You Don’t Need a Barrel in this Town

Less than 48 hours isn’t a great amount of time to assess Canada’s largest city and North America’s fifth largest metropolitan area. Doesn’t mean I can’t try. I flew into Toronto for a work function, arriving to the hotel at 8:30pm Monday night last week.

The work schedule was hectic for my two brief days in town. On Tuesday I worked from 12:00-2:30pm and 5:30-9:30pm. Wednesday morning I had to be back to the convention centre at 6:30am until 8:30am. Needless to say I didn’t have much free time to really learn more about Toronto. However, my hotel was nicely situated in a busy part of town.

My first free block of time I met up with a fellow blogger who happens to call Toronto home, Airam. We grabbed a bite to eat, chatted about the town, chugged some coffee, and then did a little shopping for Anna. Check out this cute hat! It was nice to meet Airam and have her show me around the area, without getting hit by passing motorists.

Tuesday night, six of us who pounded the convention centre pavement all day, went to Michelle’s Brasserie. Somehow, I was able to wrestle myself out of bed on Wednesday morning around 6:18am. Damn the time zone differences. I met my co-worker in the hotel lounge and caught a cab to the convention centre. I could barely keep my eyes open, yet this was our busiest session at the show. I had many opportunities to speak French which is precisely why I was in Toronto in the first place. I was the “pistole d’embauché”. After Tuesday night’s work concluded, a wicked sore throat developed. Curses French language! (bring it Brandy)

When the trade show closed down Wednesday, I was finally free to move about the city. I went back to my hotel and crashed for about 45 minutes, showered, packed my belongings, and checked my two bags at the hotel counter.

For the next two hours I wandered around town. Without a doubt, this is my favourite custom in new cities. I love exploring new cities on foot to see what it has to offer. I discovered my hotel had a large city park on each end. Each park hosted live music during the lunch hours as locals enjoyed musical and gastronomical offerings. One of the parks featured a bustling farmer’s market. Peeled ears of corn apparently were the veggie du jour.

I conducted some people watching over coffee and a smoothie. Toronto is a diverse city ethnically, a huge plus in my book. The people were friendly and I felt really comfortable and safe. I didn’t feel out of place even though I’ve only been there once before. The previous visit was ten years ago at the tail end of my legendary 1998 road trip. (more on that in about 10 days).

All in all, I had two great days in Toronto. I was bummed my stay was so short and my work hours were inflexible. Considering my sleep deprivation and nature of business, I’d still do it all over again. I give Toronto a favourable review based on what I saw in my ten block radius.

Oops, a few mishaps during my visit:

  • Inadvertently used a woman’s bathroom. Couldn’t figure out why they were so many stalls. Duh.
  • Ordered a “cesar” and got a cocktail. I did get my cesar salad and a tad bit drunk because I’m a lightweight.
  • Much to the chagrin of a convention centre patron, I didn’t know where “Canada’s Prettiest Town” Goderich, Ontario was located. He’s very proud of his hometown and now you can learn more than you thought possible about Goderich, it’s yours to discover!

  • About lessinges

    Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
    This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

    26 Responses to You Don’t Need a Barrel in this Town

    1. Airam says:

      So much fun! And come on, like I’d let you get hit by passing motorists! They are used to people walking in the middle of the streets. That hat looks soo cute on Anna! Can’t wait to see what the rest of her outfit looks like. Oh and I hope you gave that Goderich loving guy my message!

    2. Amanda says:

      That sure sounds hectic but also a lot of fun. Whenever I’m in a new city, I’m always on foot but its because I’m out looking for food to try. I love eating in new places! (Then I regret it when the trip is over and find that I didn’t work in any exercise)

    3. brandy says:

      I’m not even going to touch the “my throat was sore because I spoke French” you know my feelings on that. Actually, you already know my feelings on a lot of this post. We should stop talking so my comments are more interesting.
      Glad you enjoyed the city, and I love that you gave Goderich a shout out. I hope people notice the Shakespeare love that goes on in that town.

    4. Gwen says:

      Now how will I choose which Canadian city to visit: Toronto or Goderich?

    5. ms chica says:

      Time zone hopping isn’t for everyone.

    6. logo™ says:

      Sounds like a busy and good trip, LOVE the little hat on Anna, although it did make my kids think of Chowder, from some cartoon. Don’t ask me, I don’t know.

    7. egan says:

      Airam – Goderich is the shit! It’s Ontario’s West Coast! That’s their claim at least. Those cars were very close to my feet. Crosswalks are overrated I say. You’ll see the rest of her outfit in no time. We have to wash it first. Psst, did you notice my post was entirely in Canadian English? I’m a nice guy.
      Amanda – yep, without fail I always feel stuffed after traveling. New restaurants, airplane food, and no exercise tend to cause these feelings. How’s Australia treating you?
      Brandy – Goderich, Ontario has probably received more attention from my blog today than it did all day yesterday on its own. Or not. It’s not like heaps of people are reading my blog lately and I’m okay with that.
      Gwen – there’s no need to choose. Do them both as Goderich is only 2-3 hours away. You can have it all and should.
      Ms Chica – I bet you feel like a time traveler with some of your spontaneous trips to foreign lands.
      Logo™ – Chowder? Are you watching kids shows again? Busy I was. Glad to be home.

