Tag Archives: Toronto

QUEEN STREET

Queen Street, Toronto

Queen Street, Toronto

I met-up with my friend on Friday night.  She’s the one that met her boyfriend on E-Harmony.  I’ve been joking with her that she should do a commercial for them.  She’s not agreeable to the idea.

We caught-up with each other about everything – we hadn’t seen each other in awhile.  Then she started to tell me about the boyfriend.  She was telling me how she insisted they spend Valentine’s day together, even though he told her he really wanted to visit his parents he hadn’t seen in awhile.  She asked me if she was being too demanding insisting they spend the day together (thereby cutting into his time with his family), and I didn’t want to say she was, but I had to be honest so I told her the truth.  I understood both of their points of view though – he felt that romance shouldn’t be just about one day and she wanted to be together for their first Valentine’s.  Honestly, if the guy is romantic and caring all year round, I don’t need a special day for him to prove that to me and he shouldn’t need that from me either.  I’ve experienced the Valentines day where you get a dozen red roses and all that, and its really nice, but I believe its the little things that a guy does all year around that matters to me most.

Anyways, I spent the day downtown on Friday.  I figured it would be nice to walk along Queen street.  I haven’t been in the area since the end of summer.  I started my walk from the Eaton Centre, where I had parked my car, and walked all the way to Spadina and back.  Between University and Spadina is where all the stores and restaurants are.  I was surprised to notice that many of the retail stores had closed down since the summer.  It really is a reflection on how the economy is in Canada.  Its not as bad as the U.S. but we’re affected.  This stretch of Queen street has always been vibrant and scattered with great specialty shops and big name shops where you could get things that no one else sold in Toronto.  Its too bad that the area looks so sparse now.  Its not terrible, but its not the same.

I had a good walk, about 4 hours in total for the day.  It was good to get fresh air, and just enjoy the day out.  I’m going to miss having this free time when I get back to the work routine.

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IT’S COLD

Outside my place...lovely white snow

Outside my place...lovely white snow

Holy crap its cold.  Its the wear a wool sweater over a few shirts, a pair of long johns underneath your pants, a scarf, gloves, a hat, thick socks, boots with lining and a big bomber jacket kinda of cold.  Brrrrrr!!!!

Yesterday, I was out grabbing lunch, and made a detour to the bookstore.  I’ve been reading books like a madwomen and was running out so I needed to replenish..no, really!  So, anyways, it didn’t seem so cold, probably cause I was only in and out, but also because there wasn’t a breeze, so I couldn’t feel the nip as much.

When I got home and finished my lunch, I was restless, I needed some fresh air.  Now, a normal person wouldn’t venture out on such a cold day for a walk, but apparently I am not a normal person and bundled myself up, plugged in the iPod and off I went.  Well, 15 minutes into my walk, I couldn’t feel my cheeks, they had frozen.  My feet were following close behind because again, not a normal person, my boots didn’t have a lining in them.  So, I detoured into the mall to get some warmth, and buy some chapstick cause the lips were feeling a bit dry, and ventured back out to finish my walk.  My usual 45 minute walk was reduced to just 30 minutes yesterday.  I think I would have frozen if I hadn’t cut it short.

The forecast is saying it’ll be cold for a few more days.  I won’t be going for a walk today or tomorrow cause I’ll be busy, but it won’t deter me from taking my walks in the future.  Yeah, I froze my ass off, but it just means I’ll have to bundle up better.  You can’t let a little cold weather stop you from doing stuff.  Its like the obstacles you face in life, either you let them get you down, or you keep on trudging along.  I’d rather keep on going, its the challenges you face in life that make you stronger.  (how has a blog about the cold become so philosophical?  LOL)

ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO REOPENED

Courtesy of the AGO

Courtesy of the AGO

When I was young, I remember going to the AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, and looking at the various exhibits there.  I didn’t understand it much at the time, but I could appreciate that I was looking at something not only was artistically appealing but had a story behind it.  The next time I was there was many, many years later with a family friend who was visiting.  That was the last time I stepped into the AGO – more than 15 years ago.  I’ve driven by it, wanted to visit, but time just rushes past you and you forget. 

