Toronto beckoned as we rose early this morning. Our mind was on food primarily so we walked a couple of blocks down to the Art Square Gallery & Cafe where I ordered the classic sweet crepe that was served with Homemade Apple and berry jam, Vanilla ice cream and a cup of delicious Cinnamon Black Tea. The Art Square Gallery & Cafe is a small gallery space complete with cafe in the back of the gallery currently showing vintage photography from around the World. They also sell a great selection of Handmade chocolate, traditional Canadian Maple Syrup and cake. Here’s a little look at how we spent a day out in Toronto…
There’s nothing more lovely than a burst of colour in an urban city landscape. We walked the length of the city to the old part of town where we whiled away the afternoon in St. Lawrences Market. St Lawrences Market boasts 120 vendors selling a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, grains, baked goods and dairy products, as well as handmade, local non-food. St. Lawrences Market is set inside a large old building, the colours of the fresh fruit and veg, the smell of maple syrup and the sounds of half French half Canadian accents make up such a unique experience. I loved the handmade soaps all in rows of such fabulous colours, what a strong colour palette.
Our next stop was the World famous CN Tower. Standing 553.33 metres tall, the building was completed in 1976, becoming the World’s tallest free-standing structure and World’s tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years (until the completion of Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower). It remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. We took the glass Charlie & The Chocolate Factory style elevator to the top and stood on the observation deck. Part of the observation deck has a glass floor that you can stand on, if you like (I sort of shuffled on the glass floor slightly, it felt pretty strange to be able to see so far beneath your feet and not fall). For safety you remain inside at all times, the observation deck has 360degree windows so you get a fantastic view of the entire city of Toronto.
I love to walk around new cities and explore on foot, stumbling across the hidden gems that may not be listed in the tourist guides. The Acadia Book Store was located at 232 Queen Street East (the old town end of the famous Queen Street). Acadia Books was full of rare and out of print books, mainly art books with very small selection of fiction too. They had an excellent selection of vintage postcards from Canada and art prints by Canadian native artists. We spent quite a while browsing through the vintage postcards trying to spot where we are heading. This was a really great book shop complete with a resident black cat roaming around.
The western end of Queen Street is known as a centre for Canadian broadcasting, music, fashion, performance, and the visual arts. Queen Street spans the length of the city and plays host to vibrant cafes, music venues and shops selling everything from books, clothes, antiques, homeware to food and acts as a thoroughfare for several neighbourhoods. Over the years Queen West has become more and more gentrified with chain store retailers opening up and the original neighbourhood residents moving to more affordable areas. However it seemed to me that Queen Street East remained a little more rugged and beatnik.
Black Market Vintage Clothing was located at 256a Queen Street West. Every item was $10 or 2 for $10. There was a pretty huge selection of stock ranging from 1960’s upwards in both Ladies and Menswear. Such a great store. We purchased a couple of discretionary items. Namely x2 sweaters for $10 and a raincoat as we’re heading to Niagara Falls (where I shall cross off Number 44 on my ‘100 things to do in 2012’) !