Toronto is kinda wet.
And I realise at some point that part of the trouble I have with getting around is due to the fact that Toronto seems to operate on complex maze systems, that run at street level, but also underground (near the tubes), and one floor up. These mazes sometimes look like they pass through private property- a bank for instance-, and sometimes lead through dingy corridors that seems abandoned in the most zombie-apocalypse sense of the word. They’re often closed by large doors that you need most of your body weight to push open, and googlemaps is useless at finding them- it only seems possible to get into them if you follow a Torontonian.
The Toronto Tunnel Theory was a conspiracy theory I developed after being confused at how inaccessible/dingy looking the paths to public transport were. It sprung into my mind after I found myself, two days into my Toronto trip, standing once again drenched in the rain, reaslising that the only people around me were other confused and wet looking tourists.
I decided then and there that the people must spend a lot of their time in the tunnels, and a part of me thought ‘oh, I guess that’s why this country has so much respect for the Beaver’.
And then I realised that the animal I was thinking of was actually a mole.
In any case, the Toronto Tunnel Theory, which I came up with all by myself, is not in fact a lie.
On my final day in the city, I went on a guided tour of the central areas, which included us finding the underground mall- THIRTY KILOMETRES of commuter passageways and shops just underneath the city, which connect up all the main buildings with the trains and tubes.
Which I guess really does make a lot of sense when your country is very often cold and very often wet.
In any case, let’s go back to those first two days.
I flew into Toronto late on Friday night, which was even later on Friday night (or actually some time into Saturday morning) for my London brain. I found my way to my airbnb, and hour and a half outside the city but very close to the conference venue, and pretty much went straight to sleep.
On Saturday, I woke up ready to explore.
It was a bit of a struggle working out the public transport system, because everything requires a transit card, and the Internet lied to me about being able to buy one at the University. I was luckily rescued from the rain by a kind bus driver, who took me 1/2 an hour to the nearest tube station, where I bought the card and continued into the city.
A quick point for Fabio, who found British Tube names silly on his visit:
I headed first to the Kensington Market area, which is filled with incredibly fascinating (if a little pricey) Vintage stores. (I would note that everything only opens around 11, so don’t bother going any earlier).
It was too wet to be outside for long periods of time, but I spent a fairly happy hour or two popping in and out of stores, and just kind of noseying around the area, which also seems to have some great food options.
I had heard that Toronto is famous for its immigrant fusion foods, and- although I didn’t try it- this one surely has to take the cake:
In the end I went with this (which was recommended on a list somewhere).
Tasty, although a little heavy on the sour cream for my liking, and I’m fairly certain my Mexican friend would freak out about the amount of toppings on each taco.
I wandered a little more in and out of different semi-suburban streets, which are filled with quite beautiful older styled houses.
… and at one point looped back in to the Royal Ontario Museum, a seriously cool looking building, although I didn’t make it inside on this trip.
After some refuge-taking coffee time, the rain let up for long enough for a short walk in the park, where I met some new friends:
…. I guess a bird cheeping furiously at you is a pretty good reminder that Spring is coming?
More wandering led me towards the University area, although a good part of this seemed to be under construction.
It started to rain again, but I also learnt that this should have been the least of my concerns:
At a certain point, I realised I had become too soaked and tired to enjoy myself. So I popped into a ‘Farm Boy’ to buy myself some basic foods (including Maple flavoured yogurt), and slowly made my way back home.
The next day was much of the same, rain wise.
I passed by the Gooderham/Flat Iron building, and made my way to St Lawrence Market for some breakfast.
All the foodie blogs told me I had to eat a Peaham sandwich, with recommendations leading me to Carousel Bakery.
I went with the seller’s suggestion of taking some honey mustard with it- a bit of a mistake given my hatred of sweet+meat combos.
Still, the meat was thick and salty, and the overall experience was pretty darn good.
After eating my fill, I headed back outside.
It was raining still.
Which is fine, because I anyway had an Art Gallery to go see….
April 29, 30 2023