It was raining cats and dogs when we pulled up to my VPN pizza heaven, Viva Napoli, in Toronto last week. There were a few available parking spaces out front and the signage (as far as I could tell since there were several signs each with different messages) seemed to indicate that it was OK to park there. We had a marvellous meal, but on exiting the restaurant I found a yellow plasticized parking ticket for $60 on my windshield. Downer!

I always pay my tickets promptly and attach the receipt, keeping them all in my glove compartment in the event that some cop stops me and claims I have unpaid tickets. I went to the City of Toronto payment web site indicated on the ticket and tried to make my payment. Every time I entered the infraction number, I received the response: “Your ticket has already been paid”. Computer glitch I figured. This morning, I called their customer service number and spoke to a representative, who informed me that the ticket had been cancelled because we were from Quebec and they don’t like to penalize visitors, or to quote the young lady on the phone, “It’s bad for tourism”.

I told my son. His reply was au point: “That’s so Canadian….we give you a ticket so that you’ll learn from the experience, but we don’t want it to hurt”.  I laughed. You’d never see that in Montreal. Hell, here they would also slap a boot on your car if you’re from out of town, to make sure you paid the ticket instead of skipping out!

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