Walking down the escalator to the subway platform I noticed something different this morning, there were people waiting for the next train. I had to stand find a six foot separated spot to stand, the first time I needed to during this pandemic.

What a change from mid-May 2020 when I went into Toronto to retrieve my belonging. (I left 10 days into the COVID crisis once my work supporting students on-campus was complete, leaving most of my items behind as I stayed with a friend)

That May 2020 trip was surreal. Taking the GO Train into Toronto, I counted the number of people waiting at Oakville, there was seven people waiting for the entire length of the platform. Pre-COVID, there be hundreds of people and the train be packed.

There were dozens of people on the subway, similar to a Sunday morning pre-COVID.

I had plenty of personal space, it did feel unusual to see others on the train.

Many of the people were wearing University of Toronto face masks, interestingly none of them were sporting University of Toronto clothing as would be common during past Septembers.

There were a couple of people with masks not covering their noses. I reminded myself that I am double vaccinated, primarily because I am adjusting to a post-COVID world.

Two of my colleagues and I chatted over an indoor breakfast. All of us are double vaccinated. I felt like pre-COVID times, very relaxing. The only difference being we put our masks on whenever leaving the table.

After breakfast, I went to Massey College and sat in the courtyard for a bit enjoying conversation with the students. The courtyard now offers multiple picnic tables.

One of the residents kindly brought me coffee in a French press. "This is not mass produced coffee," they said. I may have a reputation as a 'coffee snob'. They asked if I liked the coffee, I said yes, then they added it was mass produced Starbucks coffee.

We had a good laugh.

A new student joined us at the table, and conversation turned to the last days before the pandemic and became confessional.

We shared the things we did in the final days before the first March 2020 stay-at-home order. Myself, I continued to do my usual activities even on March 13, 2020.

Then humour about how each of us come from outside of Toronto and must confess to enjoying our brief time living in the heart of Toronto.

It is good to be among people again.