I read an article online today that they were reopening the AGO.  It had been under construction for quite awhile now, three years?  Its a bit of a landmark on Dundas and Beverly.  The grand opening is tomorrow and for the weekend they are going to have free admission.  I’d love to go this weekend, but unfortunately, I have plans on Saturday and Sunday.  So, I’ll just go another day and pay for it.  I think its worth it, especially considering who designed it.  And, there are some interesting exhibits going on right now that I’d like to see.

So, who designed it?  I was surprised to learn it was designed by Frank Gehry.  Famous Canadian architect currently living in California.  I’ve admired his work for many years, so I’m happy they choose a Canadian, and a famous architect to boot, to design the new AGO.  I went to the Experience Music Project in Seattle about 6 years ago and loved it.  It was definitely an experience.  And, of course, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millenium Park.  His signature style can definitely be seen in both of these designs.

I don’t think I can get any of my friends to go with me to the AGO, except for one friend who likes the arts like me.  I suspect the new building has revitalized the neighbourhood.  The area stirs up a lot of good memories for me, and I was even around there about a month ago but was in such a rush that I didn’t stop to see the progress on the building, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks now all completed.

Funny how something like this stirs up old memories long gone that can still make you smile.  Call me sentimental.

DOWNTOWN LOVING

The fall colours are starting to pop-up all around the city.  Summer has barely ended and now the changing of the season is starting.  I was driving down the DVP on the weekend going to meet-up with my friend and her family for lunch when I noticed all the vibrant colours.  I don’t know what it is about the fall colours, but it always, and I mean always, puts a smile on my face.  The vibrancy always takes my breath away.

So, I met-up with my friend at this restaurant we go to every couple of years.  We always order the same things and it serves up good seafood.  The restaurant is located in this funky part of downtown, Baldwin Street, near the Grange area for those of you Torontonians who may read this. 

I don’t go to this area a lot, in fact its probably been 3 years since I’ve been in the area.  I mean, I worked downtown just until 5 months ago, but I never ventured into the area while I was working downtown.  This street use to be crazy busy.  It doesn’t seem that way anymore.  Its filled with eclectic little shops and restaurants, but some of them have been removed and in its place are townhouses and a parking lot for the Silversteins in the area.  

After lunch, I ventured into Yung Sing Pastry (thank god its still there!).  Back in the day, I would walk Baldwin after church (when I use to go) and then go to the pastry shop and get the best veggie buns and veggie spring rolls you’ve ever had.  It use to be packed in there.  When I went there this weekend, it was really quiet – just me.  I’m hoping its just because it was chilly out and not a reflection on the fact that the area has changed so much over the years.

It’s ventures into such areas of Toronto that reinforce to me the reasons why I love Toronto.  Like I’ve said before, I have this love/hate thing with the city, but when I’m downtown and there are fall colours to be seen, my dislike just fades.  I hate to admit it, but I think I’m a true downtown dweller.  I could wander for miles, there’s just so much to see.  Hm….  😉

TDOT LOVE/HATE

I have a love/hate relationship with Toronto.  I left the tdot back in late 1996 only to return in 2003.  It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made returning back to Toronto.  It was much easier to leave than to come back.  This is by no way an insult to Toronto, but leaving Toronto was made with the intention of not coming back, so deciding to come back was tough.

I love the buzz of Toronto, but its also what I hate about it.  Living 6 years in the west coast has made me appreciate the serenity of things and to take a moment to breath and live life.  Everything is at a much slower pace there and I learned to embrace it.

What else do I love about Toronto?  The beaches, St. Lawrence Market, Distillery District, Eaton Centre (it was my life back in the university days – oh the memories!), Harbourfront, Toronto Zoo, Art Gallery of Ontario, Centre Island, Old Chinatown (not as it is now, but back in the day).  The great restaurants and the different ethnicity’s represented here.

My hate for the city is what its become, too big for its britches.  And just the sheer craziness of the streets now.  I feel like it’s a task to do simple things like driving downtown.  Before I left Toronto it was never an issue, didn’t have to worry about traffic and now?  There is always traffic on the dvp.  How it’s changed.  And the climate, so much more pollution than before.  Personally, well, my life has completely changed since coming back.  I feel almost like an outsider, better now than when I first returned, but the feeling remains.

Anyways, I’m not really whining or griping about anything in particular, but I was just thinking about what the next few years will bring for me.  It reminds me that I have a lot of things to accomplish in order to reach a few goals I’ve set for myself.