Nice Beaver

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November 12th 2012
Published: January 10th 2013
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I feel like a bit of a cheat posting a blog for Canada because now a huge part of the map on my profile gets coloured in and I actually only spent four days in this vast land. Though, I did do authentic Canadian things, apparently.

When it’s boiling hot in Toronto, everyone heads north a few hours out of town to their cottage in the woods. I’m sure it’s not quite everyone that can do that but that’s what we did. And it was nice. Not quite the wilderness experience I had been led to believe given that there is a road right to the place and a town not far away. However, about a hectare of your own forest and a hundred metres or so of your own river can never be whinged about. It’s a lovely wooden cottage with no electricity or running water and all there is to do is swim, walk, canoe, read and chat. I loved it. Not quite as many moose or bears as I was hoping from rural Canada but I did see my first beaver (please insert your own joke here because I’m too tired to come up with one while writing this).

The reason for such a short stay was that it was really only a layover. The real trip for the summer was a month in Mexico. Cheapest flights from the UK were via the US or, for a few quid more, via Canada. Thus, Julia could stay in Canada on the way back to go to her best pal’s wedding and I could meet her family and see a bit of Toronto. (Before flying back to London, swapping airports, and immediately flying back to work in Azerbaijan in an attempt to earn as much as possible before the master’s begins).

It was with a different frame of mind that I travelled to Toronto. Rather than looking at the place through the eyes of a tourist, I was looking at it very analytically trying to decide whether or not this is a place I could live in the future. One stereotype I had in my head was thankfully false because getting off the plane it was boiling – actually difficult to get to sleep hot. Meaning we spent as much time in the river as out of it when at the
Somewhere North of TorontoSomewhere North of TorontoSomewhere North of Toronto

Nice to have your own stretch of river when it's 30C.
cottage. Perfect for me. I have a feeling it could be a different story if I go in January though.

I had been warned by Julia that Toronto is quite an ugly city and it’s not that it’s particularly ugly but I think we get a bit spoilt in Europe with all the castles, churches, mansions and other ancient buildings that you can’t help compare it. It is one of the reasons that I left Costa Rica because I find the cities there quite ugly. But they do have volcanoes and mountains on the edge of town which is something that kept making me go back. The surrounding flatness of Toronto to me is quite disheartening, although, I currently live in famously flat Birmingham so perhaps I’ll get accustomed to it.

Conclusions are... I don’t really have any. I really enjoyed the few days there - the food was delicious, the family were great, I liked the little pokey bars, the people are friendly, there’s a big lake – and I really enjoyed the subsequent Mexico trip (which I don’t think I can write a blog about because I’ve already broken my “one blog per country” rule after writing about working in Mexico earlier in the year, five years after writing about studying there). I’m now in Birmingham at least until September 2013 when my master’s finishes - or a bit longer if I have to re-sit any exams (so far it’s very very hard). After that? We’ll see...

Additional photos below
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11th January 2013

Obviously you were not in Toronto in November...
not hot then! My mom's side of the family comes from Toronto so I spent many vacations there when I was younger. I really like the town with its Lake Ontario waterfront and many grassy parks. So ending up there wouldn't be so bad. I also spent time vacationing north of Toronto in the Muscoka Lakes region so your pictures brought back memories. Good luck with your Masters degree. Oh, and you can violate your self imposed rule about blogging a country only once as often as you have a great story to tell.

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