of bitching that Hwy #1 is so crappy (it is). Somehow in my mind I have always thought it to be the Albertan version of the 401, and a poor version it was.

It still sucks getting around this city, but now it makes just a little bit more sense. Not much more, and it still doesn’t explain why the snow removal people are so bad at their jobs.


  1. I heard they were adding one extra lane in each direction of the Deerfoot Tr. so they could park more cars at rush hour! B

  2. good one Brian....ahhh... is that true?