Raised in Guelph, I chose to live in Toronto because I liked the open-minded culture and way of life. Thirteen years later, I still love it.
Of course, within Toronto, one can choose to live as far away as the suburbs of Mississauga or Markham and still have easy access to the delights of the big city (at least by car). But I've chosen to mostly live and work within the old city of Toronto, first living in the Bloor West Village area, followed by several years (on and off) in Boystown around Church & Wellesley, a brief and unfortunate stint on Finch Avenue near the Yonge subway line, Leslieville, the Annex and now the Junction. Except for my brief stay on Finch Avenue (when I exclusively used transit to get to work downtown), I've always been able to bike to work. In this city, biking is the best way to get around, virtually nothing (except bad weather) gets in the way of my daily bike ride and I love it. I don't make a huge amount of money in my day job, but I do make enough to get buy, pay my bills, save a little and have an enjoyable life.
Long before cutting down on one's carbon footprint became trendy, I chose to live and work within biking distance. I don't own a car, although my partner does (and the car comes in very handy for groceries, trips to see family out of town, etc.) But generally speaking, I've long been able to live quite happily ignoring the ever-changing price of gasoline at the pumps.
With news that the price of gas is about to skyrocket yet again to new heights over the next few months and years, I can only say to those grumpy folks who have chosen to live in some quiet suburb miles and miles from where they work or play, or in some city or town without an adequate transit system, forcing themselves to be dependent on their motor vehicle, get a life! I have little sympathy for you.
If gas prices continue to rise, it'll force people pretty quickly to start making smarter choices about how they live their lives. And that's a good thing.
My apologies if my post seems a little harsh or unsympathetic to those who live outside of the old city of Toronto (or other major urban centres.) I'm well aware that most people don't like public transit, even if it is decent in their communities. Personally, I greatly dislike using transit in Toronto too and avoid it as much as I can. Thus, my choice to live within biking distance of work and play.
Most people in medium-sized and smaller centres choose to drive cars for convenience sake. Transit services in Markham or Guelph or London or Ottawa are good. Many continue to drive despite the growing awareness of climate change and the cumulative damage such activity has on our environment. Sadly for them, it might take astronomical increases in gas prices like those predicted for them to finally choose to drive less. Relying on good will doesn't seem to be working in getting people to change their comfortable habits. We'll have to see if hitting them in the pocketbook does the trick. Of course, I'm not looking forward to the howls from those demanding relief at the pumps so they can continue to live as they have been living.
People should lobby for more dedicated bike lanes in every major urban centre. Transit may be an annoyance, but I can bike 6.6 kms in 30 minutes safely in Toronto thanks to dedicated bike lanes...