Toronto: April 4-7, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Courtney’s cousin Michael got married in Toronto so we made it into a long weekend trip.  We left at 6:45 and had a really easy 4 1/2 hour drive with no problems. We were able to check into Sheraton Town Centre when we arrived at 11:30. It is a nice large business hotel right in the middle of downtown.  We had a room up on 37th floor with a nice view.

After settling in we walked towards the Ontario art museum and stopped for lunch at a place called Sin and Redemption across the street from the museum. It was a small pub with a nice selection of beers. Courtney had a Leffe Blonde and I had a xxx which was from Canada and never heard of. It was very tasty. I had mussels et frites and Courtney had a grilled veggie wrap.  All were good. We visited the art museum for about an hour and a half. It was recently redone by Frank Ghery and the space was very interesting. The 5 story wooden winding staircase going through the atrium was beautiful. I also liked the gallery of Henri Moore sculpture. We then walked towards Yonge / Dundas where we sat in the sun soaking in the heat (it was cold). We walked through the huge Eaton mall which had every store on the face of the earth. They had a really nice book store that we spent some time in as bookstores don’t seem to exist too much any more. We walked through the Union Bay department store and then back to the hotel for a short siesta. We went up to the top floor club lounge for cocktails where the views were great and they had nice appetizers as well. We were deciding if we should go to the Blue Jays game as they were playing the Indians or if we should go out to dinner. As it just didn’t seem like baseball season we opted to go out to dinner instead. I know… big surprise.  We went to  a place called The Spice Route that I picked after perusing Open Table a few days ago. It was on West King, about a 15 minute walk. We had mojitos and then sushi, dumplings and some other asian goodies.  Good stuff and cool place.  After dinner we stopped at this huge camping store that had great stuff. Courtney ended up buying a bag and we bought a Nalgene bottle top. Such excitement. We made it back to the hotel and quickly crashed after a long day.

Interesting art gallery on the way to art museum
Outside of the Ontario Art Gallery. This is the new wing designed by Frank Gehry – a Toronto native.
The inside of the previous shot. Very beautiful space.
I love Courtney’s hair in this one 🙂
The staircase growing up out of the roof.
Detail going up staircase. Every angle was different. So beautiful.
Henri Moore sculpture.
View from our hotel cocktail lounge

Friday, April 5, 2013

We had a nice continental breakfast on the club floor and were out the door by 9:00 to explore. We walked down toward the old part of Toronto, stopping at a coffee shop on the way to recaffeinate and to use wi-fi to make sure the kids were doing what they were supposed to be doing. Our mobiles were on roaming the whole time.  We were communicating with the kids and Courtney’s family who were all coming in at different times via wi-fi text which was kind of a pain when we were out and about. We are indeed spoiled.  We walked through the St. Lawrence market which is a huge city market with lots of produce, meat, flowers and everything. We were there kind of early so there wasn’t much action, but it was a cool place with lots of history.  We then kept walking east to the Distillery district which is a recent rehab of old early 19th century liquor distilleries into several blocks of art galleries, bars, restaurants and shops. Again there wasn’t a whole lot going on as we were there kind of early but a cool place. Lots of construction going on in the area which mostly looked like new housing. There was lots of construction in Toronto which is interesting as we have seen hardly anything over the past several years in our U.S.A.   We hiked it back towards downtown along King Street and then hopped on the subway heading up to the Yorkville neighborhood, about 4 stops or so.  When we figured out where the heck we were once we got off the train we made it outside and it was snowing out.  Yikes.  We walked around window shopping at the stores and wandered around looking for somewhere to have lunch.  We found another pub like place called The Bedford Academy with a fireplace going.  Perfect.  Had beer, and split some soup and a sandwich.  We then walked back toward downtown walking through the University of Toronto,  past the impressive Legislative office, the huge U of Toronto Medical campus and then back to our hotel.  An impressive day of walking.  After settling back in we visited with Courtney’s parents who arrived mid afternoon and then later went to the hotel bar and visited with George and Carrie, Pat and Alan and some of Courtney’s cousins.  I drove to the rehearsal dinner which was about a half an hour drive in busy traffic not knowing where we were going.  We managed to get there with no problems though.  The rehearsal dinner was at Michael and Mahima’s house that they have recently redone.  It was interesting to meet everyone and Mahima’s family, especially her sisters, were all very nice.  Courtney’s Uncle Bob gave a very moving speech as well as some other people.  They had a great spread of Mediterranean food.  We took off around 8:30 along with George and Carrie as we were going to meet John and Alissa at a restaurant downtown at 9:00 as the Kanwit’s were arriving late and were unable to come to the rehearsal dinner.  We made it back to the hotel in half the time but then took a couple wrong turns trying to find the place we were going but made it there around 9:15 where John and Alissa were waiting.  We went to a place called BeerBistro that was really good.  The place was packed at 9:30.  We had greet beers and split some outstanding mussells that were “clambake” mussells with potatoes, beer and cheese.  great.  We had a really nice time catching up with everyone and not having any kids around!

