Birthdays, Boat Rides, and Little Mermaids

On Saturday morning I woke up to Phil’s (Lisa’s dad) poached eggs on toast.

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An old favourite of his (and mine). For some reason whenever I try to make my own poached eggs on toast it doesn’t work out quite the same.

Saturday morning and afternoon looked much like Friday, lots of swimming, lots of reading, a little boat riding around the lake, lunch…

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…and lots leisuring in the sunshine.

Lisa’s birthday was on Sunday so we were having a big ol’ weekend celebration for her with our friends. In the afternoon Mark and Dawn (and Scarlett!) and Emily and Corey came over for the festivities. Evan sadly had some work stuff to take care of on the weekend and I know he was disappointed to miss out on seeing everyone, but this coming weekend we are basically having a repeat at the cottage so that makes him feel better. He has been working on a pretty stressful job (he completely redid an entire condo) for the last six weeks or so and I know he was feeling really burnt out, so I am so happy for him that it is almost done.

Anyway. One of Lisa’s birthday presents from Emily was a Justin Bieber towel.

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Which was quite sensual, and I’m sure she will use it all the time.

Lisa is known for having presents for Scarlett when she sees her, because she’s far away and doesn’t get to very often. One of Scarlett’s presents was Cheer Bear!

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Scarlett loved it so much she ate her hand.

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She just kills me with her cuteness. Her other present was a Little Mermaid bathing suit (we are just forcing our love 80s pop culture on her).

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Cuuuuute.

Before dinner the ladies took a boat ride over to the falls.

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The water was so calm and it was just a beautiful, beautiful dusk.

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I’m going to live on a lake one day, you guys know this, right? It is happening.

So a bunch of my mom’s side of the family have rented a cottage for the week very close to where Lisa’s parents are. The cottage they rented is on a big property with a bunch of other cottages and has a small beach. I was thinking about how funny it would be if I surprised them by swimming over and arriving on their beach being like “Heeeeeyyyy, it’s cousin Lindsey! FROM THE SEA!”

We thought maybe we would stop with the boat and try to find them, but then we weren’t sure if we would be able to start the boat again without Lisa’s dad’s help. So instead we just floated by slowly and creepily.

The first time we boated by the beach I am 100% sure we saw my mom’s cousin Doug walking along the shore. Except I mixed him up with another cousin for a second, Garth, so we yelled “GARTH!!!!” at him, instead of his actual name, and he wasn’t understanding. It was a lost opportunity. On the way back Doug was gone, but there was a new group along the beach who I thought might be my family. So we drove by them slowly while they all stared at us, but we couldn’t get a good look so of course we circled back just in case. I still couldn’t tell so I was like “I’m just looking for my cousins!” but unfortunately they were not my cousins. It was a bunch of men we didn’t know and they thought we were trying to pick them up. When we had to turn around and go by them AGAIN they were all “I’ll be your cousin! I’ll be whatever you want!” and then asked us over for a drink. We said no thanks and Lisa yelled “Just throw your beer out to us!” but sadly they didn’t go for that. Anyway, all this to say, I didn’t see my family. We just went back to the house.

Unfortunately Dawn missed the boat ride because she was helping her man Mark get this thing in the water:

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And that thing would be a stand-up jetski from 1986. Somehow I was able to get a pretty good photo of him with only my phone as he zoomed by our boat.

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Doesn’t he look like an 80s stud? A true Steve Sanders (in the words of Dawn but I’m stealing that line because it makes me laugh).

In the evening the neighbours a few doors down put on the best fireworks show from their dock, that we could just conveniently watch from our dock. It was some of the best fireworks I’ve seen for sure. Apparently some were brought in from America, and I know if there’s one thing Americans do right it’s fireworks. So that was great.

And then we had a late family dinner.

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Afterwards we played some cards (A**hole), and then some hot tubbing and general shenanigans, you know.

