Doors Open Toronto Voting  

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Writing about the voting experience would be way too uninteresting even for me, especially since it was straightforward and uneventful, so rather than doing just that, I’ll be telling you about how the voting went, some food I bought and my “participation” in Doors Open Toronto 2014.

IMG_20140525_153742The consulate (as written in MEP elections in Toronto) is located right next to Loblaws, a big supermarket. After voting, I went to buy a few things I needed for a lentil soup.

LE: You might think that food and politics don't mix, but the very Facebook page of the European Parliament advises "likers" through an app: "From the invitations to the food, the A Taste of Europe app will help you make it a night to remember. Follow the results, share the recipes!" In their “food contest”, Shopska Salad turned first (19000), followed by the Lithuanian cold beetroot soup I covered on this very blog back in 2008 and on the third spot (5193), the Romanian sweet cabbage rolls (1150)!

I got into the building at 555 Richmond around 2-3 pm and asked the security guys if the Consulate is on the 11th or 12th floor, then got in the elevator and pressed the correct button, except that the button would not light up. I then asked them what’s going on. The younger one apologized and came in with his contactless card and enabled the elevator to go to the Consulate floor. There were about 5 or 6 people in the commission and I thought I recognized one of them – if I’m not mistaken, she was the mother of a girl I dated for one day a very short time, but I could be wrong, it was very long ago and I’m an old man, with poor memory.

I took the voting bulletin, voted, dropped the bulletin into the urn, took one chocolate truffle (there were quite a few on the table) and left. There were 3 voting cabins in total and when I voted there was only one other person voting. I then had to write my address and sign on the list (the commission had already completed the name and CNP for me). The whole thing took less than 1 minute, mostly because I had already decided based on the TestVote MEP 2014 app. Though the members of the commission were likely from opposing parties and the political climate in Romania is quite partisan, the people in the commission were relaxed, polite and helpful. All in all, a surprisingly civilised experience!

On the way down, I shared the elevator with a family comprised of a couple, their two kids and grandparents. The man had a Tim Horton's coffee or smoothie (it looked beige and unctuous), which fell on the floor, presumably because one of the kids inadvertently hit his hand. At first he watched it helplessly, throwing his hands up in desperation, afraid that it may splash on his suit. Then he gave in and followed his wife’s request, picking up the thing off the floor, trying to put some back in and preventing it from emptying all. Once we were out of the elevator, the grandmother suggested they tell the security guards about the mishap so that they can clean it, but grandpa commented “yes, let’s tell them – you and your bright ideas!” and by then I was already out.

receiptI was going to detail what food I bought since the prices seem to have slightly increased since the last time I did this (March 2010). You can now find attached the receipt for the food above.

  • 1. the sunflower seeds were raw and it’s 400g o prepackaged seeds (love them in my oatmeal in the morning) for $4.19.
  • 2. 975g of red cherries at $17.62/kg, $17.18 (I like’em, no matter how full of pesticides they are: I pop’em like there’s no tomorrow)
  • 3. 1 curly parsley bunch $1.49 (lasts longer than Italian)
  • 4. 7 Roma Tomatoes (630g) @ $4.39/kg for $2.77 – field tomatoes were a bit more expensive, but what Romanian doesn’t love Roma?
  • 5. 1 Red Pepper, 260g @ $4.39/kg for $1.14 (again, too many pesticides on this guy, but they give the soup a great flavour)
  • 6. A chicken fillet footlong sub (toasted, of course) at $7.35 after taxes. I like my subway on an oatmeal or whole grain bun, with Swiss cheese (they normally use mozzarella, have to specifically request Swiss), lettuce, tomato, cucumber, spinach, olives, sometimes a bit of onion, and either Sriracha or Sweet Onion dressing. I eat the bastard by eating only the contents and throwing away the bread – if I ask only for a “salad” they charge me full price for only one piece of meat, which is stupid.

You might note that there is little point in buying food to cook if I eat at Subway, but after wasting so much time deciding who to vote for, I had little time left for cooking that day, and wanted to still catch the last day of Doors Open Toronto. I can offer you this video of a little birdie fallen off its nest, right next to the Ballet school on Jarvis.

My little food cost expose is quite limited. These days I mostly buy from ChinaTown, where food si often half as expensive, but the receipt is harder to make out. For that reason, I had a quick look at what others have to say about the cost of food in Canada. Most reports I could find in Romanian are skimpy on the details, complaining instead that food has no taste or that they are forced to show what they purchased on the way out at Costco.

Here’s on the cost of living in Germany, August 2011, Hessen Land, 2 adults+1 child, from a “law consulting” blog (germ).
  • 500 euro rent (unfurnished apartament de 90 mp intr-o vila, sunt foarte multumita de alegerea facuta);
  • 170 euro – UTILITIES costuri de intretinere (le platim lunar la proprietar, iar la sfirsitul anului se face regularizarea);
  • 18 euro taxa Radio_TV (nu stiam de ea, dar am fost informata prin posta de catre compania GEZ)
  • 35 euro – internet at home and on the mobile phone, landline, 2 mobile phone numbers (oferta de la 1&1);
  • 20 euro hydro /electricity (am platit odata pentru tot anul la un consum estimat de noi, asa rezultind un cost lunar mai mic-pina la regularizare)- firma se numeste FlexStrom.
  • about 300 euro ( nu am adunat bonurile)- food (cumpar de la Aldi si Lidl pentru ca mi s-au parut mai ieftine). 
  • Cost  total in Germania :1043 euro/luna.

They compare the costs above with Romania, where they owned their home, utilities were 120 euros, food 300 euros, total 420 euros/month. The costs in Germany were minimal, as they had no income at the time of writing.

If you are interested in more “serious” data on the cost of living in Canada, consider the following sources:

One simple way to see prices and offers for food is to look at flyers, for instance RedFlagDeals, or the Android apps such as reebee or GroceryGo. Loblaws is also giving away points via their Android app PC Plus. You can see the points awarded on the bill above – 200 points = $0.20 – not really worth it, since food in the nearby ChinaTown is way cheaper, even after their “points”.

Sources / More info: gm-doors, adh, germ, que, fran, yh-popfd

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