Old and new Toronto.
Checking out the St. Lawrence market
The distillery district
The Bedford Academy where we had lunch
Interesting fence in the park across from the hotel
Uncle Bob giving a toast

Saturday, April 6, 2013

After a good night’s sleep we had breakfast again up on the club level.  We then went to breakfast again, why not, with Courtney’s family to a place a few blocks up called Eggspectation.  Even with the cheesy name it was a nice place and I somehow managed to eat a waffle and Courtney ate something as well.  Again, it was nice to sit and talk with everyone.  We didn’t get out of there until around 11:00 and then went for a walk.  The group wanted to go in the same direction we went the previous day so we walked back towards the market and the distillery district with people dropping off as we kept walking.  It was a beautiful sunny day but still very chilly in the 40s.  It ended up being Courtney and I and John and Alissa and once we made it back to downtown we decided to look for somewhere to grab something to eat as the reception was not until later.   After looking on the internet and wandering around quite a bit we ended up at another pub like place called The Queen and Beaver Public House.  It was very British and the food and the beer was great.  I had some kind of English bitter beer and a BLT made with pork belly and roasted tomatoes that was insane.  Courtney had a pie filled with potatoes and mushrooms that was good as well.  Another great place.  We made it back to the hotel and it was time to get dressed up as we were supposed to meet in the lobby to take pictures.  It didn’t take long and we ended up spending most of the time in the bar.  Our large group boarded a bus at the hotel that took us to the wedding just a few miles away.  The ceremony was an Indian / traditional fusion.  Mahima’s family was all beautifully dressed in saris and other traditional ware as were Michael, Peter and Uncle Bob.  The ceremony was interesting and beautiful.  Mahima sang her vows which was very moving.  The ceremony and following reception were in an old church converted into a party space.  An interesting space.  The ceremony lasted an hour or so followed by the reception.  They had a good band and the food was great.  A line of Indian food and English food.  I only ate the Indian food which was fantastic.  Michael and Mahima sang several times and everyone was happy.  It was a great wedding.

Craig, Courtney, George and John
Cousins ready to go to the wedding
Mahima’s family welcoming Michael’s family to the wedding
Michael getting his feet washed when he entered the church
the wedding ceremony
Michael and Mahima singing with the band
George and Carrie


The beautiful bride singing

Sunday, April 7, 2013

We had a quick breakfast with Alissa and John, everyone else had an earlier flight, and then hit the road around 9:00 or so.  We stopped at Ikea on the way out of Toronto for an hour or so and didn’t do too much damage.  (There are four Ikeas in Toronto! )  We stopped at the duty free store and bought some liquor on the way across the border.  We enjoyed an uneventful drive home and definitely will keep Toronto in mind for future outings as it is such an easy drive and a booming, growing, and cultural city.

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