On Sunday (Lisa’s Birthday!!!!) we ate raspberry waffles and peameal bacon (often called Canadian bacon, but not by Canadians) for breakfast, and then we all hung out by the water.

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And we ate possibly the best nachos of my life.

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It was a really good time. I hope Lisa had the best birthday. Thanks to Diane and Phil for hosting!

Ah, summer weekends are my favourite.

Bestie Lake Time

My Bestie Lisa is visiting! (I haven’t linked to her debut post in a while, so just in case you need a refresher on my food soulmate).

Photo from back in May because I just really like our twin shirts.

I think I have seen her more this year than any year since she’s lived in Calgary, and that has been awesome. I start to feel weird if it’s been too long since we’ve seen each other. She is a sister to me and a really good talk with her makes me feel the most like myself and ready to just win at life.

It was pretty late when I picked her up from the airport on Thursday night, so when we got home we planned on just having one glass of wine and a quick catch-up session on the balcony (we’re loud bitches together and we didn’t want to get the mute emoticon from Evan) and then head to bed. Well, you know how it happens with your best friend. One glass of wine becomes two, which turns into Lisa yelling “JUST BRING THE WHOLE BOTTLE OUT HERE!” when I run inside to pee, which turns into it suddenly being 2am and we’ve drank an entire 2L bottle of wine and can’t walk properly anymore. Whoops. Friday morning felt nice. #noregrets

Friday afternoon we headed to Lisa’s parents lake house. I will always love their old cottage where we met (we met skating on the lake, remember), and it will always hold nostalgic memories of growing up…but I have to say it is not disappointing to visit the lake house.

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It is not disappointing at all. And I have to say the swimming is better here than the lake I grew up on. By the way, the difference between a lake house and a cottage is that lake houses are where you live, cottages are where you visit in the summer.

The weather was beautiful and we had such a nice afternoon and evening catching up with her parents. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think of them as almost my own parents, so I just feel very welcome and at home there. They are my people. Case in point:

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Yep.

I was also excited to see little Roxy.

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She is the best dog. She was originally rescued from a kill shelter in America. Apparently the staff kept moving her from shelter to shelter because they wanted her to live, until someone brought her to a rescue in Ontario and Diane and Phil found her. She is the sweetest. They really lucked out with her. And she lucked out with them also, because they absolutely spoil  her.

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I mean, who wouldn’t.

She is quite minxy.

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Her wily feminine ways definitely lure all the boys to the yard.

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Or the neighbours’ tutu-clad female dog, whichever.

We spent the afternoon swimming and hanging out on the deck and had a lot of family reading time. I told my friend Sherrie this and she asked “Do you mean you read aloud to each other?” so just to clarify, no. Though that would have been funny. We all read our respective books, just together in the same area. Still cute.

And we ate a lot, as we do. Lisa’s mom Diane really outdoes herself with food things. When I think of going over there when we were growing up I have a lot of fond food memories. Specifically in the snack department.

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I love red pepper jelly and that is homemade red pepper jelly!

We ate dinner out on the deck, starting with spring rolls!

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Followed by grilled chicken, green (well,yellow) beans, and this delicious Asian-inspired chopped salad that I think is from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry.

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Tis the season of summer barbecues. J’adore.

We happened to be celebrating Lisa’s birthday weekend, so a bunch of our friends came up on Saturday for the festivities. I am going to save those festivities for tomorrow though, as this is getting a little lengthy already.

Hope you had a great weekend!

 

The Canadian Legend

On Tuesday evening Evan and I headed down to Toronto Harbourfront to see THE ONE AND ONLY, Canadian legend, Bruce Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn).

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I think it’s the first time I’ve been to an event there, and it is such a nice laid-back venue. It’s definitely on the smaller side so I could see it getting a bit crazy if anyone super popular was playing there, but for Bruce it was perfect because he was just alone on stage with his guitar and it felt really intimate.

