Toronto, 2010

Axel and Siobhan are getting married in Vegas next month, and the traditional birthday pig roast became a stag party which was reinvented as a BBQ of an elk. Cris and I flew up to Toronto (on Porter Air for the first time) to join in the fun.

Pictures (taken with my cell phone)


Fri July 2, 2010

Took the T to the airport, through a short security line and into a nice airy waiting space. Found a lounger with a foot rest and settled in to wait for our flight to be called. Cris had to be on a teleconference call, so I went Borders browsing and managed to not actually buy anything (though I noted down a fwe titles for posterity). We all boarded at once, and due to new TSA regulations, there were some delays in the line. We added to it a bit due to Cris's middle name being on the boarding pass but not in his passport (emergency replacement one from last year).

We had nice seats with good legroom. They basically threw food at us for free, but I was able to return my meaty sandwich and get a vegetarian option. There was a choice of tea too! My jaw dropped when they asked me what kind I wanted, I'm used to adulterating the lipton's swill with enough sugar and cream to make it palatable. Ahh, earl grey, how I love you. :) There was also the option of free beer and wine, sweet! The plane made a hard landing over sail boats and one 4 masted sailing ship moving out into the lake, apparentlly the tall ships were in town this weekend. It was a quick trip through immigration, then we walked down some halls over to the ferry dock. I had to go all the way back to the check in counters to find a bathroom, but I got back before the ferry left. It was maybe a 60 second ferry ride over a narrow channel to the main land, I didn't realise that the harbour islands came so close to the city proper, though it might have been extended for the airport. I also doubt that there's a way to get from the airport to the open areas of the island.

We walked out and up the street to the TTC stop on Front St (the one that goes into Exhibition). We took the streetcar up Bathurst, and then transfered and went over on Queen St. We checked in at the IndexG bnb, for once arriving at our hotel at a decent time, before 8pm, and they showed us up to our room, Ginger. We had a private but separate washroom, down a short hall and around the corner, where I cleaned up. We went out again to take the Dufferin bus up to Bloor and then the subway across one stop to Landsdown, meeting poeple at Ciro's House of Imported Bier. We spotted Siobhan on the corner, she was on the same train as we were. The Strongbow was incredibly yummy, and pita wrap was huge - I was warned, I nibbled at it over the course of 2 hours as I nursed my cider. Steph and Martin, Justin and Kym, Angel and her Montreal husband (she used to organise gothcruise), Darryl, Axel and Shannon, and Trevor were also there, along with a few people that I vaguely recognised but couldn't recall their names. It was fun, catching up and chatting, and then Trevor gave us a lift back to our BNB.

Saturday July 3, 2010

Got up at 9 or so, went down to the art gallery for the breakfast buffet and discovered Liz, Ray, and Sydney there. Haven't seen the first two in ages, they're in Montreal now, and last I saw their daughter, she was in a baby carriage. We sat together and caught up, they were here for the party as well, and the gallery owner was amused by the coincidence. Luckily we'd all been fairly quiet in our rooms, as they were right next to each other. :) We went our separate ways after breakfast as they had plans with another friend. I took a shower, and then we went over to the Gladstone and got a TTC day pass. I was harassed at the streetcar stop by a guy commenting on my butt. *sigh*

