A tale of feathers, glitter, and street meat: August Long Weekend in Toronto.
Alright Toronto. You're sort of the best. (And if you know anything about Canadians, you'd know an admission such as this from a former Ottawan? Ottawa-onian? Ottawa-nite? that's kind of totally a major). Torontonians are friendly (contrary to what the rest of the country believes) more people held doors for me and made allowances for my sub-par stroller pushing skills here than anywhere else. Plus, shops, restaurants, parks, subway trains, museums, street dogs, streetcars, and general big city magnificence.
After a solid week of gogogogo in Ottawa, Stella and I choo-chooed our way back to the big city. We holed up in some swanky digs for a few days, pretending like we belonged there, before being reunited with Mr. Chef after his long trip across the ocean.
It was a glorious (if somewhat tantrum-filled) three days.
And now, get your boots on. It's time for a pictorial representation of Toronto, round two:
+++We happened to land in Toronto just in time for Caribana, which is the most joyfully exuberant celebration of Caribbean culture (plus glitter, feathers, and sparkles.) We headed down to Lakeshore Drive to watch the parade and catch up with an old friend, who noted that this event is basically a conglomeration of people of all shapes, sizes, and genders dressed in bikinis. No body shame. None. Totally refreshing.
It should also be noted that on the morning of the parade, three gentlemen dressed in nothing more than hot pants, feathers, and body glitter were spotted in the lobby of our totally posh/stuffy hotel (Yorkville, in case you're wondering.) I knew from that moment that it would be an amazing day.
+++A certain three year old slept through the whole show. This, in spite of the fact that we were literally five meters from these gigantic speakers. What followed, however, was behavioural proof that daytime naps and the subsequent late bedtimes do not agree with our little. (OMG. Tantrums. Nervous breakdown etc.)
+++Baby's first streetmeat. (Also, first ever experience of hotdogs and the golden triumvirate of ketchup + mustard + relish.)
+++While eating our dogs, we happened upon this fantastic group of students funding their education via quarters from passing pedestrians. They played all the hits (most notably Gangnam Style, points from the Aisan team) on the trombone and sax-a-ma-phone. Totally Stella's jam.
+++we hit up a park together with Mr. Chef where Stella demonstrated her new found skill of taking off her pants. Not long after, she took off the rest of her clothing and bolted clear to the other side of the park. I'd like to point out that this new skill was acquired thanks to her three year old second cousin, to whose mother I am no longer speaking. <-- that part is a joke. We're still on speaking terms. Though she could make the whole thing up to me by offering up her recipe for healthy peanut butter cups.
+++Two nights in a row we enjoyed overpriced Yorkville ice cream. This is where I discovered that my poor (nominally) Canadian child has been sheltered far too long in Asia. She asked for her ice cream in "One of da holdy things."
+++The morning we left, we had a lovely room service breakfast (c/o the hotel chef; it's good to know people in kitchens) who got wind that we were leaving on the eve of my birthday. So, cake for breakfast.
Toronto. I love you and your overpriced ice cream. I really do. And I'll be back for three glorious days before we head back to the East Side.
(NB, Kate gets 10 gold stars and also good food karma for her recommendation of Pizza Libretto. Game changing pizza. Additional Toronto food recs gladly accepted in the comments.)