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Traipsing Around Toronto

Last week went by in a blur! On Tuesday I left for Toronto for work. I only travel a couple times a year for work, so when I do it’s almost like a little vacation! A hotel room all to myself (even if it’s an airport hotel)? Yes, please!

After finishing up on Thursday evening, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride into the big city, which sure beat the public transit marathon I’d been planning. My brother Kurt and his girlfriend Anna offered me a couch to crash on for a few days, and I eagerly stared out the window as the condos got taller and the restaurants more plentiful. By the time we arrived at their apartment off Queen and St. Patrick, I was pumped for my long weekend. And man did it start off right with all-you-can-eat meat at the Copacabana restaurant.

Kurt and Anna were amazing hosts. From cooking me crepes for breakfast (a skill I fully encourage my brother to continue with) to planning out a 3-hour walking tour, I had a fantastic weekend. Anna, you are the best tour guide! And Kurt, thanks for pulling out all the stops — and the couch cushions! — for your sister. Even getting up before 9am for me… twice!

I had the day to myself on Friday. I woke up early, but spent a few leisurely hours looking out their balcony and photographing their succulents. It looked cold and dreary and I was in no real rush to head outside, but around noon the sky warmed up a little, so I took my camera out and ventured towards the waterfront… for lack of a better direction! What can I say? Waterfront pulls me.
There was an older gent giving a very comprehensive tour to his two grandchildren. He used to work on the railways. I may have listened in while taking pictures…I’d spent the previous two days at a housing awards judging, where we looked at new homes, condos, renovations, and marketing. Needless to say, I was particularly attuned to all the development going on around Toronto — but you’d have to be oblivious not to be. I stopped in Tim Hortons for a tea to warm up, and found these monstrosities. The sun was setting and since I’m not familiar with the city I didn’t want to be roaming around after dark and stumble into a bad neighbourhood, so I headed back to the apartment. Once again, Kurt and Anna took me out for dinner – this time to a pub that had a ton of beer on tap, served in the original glasses. We stopped into Krispy Kreme for dessert since I’d never tried them. Tasted like Beavertails to me! The next morning Kurt got up early and make crepes (like a pro!) before we met up with my cousin Sean and his dog Blitzen, who is terrific. Ya, these two are definitely related!Let’s zoom in up there, shall we? YUCK! Gives me the chills just looking at it!Celebrity sighting!In the afternoon we began Anna’s epic walking tour. It was so good, and so thorough, that I was unable to walk by the end. Burger’s Priest is Kurt’s favourite place, and while we didn’t eat there, he did suggest it about five times.

On the right is the Love Robot! Once pointed out, you’ll see that guy hidden all over the place: graffiti, stickers, statues, etc. It’s like a treasure hunt!Back in Asia for a few minutes!Apparently Supposedly Apparently (?), chairs on poles means you’re entering the neighbourhood of Kensington. (Inside joke right there.)I found this mildly terrifying.The University of Toronto campus, where I made Kurt and Anna stop for some really quick portraits. It turns out that Anna is one of those people who has a hard time getting her photo taken without making a silly face, and I love that about her! Entering the uber rich shopping district. Check out THAT store front!We stopped here for dinner and it. was. amazing. Oh my God, burrito heaven. We need this in Ottawa asap.After eating, we walked (limped, in my case) our way to the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District. (By the way, all this District stuff makes me think of the Hunger Games. Anyone else?) It was very festive, and very packed, which adds to the atmosphere but does make it difficult to get around. Kurt and Anna had giant roasted turkey legs, we had some mulled wine (which could have gotten anyone drunk in just a few sips), and snagged a sample of shortbread. Cheeks rosy and bellies full, we took a cab back to their apartment, as my poor blistered feet could take no more. I got up early the next morning for my flight home, and promptly fell asleep once I got there, snuggled up with husband and puppy. What a great weekend!

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Ottawa, Ontario