We got off at Urbain Cyclist, they had some goth-loli stuff - the black frock coat with white lace on the bottom was very cool, very small, and very expensive, the white lace edged biking knickers were cute. Sugoi has a military style top that I tried on, bu I'd need a large and they didn't have it - it would be perfect for biking to Thud nights. I bought a cargo net and got some advice on a replacement rear light wire (stereo, 16 gauge?). Cris and I tried stuff on at Noise, he got some pants, I passed on a pair of cargo shorts, even though they were only $20 they gapped at waist and I would have to hem them to work with my short legs. I got a dress for Marc's wedding at Le Chateau, a lovely airy green silk and cotton sun dress. Cris found a neat linen vest there as well. We had lunch at the Rivoli, I had a really good grilled cheese sandwhich (close to as good as the ones that Cris makes at home) and salad. It was Pride weekend so service was a bit slow, it was hopping, and a nice cool break from the heat on the sidewalks. We walked over to the Healthy Butcher where I pickedup a pair of chipotle chicken burgers and a pound of cole slaw. I tried a few fabric stores but none of them sold patterns, and I was absolutely blanking as to where I used to buy patterns. Asking one clerk got me a dismissive answer. Took the TTC back to Parkdale at close to 5pm, but the day pass was missing, possibly pick pocketed, possibly on the floor of a changeroom somewhere. We got cleaned up and walked over to the party via the liquor store. I passed on buying anything, though Cris found a decent bottle of wine.

The elk was about ready to come off when got there, Cris helped to transfer it from the cinderblock pit to the table prepared for it. I tried a tiny piece, it was meaty. I grilled my burgers and tried too many desserts - the berry crumble and trifle were greate, but I somehow missed the cheesecake. Trevor and family were heading out as we arrived, Steph and Martin came soon after. Got to chat a bit with Kym and Justin and Shannon. Charlotte and family (!) there, and Zia and Thor and Shelagh. I talked with Jason about his x-country drive and crossfit - he goes to the gym next to our bnb, I could have signed up for a free intro class if I'd known ahead of time. I really enjoyed Shannon's Hendrick's cocktail, same as the one that I make except for her using mint instead of basil. I kept diluting it with more ice and tonic water, it lasted me hours. :) Then the bugs came out and I sprayed myself with repellant but ended up spending more time inside. Monica and co arrived after the Cyndi Lauper concert in the park finished up, but I didn't get much of a chance to talk to her. We stayed until close to 2 and then walked back and crashed after getting the Off and sunscreen off.

Sunday July 4, 2010

My eyes popped open at ten to ten, and I just barely managed to make it downstairs before the breakfast cut off time for tea, oj, muffin, cereal and another kiwi (mmm, I don't get these often enough) with Liz, Ray and Sydney. I took yet another shower and relaxed until it was time for brunch at noon at the Cadillac Lounge.

We were the first ones there, and went back to the patio. Justin came in soon after, the others after about half an hour. Not too busy but they'd really expanded since my last visit, tonnes of space out back, both open walled and open ceilinged. Axel, Shannon, and Darryl arrived soon after we ordered, and we moved up under a bigger shade umbrella to avoid roasting in the hot sun. They make really good french toast! We had a nice long relaxed meal, with lots of talk about travel. Darryl brought food back for Siobhan who wasn't feeling very well after being ambushed by gin the night before. We all split up after we were done eating, making plans for next weekend in Ottawa while standing on the sidewalk. I bought the day pass this time from the Gladstone, hope to keep it safe! We made a quick stop at the room and then went up Dufferin to Bloor and across to Bathurst to go to Sonic Boom - it's huge! It's in the space that used to be a discount deptartment store, so not quite as big as Sam the Record Man or Ameoba, but still big. We then meandered slowly across Bloor to University, stopping for organic juice, browsing a bike shop (the one Martin got his bike at, it turns out, more focussed on commuters than racers), and a nice long browse in an air conditioned book store (it was 30+C out). May go to the ROM tomorrow. Sat on a bench on Philosopher's Walk for a bit in shade, Cris sharing some snippets from the book he'd bought, cooling off and resting our feet. We walked down to the next stop on the south bound subway line, around Queens Park circle. I saw an old guy sitting on the ground with four cops around him, then they took off his handcuffs. We'd missed the G20 weekend by one week, not sure if this was a follow on protest or not. :/

