By Linda Benson

I have missed my daily, chatty, walkabouts this past year.  I am so happy to be able to get out and about again.  My normal routine is to walk around a neighborhood, find a stranger to chat with, take photos of anything that takes my interest and really get to know the community around me.

I am not a North Ender, per se……although I may as well be.  I often find myself walking from my Central Hamilton location and finding new and exciting streets and pathways that inevitably lead to the “North End”.

On my last walk, just a couple weeks ago, I decided to visit the West Harbour Train station.  After lots of talk about it reopening, on a daily & hourly basis, I thought I needed to see how long it takes me to walk from my home to the station.   Only 20 minutes actually, not bad!!  I was amazed at how developed the station is, and, it got me wondering why we hadn’t used it more often, much earlier.  Seemingly it had to do with sharing the tracks with CN rail….

All doors were locked, so I was unable to walk inside, but looking though the glass doors, it all seems so polished and pristine.   All I have to do now is hop on board and take a trip into Toronto, where my son and family currently live.

I was amazed to find out there are great fares for seniors.  I went to Shoppers Drug Store, uploaded my old Presto Card, and now I am ready to ride.  I believe a round trip is just over $12, not bad for a day out.  I do hope that many in our community take advantage of this train service.  We need to keep it going.  What a bonus for all of us who live close to this station.  There may be days when I am unable to walk the distance, however, I live on the #2 bus route, which goes to Barton & James St N, and I believe from the Bay front, it would be the #4 bus.  Please let me know if I am incorrect….

As I was wandering around the Go Station, I noticed a beautiful building that I have never seen before, apparently a theatre.  I was fascinated by the building itself, quite magnificent.  I hope this theater starts up live performances soon; I’ll definitely be the first in line.

It’s quite amazing, as I have lived in Central Hamilton for over 13 years, but because I am a driver, I never go down these streets. On foot is a different story.  I am finding some wonderful sights to photograph and enjoying some of the beauty of the North End.

One day I hope to move to the North End, I have my name on the list, for a Cooperative housing accommodation, not too far from Williams Café.  Well my name has been on the list for a number of years now, so hopefully something will come up soon.  When my dog, Missy, was alive, we went every day to the Bay, I loved being down by Williams, we would sit by the sails and stare across the Lake, our favorite place to be.

I met a man, who was doing pushups on the side walk, right outside the GO station entrance.  I was fascinated, so being who I am; I approached him, at a distance, and asked why he was doing pushups in this area.  Apparently, he walks from his home, on Tisdale at King, every single day, and he has done this for 15 months, during the pandemic.  Why?  He had a heart attack and his doctor told him to get out and walk and exercise, not only for his heart but to strengthen his legs and hips as well.  He would have normally walked the stairs at Bay front Park up to Dundurn, but one day he found those stairs inaccessible due  to closures.  So he did a set of pushups at the GO station instead, it was quiet, no road traffic and he felt safe.  Consequently he has been coming back over and over again.  I love these stories.  During my return home, I decided to sit on a bench at the Liuna Station, where I started chatting to a wonderful young lady.  Working as a Social Worker, she told me some sad stories of life for many of our community members, during this challenging time.  She was an amazing person, and we hit it off splendidly, even though we are at least 40 years apart.  We will remain friends I am sure.  That’s what happens in the North End, strangers become friends and the community bands together.

Please enjoy my photos.   I hope to be back soon, to talk about the development along the bay front and some of the wonderful chats I have had along the way.