Somehow no one seems to know who Bruce Cockburn is. Even my friends who are incredibly music savvy haven’t heard of him. This makes me sad because he is wonderful, a true artist, a legend, and I think everyone should know about him. So I am going to give you a quick lesson. This is Bruce Cockburn:

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Pretty cool guy. I appreciate his earrings. Kind of looks like a Ghostbuster (Egon specifically). He was popular in Canada (and had a few songs in the US Top 100) in the 70’s and 80’s, and my dad even saw him in concert back in the day. I really only know who he is because of my sort of hippy parents, and I definitely owe my Bruce love to them. Actually, I can credit a lot of my musical influences to them. I grew up listening to him and Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac and Valdy (who I met once with my mom when I was really young and I said to her “But he’s not bald!” because I thought his name was “Baldy”), and like…Bonnie Wright (that was all my mom). Also Fred Penner and Raffi who are also the best.

Anyway, Bruce Cockburn is an incredibly talented guitarist. Some people actually consider him to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time, known for his finger-picking style of strumming. Solo singer-songwriters who are just so purely talented tend to be my favourite, and Bruce is up there with Jack Johnson and Neil Young for me.

If you don’t know who Bruce is, I’ll bet you’ve heard his most popular song Wondering Where The Lions Are.

And he is also the original artist of Lovers In A Dangerous Time (the Barenaked Ladies covered it).

Man, I love 80s videos. Here is a live accoustic version also.

Most of his songs are about social issues and human rights, for example If I Had A Rocket Launcher (which is quite badass) is an explicitly political song about him being sick of waiting for a political solution to a crisis and wanting to take the matter into his own hands (ie: what he would do if he had a rocket launcher). It was inspired by a trip he took to a Guatamalan refugee camp in Mexico.

If A Tree Falls is about environmental issues, specifically cutting down the earth’s trees (pretty obvious from the name). Even Lovers In A Dangerous Time, the dangerous time referred to the Cold War world, where young love was JUST SO GOOD! but the future carried a sense of foreboding. Also AIDS (it was right around the emerging AIDS crisis).

I very much appreciate it when people use their natural talent to bring awareness to world issues. I wish I could do that.

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I feel you Bruce.

Bruce was also made a Member of the Order of Canada, is in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. So he really is kind of a big deal and it surprises me that he is not more well known. I was really looking forward to seeing him. Evan actually does know who he is so he was the perfect person to bring. He almost couldn’t make it though and I was totally prepared to channel my inner Beyonce and just go by myself.

Anyway, that is your lesson in Canadian music today. I hope you enjoyed. Onto the concert!

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He played so well, and man, he is 70 and he didn’t even have a stool to sit on! I was so impressed. Evan and I scored a sweet seat at the Harbourfront restaurant beside the stage and this was basically our view.

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Zoomed in a bit, but you get the idea. It was awesome to just sit and eat a cheeseburger and drink a beer and watch him do his thing. I am so glad I was able to see him.

He played all of my favourites, except for Rocket Launcher. But you know Lovers In A Dangerous Time made the cut!

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A video posted by Lindsey Evanoff (@happyorhungry) on

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It was a free concert, so people were just strolling by all evening. It’s on the boardwalk, so many families out for walks would stop and listen, and people on bikes.

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My favourite concert attendee was the EXTREMELY drunk guy who was around my dad’s age, who was totally wearing sunglasses at night and was just going to town on the air guitar. He was making us laugh really hard.

That Bruce knows his stuff. He was scheduled to play from 8:30 until 10pm and he was off that stage, encore included, at exactly 10pm. On the nose. I think he sensed his bedtime.

What really stepped it up also is that it was on the water. Excellent views all around!

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Sorry, iPhone photos.

Someone different is playing there almost every night until mid-August as part of the Pan Am Games. The schedule is here if you wanna check it out! I’m hoping to make it back for a couple, but if not I’m glad I was able to experience Bruce. It was a fun night with my lover…in a dangerous time!

