My posts have been on hold for a while now, and this is partially due to my being away from home for well over a month. Mostly, due to my trip to Toronto- Canada.
Toronto is situated on the West coast of Canada, approximately 500miles from the American, New York, border; a city perched right on the edge of lake Ontario. And Toronto is a city, which I hold very dearly in my heart.
Perhaps this is because my Mother’s family live there, and so I have a special connection with them and associate the place with them. Perhaps it is because it is a city, which I have frequented, and spent a chunk of my year in, every year from being a child. Perhaps it is because it is the only city, other than my home city and my university city that I know extremely well. For me, though, I really do believe that it feels like home.
But I think this speaks volumes about the city itself, while an excellent place to visit as a tourist, with plenty to see and do, the city is also extremely livable. Offering a number of comfortable inner and outer city neighborhoods, friendly people and an excellent and easy to use transport network, uprooting and moving my life there seems like the only option for me right now.
For me, it all seems very romantic. There is something in the air when I breathe, not necessarily a smell, but a feeling that comes with it. A sense of belonging and safety, while also an excitement and a tinge of adventure- the unknown. Who knows, maybe I’m just looking at things through rose tinted sunglasses, created by summers of laughter with my cousins-inner city excursions, playing with frogs by Lake Dalrymple, making my first s’mores by a campfire, making friends who didn’t have the same accent as me and never went to the same school. But, I think there is something more than that.
For those of you who haven’t visited though, there is a wealth of entertainment to be had. Try your hand at walking on the edge of the CN Tower, one of the cities biggest landmarks, or if you’re not a thrill seeker, at least visit the top and sit on the glass floor and look at the city below (something which I haven’t done since I was about 7 years old, but something anyone new to the city should definitely experience.)
I spent most of my time staying with family, near Korea town in the West end of the city, within walking distance of shopping district Bay and Bloor, the fabulous and colourful Kensington Market and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
My favourite place in the city, by far, is Kensington. An array of vintage stores, cool bars and restaurants and fruit stalls which spill onto the street. The culture, the quirky buildings and the people- mostly free spirited- are what stand out most to me.
However, only a short subway journey and I could easily find myself on the water front- home to several of the cities nicest hotels, the ever amazing Amsterdam Brewery (home to a selection of in house brewed beers and delicious ciders and a well balanced menu) and a ferry port which can take you directly over to the Toronto Island.
My favourite spot on the island has to be Wards Island beach, great for relaxing and the perfect picnic spot. Keep an eye on the water safety flags, though, to stay informed regarding whether it is safe to go for a dip.
Away from inner city life, we headed out to our families cottage on Lake Dalrymple- around a 2 hour drive from the city. If you can find yourself an Air B&B in the form of a cottage, try Stephanie- one of the more popular and up and coming lake staydestinations. Cottage culture is a huge part of Canadian life, and spending some time experiencing that is definitely worthwhile.
Spending almost a month in my favourite place makes it hard to sum up in a blog post that isn’t too time consuming, but for those of you planning a trip to North America or Canada, a stop in Toronto is well worth the extra time.