    8. tori says:

      You used centre, favourable, and favourite but you didn’t sneak in my favorite one…colour.
      Sounds like a great time. Did they find your bag then? Since originally you said the hat was in the lost suitcase and now it is on Anna’s head. She’s adorable and I’m glad you had a great time!

    9. egan says:

      Tori – I see you caught my Canadianisms. I didn’t use colour only because it never came up in the original post. I modified the post after I wrote it out to include the Canadian spellings. They did track down my bag and flew it out to Seattle on the same flight the following day. Anna’s new hat was in my carry-on so it was never lost. The passport, work laptop, and all other gifts from Airam were in the lost bag.

    10. Pants says:

      Very cool that you were able to meet up with Airam!
      That hat is adorable!
      I walked into the men’s restroom in the SLC airport a few months back…totally wasn’t paying attention and a bunch of them yelled, “WRONG BATHROOM!” Whoops.

    11. egan says:

      Pants – yeah, it’s weird because in Canada the sign outside the bathroom showed a person in a triangular dress. I, for some reason, assumed that meant it was a men’s bathroom. Stupid me. I got to stop watching America’s Next Top Model.

    12. Cléa says:

      I love new city experiences! Even the mishaps add a local flavour. But going into the Ladies, come on… they can’t be that different in Canada! Unless it was a deliberate faux pas…
      That photo is a cutie! And I’m so pleased the meeting went very well, and you were in good hands by the sounds of it.
      I would gladly meet with you if you ever came to my town.

    13. egan says:

      Cléa – it would be really cool to make it to Sydney some day. Crazier things have happened.
      The bathroom thing was a bit embarrasing. I was really out of it. Thankfully nobody was really at the convention centre. I was truly in awe looking at all the stalls. The odd thing is I think a dude walked right in after I did. Canada is like so weird.

    14. justrun says:

      Way to make the most of the trip! Here’s to getting drunk off salad … or something. Lightweights unite. 🙂

    15. qt says:

      Toronto is supposed to have great restaurants – definitely on my list of places to visit. Tho I don’t know ANY French…

    16. Airam says:

      QT – just don’t go to the Thai place we went to.

    17. Diane Mandy says:

      How could you possibly mistake the women’s room for the men’s room? Do tell!

    18. egan says:

      Justrun – well there are many folks who say salad isn’t healthy for you and this adds fuel to their fire. So you’re a lightweight too? Awesome.
      QT – as if you need to speak any French, don’t be silly. Toronto isn’t Montréal.
      Airam – darn right about that. The noodle place wasn’t so good. I guess it sort of makes sense being that it’s right across the street from a college.
      Diane Mandy – lack of sleep. I saw the sign, but as I approached the bathroom there wasn’t a visible sign since there were two separate entrances quite a ways apart. Don’t worry, no grunting was heard and no eyeliner was being applied.

    19. brookem says:

      sounds like a good trip! live music for people during their lunch hour? sounds like my kind of city. plus the corn on the cob? id be in heaven.
      that hat looks quite adorable on miss annabelle! love it!

    20. egan says:

      Brookem – I think you’d like any town. You’re pretty cool like that. There’s much to explore there and rumor has it there’s quite the night life.

    21. sari says:

      We visited Toronto once and really enjoyed visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame! My oldest son was a little under two at the time (so he flew free, yay) and I remember at one point he was sitting on the sidewalk and my husband and I were marveling at HOW CLEAN the sidewalk was and that we didn’t care at all if he sat on it.
      Unlike our own sidewalk at home, which we probably would’ve hosed down about ten times first, but then again, he was our first child. The third, well, we let him eat things off of the floor.

    22. sari says:

      PS Love the hat!
      I think everyone should wear hats.

    23. egan says:

      Sari – I did notice the clean sidewalks as well. I thought people seemed respectful to others. I didn’t see anyone giving dirty looks, but I might have had my pro-Canada goggles on.
      I was pretty close to the hockey hall of fame, but didn’t have enough time to go there. Maybe next time.
      Yes, everyone should wear hats. Do you believe guys should wear hats?

    24. Rae says:

      Ah Ceasar’s…..Canada’s version of the bloody mary (except made with Clamato…yes, one part tomoato and one part clam juice!) A nice little drink for some. Too bad we couldn’t meet up – we could have parlez’ed le francais all night long!

    25. egan says:

      Rae – well, it’s quite possible I will be making visits to Toronto (and other parts of Canada) in the coming months. It was a really tasty drink and accompanied my Boddington rather nicely. Oui, un jour nous pouvons parler!

    26. sari says:

      Yes, I believe everyone should wear hats, girls and guys.

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