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Happy or Hungry Eats the World: Anna Maria Trattoria (Italy)

If you missed it, I am on a mission to eat authentic dishes from every country in the world, here in my own city of Toronto.

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You can find all recaps here. Today I am talking about Italy!

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Side note: I got Evan this scratch map for Christmas (as in, you scratch off the countries you’ve visited), and he has donated it to me for this eat the world mission. I gotta bust it out and start scratchin!

There was quite the build up to eating Italy, because I really, really love Italian food. I think pizza and pasta (with red sauce) are both tied for my favourite food. I have mentioned many times that I cannot resist pasta on a menu. I know, I can make it at home, but I love a good tangy tomato sauce on top of carbs so much that I have a hard time saying no to it. I have also mentioned before that I would probably be obese if my family was Italian.

Toronto has so many Italian restaurants (I have been to quite a few – Joe Bidali’s, Terroni, Pizza Libretto, etc. – all very delicious), so deciding where we would go for the official eating the world mission was very difficult. After doing some research we ended up at the family-run Anna Maria Trattoria in Vaughan, which promised a traditional Italian family experience. And it did not disappoint! I am so glad that’s where we ended up, I cannot say enough good things about that place. One of the reviewers on Trip Advisor said that eating there made them feel like they were at a quirky relatives house, and yep. Totally. I don’t have any Italian relatives, but I felt like I was part of their family. Our server Gina was really funny and she did remind me of a quirky aunt, and Anna Maria’s son Frank kept coming over and asking us how we liked everything. And also just talking about life things. He treated us like a friend, and we had just met him. I could truly tell that Anna Maria and her family are invested in every guest that walks in their door. You can check out the story of their restaurant here.

Really cute atmosphere in there also. This picture doesn’t do it justice but I felt like I was in Italy (I’ve never been to Italy but let’s assume).

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It was really busy when we went (packed with big Italian families!), so I would recommend reservations. We didn’t make any and they were quick to seat us (Frank went above and beyond immediately with us), but a big table with a family had just left so I think we got lucky.

We started, as you do in Italy, with fresh bread served with olive oil with hot peppers and garlic.

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They make the spicy olive oil and pepper mix in-house and it was so good we bought two jars of it. I am excited to put that on all various carbs in the future.

Evan is quite a calamari connoisseur, it is his favourite, so we ordered that as our appetizer.

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It was PERFECT calamari. Fresh and crispy and all sorts of delicious.

We also shared the margherita pizza…

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While not the best pizza I’ve ever had, I was absolutely not let down. But the gnocchi…

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Oh the gnocchi… It is homemade by Anna Maria herself and oh man is it ever good. Hands down the best gnocchi I have ever had. And that meat sauce was a really nice addition. I loved it. It was so filling but I just couldn’t stop.

I was too full afterwards for dessert (I am going to have to go back sometime for the tiramisu), so I just went with an espresso. Perked me right up.

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I wish we had gone earlier so we could have had more of an eating marathon because there were so many things on that menu I wanted to try. GIVE ME ALL THE PASTA. Oh well, we will just have to go back!

Overall I feel like we got an authentic Italian experience and it was everything I imagined. Highly recommend checking out Anna Maria Trattoria.

I need to give a quick shout out to Pizza Libretto though, because that is the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life.

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And everyone says it’s just like you’re in Naples so I am going to choose to believe them. One day. One day I will eat all the things in Naples.

Slide the City Toronto

I am not exactly sure how this happened, but last week I scored a VIP invitation to Slide the City, a 1,000 foot slip n’ slide, through ESKA Water’s #eskaquest. Slide the City has been making the rounds across North America, and I want to say the world also, because I was looking up photos of the event so I could get a sense of what to wear to it, and the Instagram pictures I came across mainly seemed to be from Korea. I can’t say that seeing what tiny Korean people were wearing helped me very much in deciding what I should wear, but I’ll tell you it did look like they were having a lot of fun in their teeny trendy swimsuits.

