Tagged: toronto

Brunch in the city

- by Alyson Shane

On a patio with fairy lights and plants hanging overhead

Nestled at a little table for two, just for me

Between a dad with tattoos on his arms and salt and pepper hair

(When did parents all start to look my age?)

talking to his son about zombie games

“You gotta get the sniper rifle, Dad! Otherwise you can’t take ‘em down in one shot”

and a couple debating a career change.

“I’d love to teach music with Bruce but I also want a job that pays

so I can, y’know

buy stuff.”

Clinking of spoons on the same ceramic coffee cups you find everywhere

A staple of every diner or slightly dive-y restaurant or bar.

The air smells like Clamato and Tabasco sauce and peameal bacon.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been alone for this long,

Away from my city, from my man
I forgot how easy it is to blend in and just 
Be a bystander to other people’s lives.

Little universes playing out over plates of waffles and over-easy eggs.

Tags: Life Toronto


A weekend in the Big Smoke

- by Alyson Shane

It's been almost a month since I've blogged because October has been busier than expected. 

Between going to Leigh's cabin at the end of September
leaving for Falcon Lake the following weekend
then going to Toronto last weekend 

I've barely had time to breathe or focus on anything else other than 

prepping to leave
being gone
coming back
and prepping to leave again.

The weeks blurred together in a way that makes it hard to remember when one thing ended and another began, but last weekend was one for the record books because John, Adam and I were in Toronto to see Loop Daddy aka Marc Rebillet. 

I scored us a super cute AirBnB in the heart of Trinity-Bellwoods

(my favourite part of Toronto besides Kensington Market) 

and we spent our days walking around the city, soaking up everything there was to see

(RIP Adam's feet)

We landed late on Thursday night but managed to skip over to Bellwoods Brew Co. for a nightcap and I fell back in love with the city and how late everything in Toronto stays open. 

We cheers'd and tried sours and stouts and IPAs laughed until our faces hurt and it felt like coming home.

The next morning I woke up early so I could go visit my Grandma

usually I only get to see her once a year, maybe
but over the past two months I've seen her three times
and I'll always be thankful for it
since she's 100, now, and I'm more aware than I've ever been that every visit might be our last.

(Hug your loved ones close.)

It was a hot, sunny day so I grabbed a coffee and walked the 2.5 hour walk from Trinity-Bellwoods to Yonge & Eglinton where she lives.

Sure I could have taken the subway but I wanted to soak in the city. 

I listened to the new Taylor Swift and CRJ albums
walked through parks where old Asians were doing tai chi
past a skate park where a bunch of dudes were practicing on the half-pipe
next to a dog park filled with doggos of every shape and size
skipping over streetcar tracks
peering into all the little shops and stores

and getting a booty workout because (holy heck) I forgot how hilly my favourite city can be.

I had lunch with my Grandma and Aunt and held my Grandma's hand
and cried
and hugged her
and told her I love her
over and over and over

because I do, and I miss her.

After we'd said our goodbyes I met up with John and Adam at Bar Volo that was doing a cask tasting event and drank too many tasty beer samples

(or just enough depending on how you look at it)

before we walked to Kensington Market and I hagged for $50 off a stunning leather jacket with faux fur that gives me big 90's vibes.

We stopped in for a couple more beers in the Market then gorged on Thai food at a place in Chinatown before catching an Uber to Meridian Hall to see Jim Gaffigan

(whose intensely white sneakers almost blinded me.)

Even though John fell asleep in the Uber back to our AirBnB we somehow managed to find a second wind and stayed out wandering around and soaking up the city until after 2 AM. 

On Saturday we engaged "maximum tourist mode" and went to see the fishies at the Ripley's Aquarium before heading back to our AirBnB to get dressed for Marc Rebillet

(Us, being chuffed)

The show was at a big bar called REBEL which was in a part of Toronto I'd never been to before

(it's apparently where Drake hangs out? Weird flex but ok)

so we snapped some photos of the skyline before filing into one of the biggest bars I've ever been in. It had

a crazy lighting system that moved up and down
stripper poles everywhere
huge bird cages to dance in
a crazy AV setup behind the stage
these jets that sprayed cold air onto the crowd as we danced

which is a revolutionary idea that all bars should start doing.

After the show we swapped our housecoats for jackets we prowled around the city again, splitting some beers in Trinity-Bellwoods Park

(one of my traditions since forever)

walking to The Horseshoe and catching a terrific cover band and going for late-night dim sum at one of my favourite spots

(which I can find while under the influence in the dead of night but never during the day, it seems)

and we made Adam try cuttlefish and a bunch of other stuff I'm sure he didn't like as much as we did.

(Sorry/not sorry, Adam)

On Sunday, our last day, we slept in (understandably).

Adam went for a burger and we went for sushi before meeting up to check out some breweries and some incredible live blues at The Rex

(another tradition)

where we split some nachos that would put Carlos & Murphy's to shame

(sorry/not sorry Winnipeg) 

before grabbing some teppanyaki, more craft beer, and finally crashing early to wake up at 3:30 AM (uuuugh) to catch our early-morning flight back to Winnipeg.

As our Uber rolled through the streets of the big city I tried to stay awake and watch the buildings go by. 

Remember the shapes, colours, and weird facades on all the mixed-use space

the brick exteriors and front porches

the looming towers made of steel and glass.

I'm always to happy come to Toronto. It's been my favourite city since I was a kid

but holy heck am I glad to be home.


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