Monthly Archives: April 2010

Culture shock

I never really learned what a city was, until I moved to Toronto. Unless you count Charlottetown. City, please! Barley even a town with the population of only 35,000. Now I walk past more people than that in one day. Look at me copping an attitude. Ha! (Snapping my fingers in the formation of a Z) Don’t get me wrong, I love it. Such an awesome place to visit.I recommend it to everyone. The night life is great. Pubs, clubs and restaurants galore.

Stepping off the train at Union station in downtown Toronto when I was just 18. All the different smells, people and languages all around me. What do you call this? Ah yes, culture.Then, to walk outside on Front Street and see The CN Tower, Rogers Centre (a.k.a. The SkyDome) and all sorts of other tall buildings scraping the sky (skyscrapers). I was awesafied, amazed and scared all at the same time. Shittin’ my pants to be exact. Mostly English- and French-speaking people where I come from and I didn’t hear much of that. No large condos or skyscrapers, no big ball parks, no underground trains, and way less people. I’m not even sure that we have “street meat” vendors in P.E.I. Mmmmm… That’s hot dogs for those of you that don’t know.

My college residence wasn’t in downtown though. It was a little more north. But still, the difference was there. Standing on the corner of Bathurst and Steeles and hearing all these different languages being spoken and not having a clue what people were saying. This was definitely not what I was used to. How was I going to communicate with people here?

I’ve since grown accustomed to this. I guess you could say I got some culture. City culture to be precise.

The subway, the Red Rocket, the T.T.C. That was pretty neat, gnarly, swell, (insert your own favourite adjective) as a first-time rider. I had heard lots about subways, but had never been on one. What a quick and safe way to get downtown. Back then, it was $1.75 per ride. That’s pretty cheap. All the way downtown for less than 2 dollars. It’s close to three bucks now. I was excited and a little nervous. Coming from a sheltered life, all I knew, or thought I knew, was graffiti, gang muggings, stabbings and murders taking place on subways or in their stations. I was so skittish about getting mugged or stabbed that the first few times walking through the stations I would constantly keep looking over my shoulder to see who or what was behind and around me. Every little unrecognizable noise would make me jump or almost pee my pants. I also would walk very quickly (a brisk walk I would say), just to get the hell outta there. I look back and think how silly all that was, and what an ultra-maroon I was. Not totally my fault. I was conditioned to believe this all my life about big cities. It’s like New York. People only know what New York is like from the movies. I don’t know about you, but I trust and believe everything I see in the movies and on T.V. Ha! How naive. Maybe now I’m desensitized or just aware of what to stay away from. Sketchy characters and such, and believe me, there are lots. However, in my opinion, my expert opinion, the T.T.C. is fast, safe and reliable. Even at $3, it still remains cheaper than parking. Wow! That’s a damn good advertisement for T.T.C. Ya, I’m on the take.
The new slogan – “Take the T.T.C. it’s still cheaper than parking.”
I just made a hundred-thou… I wish.

I’ve taken the T.T.C. to all sorts of events – sports, concerts and festivals. Along with thousands of other people from this great city of ours, and I haven’t been mugged, murdered or stabbed. Go figure, knock on wood…

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Posted by on April 24, 2010 in Uncategorized


A Simpler Time

Let us rewind a few years. Back to a simpler time, back to before there was Vassa, even before there was Bigwes. Back then, there was only Wesley or Wes. [Insert scary dramatical music here.(da, da, daaam)]

Looking back

Growing up in P.E.I. – hangin’ out, fishing, riding bikes, playing street hockey, that was my life, and that was the life. No cares in the world, no bills to pay, the dog days of summer, totally care free. Now I’ve grown up. Let me rephrase that. I’ve gotten older. Mentally, I’m still that pimply faced teen, the little fat boy from Wheatley River. (Another nickname that I acquired growing up). Got this one from an old farmer from down the road. I say old because to us kids he was like a million years of age. He was a funny little man who always wore plaid pants and manure-stained boots, was almost blind, and could barely see over the top of the steering wheel of his little pick-up truck. I often look back and think about those days and it brings a smile to my face. He has since passed on to a better place. Like I said, he was a million and that’s old no matter how you look at it. Every time he would drive by he would stop or pull in and say ”Why hello there, how’s the little fat boy from Wheatley River and his brother doing today?” It’s a wonder I didn’t develop a complex, or maybe I did. My brother and I eventually became the little fat boys from Wheatley River. Makes me laugh even now as I type this. Huh, it’s been 20 years…

Now keep in mind folks, this was before the inter-webs, cell phones or blogs. No Facebook, Myspace or Twitter, oh my. What was one to do for excitement? How ‘bout cow tippin’? No just kiddin’, never did that. Although I would like to try it. You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. I remember picking bottles with my G-pops (Grampy) from the ditches one summer so we could return them for some coin to visit the Exhibition. That was fun ‘cause we got some hard earned cash — like 10 bucks each. Wow! Or how about bumper hitching in the winter? (Bumper hitching: You sneak up behind a stopped car and grab on to the bumper and go for a slide, sliding on the snow and ice covered roads. — Bumper hitching.) This can also be done on roller skates (pre-roller blades) in the summer, although it makes it harder to sneak up on the cars. Best of all, I remember shooting rats and squirrels with our pellet guns just for kicks. How cruel, but boys will be boys. Wow, what a life. Now that I’m a man, all married and chained, my wife won’t let me play with guns anymore. Oh well, probably a good thing, no? I really am a hick at heart.

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Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Uncategorized


My life as Bigwes/Vassa

This is my first blog. Wow! exciting !

Throughout my life I have had many different nicknames, some good some not so good. Now in my 34th year, I’m known to my friends as Bigwes, BW, or plain old Wes. To the in-laws I am referred to as Vassa, Wexler, or the best son-in-law ever. (What a great Ima) This is due to the fact that I’m the only one so far. “Shabbos goy, such a Mentch”They say. Yep you guessed it folks or maybe you haven’t. I’ve married into a Jewish family. Russian Jews from Latvia to be exact . I’m in love with them all. Well mainly one of the daughters (my wife). We will talk about the other one some other time. That’s a whole blog of its own. Na just kiddin, she is great too. We live in T.O., but I’m originally from P.E.I. on the east coast of Canada (for non-Canadians). Its 85% Christian. (44.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot.) Statistics are continually happening and being made up, so the actual percentage will vary massively over any given period of time. So for arguments sake lets say 84.5% Christian. Just made that up. Thing are starting to change there. They even have a Jews for Jesus synagogue now. Oops! As I’m writing this, I’ve just been informed that they took that away. Back to 85%. This blog will share my experiences as Bigwes, BW and Wes for my Canadian friends, and Vassa and Wexler for my new Russian Jewish family. Hope you enjoy my adventures.

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Posted by on April 13, 2010 in Uncategorized