Skip to main content

Hello from Toronto!

The husband and I, and the dog, just drove over to the other side of the border, on to Toronto to spend some of my mandatory vacation that I will lose if I don't use it up by April. The drive wasn't too bad - just 10 hours. We left on Saturday morning and got to our hotel by late evening. We hit a couple of strong flurries on our drive but otherwise the weather was reasonably cold. We are actually staying in Mississauga, about 15 minutes from Toronto, after we managed to get good rates on a pet-friendly hotel here.


Picture from Flickr.
We still need to take our cameras out.

Yesterday, we decided to explore the downtown. The traffic wasn't too bad - probably because it was a Sunday and it is the middle of winter after all, but the sun was out and it wasn't terribly cold. We spent some time in Toronto's Underground City, which was pretty awesome and warm. (Every city should have an Underground City - wouldn't it be awesome to not have to walk through the cold outdoors during winter?) Most of the shops were closed however - the Underground City is under the financial district which obviously doesn't run on Sundays, but we did find a few good shops inside. We enjoyed a yummy fudge cake at the Foodwares Market and, later once we surfaced, a nice chocolate mocha at Tim Hortons. Neither me nor the husband enjoy shopping much - in fact, the husband has more tolerance for it than I do. So we didn't hit any stores while in downtown. We just spent a few hours walking. Every bone and muscle in my body was aching by the time we reached the hotel - my pregnant body sure doesn't enjoying exploring places.

So far, Toronto feels just like any other American city. It's metric system here in Canada however, so it took a little mathwork to make sure we were driving within the speed limit. Later however, we saw that our car's speed dial did have the metric indicators as well, so that has helped a lot. Canada is also a commonwealth country, so we have been seeing several signs of that as well everywhere. Next week, we will be heading to Montreal and Quebec City - a trip I am highly looking forward to. My French is pretty rudimentary right now so hopefully, we will be able to adapt easily.

Have you guys been to Toronto? Or do/did you stay in this city? What are some of the places we should visit here? There is an Art Spiegelman exhibit currently going on that I am planning to check out and we also want to check out the much recommended St. Lawrence Market and the Toronto Islands. I also plan to hit a few used bookstores one of these days. But other than these, we are just planning to explore the city more and also check out other scenic places in the vicinity. One of the things we did do yesterday was head to Eaton Center (a shopping mall in downtown) and check out an Indigo bookstore. I'm pretty sure there will be a lot more bookstores in the days ahead, once I figure out the logistics of getting into the city using the subway and minimal walking.

Comments

JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing said…
I've only been to Toronto once, but remember seeing Phantom of the Opera, visiting Eaton Center, and, of course, Indigo bookstore. Have a great time!
bermudaonion(Kathy) said…
I've never been anywhere in Canada - sounds like a fun trip!
Kay said…
My husband has been to Toronto on business, but I did not get to go with him. He didn't get to see any sights. Bookstore browsing sounds like a plan to me. That Underground City sounds fascinating. Have a good time!
Ti Reed said…
I've never been to Toronto. Heck, I've not been outside of the US! Underground city?? That sounds fascinating. So you walked your legs off? Isn't pregnancy fun? Parts of you hurt that you never knew could. I remember those days. Rest up, lady.
Lisa Sheppard said…
We were there when I was in high school (like almost 40 years ago) and I remember it being a beautiful city. They have a fantastic science museum, I remember. What do you do with the dog while you're out and about?
I've never been to Canada! So far. But I'd probably aim at the French bits of Canada if I did go, to make it feel less like America and more like a foreign land. So keep us posted on Montreal!
Fun. I've never been to Toronto. I've only been to Niagara Falls and that's it! And ah, going to bookstores for cities you visit is so much fun.
I highly recommend Ben McNally books on Bay St in the financial district. And queen west has a couple great bookshops and is good for walking along. The Island will be COLD this time of year.
literaryfeline said…
I have never been to Toronto, but someday maybe. Like Jillian, I have only ever been to Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. It was beautiful there. I hope you have a wonderful time!
Niranjana said…
I lived in the area for many years! Let me know if you want any specific recs. IMO, you should totally walk around Kensington market--it's beautiful and bohemian and very diverse. Two good museums to check out include the AGO and the ROM. Chapters has shifted away from books IMO--I don't enjoy the browsing experience there anymore. BMV books is awesome though! Also check out http://www.projectbookmarkcanada.ca/ for literary landmarks around the area.
Oh, and congratulations--I'm just catching up on your great news!
ebookclassics said…
I live and work in the Toronto area, so give me a shout the next time you visit. Have fun in Montreal and Quebec City, I love them both and I think you will love the European-like feel and culture they offer.
bellezza said…
Oh how I love Toronto. It may seem like many American cities to you, but to me it is so much friendlier than Chicago. I took a course on Russian Literature at the University of Toronto several summers ago, and it was excellent. Of course doughnuts, or mochas in your case, at Horton's were sublime as well. May the rest of your trip be delightful in every way, especially as you are now safely within the speed limit. :)
Belle Wong said…
Athira, I live in Toronto, right by the downtown core! I've walked through PATH lots of times - it's handy to duck in when it's too cold or wet (or hot!) to walk around outside. I'm hoping to see the Art Spiegelman exhibit too - and the Jean-Michel Basquiat one as well. If you're planning to visit some used bookstores, check out the Monkey's Paw on Queen St. West if you have a chance. It's home to the Biblio-mat, a book vending machine! You get a random book for a toonie. I haven't been yet but it's on my list of bookshops to visit this year. Hope you have lots of fun while you're here!
Reno said…
I live in Canada, but I've only been to Toronto once and that was just a weekend trip for a concert. If you like big old houses, check out Casa Loma. The garden was lovely in summer, perhaps it would be nice with snow as well!
Diane D said…
Glad u were able to get away. Have never been to Toronto but know there is much to see.
Nishita said…
Toronto sounds delightful. And an underground city? I am off to google that. I have friends in Toronto and have always wanted to visit, but it's sooo far :(

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.


In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …