Archive for the ‘Trips’ Category

To the Island

Friday, September 4th, 2009

A returning ferry crosses our path.

from the ferry 2


A great crossing

Friday, September 4th, 2009

It is a lovely trip across the habour to Center Island. A few sail boats float in the water while light planes cross overhead to the Island airport.

From the ferry 1


Toronto Island bound…

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Having grabbed some lunch in the Eaton Center, we pick up the car from the underground garage next door (read the post about driving downtown) and head for the Ferry Docks.

The Hotel was kind enough to have a discount card for the Island Ferry, and one of the reasons we came to Toronto now rather than earlier in the Summer was that the municipal strike in early Summer would have prevent our trip to the Island.

We park conveniently close to the ferry dock and are on board the ferry quickly.

On the ferry


Geese with lunch

Friday, September 4th, 2009

The food court in the Eaton Center offers a nice overhead experience. These geese are the best for flying over your lunch since they can not bomb you…



The big stores

Friday, September 4th, 2009

A guy, especially one over 30, would no doubt not know this, but there are important stores that are not represented in Ottawa, or whose goods have abysmal selections available in Ottawa. There are likes of Hollisters and Abercrombie and Fitch.

According to girls, one must check out their fine goods in real cities and real malls.


The shopping, however, proved frustratingly unfruitful.


What do ya’ mean you don’t drive downtown?

Friday, September 4th, 2009

I should also mention the difference among people on driving in the city.

Many will say – you are downtown, just take the subway which is 50 feet from the hotel and leave the car underground.

They are crazy.

First, I am a driver, meaning I take the car everywhere I can and feel uncomfortable without it available.

Second, I am from Toronto, even having driven a cab there in very young and crazy days, so I am very comfortable driving there.

Third, once you factor in several transit fares these days, parking is not much more.

Forth, carrying stuff on the subway or bus is yuck, and you can’t take extra stuff just in case with the car.

Fifth, you can’t easily change plans and equipment on a whim.

And lastly, parking in downtown Toronto is both easier and cheaper than in Ottawa.

Conclusion, IMO you are out of your mind to not drive downtown.


Another day begins

Friday, September 4th, 2009

We start the day as is our tradition now in Toronto with coffee, conversation and people watching from the window of Starbuck’s at College and Young.

Later I need cash and search for the location of the nearest RBC machine. The wireless internet in Hotel is taking a coffee break (grrrrrr),


so I must regress to the phone book. This reminds me that the phone book is now organized by a company wishing to discourage its use. I give up eventually and we leave for the Eatons Center with hopes of seeing an RBC branch.

As I emerge from the hotel parking garage I come face to face with an RBC branch, just about half a block from our coffee stop every morning . I go in, wondering how we didn’t notice it.

Off the Eatons Center…


Sound of Music

Friday, September 4th, 2009

The Sound the Music performance was wonderful – well beyond expectations! Our box seats turned out to be actual velvet wing chairs instead of theater seats, with perfect sight lines and sound. What a treat.

The cast was superb and we couldn’t have asked for more.


We loved every minute of it. The standing ovation was much deserved. An incredible evening.



Friday, September 4th, 2009

After going back to the Hotel to shower, eat and dress, it is off to the theater for the evening.

Princesss of Wales Theater

The Mirvish Princess of Wales Theater is one of the wonderfully restored theaters owned by the Mirvish family (founder of Honest Ed stores). It is classic beauty inside and out, like its sister theater the Royal Alex just down the block (where we saw Dirty Dancing last year). The Mirvish production company generally alternates offerings between the two theaters throughout the year.


We love it

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Clearly we love the Beaches area. It would a wonderful place to live (if ya’ have million bucks to buy a house )…


Lynette wants to move here immediately. Toronto has so many places like this to spend time at little cost and great enjoyment.



On the boardwalk

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Makes me think of the 70’s song of the same name. Beautiful sand, old pavilions, adults, kids and dogs. A bit of heaven in the city.

Lynette’s comment is that there is nothing like this in Ottawa, and she is absolutely right.

We spend part of the afternoon strolling along, watch people and dogs play (there is an off leash area of the beach for dogs) and sitting on a bench watching the lake. The lake is wide enough that you can not see the other side, so it might as well be the ocean.

The occasional boat floats by in the distance. The city is a thousand miles, yet on 2 blocks, away.


Heading beach-ward…

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Shopped out for now, we head for The Beaches for the afternoon. The Beaches area, below Queen Street east of downtown, is an idllyic neighbourhood. In the early 1900s it was likely the Summer vacation area of Toronto, served then and now by the Queen Street street car directly from downtown. Beautiful old houses, sand beach and a several kilometer boardwalk, all minutes from downtown. Queen street in that area is a mix of cafes and folksy California type shops and spas.


Lynette wears the hat that she just bought in Kensington.

I lived in the Beaches for a while in about 1970. Except for more eclectic shops, and house prices changing from 1000s to millions, it looks wonderfully the same, with same ‘not in the city’ feel.


A hat to love…

Friday, September 4th, 2009

We lunch at a little cafe and go back to a shop to pick up a hat that I loved earlier…


We go back to the car to find to our delight that, as last year, downtown parking in Toronto is not only easier to find but less expensive than in downtown Ottawa.


What wonderful mixture

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Lynette browses in many small clothing stops and such. By mid-morning I sit in a cafe patio on the street, drinking mint tea, listening to the reggae music from the down the street and watching the passing folks. It is bliss. Lynette continues to shop.

Market Streets


Shop ’till you drop

Friday, September 4th, 2009

We start our morning at Starbuck’s, watching the cast of people at College and Yonge.

Then off to Kensington market (SW of Spadina and College), just a few blocks from the hotel. We arrive just as the shops start to open around 10.

Kensington is a wonderfully crowded and random mix of ethnic fresh food shops, bakeries, cafes, vintage and eclectic clothing stores, cheese shops (180+ cheeses in one place with samples), vintage music stores, brightly painted Victorian houses converted to stores, and much, much more – all of which spill out onto and fill the front yards.

Kensington Shops

An incredible mix of sights, music, people and foods that defies description.