Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

5 Things to Do in Toronto Before You Die

I lived in Toronto for 6 years and have recently just moved to Vancouver. I was thinking back to all the awesome things I did in Toronto over the years and a few stuck out in my head. I wanted to have a link to send to people that are new to Toronto to introduce them to things that I really loved about the city. These are necessarily things like CNE, Leafs games or a trip up the CN Tower. These are things off the beaten track that are mostly known by locals if you talk to enough people. Hopefully you can experience a few of them during your time in Toronto. Let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Parade

Pumpkin parade

Lots of pumpkins

We heard that there was a spot in Toronto where everyone brings their pumpkins on the day after Halloween. I thought this sounded like a neat concept so we went to check it out. It is truly amazing to see everyone in the neighbourhood walking down the street, pumpkin in hard, heading to the park to display their unique jack o lantern. Apparently they get over 1,000 pumpkins lined up on Nov.1st every year. The pumpkins are picked up the next morning by the city and taken to be composted.

See Blog TO for more info on Pumpkin Parade

Outdoor Ice Skating

One of many outdoor rinks

I have never been a huge hockey player or even that good of an ice skater. The one thing I do love is getting outside on an outdoor rink. Many rinks have high costs for rentals or 100’s of 6 year olds falling in front of you after every turn. The great part about Toronto is there are tons of outdoor rinks all over the city offering free skating and shinny.  We would turn up for the night free skate and usually end up having the whole rink to ourselves. We could bring sticks, pass the puck around and really enjoy the outdoors.

Full list of rinks in Toronto

Saturday afternoon at Grossmans Tavern

Saturday afternoon at Grossmans

I had never heard of this pub up until December last year. My roommate told me that we were going to have an afternoon of drinking at Grossmans that would begin at 2pm. This was a little strange to me since I usually don’t go to pubs before 8pm… But I went anyway.  When we arrived, I found the place mostly filled with people over the age of 70 and rest were his friends at the back table. Here’s the deal – every Saturday Grossmans has a 12 piece Dixieland Jazz Band playing all afternoon. They are great and really get into the music. The best part of the show is the conga line of musicians and drunk patrons for the last song of the night (well, more like afternoon).

Info on Grossman’s Tavern

Ferry from the Island at Sunset

View of skyline coming back from Toronto Island

A few times when coming home from the island, I got to experience the Toronto skyline at sunset. It is really an amazing sight and I would recommend this to anyone who is sick of the hustle and bustle of the Toronto streets.

Full Ferry Schedule

Sunday brunch at Dakota Tavern

Sunday brunch at Dakota Tavern

If you are sick of eating over priced Eggs Benedict then this place is for you. Dakota Tavern hosts a Sunday brunch with a live Bluegrass band each week. The brunch is served ‘family style’ which means there are big bowls of food brought to your table. We had eggs, sausages, potatoes, fruit and pancakes. It was a decent meal but the atmosphere was great. I would suggest going right before they open at 11am. After they seat everyone waiting outside, the line starts…

Dakota Tavern website

Nuit Blanche 2010 – Toronto

The Nuit Blanche experience this year proved to be a great night. The rain held off and the crowds certainly came out in full force. I don’t have a lot of ‘culture’ in my day to day life so this night is always a very interesting experience. Since I really enjoy photography, I use this night as a way to take photos of some interesting art projects that I wouldn’t usually have access to.

We started our night on Bloor st around 8pm and couldn’t believe how many people were out already. We walked down Bloor and then hit Yorkville and fueled up with Starbucks. After that, we hopped on the TTC and got out at Yonge and Dundas square. We walked down Yonge, through the crazy crowds all the way to Front St. Now it was about 2am and we decided to take a pit stop at home. We finished the night at the Distillery where the crowd had really thinned out.

After 10 hours, 2 coffees, 1 subway, chinese food and A LOT of walking, here are some photos from the night. To see the full album of photos, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katedw/sets/72157625087824978/

Interactive lights at the Royal Conservatory of Music

Up close to the lights

The many smiling faces of Holts on Bloor

The Van on Yonge St

The Clown exhibit on Yonge

The Blue smoke at Yonge/Front

Making paper cranes out of sheet music at Brookfield Place

BuskerFest in Toronto

Tonight we went to check out BuskerFest in the St.Lawrence Market neighbourhood in Toronto. There are about 5 different buskers doing shows every hour covering everything from singing to clowns to fire throwing. Most are very entertaining but you have to be there very early or be very tall to see anything. As you can see from the title of my blog I’m not the tallest person out there. If you aren’t able to sit on your parents shoulders then forget seeing most of the entertainment. The other issue is the actual ‘busking’ and asking for money from the crowd. Since these entertainers aren’t paid by the event, they rely on donations after they preform. Several of the shows we watched were very pushy when asking for money and spent a lot of their show talking about it. It kind of ruined the mood, but I guess that is what busking is all about.

There were two parts of the event that really stood out for me. The food and the crazy amount of children on their parents shoulders. I found out that the best view in the house was definitely on someone’s shoulders. I think the event organizers should consider building some sort of staging area for them to stand on so they are visible to more than one row of people. I know it would ruin the whole ‘street busking’ feel but I think once you have corporate sponsors you should consider making the festival a little more friendly for the public. The choices for food were great. Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, gyros, hot dogs, thai food, crepes, fajitas, poutine, corn on the cob, funnel cake and much more. It was like the CNE but without the overpriced cover charge.

More info: http://www.torontobuskerfest.com/

Great day for a festival

Some like the busking... some just like the balloons

Acrobats over Winners on Front St.

Statue lady and a little lady

Little guy flying up high

Silver Elvis strikes again

Arizona Fire throwing Guy

Flame throwing guy