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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Going potty in a new community

This isn’t so much about being new in Canada as about being new in a community. We lived in Toronto for the first five years after landing in Canada, moving to Aurora when the kids were older and could handle the commute to university. Happy at the larger home we were able to purchase with the money we got from selling our townhome in Toronto, we had some work done in the new home before moving in.

A fresh lick of paint in all the rooms, new windows in the living and family rooms, new hardwood floors to replace the bright pink carpet favoured by the previous owners. Oh, and new toilets. The old ones looked clean enough, but my wife is picky about not using toilets that have been used by others – I must remember to remind her of this when we check into our hotel rooms on our next winter escape!

So anyway, we had the old toilets ripped out and spanking new ones installed. They used less water and were environmentally friendly, the wife said, besides lowering our water bill. While we were discussing the merits of the eco-friendly new toilets, the old ones were sitting on the walkway, waiting for the garbage pick-up trucks. It was only for a few days, we consoled ourselves, just until the next scheduled pick-up.

The trucks came, picked up everything else and left the toilets sitting there.

These trucks were picking up kitchen and yard waste, we told each other, the ones for garbage would pick up the toilets.

Those trucks came and those trucks went. Rumbling right past our house. Picking up everything else outside everyone else’s house, but our old toilets sat there, forgotten and forlorn.

I went outside to pick up the empty garbage cans wondering why the toilets had not been picked up.

Our new neighbour, out picking up cans, too, walked over and told me we needed a special tag from the city to get the toilets picked up.

We hadn’t known that was required, I explained. The City used to pick up everything in Toronto, I told him.

Here, he said, one needed a tag for over-sized items. The tags could be purchased from the city for $15.

I promised to pick up the tags the very next day, but apologized for the fact that the toilets would be on the curb until the next pick-up day.

“Not a pretty sight, but what’s one to do?” I said.

He laughed. “Well, some people plant flowers in them!”

– Satish Dhingra
What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@ rogers.com.

Posted: Dec 31, 2012

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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