Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Toronto: We've Been Expecting You

After living in Michigan for more than seven years, I've visited Canada one time. Okay "visited" is too strong a word. I ran there during the 2010 Detroit Marathon. Up until this past weekend it was my one and only time on Canadian soil. My husband loves Canada, and it's become a bone of contention that I always want to go SOUTH instead of north when we travel. This past weekend, after a rough few weeks, we decided to head up to Toronto.

Toronto is just over a five hour drive from Lansing, and we needed a change of scenery. After over a month of not traveling, including canceling two races and two trips, we needed to get away.

It was mid-afternoon when we arrived in Toronto. Our random hotel pick the night before turned out pretty well. We were right near the St. Lawrence Market/Old Town area. We dropped our bags and headed out to explore downtown Toronto (just over a mile away). Our first stop was the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for those of us who are not Canada-literate) store because it was closed on Saturday. We bought a few small things and then back to the St. Lawrence Market. It was amazing. It was unequivocally the best city market we'd ever seen. There were so many vendors selling everything from meat to desserts. It was fantastic.

National Geographic agrees with my assessment!
We had a cocktail and then headed out to Richmond Station for dinner. This place was INSANELY good. I had a delicious cabernet and the special - duck confit. It was the best food I've ever had. Ever. It was amazing. Completely worth every penny. The atmosphere and service was also fantastic. I would highly recommend to anyone going to Toronto.

We ran a quick 3-miles on Saturday morning through the streets of downtown. It is the most diverse city I've seen - people of different cultures everywhere. It was evident during our run how many different cultures were represented in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. There is also public art and green space everywhere. 
Toronto is a city that is very welcoming to other cultures and displays it everywhere. Banners on street lights have a slogan I love: we've been expecting you.  Toronto attracts all different types of people and it's part of what makes it an amazing destination.


On Saturday we discovered a fantastic city event - Woofstock. Woofstock is North America's largest festival for dogs (and in our case dog-loving humans). They closed a large part of Front Street near downtown and there were vendors and dogs of all shapes and sizes crowding the streets. We all know I'm a dog fan, and I loved it. We have huge dogs, and I couldn't get over how many giant dogs there were - Mastiffs, St. Bernards, Great Danes. It was awesome.

A Bearded Collie rocking the obstacle course at Woofstock

I love the dogs that got in the fountain.

We had lunch in the Distillery District just outside of downtown. It was a very cool space that was repurposed into restaurants, shops, galleries and other cool spaces. And we walked. And walked, and walked, and walked. We covered miles of downtown Toronto, and we loved every bit of it.

Shots from the Distillery District
Saturday night we had dinner closer to the hotel and stopped for gelato and espresso on the way back. It was an early evening, but after all the walking we'd done we were exhausted.

On Sunday morning we went to mass at St. Michael's Cathedral near downtown. The church was ornate and I was once again struck by the diversity represented in those attending mass. Afterward we walked around the corner to The Senator Restaurant, an adorable diner that boasts being Toronto's oldest restaurant. Our food and service were both fantastic. 

Before we left town we headed to the old Maple Leaf Gardens where the Toronto Maple Leafs used to play. We didn't even realize that we had unknowingly run by it the morning before. It was my husband's birthday, and I think it was his favorite gift to get to go inside the Gardens.

Toronto is a great city with so much culture, diversity and things to do. We could've spent weeks there checking everything out.  After a rough few weeks I really needed a vibrant city, some good food and time with my great love to get my groove back.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you guys had a great trip. Chris said that we would love Toronto. I'd love to check it out!