We are just back from a late-year trip to Toronto. We hadn’t planned to go, since we had a family get-together in the summer, but (a.) we both had vacation time left, (b.) we were facing a long stretch without seeing Link, and (c.) there was a great seat-sale. Then, we called the B&B where we stayed last time, and they couldn’t offer breakfast, but would give us a deep discount if we booked anyway. So we did – which meant we stayed at a “just one B.” We weren’t planning our time around any special events in town, so we looked up what was happening, and put together a starter itinerary.
Our kid Link is in a new apartment/flat (the 5th in 5 years) and is hoping to settle in with the current two room mates (all good friends for some time already) and their cat! The new place is spacious, bright, not too too far from the subway, and, finally, above ground, i.e., not a basement apartment. Things are looking up!
I got my act together and delivered the Christmas prezzies in person as well as a slew of tree ornaments, because they plan to do a Christmas tree this year for the first time, and I happened to have enough ornaments for about three trees.
I kept my own packing to a minimum. We had visited Toronto before in November and knew it would be colder than at home – there were snow flurries three days in a row. I still haven’t succumbed to wearing the big parka so I loaded up on layers, and wore jeans and boots every day. I missed being stylish but I was warm enough!
Of course, I couldn’t go home with a half-empty suitcase. I did a ton of shopping along Queen Street West, Yonge Street, Eaton Centre and Kensington, but I am considering my results “not outrageous.” I found two things on my wish list: a sturdy black tote bag and a DVD copy of the movie Basquiat. I found a pink-and-grey pullover sweater at a thrift store that may be hand-knit. I bought a navy bomber jacket for 70% off at TopShop and some underwear at the new Uniqlo. I bought some chocolate marzipan and some taro mochi. A mug, a key chain and a couple of buttons. I am happy with my haul! And I enjoyed seeing the decorated store windows.
As usual we splurged on entertainment.
We chose to see the Chihuly art glass exhibit at the ROM instead of going to the AGO for Monet, Van Gogh, Mondrian, Gauguin, etc. Which might have been an odd choice if we hadn’t seen all of them last year at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. It’s not too often I get to say things like that, haha! The glass work was amazing. There were rooms upon rooms of colourful backlit blown glass you could walk into: spectacular! The other exhibits were Third Gender (the story of late-teenage wakashu in Japan) and wildlife photography awards, so it was a full day. As a bonus, we saw some of the Santa Claus parade from the upper windows. The outdoor revellers were wrapped up in blankets and sleeping bags to watch!
We saw the musical Matilda. I knew I would love it because it is about a fearless girl who rescues her teacher from an evil headmaster while escaping her own abusive family. But I didn’t really love it. I need to re-read the book. I forget how over-the-top Roald Dahl is. There were some staging decisions I was uncomfortable with. Despite men always playing female villains in English pantomime, I didn’t love their choice of doing so here. The child actors were directed to speak in a weird, clipped way that had overtones of Willie Wonka. The play had loads of good features but it wasn’t among my all-time favourites. I wish I had seen Come From Away instead.
Happily, we ended the week with a concert by Ireland’s best, Two Door Cinema Club, with Broods opening. It was held at the former Sound Academy which has been massively upgraded and now goes by the name Rebel. A great show! TDCC is an exceptionally happy-sounding band and everyone was in an unironic good mood.
On this trip, I got to meet blogger AP (of The Asian Pear) for coffee downtown. Hi, AP 🙂
And what is a trip to Toronto without fun food? We re-visited some spots we remembered: such as the Indian buffet and Vegetarian Haven. Rom grew to love Fran’s Diner. We made a repeat visit to the AYCE sushi place we liked best. We tried two things for the first time. One was real ramen. We’ve both had noodle bowls before but not specifically ramen bowls. We all loved them! (Yes, we like pho, too). Another time we went out for dumplings – melon/tofu dumplings and red bean buns for dessert: bliss!
By the time we returned to Halifax, the cold weather had followed us, but we are acclimated and ready for winter. Nice to have had a get-away in this grey season!
Do you travel in the off-season? How about in cold weather?