Toronto, 2008

I knew I'd be missing the Pig Roast this year, and I wanted to take a trip up to hang out with my friends in smaller gatherings. Steph and Martin agreed to host a BBQ and Memorial Day weekend gave me a long weekend to play with, so we were off.

Friday May 23/08

I decided to work from home that day, since I'd reported my debit card lost and was hoping that the replacement would come in time to bring to Toronto. Luckily it did arrive and I was able to activate it with no problems. We had an evening flight to Toronto from Boston, landing around 10pm. Customs and immigration were almost empty, it was eerie. I guess the weak US dollar dissuaded a lot of people from going north for the long weekend. Once out of the airport, I gave our BNB a call, IndexG, an art gallery that rents rooms and provides breakfast with the art in the morning. :) They were waiting for the call, and we were on our way via taxi fairly quickly. I knew right where we were going, so I was able to direct the driver, and the staff were there to check us in and welcome us. Our room was reached by going back outside the gallery and through a separate door, then up the stairs. I loved the fact that the stair well and hall way and room all had original art hanging in them, it added a lot of colour and character. My traditional weekend away plans of taking a long luxurious bath were thwarted by the eco-consciousness of the BNB, since they didn't offer plugs in the bath tub. But that was okay, the room was lovely even if I was reduced to showers all weekend. :) I think we just settled in and went to sleep, since it was about midnight at that point, but we might have popped over to Rhino for a pint, I know we did that at least once.

Saturday May 24/08

Breakfast with the art, a good way to start the day. :) They put up folding tables and chairs in the first floor gallery, and the sun was streaming through the windows. The food was good, and I lusted after their awesome toaster. :) We took the streetcar over on Queen to about Spadina, and poked our heads in a few shops, finding the new location of Penguin Music by accident, downstairs inside Black Market. Spent a bit of time browsing in there, trying on jackets and picking out music. From there, we hit up Epicure for lunch, eating out on the back deck, sunglasses on. Yummy food, as always, and I indulged myself by having a drink with my meal. Then we meandered back west hitting up Bakka for books and The Healthy Butcher for BBQ fixin's. The staff now working at Bakka have developed a semi-annoying uber geek habit of butting in as you're browsing, and having too-loud conversations with people as they're checking out. I was *very* pleased to find a signed copy of the new Confederation novel by Tanya Huff, one of their former employees. I finished it two days. :)

We took the street car back the rest of the way, and showed up at Steph and Martin's house about an hour after the advertised start time, but were still one of the first. Ooops. Grillin' and chillin' and drinkin' and chattin', catching up with old friends, good times. :) We stayed until about 7 and then piled into cabs to head up to the George Bell Arena in the wilds of St. Claire and Runnymede for a roller derby match. It's an ice rink that had been repurposed, a track outline put down on the bare surface, and people grabbing seats in the danger zone down on the "ice". The bout was unfortunately a bit uneven, "our" team was soundly trounced, but it was fun to spectate. They gave us a program that explained the rules so we were all able to follow what was going on, but I give mad props to the refs for catching everything they did. The team members were all decked out in animal prints, fishnet and lame, it was awesome to watch them all kick ass looking so fabulous. :) Back in cabs, and back to Steph and Martin's to continue with the drinkin' and chattin'. All day in the sun had worn me out a bit, though, and I think we only ended up staying until about 1am.

Sunday May 25/08

Our visit coincided with Doors Open Toronto and we retooled our day's plans to visit a few of the opened up spaces. We hit Permanente and Commerce Court downtown, and then took the street car out to the Distillery District (I'd never been there before). We got to peek into the Rack House, and ended up following some people around a screen and ended up circumnavigating the place following the walls. The Kiln building was a bit disappointing after that adventure, but we also browsed through an art fair that was set up in the courtyard. A company was renting out rides on Segways, but we skipped that and had lunch at Uno's Cafe. Mmm, gelato and Monk's Blend tea. We ate outside, in the shadow of a bridge between two buildings.

Then it was time to head back to Yonge St, I wanted to check out the stores around College for skirts. I poked around in Seduction but didn't find anything, then we adjourned for lunch at Hernando's Hideaway, where Axel and Siobhan joined us. I gave Jackie a call and found out that she wouldn't be able to join us until later, so we had a relaxed lunch and then went into Northbound Leather. I tried on the skirt I'd considered last time, and despite Cris's lukewarm reception of it, I bought it anyway, since I still liked it. :) I was tempted by a cheap pvc skirt in Fashion Fashion, but my credit card was reeling a bit from the leather skirt, and I passed it by. Stupid, best price I've seen on one in a while.

We made our way up to Bloor Street and met up with Jackie at the Japan Foundation which was doing a gallery show for Doors Open. Lots of lovely paper art. From there, back down to Queen St, and Cris led me into Urbane Cycle, but it was closed. We browsed around in Pages and I tried to get in touch with Tatyana and Cossack, but they'd already checked out of their hotel. Cris and I made our way back to our BNB, and gave Steph and Martin a call to organise dinner. We ended up walking over there and Martin drove us up to Bloor St for sushi. Mmmm, sushi pizza. :) They had to work the next day, so we didn't stay up till all hours talking this time.

Monday May 26/08

Another breakfast with art, and I think we packed up and left our suitcases with them.
We went back to Urbane Cycle, since it was open now, and Cris picked up a jersey and I looked at recumbent bikes and accessories, but didn't take a test ride. From there we walked up to Chinatown and I got my cup of fresh squeezed sugar cane juice. Over to Kensington Market, and I poked around the hat shelf in Courage My Love, but they only had all the huge ones left. Cris tried on some suit vests, but couldn't find the perfect one. We meandered up the street to the cheese shops and Cris went a bit nuts. :) Back down to Queen St., and we stopped in at the Taro Grill for lunch. I went into Shoppers Drug Mart to stock up on allergy medications and other Canadiana and then we took the street car back to the BNB to get our suitcases and head to the airport. Standing on the corner there waiting for our cab, we were solicited many times by cab drivers, it was kinda scary, but I insisted on waiting for the company that I'd called. Quick trip to the airport for our 4:10pm flight, and then home.

Back to my diary page.