In honour of my last day in Toronto, a special roundup post for you to feast your eyes on…
Okay, so I’ve done loads of stuff this past month. Hanging around Canada’s biggest city has been a lot of fun, and my April has been filled with extraordinary adventures and people. If I were to blog about each of them individually, you’d likely get annoyed, I would get bored, and my fingers would fall off from typing too much. Below, some of my favourite moments, places, and people, from my adopted city.
Life at the National Post
OBVIOUSLY, a post describing my month in Toronto would be vastly incomplete without me talking about my online internship at the Post. All in all, I had an AMAZING time. It was a little tough when I first started, since I didn’t really know what I’d be doing and had very little idea of the goings-on in Toronto. By the end of the month, however, I felt like I was finally getting into my groove. Yeah, I know, just in time for me to stop working there, too bad. Throughout the month I worked with the funniest and most easy going online crew ever (creep/follow all their Twitter accounts: Gillian, Ron, Jeremy, Dan, Chris, Erin, Scott (WHY do you not have a Twitter account?!) and my fellow intern Aileen). It was loads of fun. I got to do a lot of things, be it covering the police beat, reporting on breaking news, or live blogging the Royal Wedding from the newsroom at 5 a.m. Even though I thought I was a WordPress pro, I learned much more about the functionalities of the platform (that’s right fellow j-schoolers, NP is run through WordPress, so you better keep practicing on those multimedia blogs from class!). I’m so grateful for my last month with them and would love to go back one day. ALSO, you can see the full archive of my writing for the Post by clicking here.
I made reference to this place back in my U of T post and Toronto tour with Brandon. I’m happy to report that I did finally get to visit the coffeehouse/dessert/beer location, and fell in love with it. And by “it,” I mean the desserts (the perogies were only so-so). Holy hell. So much delicious contained under one glass case. I bought the chocolate chip cheesecake, complete with a cookie dough crust, and chunks of the chocolate spread throughout. It was, by far, the best dessert I have ever eaten. I could go back every night and try something new.
I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again: if I lived in Toronto, I would weigh 400 lbs.
Okay, so my adventures in Kensington probably should have warranted a full blog post, but I didn’t take enough pictures nor did I take enough notes to do the place justice. I will say this – from wandering about, it seemed like the Market was blissfully unaware of the outside world. I went exploring on Good Friday and, when traditionally most shops would be closed for the holiday, Kensington was still a bustling hub of activity. The graffiti that marked so many of the walls (enter appropriate iPhone photo that I should have taken) seemed like it belonged there, adding to the art and colour that made the neighbourhood an explosion of energy. Even the houses and stores were painted bright hues. I met my friend Matt (see below) at this place called Moonbean Coffee Company (which has the best London Fogs in the universe, just for the record), and we spent the rest of the day darting in and out of strange clothing, antique, and Halloween costume stores. We also visited my new favourite store, a place called Good Egg. My colleague and friend at the National Post, Ron, had told me to check the shop out, since his friend was the owner. WOW. It was awesome. Think cupcake chic mixed with creative art book magic slammed with wit. It was amazing. The pictures above cannot do it justice. I walked out of there with a set of cupcake-themed stationary (of course), a macaron cookbook, and an adorable card with llamas on it for my aunt. Our day in Kensington ended at Big Fat Burrito (thanks again for the tip Carly!), where I sadly couldn’t finish the massive chicken burrito that was dropping guacamole, salsa, lettuce, and spicy juices onto my plate.
Basically the best day ever.
Meeting Mr. Matthew Braga
So my last blurb about Kensington kind of leads into this point. Matt is an extraordinarily talented freelance journalist and Ryerson j-schooler whose work has been featured in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, on CBC, ETC. ETC (check out his website here). Super intimidating, right? Wrong, Matt is actually super nonchalant about all the wicked things he’s done. But anyways, that’s not the point I’m trying to make. More importantly than all this stuff he’s done, Matt is also just a really awesome person. Being the kids of the 21st century, Internet lovers that we are, Matt and I actually “met” over Twitter. Several tweets later, we were having coffee at Moonbean, the cafe aforementioned above. Mom and dad, don’t worry, I knew he existed thanks to people at the Post and was reassured that I wasn’t meeting a 45-year-old rapist. So where am I going with this… well, I’ll just say that Matt and I have hung out a lot. Even though I constantly roll my eyes at his video game related jokes and nerdy puns, I’ve actually developed quite a liking for the kid. I know, I know. You’re barfing everywhere.
End of story: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m dating the enemy, let the Carleton-Ryerson j-school jokes begin. </talk of personal life, ugh>. Mom and dad, feel free to call and interrogate away, I asked for it.
Quirky Toronto homes
The picture speaks for itself.
– Staying with my aunt and uncle. My aunt Pat and her husband Bill have been so kind in allowing me to stay with them for the past three weeks. They live in an amazing neighbourhood (the Junction) and have been so generous to me. Whether it’s making me supper, taking me out to their favourite restaurants, or discussing politics over the kitchen table, it has been a blast.
– Meeting CBC blogger/journalist extraordinaire Kady O’Malley at a Press Pass event I went to with Matt (basically a boozed up networking night); being completely journalism star struck in her presence;
– Also at Press Pass, meeting a bunch of Ryerson j-schoolers. For those of you that don’t know, Carleton and Ryerson are considered to be the top j-school destinations in Canada, and therefore there is apparently some sort of competition for top spot. It was great to meet them. Also, it’s nice to see that a love of beer is the common denominator among all j-schoolers.
– Trekking around on the TTC. Yeah, yeah, kind of a lame highlight, but I actually enjoy public transportation. In the course of my daily two hour commute and other trips, I’ve had two giant dogs sit in the seat next to me, have witnessed throngs of teeny boppers gossiping, and caused a fight between a couple because I accidentally walked into the girl’s boyfriend. Yikes. It will be weird to be back in Ottawa where city transit doesn’t run every two minutes – #1 Ottawa Rockcliffe bus, I’m looking at you.
Arrivederci Toronto! It has been fun, but my beloved Ottawa awaits.