Anyway, ESKA Water’s email asked me if I would like to be one of the first 20 sliders at Toronto’s Slide the City this past Saturday at Downsview Park, and I was immediately like YES I DO. Of course I do. I roped my friend Hannah into coming along with me.

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She did not need a lot of convincing. A couple past adventures with Hannah -> the time we went to a Cat Show, and stand up paddle boarding.

I also ran into my fellow Toronto blog pal Steph from Leopard is a Neutral.

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I haven’t seen her in years so that was exciting. She had her snowsuit clad cousin sliding down in her honour.

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I’m sure you are just as confused about the snowsuit as I was, so I am supposed to tell you that he is representing his ski team the Raging Roosters.

Saturday was extremely hot and humid (finally, it is summer!), so it was the perfect day to be slip n’ sliding. It was pretty exciting to be VIP and we got a day pass and a sweet hat and t-shirt and I felt very spoiled and was very thankful, but I have to be honest that being one of the first ones down the slide came with its disadvantages. The slide was not quite slippery enough for sliding yet. It’s probably a good thing that we were the ones who experienced this and not the general public who were paying to slide, because it was not ideal sliding conditions. I like to think we just warmed it up for them. The first run was the worst, but it was also the best because it was the most hilarious.

This is basically what happened:

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I did my research and had looked at a ton of photos and videos, so I was expecting to just fly down that slide. Well, sort of. I did think that if anyone was going to get stuck it would be me, so I was prepared to have an embarrassing moment of some sort. But we all got stuck. Every few feet or so. There was not a lot of sliding on that first slide.

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Mostly we carried our tubes and walked down the slide.

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Every so often I would throw my tube down and throw my body on it and slide for a few feet. But only a few feet, so then I would get up and walk again. There were a few media people there and I am pretty sure that they all threw out the footage of our first slide, because a slip n slide that does not slide is probably not ideal to show to the public.

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We were absolutely dying of laughter though. I could barely walk down the slide I was laughing so hard. We didn’t slide, but it was still the best slide of the day for me because I didn’t have another one that made me laugh that hard.

I was worried for the organizers because if the non-sliding continued and people paid to slide, that could be a seriously disastrous situation. But it got pretty crazy busy…

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99.9 Virgin Radio came and set up shop beside the slide and turned it into a true party. And once people started sliding, the slide started slipping. The rest of our slides were quite slippy, and it was great!

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Just like I had envisioned! Once everything started working, the only thing you had to worry about was someone getting stuck in front of you and slowing you down. We experienced quite a few tube pileups.

@hanrouk and I on a 1,000 foot slip n slide! #slidethecity #tubepileup

A video posted by Lindsey Evanoff (@happyorhungry) on

Again though, that only makes it more funny. Also, I was trying to get a video of Hannah behind me, not my butt.

My only regret is that I didn’t go down the slide on the swan.

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The swan did not seem to be ideal for sliding either, but it did look fun. What ended up working the best for Hannah and I were two tubes I picked up from the Dollar Store.

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And we made new friends! In the middle of us is Virginia from Searching for Apples. We initially bonded over all the non-sliding, and then we ended up hanging out with her and her husband for most of the day. They were a good time.

It was a really fun day, and definitely a unique experience. Thank you so much for inviting me, ESKA Water!

Pan Am Mania!

The Pan American Games are here!

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Finally. Toronto has been gearing up to host these babies for four years. And by gearing up I mean complaining. We’ve been complaining about everything from how much money we’ve spent on the games, to whether or not anyone cares about the games or even knows what they are, to the construction and traffic conditions and the new temporary HOV lanes. Pretty much anything we could possibly complain about, we complain about.

