This 53-year-old travels four hours a day through the city.
In this new photo series, we follow Torontonians on their daily commutes through the city to explore the challenges faced while in transit.
Jeanly Baylon lives in a house in Toronto’s Rouge Valley with her two children Joshua, 19, and Thereze, 12—and at home, the 53-year-old immigrant from the Philippines is always tackling new issues. Today, the air conditioner is broken. “I was trying to set the thermostat, but I don’t know how to do it,” she laments. “My husband used to always do it. He used to do everything having to do with that thermostat, so now it’s my time to learn to do it, but it seems like I don’t know how.”
It’s a relatively small problem to have, but it only adds to the frustration of Baylon’s current situation. She’s currently working through a difficult divorce, and she must commute four hours round trip every day to get to her job as a housekeeper in central Toronto.
In 1991, Baylon came to Toronto after being sponsored by a family that employed her to look after their three young kids. She bought a house with her ex-husband in Rouge Valley 10 years ago—a house she would ultimately fight tooth and nail for when he left her about a year ago. They were married for 21 years. Now, what Baylon solemnly regrets is not getting her driver’s licence. “I was so dependent on him before,” she says. “I never would have thought that it would be like this, that I wouldn’t have a driver anymore.”
Her new commute on public transit is a tangle of transfers from stop to stop. It begins with a brisk walk to the bus stop, where she hops on the 85 Sheppard East bus. She then transfers to the subway at Don Mills Station, where she heads west on the Sheppard line to Sheppard-Yonge Station. She travels south to St. Clair Station, and hops on another bus west to St. Clair West Station. From there, she walks to her final destination at Bathurst and St. Clair. The entire commute one way clocks in just under two hours—in optimal conditions.
It’s an arduous commute, but Baylon is thankful for Toronto’s transit system. “I know Morningside and Sheppard is far, but I love it here because it’s still part of the city and the TTC is still accessible,” she says. “I know that every day I’m going back to my home and that’s the best feeling even if I’m travelling almost four hours every day going back and forth, it’s a nice feeling even if you have to commute far.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the 85 Don Mills bus, not the 85 Sheppard East bus. Torontoist regrets the error.
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