Tales of Toronto

My husband and I took on a crazy adventure yesterday and it wasn’t the adventure we set out for. My husband really wanted to go to The Taste of the Danforth as was mentioned in my post yesterday. However the more I researched it the more it freaked me out. Big crowds are my kind of personal nightmare. I was willing to go for him and so we set off. This is when it went a little insane.

Traffic was a nightmare.

Toronto traffic is pretty well known but it was a little insane to see how bad it actually was yesterday. The planning department is not neccessarily working with a full deck in that they decided with a Blue Jays game, a Toronto FC game and a major food festival going on it was a brilliant idea to shut down the highway that leads to all three locations. This took all the traffic off the highway and onto the side streets. Everywhere we went we were stuck in one traffic jam after another. It was crazy.

Traffic aside, we ended up doing some pretty interesting things and it will definitely be a day for us to remember.

UNEXPECTED ACTIVITY #1 — Shopping

We very rarely go shopping for shopping sake. And we rarely if ever go to a shopping mall to do it. But we both got the itch when we got stuck in traffic on the 401. After some crazy roundabout ways we ended up at Square One. It had been so long since I was in a mall it was like we were entering a foreign world. I was drawn this way and that looking at gorgeous window displays and interesting patterns. I noticed that a bit of the early 90s is back with a twist in that there was a lot of plaid and Chuck Taylor converse sneakers are back with a vengeance. It’s a slightly prettier version of plaid though in that the shapes are better cut to show off your figure. Long gone is the tank top with a plaid shirt over it. Now they are throwing in belts and ties to make the shirt match your shape. I haven’t found one in my size yet, but I’m still happy to see plaid back on the shelves.

UNEXPECTED ACTIVITY #2 — spending time at the beach

I’ve been itching to go to the beach for about a month now – and never thought that my wish would come true in Toronto of all places. No one was swimming but the beaches along the Lakeshore are gorgeous. There were so many sailboats and even a tall ship out in the water. We not only saw seagulls and Canadian geese, but there were some beautiful white trumpeter swans in the water. The Toronto lakefront has playgrounds, and wading pools. There are picnic areas as well. We got out and took a walk, had some ice cream from an ice cream truck and just reveled in the fact that we weren’t still sitting in the incredibly slow moving traffic on the Lakeshore. It was amazing how we were so close to the busy hustle and bustle of all the diverted highway traffic but we felt like we were miles away. I can see why people flock to this area of the city any chance they can get.

UNEXPECTED ACTIVITY #3 — going to Chinatown

After leaving the beach and getting stuck in the traffic again, we decided to head downtown – namely to the Chinatown area off Spadina. We’ve driven down there many times and have been amazed by how much it seemed like you were in a completely different city – one in the far east. The signs are in different languages and people are wheeling and dealing in languages we could only imagine. We pulled in and found a parking garage. I was slightly nervous by the area as there were definitely homeless people sleeping in the alleyways and there were so many people around that it was a prime location for me have a panic attack. My rule – keep moving. Luckily the people were mostly on the street but were really respectful of space. They didn’t want to bump into me anymore than I wanted to bump into them. We ducked into a few of the little shops where we found many low priced items and some fun little items that we would never find on store shelves around Cambridge. There were toys that were made in Asia and translated into English so that they made us laugh. Loved seeing the “hair solon” and the many places to go and get a food massage or see a herbalist.

UNEXPECTED ACTIVITY #4 — Eating in an Asian restaurant

I have never really eaten at a truly Asian restaurant so this was a new experience for me. The hubby was drawn in by all the meat hanging in the window from duck and chicken to pork and lord knows what else, we headed in. There were some really tasty looking options on the boards outside so we made our way in. The first thing we noticed was that this restaurant was fairly big but there were a lot of people eating and a lot of people working. The noise was a little overwhelming and I had a hard time hearing the hubby on the other side of the table. Staff yelled at each other across the restaurant and they all were bustling around. They were very helpful to the couple next to us who was completely new to Asian food. However I guess we knew what we were doing because we had a very difficult to understand waitress. My hubby ordered a combo meal that had three kinds of meat and rice and was served very quickly. I had some “Chicken in lemon sauce” that came with an egg roll. But the best thing I had was a Honeydew Melon Milkshake. It was so summery and delicious. I could tell they were making fun of me for using a fork, but I’d rather do that then look more like an idiot by using chop sticks. Go ahead – you can laugh at me too.

All in all it was a really great day. We saw areas of Toronto we may have never seen. Even being stuck in the traffic jams on Queen Street really showed different sides of the city and we loved seeing all the different neighbourhoods.

I still hate traffic, but I’m sure we’ll go back to Toronto again.

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