Need an uplifting moment or two? Falling for scenes of comfort and nature while on the GO

We’ve spent so much time inside over these past months, it’s nice to remind one another that there are pretty spectacular Ontario neighbourhoods out there – and no better time to soak them in than this time of year. Metrolinx’s head of media relations, Anne Marie Aikins, recently asked customers and transit fans to snap images of fall colours around our transit lines. To everything, there is a season – so in this latest column, Anne Marie is asking us to stop and appreciate the view.

It’s no secret, 2020 has brought very little in the way of joy and plenty of anxiety.

Let’s face it, it’s been kind of a grey – or at least muted – year.

The second wave of the global pandemic continues to beat down – though surely not taking all the fun out of Halloween for the kids. But, especially for adults, finding moments of delight this autumn takes some energy and imagination.

A train passes beside very red bushes.
A Lakeshore East train passes over the Don River. (Anne Marie Aikins photo)

I’ve been pausing long enough recently to notice the small but important things – including the fall colours. Since our trains and buses stretch across great swaths of Ontario, including rolling beside tree-lined streets and through rural communities, we have a good view of the spectrum of change.

The level of wow every autumn is hit and miss each year, depending on the whims of Mother Nature. But right now, 2020 is delivering the colours. I believe it’s been the best season in years to lose yourself in the beauty of the kaleidoscope of fall hues and tones – pure eye candy for the soul.

Image shows the under side of a rail bridge.
GO Train riders can take in the fall colours in Rouge National Urban Park, either from the comfort of their seats or by walking two km from Rouge Hill station. Here’s the view from below a train bridge. (Mike Winterburn photo)

Head to a walking or biking trail or grab your PRESTO card to jump on a train to visit one of Ontario’s amazing parks or wineries. Peak colours are even tracked by Ontario Parks.  Many Toronto neighbourhoods are just gorgeous now as well.

The spectacular colours were abundantly evident this Thanksgiving weekend on a trip I took to Barrie. The shades along the Don River and rail corridor took my breath away.

A train crosses a bridge.
From Rob Williamson, a St Catharines rail fan. A bridge over the Welland Canal taken from Bruce Trail. (Rob Williamson photo)

So spontaneously I asked our customers and rail fans over Twitter for their best fall pics from their recent trips along the rail corridors across the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. And you came through – from Guelph, Niagara, Welland Canal, Union Station Rail Corridor, the Don, Rouge Hill – the photos were a treat to view.

A stop sign sits by a railway track.
This image, taken by rail fan Matt, in Guelph, captures the feeling of a rural railway crossing. (Photo supplied by contributor Matt)

Rob Williamson, a young St. Catharines resident and avid rail fan, shared some great shots – all photographed safely and legally – that he managed to grab over the holiday weekend. He loves to shoot adjacent to one of the many lift bridges that carries Niagara GO trains across the Welland Canal and his pics didn’t disappoint.

A GO train moves along tracks, with fall colours nearby.
This image was taken Oct 25 at Allandale Station on the Barrie line. (Photo by Jiamin Gong)

Some say the crisp autumn air can often trigger a bit of panic knowing the long frigid winter months are on the way. And being forced indoors for a good part of the winter season carries with it some added dread thanks to COVID-19 this year.

A family rides a bike under a rail overpass.
A family rides under a rail line – framed by fall colours. (Anne Marie Aikins photo)

So we need reminders that we’re moving forward – and there’s still joy to be found in the air.

A coffee truck waits near a train platform.
Framed by changing colours, a GO Train prepares to move along the Maple station platform, and a parked Fleets Coffee Mobile Cafe. (Chris Drew photo)

The fall splendor is fleeting so get out and drink in the rich and vibrant, multi-coloured leaves while you can – you’ll be exchanging your hiking boots for snowshoes soon enough.

And yes, I’ll likely come asking you for those chilly pictures as well.

Story by Anne Marie Aikins, Metrolinx, senior manager of media.