There was a lot of bad news leading up to the games and it definitely put a damper on the entire city’s excitement until recently. I get the construction complaints, because it has been pretty intense everywhere for the past year and it really impacts traffic (which is always bad everywhere already). Even the week before the Pan Am Games started, tons of construction was still going on around the city, which was worrying, because if 250,000 people are supposed to be coming here for these games, where exactly are they supposed to go?

It’s like hosting important company at your house. You want to make sure your place is perfect and spotless, and then maybe decide you should renovate your bathroom or something, take it up a notch. And then the bathroom is not done for your important company’s arrival. I thought it was going to be like that.

I think Toronto pulled it off though. After the opening ceremonies happened everyone was like WHOA. OKAY. Nevermind, these are good!

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The CN Tower fireworks probably helped

I’m sad I wasn’t at the opening ceremonies because I hear they were spectacular in person. Thank goodness for gifs.

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I think they were spectacular for more reasons than just the fireworks, but you get the idea.

Anyway, now that the games are actually finally happening I am super excited. The city is absolutely buzzing!

If you’re not familiar with the Pan Am’s (I wasn’t really until I found out Toronto was hosting), they are basically the battle of the Americas. It’s a major summer sporting event with thousands of participating athletes, held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympics. They are here in Toronto from July 10-26, and then the Parapan Games run from August 7-15.

Canada is currently in the lead for medals!

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GO CANADA!

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Makes me proud (this is an old pic from the Olympic Heroes Parade)

I haven’t been able to make it out to an event yet. Evan and I were trying to get to a Canada vs. Cuba baseball game but unfortunately the timing of that didn’t work out. I’m especially looking forward to the Parapan Am Games though. I would like to see some handcycling action – it looks super intense and I can’t imagine trying to power a bike with my hands/arms for any length of time. And maybe some Goalball (like blind handball/soccer), since I have actually played that when I was working in sports.

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And it is not easy. That ball is HARD and you can’t see it coming (but it has bells in it, so you can hear it).

There are also a ton of free concerts happening around the city during the games, so Evan and I are going to see Bruce Cockburn next week (if you don’t know who that is you’ll probably recognize this song – he’s also the original artist of Lovers In A Dangerous Time). I really love him, so I’m pretty pumped about that. I was hoping Neil Young was going to be playing somewhere, but it’s fine. I’ll deal. I’ll take Bruce.

Speaking of concerts they announced that Kanye West is playing with Serena Ryder and Pitbull for the closing ceremonies, and people are absolutely UP in ARMS about Kanye. No one wants him. In fact, 22,000 people have signed a petition saying they want a Canadian to replace him. I get it. He’s going to turn it into the Kanye show. And yeah, he isn’t Canadian, so kind of a weird choice. Can’t we replace him with Neil Young? I’d take Deadmau5 also.

Our new mayor John Tory (our crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford is finally out, and I feel like I need to specify because I know most of my readers are American) apparently thought Kanye is Canadian and made a comment about him being a product of Toronto’s music community (wrong). So then this happened:

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That’s just a screenshot, and actually it looks like the video has been taken down due to a copyright issue (I wonder if Kanye’s people complaining about our mayor using the song?). I did find the video on YouTube though:

Better watch it quick because it’s probably going to get taken down also.

I am not sure what’s up with Toronto mayors…but I like John Tory. At least he’s not smoking crack. As far as I know.

What else has been happening… Oh, four Cuban rowers decided to drop out of the games and just immigrate to America while they were here. I guess if they show up at their doorstep the US is lenient to Cuban immigration? When Evan first told me this I thought he meant they just rowed right across Lake Ontario to the US and decided to set up shop. So that made me laugh. But their rowing event was taking place in St. Catharines, so just a few kilometres from the US border. Convenient.

And if you live in Toronto and want to have an eating the world adventure, BlogTO posted the top 26 restaurants in Toronto by Pan Am Games country.

Lots of exciting things happening in the city right now. Have a great weekend!