I mean, really, who wouldn't jump at the chance to own a little piece of Toronto Island history? And hey, we live right on the lakefront cycle path -- what an opportunity!
Even the kids were game to contribute a significant chunk of their own money, and once I had convinced my partner and our family friend that we'd be able to actually get the thing home and not get stuck and kick it into the lake after the first km pedaling back, I began planning my strategy.
Easter weekend begins on Good Friday. Lots of people off work; there was bound to be a line-up!
After a bit of googling, I discovered that there seemed to be some sort of a pre-sale the Sunday before, weather permitting, from 2-4 p.m. I vowed to be there promptly at 2 p.m., cash in hand.
I knew that the older quadricyles that were 4-seaters were going for $800 - 1000, and that was our budget (there was also a handful of new ones, a year old, for $3000, but that was too rich for our blood).
The Early Bird
Imagine our surprise, then, when we arrived at the ferry dock an hour beforehand and were greeted by the sight of multiple disembarking passengers already riding their "new" quads off the Wards Island Ferry (winter schedule still, no Centre ferry yet) and into the city!!!
How had these people found out about the secret pre-sale and snuck their way in early? Outrageous!
Undeterred, I led the way onto the boat, the dog (we had elected to bring her along) eagerly sniffing to the air beside us, delighted at the unfamiliar but not unwelcome smell of adventure.
Alas, as we got off the ferry at Wards, we observed an additional quantity of the much-coveted rachity old machines now belovedly being pedaled by their jubilant new owners, and my heart began to sink. Maybe we were too late, I worried, doing some quick mental calculations about what we had seen, and how many -- roughly -- I knew there to be for sale.
My fears were confirmed when I chatted with a single rider in a faded canopy-covered two-seater who pedaled slowly past me down the way as she confirmed that the only rides still being peddled up the path were three of the newer 4-seaters at $3000 a piece, and several single bikes.
Having come this far, we marched on towards Centre, where my informant's facts were tragically upheld.
After looking longingly at the $3000 machines (there were only two left now), and briefly considering a splurge, I defeatedly slumped onto a bench along the path across from the bike shop, next to my partner and our doggie, and watched other hopefuls equally disappointed as they eagerly approached the stand and then became aware that their whimsical dream was not to come to fruition today.
Lunch, Playground and Ferry
By now, the boys had also arrived on the Island (they'd come down and met our friend after a morning commitment elsewhere in the city), and my partner, our dog and I walked back along the path towards the Wards Island Ferry Docks to meet them for a quick stop at the pirate playground and the picnic lunch we were supposed to have enjoyed while pedaling back on our new and unusual treasure.
We then joined other early spring island visitors for the ride back to the city, quadricycle-less, but $800 richer than we would have been, had our venture been "successful".
We took some comfort in knowing that at least the dawg had fun!
But I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a wee bit sad about not getting one!