Yesterday was Paddle the Don, an annual event where people get to put canoes and kayaks in the West Don River just below the Ontario Science Centre and paddle down to Lake Ontario. Of course, I found out about it when the registration was already full, and I don't have a canoe or kayak anyway. We stayed up far too late the night before watching Season 2 Disk 2 of Slings and Arrows, so we weren't even awake until two hours after the event began. But, after coffee and a quick surf-o-the-web, we drove down to Portage 1. I'd never heard of it before this year, though I've been living in the neighbourhood for nine years, and one of the volunteers we talked to told us he'd been doing his post (putting in at Portage 1) for seven years. He told us he'd never seen anyone go over the falls at Portage 1, though he had seen an empty canoe go over .To me, that suggests a safe, well-run event. Also at Portage 1, I overheard that they had released water at the resevroir/dam five hours upstream, so there would be enough/a consistent amount of water to make the paddle fun. So I asked where was that water released from. Turns out there's a flood control dam north and East of Finch and Dufferin.
Then we went to Portage 3 (optional) and watched and chatted and the like. There was a Rogers crew at Portage 3, and I hope everyone else had already been there, because Paddle the Don is the sort of feel-good news story that ought to get coverage.
A few hours later, after buying groceries and dropping the boy off at the mall, we went over to the reservoir. I used to push the boy around in the park here, back long ago, in a stroller because his dad had a client in the neighbourhood. I somehow had never really noticed the dam. But whatever. There were some excellent mud flats, and a lot of former flotsam. It must have been down at least a foot or two from the night before. We scrambled to some awesome really big flood gates, and stood above the normal ones. We couldn't walk all the way around the reservoir without walking all the way up to Steeles Avenue (a long bush-whack, and I hate bushwhacking, though it's much more tolerable in early May than in August) so we walked back out to Finch and then up Dufferin to Ed's car. On the south side of Finch (I made Ed jaywalk) there was a former pond that was totally emptied because of an outflow under Finch that you probably wouldn't even know was there on a normal day. One big rainstorm, and that thing would probably fill right back up. Neat.
And there was a cemetery (Westminster, I think) that was way more Italian than any I've seen before. It seemed like these people actually remembered their loved ones.
And while we were walking, I realized how the novel should end. The right person died, sure, but the wrong person did it, and for the wrong reason, and with the wrong consequences. It might be a bit twee, but it's better than what I have now.