Took the subway down to Queen St and walked over to Ema Tei where we were meeting up for dinner. I put my name in for table for four, we were after another group of 4 and before a group of 6 or so. Martin then Steph arrived, we had a seat near the door so the latter found us immediately. I got good chirachi, but skipped dessert though, the heat was too much, it ruined my appetite. Steph said the same, ordering even less than I did. I was getting a bit cool in the air conditioning in there, by the end of the meal at least.
We'd solicited suggestions for a place with good cocktails, and from the wealth of choices picked one close-ish to our BNB. Martin dropped us off at the Hoof Cafe on Dundas, across the street from the Black Hoof restaurant and apparently also serving as the lounge where people wait for their table at the latter. I had a derby girl (mint julep with earl grey) and a bitter salty sod (gin, grapefruit, elderflower syrup, grapefruit bitters - 1/4 oz!). The latter was good, not bitter at all, and had no taste of alcohol so I may have drank it a bit fast. :) Cris chatted w/'tender lady, no St Germaine! A pig leg was on display on the counter, held up with a medical looking stand, and apparently they'll carve stuff off it when customers order smoked pig leg or something. The bar food menu was big on pork and cow products, and horse was on there as well. I told Cris that we had to tell Tricia and Michael about this place. :)

We walked to Ossington and Queen and picked up a street car there. Ossington is interesting in terms of window shopping, but Cris got threatened by a guy walking toward us who was yelling and cursing, but the guy just kept walking by after yelling at him.
Showered and in bed by midnight. I had to wake up Cris at around 3 or 4 to find the bathroom key, and kept getting hot then cold as the air conditioning flipped on and off.

Monday July 5, 2010

Up at 9, and lazed about a bit, going down for breakfast a bit after Cris. It was a bit odd to be at a table for just 2, though the other tables held a German couple and a pair of guys who were probably in town for Pride. I want to get some silicone muffin cups after seeing how easily they peeled away from the home made blueberry muffins we had there. Back up to the room to pack, then dropped off the keys, and caught the Dufferin bus to Bloor again. We took the subway over to St George and then one stop down to Museum (I managed to avoid going to Bay, though St George looked close enough to The End of the Line stations that I told Cris not to turn his back to me). The ROM technically doesn't allow checking luggage, but our stuff was more totebag-like and they took it.

It was $31 for admission including the terracotta warriors exhibit, but we got into the current timed entry slot and so went down there first. I learned lots about the rise of the Qin dynasty. There were not many warriors, but those there were very impressive, with dramatic lighting casting interesting shadows on the carved features. The archer looked ready to get up and fire, the cavalry horses to stomp and charge. I hadn't realised that Cris had never been to the ROM, so I dragged him to my favourites: the bat cave (sadly sanitised), minerals and gems (shiny!), dinosaurs (omg barosaurus is huge! And the giant land sloth looked like a bear, but huge), arms and armour (cut short by a special exhibit). I think only the dinos had more space with the modern glass cube expansion. We had lunch in the basement cafe (Cris's was duck good, we both grabbed cake). Then we went to the Chinese gallery (I was able to place things in time due to what I learned in the terracotta warriors exhibit), the Japanese gallery (small), then up to textiles (under reconstruction). Overall, kind of disappointed by the new ROM, we didn't really wander much through the old spaces though.

Back on the subway, going from St George to Bathurst and then taking the streetcar to Fleet and we walked from there to the airport again. We checked in at the ferry terminal US desk, then had a quick run through security. The Porter lounge is nice, free tea, water, juice, and snacks, and I kept myself hydrated and fed while waiting for our flight. The power went out just as our flight was about to be called, they delayed it 45 minutes. A/C not on, this could get ugly, it's over 30C out, though cooler here by the lake. No access to outside though.

They got some power back and planes were still leaving, ours ended up delayed coming in plus by customs. We had a snack on-board, finished my non fiction book (Ink Stained Amazons), and went back to the fiction book I'd also brought, listening to music on my phone. Took the T back home, and had a hard time finding anything open as it was the 4th of July holiday. Cris ended up walking out to the pub while I foraged in the pantry and fridge for leftovers.


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