Bureaucratic bingo

Our second day in Toronto was mostly spent going around to various places and getting whatever we need to exist in the city.

Waiting for our SINs
Waiting for our SINs

So our first stop for the morning was Town Hall to get our Social Insurance Numbers (SIN). Glen made us get there for when they opened which worked in our favour as we were in and out in 30 minutes max. We got one of the friendly government workers. You have to read a document that basically says the Government wants to access all your data. I asked her if anyone had ever not agreed to it and she said sometimes people do but then she says if you say no then you don’t get your SIN so tough bikkies. When we left there was a big queue of young people so we got in just in time.

The area in front of the town hall is a giant concrete slab with a stage to one side and a big water feature with arches over the top. In the water/pond thing there are these wrapped up sculptures, which are part of an art installation by Ai WeiWei. The sculptures are of zodiac heads and animals. One of them was unwrapped and the unveiling of the rest of them is at 1pm Tuesday (today) so we’re going to see that.

After Town Hall we went to the bank and had great service there. From there it was to the College of Physicians. Less helpful and even more bureaucratic than the bank or Town Hall. Rather than doing things efficiently, they just want to follow procedure and any divergence shall not be tolerated. In fact, I don’t even think it’s possible for them to even consider it in case their head explodes. Anyway from there to the postgraduate medical office for insurance. More paperwork that didn’t make sense.

And then we were done for the day with bits of paper. Even though we already had our work permits, now we feel a bit more embedded in the system and starting to lay down some roots.

Lychee, cactus and pear juice.
Lychee, cactus and pear juice.

We tried to get to Chinatown for yum cha but the sun and my rumbling stomach diverted us – probably at the last minute – back towards Town Hall and we went for lunch in Bannock. I drank cactus. It tasted like the pink frozen icy poles you buy in those bulk packs to freeze and eat at home.

As we were opposite Old Town Hall, which is this amazing Romanesque style building, we decided to pay them a visit. It’s a working courthouse so inside this romantic and stunning building you see some of the less fortunate members of society, a few passed out on wooden benches outside court rooms. The stain glass window was stunning though.

Then we went in search of the rooftop gardens on the new Town Hall, which was described as a hidden gem. I suppose in a city that doesn’t have many green spaces it would be a welcome relief but really it was a lot of succulents designed to reduce the energy needs of the building. I don’t quite see how it had enough to make a dent in their consumption, considering the size of the two buildings that make up Town Hall, but it was pretty in its austerity.

Afterwards we went into the Eaton Centre to look at different phone plans, finally deciding on Rogers (a Canadian equivalent of Telstra) and signing up with them. Strangely, even though my phone wasn’t supposed to be unlocked without being restored, once I put my new SIM in, it activated and was working within a minute. Glen, on the other hand, who’s phone was already unlocked, had to go to the Apple Store to get it restored so it would work. Minor spanner in the works made worse by the unhelpful service in the Rogers store. Thankfully the girl we’d been dealing with came back from her lunch break at the right moment and fixed the problem in no time at all. So now we’re hooked up with Canadian phone numbers, which makes me feel so much more grounded. It’s a bit sad how tied I am to my phone (like the rest of the world I suppose) but it makes me feel that much more secure.

The rest of the afternoon was quiet. We had an awful dinner down the road at a diner. I ordered salmon, which was over cooked, and Glen ordered orange chicken, which was actually sweet and sour chicken (a dish Glen despises at the best of times). Thankfully, the chocolate milkshakes were delicious.

In bed by 9 with Glen waking up at 3. Jet lag is a bitch. Sorry it wasn’t a terribly exciting day. Once all this normal, everyday guff is out the way, we can start having some real fun (though saying “you’re off and running” a couple of times a day makes us giggle).

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