It was early one Saturday morning a few years back and my son, who was still a bit shaky on his bicycle, and I decided to take a trip to Starbucks. It was 7 am, and because even at that hour Lonsdale Road has some car traffic, he rode  somewhat unsteadily, on the sidewalk, while I followed close behind him.

We were about half way to the village when, from across the street an older man caught me by surprise, “Hey, that’s illegal what you are doing!”

I stopped pedaling and walked over to try to clarify. “What am I doing wrong?”

“Your bike, the circumference is over 16 inches, so you can’t ride on the sidewalk. It’s illegal.”

When I tried to explain that I was new to the country and had not intentionally committed a crime, he refused to budge. “It’s STILL illegal.”

I looked down at the “Globe and Mail” that I had been carrying and pointed to a front page article on a topic related to, shall we say, personal liberty.

“Look at  this,” I reasoned. “According to the Supreme Court, it’s legal to engage in sexual activities in a window on a public street in Montreal, while here in Toronto, I’m not allowed to ride my bike?”

With a twinkle in his eye, he replied, “Yes, but that’s Quebec.”

“But aren’t we all still living in Canada?”

He smiled and said, “Welcome to the wonders of our great country, my new friend!”


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