Just returned to work after a 5-day trip to Toronto. For me that’s an 1800 km/1100 mile (one way) trip which is a 2.5 hour flight. This is my third trip to Toronto since I started blogging – and likely to be an annual report, along with London trips!
So every year now, we visit our kid Link and turn it into a vacation, taking in as many cultural offerings and good meals as we can. We chose April this year because our workplaces were closed extra days over Easter/Passover, it was close to Link’s 21st birthday, and we didn’t want to work 8 months straight without a break, like last year! We had 5 days and 5 nights in the city. We checked in advance which exhibits, concerts and plays were in town, and of course, looked up some new restaurants. We booked a room at a “guest house”: it was like a B&B without the breakfast. The central location was perfect and its proximity to a crêperie didn’t hurt either! Apparently we are not too old to sleep on a futon.
Day 1: We met up with Link downtown for lunch at Fresh, one of our favourites. It’s a vegetarian chain that features noodle and rice bowls, burgers, salads and wraps. I would love to work my way through their menu! Then we visited the Textile Museum to see the exhibit of kimono worn by Ichimaru, a geisha and folk singer (not the Bleach character).
In the evening we had tickets to see a metal band and we loved the show!
Day 2: After crêpes for breakfast, we had fun at This Is Not a Toy, an exhibit of collectible art toys at the Design Exchange. I was very tempted to buy a bunch of Be@rBricks but I resisted. Sometimes Rom buys me little art toy Domo figures!
We shopped our way down Queen Street and had dinner at Rua Vang (Golden Turtle) Vietnamese – not a lot of vegetarian, but fantastic pho, definitely a meal in itself. We ended the night at Lower Ossington Theatre (80 seats) for a small professional production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The musical has 2 actors and is mostly a monologue with a live band. Having seen the movie, I was fascinated to see how it was staged. Needless to say, our little family is fine with all the gender-bending content.
BTW, we didn’t get to see Rent at the same theatre, which was sold out.
Day 3: This was a shopping day but not a buying day. We looked around St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District, which we hadn’t seen before. There was a huge industrial design store called Bergo which I could have spent the day in. Or at least bought a few watches! We had dinner at the Hard Rock Café and went to a movie.
Day 4: We brought Link an Easter basket and shopped at Kensington for the afternoon. I noted there seemed to be more people celebrating 420 in the streets than either Easter or Earth Day, LOL! We met up with Link’s two best mates and had a special dinner out at Vegetarian Haven.
Day 5: For our last day, Rom focused on clothes shopping at the Eaton Centre. We met up with Link to visit the Bata Shoe Museum. We loved their exhibit Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture. I can call myself a non-consumer all I like, but I was still impressed by the iconic brand-name shoes.
We spent just as much time looking at exhibits of First Nations handmade footwear and traditional shoes from around the world. For a treat, we went out for Ethiopian food in the evening (my first) and it was a fun experience sharing a platter of food by hand.
So that was our Toronto, version 2014!
The weather was cooler than expected at 8-10 degrees and just one warmer day, but we weren’t complaining after our frosty November trip last year. And, virtually no rain. The weather would have been the same at home.
In case you’re wondering if I stayed on budget: I was over by $50, but only because I upped my budget by $700 in the week before we travelled! I decided to try out a new strategy. I don’t shop much at home. There is too much else I’d rather be doing evenings and weekends. I really only shop for pleasure when I’m on vacation. This time I made a list of things I’ve been meaning to buy, and enjoyed shopping for them in Toronto instead of near home. I replaced an old suitcase and bought a new raincoat and a pair of boots, all of which were on my “to buy” list at home. I bought a 70s vintage shirt and a CBC-branded shirt. For unplanned stuff, I bought 2 pairs of earrings (both cubes!) and a robot necklace (of course). I am considering the clothes expenses to be simply pre-spending my annual clothing budget.
Our flights were expensive because we booked late, but our room was cheap. Rom got a Cultural Access Pass as a perk with his Canadian citizenship, so he got some free museum admissions! We didn’t scrimp on food, but we didn’t go for anything in the category of fine dining, either. And of course we travelled throughout the city by walking, subway and bus, which we know well by now.
As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoy Toronto and I like the mix of having new things to do every trip, and visiting old favourites. It’s a fun place to spend time with Link, and we always like visiting their place and meeting their friends.
Are there any cities or other vacation spots you’ve visited many times?