City dwelling in Toronto

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August 4th 2013
Published: August 5th 2013
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The first thing we encountered after getting off the bus in Toronto was a rather aggressive young woman walking with her dog; she would let the dog approach people and then start saying things like "what are u doing touching my dog". It was also raining, so we had to stand in shelter for some time before we could walk to our apartment. Things did get better soon, though. The apartment was great, perfectly clean, stylish apartment on the 18th floor of a downtown highrise. We had a hotel-like room with very comfy bed. The best thing, though, was definitely the balcony with view to the financial district skyscrapers. Greetings to you, Emerson, in case you are reading this 😉

We enjoyed the big city atmosphere in Toronto for three full days. On the first morning the sky had cleared up, it was again warm and sunny. We walked to the water front to look at Lake Ontario, but pretty soon ended up laying on the grass and reading our books for an hour. Next we walked to Queen Street West, which is the main arty shopping area in Toronto, with many local designers' stores and other cool stuff. We didn't find anything to buy there (apart from a handmade peppermint soap), but ended up spending major part of the day windowshopping and taking a long lunch break. We were quite effective that day, as we still continued walking to the Kensington Market area. It was only a quick look, but we saw it was a lively, colorful place with lots of bars and cafés. The nice thing about Toronto was that it was so compact for a city of 5+ million people - we could get everywhere we wanted to go on foot within half an hour.

Next morning we headed to the Distillery District, as the name implies, it's an area of old red-brick distilleries currently home to some design shops, cafés and terraces. We took a look at some shops, got our daily coffees, and pretty soon continued walking, as we still wanted to visit Art Gallery of Ontario. We hadn't gotten out of the apartment until lunch time, so things ended up being a bit busy as shops at Distillery District, as well as the museum would close before 6pm. At the museum I mostly liked Canadian simplified paintings of ice bergs and mountains in bright blue and white colors, otherwise there wasn't that many works that I can still remember in detail. Later it started to rain heavily again - at that time we happened to be in China Town, and while we were taking shelter under a grocery store roof, we spotted a Korean restaurant across the road. We ran there to have our dinner, it was first time at Korean restaurant for both of us, and we liked their stews and noodles with kimchi (=Korean spicy dressing) so much that we went back for more the next day. We were talking about which ethnic kitchens we liked best. Our (quite shared) opinion was that while Italian or Japanese might be on the top, but Korean could easily make it to top5 based on these two meals. The same evening we both also managed to fulfill our travel wardrobes with some missing items, thanks to our visit to the huge Eaton Center shopping mall. Neither of us had anything more tidy than hooded sweater or raincoat to wear on chilly evenings, but now we both managed to find ourselves new cardigans, which we could bare to wear also when we go to restaurants or bars in the evenings. We put those into use immediately on the same evening, as we ended the evening by few beers on a terrace.

It so happened by pure accident that we were in town during a huge Caribbean festival. We heard many people talking about that here and there, and our host told us that most hotels in town are fully booked, as about million people will be visiting the festival. Thus, on our last day we also headed to the festival area to see a huge Caribbean parade. Sun was shining, so it was nice just to sit around. The parade itself consisted of people in bright costumes (some of which were huge), bands playing Caribbean sounds, and just people in normal outfits dancing around on the parade route. We sat on a piece of grass watching them for a while, until we felt we had seen enough costumes and until the longish intervals between parade groups started to feel boring. Last thing we did in Toronto was to have a look at the Toronto version of The Village, and what kind of nightlife it offered. We found some friendly atmosphere, but couldn't stay out very late as we had a flight to catch in the morning.

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