Needless to say, our bodies are still on UK time, so 5am (10am) was about the latest we could manage to sleep, though we did ‘laze’ till 6! A quick shower, coffee, croissants and fresh raspberries zinging with flavour, then off down the road to the beach to catch the dawn at 7.34 am – magic!
By the end of our stay, I was beginning to be frustrated by the sense of ‘skimming’ – we never had enough time really to get to see anywhere very fully. But, on the plus side, this means there are so many places we are looking forward to exploring and experiencing more deeply when we return to Toronto to live.
- The Beach – already mentioned in earlier posts. We loved the leafy streets, the ‘buzz’ of Queen St. and the laid-back feel of the Boardwalk and shore. This remains top of our list of desirable neighbourhoods. We didn’t find an outstanding restaurant, but then we didn’t really look as we were happy to eat well and inexpensively both in the Beach and further afield. Top choices included, Green Eggplant, ViVetha and Bow Thai.
- Greektown – some interesting shops, including a brilliant workers co-operative supermarket that had us drooling, as well as a host of Greek restaurants.
- The CN Tower – we have been to other cities with towers, but somehow the CN is special. It graces the skyline from so many different viewpoints and, as night falls, plays out a variety of light shows on the hour depending on the occasion. I even stepped out onto the glass floor – which for someone with a tendency to vertigo felt quite a big step!
- Old Toronto, the district slightly to the east of downtown which includes the Distillery District (high on the list for further exploration), the Flatiron Building (10 years older than New York’s) and the wonderful St Lawrence Market, foodie heaven and much more! Don’t let anyone tell you there is no back bacon in Canada – the Carousel Bakery is famous for its Peameal Bacon Sandwiches, the best bacon butty variant I have tasted, filled with lean, salty, peameal encrusted pork and egg. A further plus was the Hot House Cafe opposite the Flatiron Building, where we ate as part of the Summerlicious Food Festival – my Lobster Fettucine, with Cremini mushrooms, snow and spring peas and tarragon was perfectly balanced in flavour, colour and texture. We didn’t see the cakes until after we finished our meal, which means a return visit is essential!
- Toronto Shore – the Martin Goodman Trail runs for 219 miles along the shore of Lake Ontario, with Toronto at its heart. This is very appealing to a cyclist who is less than proficient and terrified of cars, who also quite fancies getting back on roller skates (or probably blades, these days)! The Boardwalk in the Beach runs along part of this trail, as does the whole downtown harbourfront area, not to mention Ontario Place.
Just back from the shore, walking west from the harbourfront, is the tranquil oasis that is the Toronto Music Garden. I look forward so much to taking in the free concerts held on Sunday afternoons and sunny evenings through the summer, though I’m sure I will also seek out its peace at other times.
A brief exploration of the Harbourfront Centre on our last day confirmed that we will be back – full of interesting exhibitions and performance space! And in the winter, we can skate outside looking out across Lake Ontario.
This is already a long post and I seem to have missed out so many things . . . We do have one concern about living in Toronto; there will still be only 24 hours in the day!
Having already linked up with one Toronto realtor, Renate, at the UK Emigrate shows, we are also lucky to have access to the insights of a second realtor in one of our hosts, Paul, at Accommodating the Soul.
What better way to unwind after a long flight than to walk down the leafy streets join Toronto in laying claim to the glorious summer’s day on Woodbine beach? Grassy parkland gives way to the Boardwalk and shady trees before opening up onto the blistering hot sand of the bay and the blue horizon of Lake Ontario.
We arrived to soaring temperatures – Toronto’s hottest day of the year so far. Maybe it was the mellowing affect of the sunshine, but I was struck by the cheery, companionable hum of conversation on the subway as we crossed the city West to East from the airport to Woodbine.