Final installment of the Toronto blogs.
Before we launch into the last episode of the Great Canadian Adventures- which occurred in the weekend periods around a conference- I need to mention three random things abut the week of the conference itself.
- I saw a Northern Red Cardinal in the tree outside my airbnb (which was a large house with a family downstairs and multiple students staying upstairs). This is significant mostly because my work bff and I have a discussion about whether or not we are yet at ‘birdwatching’ age. I think this guy might have tipped me over the edge.
(Please forgive the terribly blurred phone zoom photo).
2 . The Uni that held the conference is also the site of the Toronto Pan Am sports centre, an incredible beast. A month or so before I was there, a young swimmer broke two records in the pool. They also give out free 1 week trial passes, which meant I was able to escape a long day of lectures each evening and run of and get some moving happening.
^ This is not the sport centre.
3) Throughout the conference week I kept on hearing geese calling out, but (I think) getting confused by the sound of their own voices bouncing off the buildings. At one point I came around a corner and saw this guy just staring at himself in the window/mirror. It made me oscillate between ‘oh dear the unexpected negative impacts of human buildings on wildlife’ and ‘maybe he just really likes seeing/hearing himself’.
Ok, glad we got those key points covered.
On the second weekend of my Toronto visit, I was blessed with an abundance of Sun. I started the day with a Walking Tour- a pretty huge must when visiting any city, imo.
We learnt about the history of the city (Toronto used to be called ‘Little York’, and the current name comes from the Iroquois language meaning ‘abundance of food’), about the food that we should eat (Peameal ham and butter tarts), and strolled through the interesting parts of the city.
Including a re-visit to Dundas square:
Plus some other cool and dramatic buildings…
.. and a touristy stop next to the Toronto Sign.
There were some parts that were pretty unique, including the actual gold building in the financial district.
.. and also some parts that reminded me of other places.
(Behold, an elephant! Lost from London’s Spitafield’s Market!)
Brookfield place immediately reminded me of New York, due to being obviously designed by the same person (Santiago Calatrava Valls)
We went past a dog park, which thankfully had a cat…:
… and I got to revisit the Gooderham building in the sunshine.
After the tour, I went back into the market for a second Peameal bun, and an unsolicited conversation with a very friendly older man.
At the suggestion of a friend who spent a couple of years in Toronto, the next stop of the day was Toronto Island Park.
It was really really pretty- although I have to imagine that’s largely because I had such a beautiful day for it.
For those of you playing at home, I started in the centre, and then headed gradually to the east, and got picked up from there to go back to the mainland.
I met some geese and their goslings.
Got some really pretty views (+ and minus geese)
And saw this little guy (while admittedly searching for the slightly-more-exciting and promised-by-warning-signs coyotes)
I considered eating a bit on the Island itself, but the food was mostly of the ‘fair’ quality (and price), and I wanted to hold out my stomach for bigger and better things.
So after a certain amount of time wandering and sun-soaking, I headed back to the ferry pickup, and made my way back to the city.
And headed over to Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery.
One of the most highly recommended places to try when I started scanning the food blogs in prep for my journey, and MORE than worth it’s 4.6 stars on google (seriously, this is a solid 5.0).
Just as a quick note, the icecream shop is a bit far west from the city centre, but
- the icecream is worth it
- the area around it is pretty cool- I ran into a random makers market
- the icecream is worth it
Some of the flavours on offer were- avocado, roasted pineapple custard, soursop, tarte au citron, miso mon cerry, matcha-genmaicha tiramisu, totaro (ube and coconut), cinnamon toast, beear and brownbread, cantaloupe milkie etc.etc.etc.
They also have more boring flavours if you have decided to be that kind of person.
And you could get the icecreams inside different flavoured cookies, or choux pastry buns.
To be honest, I’ve never been so sad that I didn’t have more stomachs. Those cows have really got something going for them.
I went with the matacha-genmaicha tiramisu, and the ube/coconut, and they were both 1000000% delicious, as was the surrounding cookie.
To the point that, on my final day, apart from a revisit to the art gallery of ontario, one of my main planned activities was FIND AND CONSUME more bangbang.
In any case, the Island day finished with a pause at Timmy H (because you can’t go to Canada without visiting Tim Hortons), and some (also highly blog recommended and highly delicious) dumplings.
The thing is that London has dumplings, and even- I would argue- has good dumplings. But Canada goes one step further, and has good CHEAP dumplings. I think the whole thing cost me about 10 dollars.
I ate my dumplings, and headed home not-too-late, so that I could pack my stuff for the final half-day-before-the-airport.
As mentioned that final day involved some art (and also a crafty ‘leaving my luggage at the art gallery for the day while I explored’)…
… and then some Dim Sum.
Be prepared to wait a bit (an hour!) if you don’t book. The place I went to was also well recommended, and generally good, but quite slow to get into.
Breakfast was followed by a quick stroll back to Bang Bang, because at this point it was a moral requirement to ensure that the MANGO PUDDING flavoured icecream made it past my tastebuds. The other flavour is a dark chocolate, and the ‘encasing’ of choice is a choux pastry bun.
1000/10 would recommend.
And folks, that was pretty much that for Toronto.
Mostly the 6th and 7th of May, 2023