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: