Stephen Craton

2011-01-15 16.27.10.jpg
  • iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm
  • f/2.8
  • 1/225 sec
  • ISO 80


Jan 15, 2011 Toronto, Canada 3 min read

“You need to get out of Indiana,” my boss told me shortly after the turn of the new year. “That place does weird things to your head.”

So I left and went to Virginia.

“I need to get out of Virginia,” I told myself shortly after arriving. “This place is doing weird things to my head.”

So I left and went to Toronto.

I had this still quite bare Passport and I decided I’d try filling it up with some more stamps. That’s the true sign of living, I thought. It was based on how many stamps you could collect. So I searched whatever direct flights could be had out of my local airport and Toronto happened to be the cheapest.

“Why on earth did I come to Toronto in the dead of winter??”

Perhaps it was the weirdness going on in my head.

I didn’t really have a plan for being there. I’d just wanted a new stamp for my passport.

The city recently had a, what I considered to be, major snowstorm. It was just another day in Toronto for the locals. Folks bustling about through the snow covered sidewalks. Cars speeding up and down the streets, not seeming to have black ice as even a minor concern.

From my hotel room I could see the CN Tower. Truth be told I didn’t really know what it was called, but I’d seen pictures of it before, and recognized it from some TV shows. I decided that’s where I wanted to go.

I trapsed out into the cold and just started walking towards the landmark. As I walked, I’d duck into various buildings for a moment to warm myself back up. Via this impromptu form of exploration, I found a massive mall with every modern convenience you could imagine. I found the hockey Hall of Fame and came face to face with the Stanley Cup. A big sign on its display stand said, “Do Not Touch.” I touched it anyway. I was truly a rebel back then.

Eventually I made it to the CN Tower. I made the journey upwards, taking the elevator to the observation deck. From the top was an astounding view of Toronto, the golden sun casting brilliant shadows across the cityscape. Lake Michigan half covered in ice.

There were glass floors so you could see 1,800ft directly beneath your feet. My knees got weak. “I guess I’m not quite over my fear of heights yet,” I thought to myself.

I turned to a couple beside me and asked, “So where’s the Puget Sound?”

They stared at me for a moment, a look of confusion across their faces. They walked off.

Turns out the pictures I’d seen, the place I thought I was walking towards this whole time, wasn’t the CN Tower, but rather the Space Needle. And that’s in Seattle. Oh bother.

I didn’t even get a stamp in my passport. Apparantely Canada wasn’t foreign enough to warrant one.

At least I touched the Stanley Cup. And I didn’t have to win the hockey championship to do it.

Written October 17, 2019