first groundhog of 2006

On the rockery at the ex-Beaver Lumber place on Warden just north of Dennison. I used to see ’em here when I worked at Gandalf.

It was big, fat, and looked a bit grumpy.

Just after seeing this one, I saw another at a familiar haunt at Warden and Dennison. It’s springtime!

i really do remember when all this were fields, lad …

Off to markham, to are some of my old haunts. The sweetcorn and pumpkin truck farm is now buried under a mall. Gandalf Graphics is now a self-storage, after Larry Downey and the few remaining staff went to Total Graphics in Vaughan. Most of the fields where I watched groundhogs gambol are now building sites.

Is nostalgia supposed to cut in after less than four years? At least one thing remains the same; Markham Delight in the 1st Markham mall still does the best fried beef rice noodle you can get for $5. And that soymilk they have!

Burlington doesn’t need another Wal-Mart

I walk past a pleasant green space every day from Burlington Station. I’ve seen deer, groundhogs, Canada geese and even snow geese on this land. It’s pretty.

But Wal-Mart Canada wants to build a huge ugly store on it. The area is zoned for properties up to 5600m2, but this store is more than twice that, at 12000m2 — and yet city staff are recommending approval.

This is craziness, especially since the project will have a parking lot of at least the same size as the store. Who is going to manage the water runoff from that? There will be extra sets of traffic lights, making Brant Street even more stop-go. This is supposed to be a mixed-use development, yet a single behemoth store doesn’t make for much mixing.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association opposes the Wal-Mart proposal, as do many other locals. Burlington has a fine downtown, and it doesn’t deserve a wage-lowering, opposition-closing cheapo crap emporium in its midst.

There will be a a public meeting on May 17, 2005 commencing at 4:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Level 2, City Hall, 426 Brant Street to discuss the proposal. Be there, or be stuck with a big grey box.

Here’s the council letter about the Burlington Wal-Mart proposal. It includes diagrams. Full text of it is in the ‘read more’ section.

first groundhog siting of the year!

8:48 this morning, on the south side of the tracks about half way between Appleby and Burlington, I saw a groundhog digging. Though it’s still a bit parky (something like -6 °C), it does seem that winter might finally be on its way out.

The sight of groundhogs always fills me with more joy than it should. I mean, the idea that a terrier-sized rodent can still live in decent numbers in an urban environment with having been hunted out of existence, amazes this Scot.

Still, there’s a lot of weather to go by before we hear these guys again …