Ladies and gentlemen, spring has reached Toronto. Unfortunately for me, I leave on Monday and can count the number of sunny Toronto days I experienced on one hand.
Whatever, the important thing was that it was gorgeous today.
The weather lined up nicely with my first real day of summer vacation. I finished my awesome internship at the National Post on Friday and don’t start my summer job at University Affairs magazine until May 16.
The next two weeks are mine. Much frolicking, roof tanning, biking, and food making will occur. I can’t wait.
Already my first day off was super.
After a short shopping interlude downtown, I decided I was going to go explore Bloor West Village. Along with my aunt, I’d walked up and down the street segment from Runnymede to Jane a few times. Whenever we went it was always chilly, rainy, or nighttime. Usually it was a combination of all three. As you can imagine, I wanted to get a better feel of the area.
I’m certainly glad I did. It turns out that when the sun is shining, the neighbourhood comes to life.
People of all ages wandered up and down the street, filtering in and out of several clothing stores, small bakeries, or fruit markets.
Poodle walking women with long dyed hair and leather jackets filled the sidewalks, their Starbucks cups held in a death grip. A man a few years older than me had a smaller dog that kept wandering about. The poor thing almost got stepped on.
The neighbourhood also provided a vibrant experience for the ears. Every 100 metre stretch had a different soundtrack, whether it was the teenage boy with the Blue Jays cap leaning on his bike playing guitar, or the 50-some-year-old balding man outside of a Timothy’s coffe house singing Elvis while accompanied by an elderly DJ.
The neighbourhood was also a torturing mechanism filled with delicious smells. The scent of fresh berries and dew wafted up my nose as I walked, and I ended up buying both strawberries and raspberries to settle my intense smell-inflicted cravings.
Then I decided I wanted more food, and lots of it. And so, the idea for my High Park picnic was born.
I was pleased I finally had an excuse to buy delicious food.
I was a little over eager and ended up buying a large enough amount to feed a growing family of six.
Here’s what was on my menu:
– Caramel corn (SO GOOD. In fact, I am munching on the remainder of the large bag as I type)
– Two clementine oranges
– Vegetable couscous salad
– Chipotle chicken salad (red onions, mixed peppers, the perfect amount of parsley, yum)
– Brie (which I, in turn, ate like a piece of pizza)
– Potato bun
– Strawberries and raspberries (the latter combined with brie was heavenly)
– A chocolate cheese danish (uneaten as of 9:49 p.m. UPDATE: as of publishing time, danish has been demolished)
– Three chocolate chip cookies
– San Pellegrino arinciata orange soda (my drink kryptonite)
I set up my lunch under one of the many large trees on the north side of the park. My favourite accessory in the universe, my American Apparel eternity scarf, served as my picnic blanket. Ingenious, n’est ce pas?
As I ate, I took time to drink in my surroundings – the sites and sounds of Toronto’s main green space.
In front of me, a guy my age and a younger kid tossed around a nerf football. At several points, the guy would toss the ball high up into the trees to impress his young protege. Several times he failed and the ball collided with the tangled branches. It was highly entertaining.
Along the path to my right, a bearded man walked along, holding a foolishly colourful (but delicious) looking popsicle. He almost got run over by a small child on her bicycle. Snapping across the fallen branches around me, two siblings play tag. At one point the young boy hides behind the tree I’m sitting under. My curious sidelong glance at him tips off his sister as to his location. My bad.
After about an hour of eating, my self-induced food coma had reached full strength. I had no idea what to do next. I really didn’t want to move, but I managed to stumble over to a park bench in a stupor of foodie intoxication. There, I noticed a sign that would change my afternoon:
UH, TRAIN RIDE? YES PLEASE.
It was like fate wanted me to ride this cheesy little tourist attraction. Just as I looked away from the sign, I saw the bright red cart pulling up in front of me.
I was the only one on the tram within the 12-30 age bracket. I must have looked ridiculous, but I was so happy. People waved at the train as we passed, and I waved back, anxious to feel like I was sitting in some sort of Royal carriage.
We twisted around the paved park paths for about 20 minutes, before I decided to get off and take pictures of this wicked play structure.
Earlier this week I had tried telling my friend Matt about this legendary piece of play apparatus. I think I said something along the lines of “it’s like a giant house playground thing in High Park!!” Needless to say, Matt thought I was crazy. I have happily proved him wrong.
I hope you all had a wonderful day out in the sun!
Torontonians: if you have never walked/picnicked/ridden a train through High Park, I highly recommend the excursion.