Expedition: BramptonMay 30, 2010
We went to the city of Brampton today for a cousin’s baby’s first birthday party. It was quite an adventure, with all three kids, my excellent lady and both my moms in two vehicles, travelling two hours for the festivities. Having never been to this city north of Toronto before, I took notes and made some observations:
- Brampton has about 500,000 people, roughly 10 percent of whom currently have Justin Bieber haircuts. The city’s OHL team is called the Brampton Battalion, and they dress like soldiers on the ice.
- Brampton is part of the GTA, or Greater Toronto Area, a bled-together wasteland of new tract housing, big-box retail and bad chain restaurants. The only way you can tell you’ve crossed a municipal boundary is the sight of the next Walmart.
- Google Maps fouled up the directions and we had to drive around for a while. We saw an airport and endless farms and said “This does not look like Brampton.”
- When we finally found the city, there was a beautiful downtown park with some kind of live blues festival going on, and plenty of food vendors. If we could have stopped, we would have, and thus my take on Brampton might be a bit more fleshed out.
- Someone brought two Boston Terriers to the party. They’re awesomely funny-looking dogs. These two were friendly and goofy and all over the place, and we loved them.
- My cousin’s baby put her face in the cake. That never fails to be funny.
- We met a teenager with his leg in a full cast. Written on it was “Nice going, dumbass! Love, Uncle Frankie.” That made my afternoon.
- Our barbecue choices were sausages, hot dogs and hamburgers. And by “choices,” I mean “Put all of them on my plate.” I am very full. Actually, that sausage made my afternoon.
- My cousin is a corrections officer who guards and escorts maximum-security offenders for a living, so she let my kids try on her Kevlar gear. That made their afternoon.
- She told us one of her inmates bit off his own finger, so as they were waiting for the ambulance they took a photo of him beside the “finger foods only” no-utensils warning on his isolation cell door. That made his afternoon, because he knew someone would have to wait for the missing finger to make its return appearance, and he would have the last laugh.