Friday, September 11, 2009

Tripping in Toronto--Final Segment, Last Day in Canada

On our last full day in Toronto, we decided to explore one of the city's distinctive neighborhoods. We never made it to Greektown, Little Italy, or Little India, but we did get to historic Cabbagetown. It was a nice walk from our hotel. Our first stop was Allan Gardens Park, where we spied some unusual black squirrels. Apparently they are common in midwestern North America...but we'd never seen one before.


I had to take a photo of this great public garbage bin, which not only had a receptacle for recycling, but also had one for cigarette butts. God bless the Canadians!!
Cabbagetown used to be an Irish slum--so called because they used to plant cabbages in their front yards. Now it is being gentrified--full of lovely old Victorian homes (and churches--below).

Here is Nick drinking a chocolate milk outside of a wonderful little food shop...one of his very favorite things in the world! We bribe him with chocolate milk.

Photos from our stroll:


The former home of the famous (and apparently quite eccentric) magician, Doug Henning:




We walked to Riverdale Park, where Nick and Kieran had a dip in the wading pool:


Riverdale Park contains a working farm in the middle of the city, Riverdale Farm...a lovely oasis in the heart of the city!






Had to take another photo of the recycling bin next to the trash bin!







Then we went to the old Necropolis, a historic cemetery. Mike and I love cemeteries, especially old ones. Chris refused to go in because he was "creeped out." I loved puttering around looking for the oldest gravestone I could find (1842)--strange since the cemetery opened in 1850. The grave must have been moved?





I had to take a photo of this one...since it was the first gravestone I've seen for a (presumably) gay couple. It turns out that Toronto is purported to be among the most gay-friendly cities in North America. (I have to comment, as well, that Toronto is the most cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse city I've ever visited--surpassing New York City, London, Paris, and Hong Kong).

After seeing the ubiquitous Tim Horton's everywhere, we had to try one out. Timmy's (as the Canadians call it) is famous for its donuts and coffee. We tried the donuts but skipped the coffee--I'm a coffee snob and didn't think I'd be satisfied. Instead I had an iced coffee at a local espresso shop.

The kids loved the donuts, but Mike wasn't crazy about his soup. The cashier got our order totally mucked up, so that soured us on the experience a bit.

Here is one of the few "beer stores" we saw (see earlier post about the liquor laws in Ontario).

This is the outside our hotel, the Grand.

And a view of our room (the bedroom portion, that is):

This is the best part of the hotel...the grand basement swimming pool, which we often had completely to ourselves!






The hotel also had a rooftop garden with two jacuzzis, and beautiful views of the city and lake:








Our last night in Toronto, we went to another popular Canadian restaurant with the odd name of "The Pickle Barrel." It was family friendly and fun. Mike with his mojito:



I lucked out, because I ordered a raspberry margarita...and the waiter brought my drink, but it didn't look (or taste) right. He returned five minutes later and asked me if I'd taken a sip. I said yes, and he whipped it away and said he'd inadvertently switched drinks with another table. I asked whether I could keep it (isn't that brazen of me!?), since I figured he was going to have to dump it. As typical with these types of restaurants, it wasn't very alcoholic...good thing with the size of the drinks...my raspberry margarita was much better than the blackberry pina colada. I always prefer tarter drinks...(and I did give Mike part of it!)
View from the rooftop garden at night:


The next day we headed back to Oregon, after a last morning swim in the pool. We had a wonderful time in Toronto, and we hope we can go back someday.

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