At Bloor station today I enjoyed watching a family whose children had obviously never been on the subway before. I eavesdropped on the litany of subway safety: “don’t stand beyond the yellow line”, “don’t walk too close to the edge”, “the train is going to stop here, let the people off first then you can get on.” and so on. Once on the train (the first car of course!), they stood in rapture at the very front of the subway watching the train move through the tunnels. Not much to see of course, but having never seen it before it elicited a general buzz of excitement.
It got me thinking about my first time on the subway. I was maybe 10 or 11 and in Toronto for a swimming competition. Our team decided to go to Olive Garden for dinner one night (perhaps in celebration) and as it was not that far and driving through Toronto was a daunting concept for us humble townie folk, it was decided we would go en mass via the subway. For many of us it was our first time. The memory gets a bit hazy from there, thanks to the stew of hormones that is ten or twelve pre-adolescent children. What I remember most is the sensation of doing something new, something chic, something grown-up, for the first time. We sat and giggled, probably to the annoyance of those regular TTCers around us, and bounced about as the ‘scenery’ flew by us. I remember it being a dark- it terms of lighting- experience.
For my friends and family riding the subway is still something of a novelty, though most of them at this point have, at least, experienced it once. My sister still finds it an intriguing and complicated process and relies on my keen sense of direction to get us to our destination. Of course, I don’t mention that having only two major lines makes finding your way rather easy! It’s definitely nothing compared to the Tube system in London!
I hope those subway newbies had an enjoyable ride, and I hope that it remains a fun and exciting memory for them as they grow older and the lustre of public transportation wears off!