11 June 2012

Traveling to Toronto





hard to believe i'm in my mid forties and visiting canada for the first time, but it's true. i've been all over the states, and back and forth to europe a few times, but never crossed the borders to the north or south. it's a reasonable car trip to toronto from where we live, and dear friends living there makes it doubly attractive. it's a work-related trip as well, visiting a fabulous organization called the stop--an inspiration to all of us at mother hubbard's cupboard. the drive is easy when you take it in two days, and bracket it with mini-golf outings in toledo. cosmo is a brilliant traveler, entertains himself in the back seat, and manages to keep up with fiddle practice on the road.

motel room practice session


cosmo is most excited about the foreign money, but discovers there's much more to canada than loonies, toonies and bills with halograms:


















food growing in tiny front gardens (everywhere)
soundscapes on college street

papusas in kensington market (they bring a sleepy boy back to life)



kensington market




spadina ave

watching dumplings being made (by professionals rather than parents)
exotic fruits

rambutan

sugar apple, with dragon fruit in the background

globe upon chair upon post

street car

skate park and compost bins

compost bins in the park

 acrobatic friend in a backyard tree

chard/quinoa rolls from the stop's cookbook

double (double) rainbow (rainbow)...so intense
(it is hard to see the second one in this photo)

mango slush, pakoras, medhu vadai and many shades of pink...

nut house (a little natural foods shop)

cat in barber shop window

subway ride


there's a lot to love in toronto. what impresses me most is the multi-culture nature of the city. people from all over the world make their lives here, sharing food, arts and traditions from their homelands. walking down bloor street, near our friends' home, you hear many languages spoken, take in the aromas and flavors of ethiopian, indian, indo-caribean, korean, thai, salvadorian, italian, portuguese and persian  foods-- among many others. i was also struck with the way in which children (older ones) travel independently through the city, including the 13 year-old in the family we stayed with. she gets herself to and from school on her own (a good 20-30 minute walk) through dense urban terrain, and goes to lunch with friends in kensington market.  the street they live on is quiet and intimate--our friends are close with many of their neighbors, and move freely in and out of each other's homes (as do their kids), like a small-town neighborhood- yet they are less than a block from a bustling city street filled with restaurants, shops, and heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. the park is a few blocks away, and the library is just around the corner, as is the subway. what a life.

still, it is always nice to return home, to enjoy the contrast of our life with another sort, to inspect the progress in the garden, and visit with our own sweet neighbors.


note: this is not exactly the layout i would choose if i could figure out how to navigate the new blogger interface. i post so infrequently these days, i decided to just let it go, and hit "publish."



4 comments:

julie said...

Okay, Toronto sounds amazing! I love how you visited such awesome spots of local color--I tend to be a very tourist trap kind of traveler, who has to hit all the big sights, so I'm inspired by how much you saw of the REAL Toronto on your trip.

cake said...

thanks julie, i'm more interested in cities than i am in museums and attractions. i hate waiting in line for fabricated, faux-experiences. i enjoy walking around, getting on public transportation, just picking up the flavor of a place. staying with folks who live there helps a lot.

TeresaR said...

Wow, it's just like Vancouver, but...in Toronto! ;) Funny but when I was in TO 20 yrs ago, I never really appreciated it because I was so Vancouver-centric, but after being in B-ton, however nice it is, TO looks a lot more quaint now to me.

You're also making me reevaluate all the things that we do take for granted in Vancouver...all the exotic stuff that we sort of dismiss because I grew up there and the kids have been every year their entire lives. Maybe I'll look at it with new eyes when we're there next.

I love that photo of Cosmo with his guitar and I also love that the bins of stuff they sell on the street in TO are COVERED! That drives me nuts in Chinatown to see bins of food stuff uncovered. Even a clean city like Vancouver gets dusty and dirty on the streets.

TeresaR said...

Damn...I meant Cosmo and his fiddle.