Hello from Toronto!

Monday, March 9, 2015

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.

16 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?

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

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!

Jillian Raymundo said...

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.

tanya (52 books or bust) said...

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 :(