We got back to the garage and while talking about our trip through Algonquin and Collinwood it became clear that the gearbox was not close to be ready to be installed. The best thing to do was to get exploring the city of Toronto. Exploring the city is not something we would have set out to do but given the situation we wouldn’t pass up on it. As always we drove up to the city in rush-hour and circled the area that we wanted to be in looking for a parking. We looked up the best place in town for us and decided it was the Kensington Market, we parked on a street where we had to pay for max 3 hours in advance and walked into the city. Directly we noticed that we were in the “hip” part of the city as we walked passed a little food/music festival held on a fenced off skate park. On the same street there were lots of colourful murals and after a short walk we got into the Kensington Market area.
Although all the shops were about to close the streets were buzzing with people. Little restaurants with the feeling of food trucks and odd little bars where everywhere. There was a second-hand looking shop in about every block and vintage signs all over the place. We hang around the market area for a while before getting onto one of the bigger mainstream streets, it still had a bit of an alternative flavour because of all the street art and murals. We stopped at a mural to take some pictures, but when we looked back we notice our bag was gone. We freaked out because it was the first time we took our passports and now the bag was gone! We franticly looked everywhere and asked everybody around but nobody saw anything and the bag was gone.
We walked back to the van feeling somewhat defeated, when we regrouped our thoughts we called the police. There was a station close by but it was already 9PM and the officer told us it is OK to come in in the morning to make a report. We fell asleep with stress in our bodies and woke up still feeling the same way. Luckily we somehow were in the best place to lose your passport because the police station was at ten minutes walking distance, and from there the Dutch Consulate was at a five minute walk. After setting up the report the officer needed about 45 minutes to type it up and get it approved, in this time we walked to the consulate and tried to call them from the lobby. The call was answered by a friendly male voice telling me I had to make an appointment to come in, but after I told him I was already in the lobby het told me that was a bit too forward but ”OK you can come up”. I got a bit nervous because I have never been in this situation nor have I been to a consulate in my life. There were 2 desks in the consulate, one occupied by a grumpy looking lady and one by a friendly hippie looking guy so you can guess what desk I wanted to be invited to. I got lucky and was helped by the guy, he was friendly and helpful and he talked down my stress level in 5 minutes. He gave us some paperwork to fill out and an email address to send all the papers to and send me on my way.
We passed by the police station to pick up the report while we were on our way to the van to email all the papers to the consulate email address. On our way back to the consulate we had to get some new pictures taken, this was a bit funny because we looked all vanlife and hippie. Before we knew it we walked out of the consulate and it was only around noon when we arrived back at the van. It was all taken care of and we could expect an email when the passports had arrived from the Netherlands. We took a moment to breath when the owner of the house that we parked in front came to talk to us. He was a friendly guy in around his 50’s and his name was John, after hearing our story he went back in to get us a beer, even though it was just noon we drank the beer and relaxed.
After some more chatting he told us to go park in his personal parking spot so we wouldn’t have to put more money in the meter anymore. Since we didn’t have to pay for parking anymore we decided to explore the other side of the city before returning to the garage. Besides the alternative part of the city, Toronto did not spark our excitement but we walked the streets and took a nap on a little patch of grass in the business district before we got back to the van. We thanked John for his kindness before we left and slept another night in front of the garage to talk with Dave in the morning.
I talked to Dave for a while about the stolen bag and the missing passports before getting into the gearbox talk. Soon Dave told me that he was waiting for a part that he needed to finish the gearbox. A bearing he used on the first rebuild needed replacing but he couldn’t get the exact right bearing, and the bearing they sent him didn’t have the right radius on the bushing. After a while of talking back and forth he decided he couldn’t wait for the part but he would ask a shop down the road to machine it so it would match the gearbox casing. It would be ready for install right after the weekend. When we heard this Desy and me were really done with Toronto and the whole situation and we did not want to spent one more night there. So we were off to Collingwood again to enjoy the lake and the sun for another weekend.
It was as if we had never left, parking right back under the willow tree, swimming in the clear water and relaxing in and around the van but this time we really felt like we were not supposed to be there. We wanted to move on from all the gearbox and passport drama and start driving west but it really felt like it was not going to happen. After the weekend we called Dave and asked him when we would get the gearbox installed again, the answer was Tuesday. We agreed on that we would only come back for a gearbox that was 100% ready on Tuesday. Before driving back to the garage we visited Wasaga Beach. Since we got to Collinwood the first time people told us to go there so we did not want to pass up on it. Our expectations were high and when we got there we were a bit bumped out. It might had been the rain, the trash on the beach, or the fact that a woman told us that paco could’nt be on the beach but we were not impressed by the beach. We drove back for one more night before saying goodbye to our beautiful Collinwood.
When we arrived that day it was ready to go, and the gearbox swap was done in a heartbeat. After a friendly goodbye and some good advice on where to go crossing west we finally were ready to continue our trip. We couldn’t believe it when we drove out of the city for hopefully the last time. We just kept driving west without a place in mind to go to for the night we just kept on going until the sun started to go down and we found a nice spot in between the trees. We were going again, and left all the drama in Toronto!