Eavesdrop at any coffee shop in Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills — you’ll hear chatter about things we wish we had (more high-end shopping, another hospital, light rail, our own St Lawrence Market, etc.). While it’s always fun to think about the things we’d love to see in the towns and city someday, we always like to take the time to be grateful that some things exist outside our fine borders.
Here are the top five things we really don’t need in Halton (and we say that with love, by the way).
5. Nuit Blanche
We know, we know — blasphemy. Nuit Blanche is, for all intents and purposes, pretty goddamn cool. It’s an all-night event that invites artists — often up and coming ones — to showcase their talents on the streets of Toronto and the idea, in general, is a good one. However, there are major — MAJOR — drawbacks to Nuit Blanche. First of all, the traffic downtown on Nuit Blanche is deplorable and insane. Just…disgusting. If you want to drive or streetcar it from one end of the city to the other, don’t bother. You’ll get there faster if you walk. Also, not all exhibits are created equal. It’s disappointing to walk blocks and blocks in the cold to see a wagon with a blanket on fire and a sign about urban waste (although, to be fair, the Nuit Blance shot in our cover photo, courtesy of the event’s Facebook page, is very cool). People from Halton should enjoy traveling to TO to see the spectacle and be glad it’s not clogging up streets at home.
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4. A Second Land Transfer Tax
Homes in Halton are, for the most part, costly (and that’s why we’re so proud of living here)!. For that reason, we should be grateful that we don’t yet boast a city-specific transfer tax like our good friends to the east. Although homebuyers in Halton have to pay a provincial land transfer tax, they are, at this juncture, spared the additional financial hardship of a municipal land transfer tax. If you want to buy a $700,000 home in TO, you’re looking at an extra tax of $9,725. If you add the provincial tax, you’re looking at a whopping total of $20,200 (although you can get a rebate if you’re a first time buyer). So, at least we’re free from that little burden.
3. Amusement Parks
Amusement parks are great — but they’re even better when they’re far away. Why? Because the further you have to travel, the more precious the experience. When kids from Halton go to Wonderland, they’re pumped because the park isn’t easily accessible and is therefore special. Also, have you paid attention to cities (say, Orlando, Florida) built around theme parks? They’re overrun with tourist traps — overpriced chain restaurants named after has-been celebrities, overstocked stores filled with graphic T-shirts and ugly beach towels, IHOP’s on every corner (IHOP is great until you see a family of eight eating eggs in their bathing suits at 8 p.m.). Even Niagara Fall’s Clifton Hill district is full of cookie-cutter tourist shops selling disposable junk. When a city is less touristy, the little gems stand out a bit more.
Don’t get us wrong — streetcars are not awful. They’re good for getting people out of automobiles and easing the burden on the environment. That said, there’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in a streetcar in bumper-to-bumper traffic. You’ve paid for public transportation and it’s moving at a snail’s pace, making you no better off than you would have been had you driven or taken the bus. When streetcars have dedicated lanes and don’t have stop at lights, they’re divine. When they’re getting stuck at every red light and dealing with wayward drivers, they sometimes just don’t feel worth it. We’re happy (for the most part) that they’re not there to occasionally disappoint us when we’re rushing or trying to be eco-friendly.
1. An Island for Concerts
If you’ve ever been to a concert or event on an island, you know how difficult leaving at the end of the night can be. One inhalton.com staff member once waited three hours to get off Toronto Island after the first night of the Bestival event in 2015. Three. Hours. Basically, any event that involves a ferry or a small island full of people is a nightmare unless the show is very, very sparsely attended. It can even be difficult (but not terribly so) to exit Parc Jean Drapeau in Montreal at busy times because the subway station fills with throngs of humanity. Although islands are perfect for sightseeing and sunbathing, they can be terrible for shows simply because getting off of them is nightmarish and traumatic. While it’s certainly not easy to drive away from Spencer Smith Park after an event, you won’t be standing in a line for three hours to move 10 feet!