Miskatonic University Press

Further to the last post


Three short notes following on from Navigating the Reorganization report.

First, about the train. It took four hours and twenty minutes for the train to go from Toronto to Ottawa with Via Rail. It took five hours to come back, because we stopped at all the stations along the way, and then in Scarborough there were unexplained “mechanical difficulties” that kept us moving at 10 kmh for a long time. I always expect Via trains to be late. Even when they’re running on time, it’s annoying when the train comes to a stop so a freight train can pass by. A freight train! Via runs the train, but CN owns the tracks.

This year and last I was lucky enough to travel on high-speed trains in Italy and France. They are amazing. Naples to Rome, at 300 kmh, starting and stopping on the exact scheduled minute, with a very smooth ride—far smoother than on Via, where you’re always worried your drink is going to slop out of the cup and onto your lap, your book or your computer.

From Toronto to Ottawa direct, as the crow flies, is 300 km. So a proper high-speed train (on brands new tracks) could do the trip in one hour. Or, if it stuck to the current route of going over to Kingston and then north, which is 425 km, it would take about 90 minutes. One-and-a-half hours instead of four-and-a-half! Air travel would be much less popular.

Canada’s public transport infrastructure is in sad shape. We need large government projects to make it much, much better, including high-speed trains all along the Windsor–Toronto–Kingston–Ottawa–Montreal–Québec routes (to start).

Second, every trip to Ottawa is a delight because I get to see Barnett Newman’s Voice of Fire again. I’ve featured it four times on Listening to Art, and will again very soon.

Third, I highly recommend both the Play Wine Bar (for fancy food and wine; sit at the bar if you can) and the House of Targ (for perogies, beer and video games).