Strolling With My Homies… Part 1: Downtown Toronto

Hello Poppets!

I’m very excited for this post as it’s the first in a new blog series I’m embarking on, called “Strolling With My Homies” based on the “wildly popular” book series by Nathalie Prézeau, “Toronto Urban Strolls…for Girlfriends”. I happened upon this book in my local Chapters and decided I would go on every one of Nathalie’s 28 Toronto walks stopping at every one of her suggested pit stops. SUMMER GOALS!

For this experiment, every stroll I go on must include a girlfriend or suitable alternative. Otherwise, what am I really doing here. On stroll 1, I was accompanied by one of my most favourite people, my friend Kate! She was the perfect partner for the first stroll because she has the same love for exploring that I do, and the same ability to pause reality for a few hours to pretend that the places we are visiting are not ones we see every day, but fresh new places like we are tourists in an exciting foreign city!

Stroll 1: Downtown

Full Loop: 4.6 km (1 hr, 10 minutes, but it took us 5 hours because we ate and gossiped and took elaborate photo shoots also)

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Katie Mae: Navigator

This stroll starts at Roy Thompson Hall, goes east along King St. then takes you down through the Courtyards in and around the Financial District, spitting you out near Front St. near the Esplanade, where you walk back West towards the CBC building (which is perfect because Kate HAPPENS to work at the CBC and gave me an exclusive tour of the building).

LET US BEGIN. (Story told mostly through photo captions because I don’t have all day!)

Stroll 1 of 28 complete!

Ugly: I guess I’ll say that the construction downtown in this area at the moment was not the greatest, but then again, looking back over the photos, I don’t notice it at all. Also, it did rain for a hot minute but that wasn’t even bad because it forced us down into a warm and cozy pub for brownies. Can’t actually see the downside there…

Awesome: I just really loved this day! Most of these routes I’ve walked a thousand times in the 14 years I’ve lived in Toronto, but this was a great way to prove to myself, there’s still so much I walk past but take for granted. I flipped a switch in my brain this day to really look around and take things in – the landscape, the atmosphere, the architecture, the art and try to experience it like it was brand new to me. And I was surprised by how many things I’ve never noticed! Also Kate was the perfect stroll companion and I hope she will do many more strolls with me!

When I Compared My Christmas Tree To A Puppy.

It’s that time of year again! The time of year I walk aimlessly around the city looking at all the twinkly lights and anticipating decorating my own little blank canvas of a home. Last year, I purchased a bunch of Holiday decor because it was our first Christmas in this apartment and I wanted to take advantage of the little bit of extra space we have now. This year, I tried to re-use as much as possible and the only new things I bought were the plants for the porch and the new candle holder from Kitchen Stuff Plus (it was on sale…).

Jamie and I followed through with our annual tradition of decorating the tree while watching Sunday Night Football and I tried to make Christmas Sugar Cookies! The cookies were a success in general, but I absolutely failed on the icing front. I accidentally made the icing too thick so it was giving me a super hard time due to my tendency toward culinary ineptitude. I finally got my icing contraption to work and spent 15 minutes icing the trees. By the time that was done, I was losing patience on the snowflakes and by the time we got to the gingerbread men, I could barely motivate myself to make more than a face blob on each one. Regardless of their ugliness, they were still delicious so I count it as a flavour win, presentation fail.

UGLY: The horror-movie gingerbread monsters.

AWESOME: It’s Christmas!!! (obviously). Being in this house with twinkly lights and festive candles makes me excited about walking through my door every day. I’m pretty sure I turn on my tree lights with the same enthusiasm one would exude when meeting their puppy at the door upon returning home.

Painting the Town Sparkly

I feel like I have way too many things to share. So many exciting things have happened in the last little while! Or at least it feels that way (I just tried listing all the things and in total, there were 2 items…). I guess it just feels like I’ve been doing lots of exciting things lately even if they are perhaps abstract things that are maybe only in my mind. Sometimes I accidentally count things like “Internally becoming excited for Christmas” as actual events.

Especially SNOW! DID you know it’s snowing in Toronto now? Historically speaking, I’m a little late for my annual “OMG SNOW” post, but it’s because I’m maturing, guys. (Don’t worry – Sparkly Christmas Decor post is coming soon!!!).

But let’s pretend that actual events are defined as real places I go with other people outside my head: A couple such events have occurred recently! My friend, Kari and I went to see Swan Lake at the National Ballet of Canada and it was incredible! It was also the only pre-performance talk I’ve ever attended and I thought it was very insightful and not at all boring (the speaker was a very attractive former male dancer with a faint Swedish accent). I actually really liked hearing the synopsis before the show because I had never really bothered to find out the exact story line of Swan Lake. And if you’ve ever seen a ballet, you know that it’s not always easy to decipher what’s happening in the plot. All in all, a very classy night with a lovely lady in a very classy building (so sparkly).

Then, last weekend I went out with the gang (and wore my sparkly shoes out on the town for the first time) to the Royal Ontario Museum where they hold weekly parties on Friday nights called Friday Night Live. You basically get to check out exhibits, eat yummy food provided by various food truck vendors form across the city and have a couple drinks to wash down all the dancing and culture. I will say this: For the love of all that is warm and fuzzy, by your tickets online beforehand. And you have to do this like a week in advance. If you don’t, you have to buy your ticket at the door, but before you even get to the door, you have to pass the sacred test of worthiness entitled: You VS. The Line: Death Match to Hypothermia. We may have won this time, but it could have gone south very quickly. After the hour of waiting in the line to get in, the line for coat check and the line to buy your ticket (grumble grumble, flu season, etc.) it was a very nice time! I had mushroom and goat cheese buns from HotBunzzTO (Same people from La Carnita I think) and Delicious pierogis from The Saucy Pierogi, I didn’t see too many of the exhibits (they close at 9:30) but I had several white wine spritzers which helped me to put my sparkly shoes to good use on the dance floor.

I definitely felt like a city dweller these past few weeks – seeing a ballet at The National Ballet of Canada and drinking and dancing at the ROM are not things everyone can do on a whim. Feeling very lucky to live here and with such great people so close by 🙂

UGLY: LINE-UPS GOOD LAWD (read: not being able to feel your ankles)

AWESOME:
Finally knowing the plot to Swan Lake (Don’t worry – NO SPOILERS). Also: My shoes being so dang sparkly.