I have lived in Toronto for (gulp) 24 years, and I’ve never had a car! For the first ten years I was too broke to buy one. Even when I did have a little money, it still didn’t make any sense. When you live in downtown Toronto, and don’t have to drive to work, it’s hard to rationalize the huge cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle.
I filled in the mobility gap with rental cars and a membership in Autoshare, a brilliant, car-sharing cooperative that enabled several years of shopping trips to Ikea.
I typed ‘bumpkins’ into Google and this is what I got
However! Not only are we about to become car-dependent rural bumpkins, but the plan is also to drive out there in a cross-Canada adventure astonishing both in scope and in lack of a timetable.
Which requires wheels.
A car! At this my eyes go all swirly – cue flashback to age 16… after lobbying heavily for my own car, on my birthday my parents present me with (gasp!) a set of keys! … my very own set of keys to the family van. My job of chauffeuring siblings had begun.
It took me 8 years to finally get a car, and I still had to share it! It was a ’74 Comet, lime-greeny/yellow, co-owned with my roommate in Saskatoon in 1988.
I drove (and repaired) that car for only a few months before leaving it behind in the move to Toronto. And now, 24 years later (!), I have bought my 2nd car!
The process for acquiring the Comet, if I remember correctly, was as follows:
1. pay seller of car,
2. go to licensing office and pay a nominal fee ($40 sticks in my mind), upon which you receive both gov’t insurance and license plates. Done!
Buying a car in Ontario in 2012 is a slightly different matter. (Continuing in my zillion steps from TO to SSI countdown…)
Step 20 – find a used car to buy
Step 21 – hunt about for crazily over-priced insurance
Step 22 – request insurance history letters
Step 23 – wait a really long time to receive insurance history letters
Step 24 – finalize crazily over-priced insurance
Step 25 – safety test
Step 26 – take emissions test
Step 27 – fail emissions test
Step 28 – get a new catalytic converter
Step 29 – pass emissions test (a round of champagne for everyone!)
Step 30 – collect all paperwork in a handy wheelbarrow
Step 31 – wheel it down to the appropriate gov’t office
Step 32 – pay lots of money to everyone involved
Et voilà! I own a car! (cue the confetti cannon) More on the newest member of our family in my next post.
Now I start a new paper trail to get a parking permit…
Appendix 1: In The Interests of Fairness and Accuracy, I must avow that the seller of the automobile was gentleman enough to pay for safety test and emissions tests and repairs (the latter after the car had changed hands), so I really have no reason to complain. Though that won’t stop me…
Appendix 2: The ladies at Service Ontario who processed my transfer of registration were delightful. Which sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not. They actually were. And they were astonished that I had every little bit of paper that I needed – most people need ten trips to get it all sorted out.