For Paula and Fabian’s last day in Ontario, we needed to show them Toronto. It was the only thing missing from their trip. One day is obviously not enough to see the entire city. I mean, I’ve lived in Toronto proper for three years now and there are still parts of the city I haven’t been to (and I grew up only about an hour and 45 minutes away). Toronto is huge, extremely diverse (Fabian actually said he thought it was the most multi-cultural city he’s ever been to, and that included Chicago and NYC), and there is always something happening. But for one day, I sure do think we squeezed in a lot. And we didn’t even have great weather.
Their last full day here, last Sunday, was also Paula’s birthday, so Evan made a pancake breakfast here at the condo in her honour. Our roommate Ian also made freshly squeezed orange juice in honour of our guests, so that was nice. Until he accidentally dumped half the orange juice on top of Paula’s birthday pancake. That made us laugh hard. Starting the day off right!
After breakfast we headed to Chinatown, I think a must-see if you are in the city because Toronto’s Chinatown is large and pretty legit, and there are a million interesting things to look at. I didn’t take any pictures while we wandered around there, but Evan and I had a pretty good adventure there a couple summers ago, if you want to check that out.
Next we walked down Queen West. I personally do not think Queen West is as hip as it once was (though Vogue named it the world’s second hippest district in 2014), but there are still a ton of interesting stores around there and it’s still a major tourist attraction. By this time we had done a lot of walking and were ready for a break, so we found a rooftop patio that lured us in because hey, rooftop patio, and also $6 mimosas.
Not a bad view either.
Sadly that was the sunniest part of the day. The weather went a bit downhill after that.
Next we hopped on the subway and took that over to Union Station, and then walked down to the Harbour. Obviously I was taking Paula to Toronto Island! So we got on the ferry and headed over.
The weather wasn’t the best and my favourite restaurant with a patio on the water wasn’t open for some reason, but we got some pizza and settled in for a picnic.
And of course took lots of the customary pictures with Toronto’s skyline.
Oh that Paula. She is a minx to the ninth degree.
And the boys.
I really loved showing Paula and Fabian around because it gave me an excuse to do all the touristy things. I felt like I was on vacation, too!
After our picnic we walked over to Centreville, the little amusement park on the island.
It’s really cute. I obviously had to take Paula on this ride. I still can’t believe it exists. Every time I go on it I feel like I come out of it looking at the world a little bit differently. Like everything is a party.
Centreville also happens to have a zoo, which I was not really aware of until we were there this time because I have never wandered far enough back there. Ponies!
This ridiculously cute cow with the softest fur!
This beautiful alpaca.
And a ton of every farm-type animals. These goats that were making us laugh VERY hard.
Paula got a better video of them than I did. They were absolutely killing us.
I am not sure how good of an idea this was…
But the sheep sure liked it.
Hope that tree isn’t poisonous…
And we found this giant Muskoka chair that screams Ontario.
The island is pretty. It feels like you’re at a cottage in the city.
I just wish it was a nicer day, but what can ya do. At least is wasn’t raining. Yet.
We walked to the pier, checked out the gardens, and then got back on the ferry to do dinner downtown. We walked to the Bier Markt on the Esplanade. I have always had a great experience there and they have over 150 types of beer, it seemed like a good choice.
I started with the Scofferhofer, on Paula’s recommendation.
Delicious, like drinking grapefruit juice, but I definitely couldn’t drink that all night. I switched to Delirium Tremens after because it’s one of my favourites.
To start we shared the baked brie and the pretzels.
All of it delicious.
For my main I got the mussels, because they were $5 off on Sunday special. I regretted this decision immediately. I’d show you a picture of them but they gave me some mild food poisoning the next day so I do not want to look at them ever again. I instantly noticed that the mussels smelled fishier than they should, but I thought maybe I was imagining it so I went ahead and started eating them anyway. A couple of them tasted fine, and a couple of them tasted very obviously not fresh at all. I actually ended up sending them back and getting the cheeseburger and frite sliders. Our server was really good about it, but I was disappointed because I genuinely love the Bier Markt. I have been there several times, even for their Oktoberfest event (which I loved!), and never had a bad experience. I wish I ordered the Wurst sausage board like Evan. My opinion of the Bier Markt hasn’t been altered, but I don’t think I will be able to eat mussels again for a while. Maybe the mussels there are usually great, but I would not recommend ordering them on Sunday. I have a feeling they’ve been sitting there all week and they’re trying to get rid of them.
Anyway. We drank a lot of beer and that was good. And then I made everyone walk over to the Distillery District because it’s pretty.
We finished our day at El Catrin, where I went for my Mexican Happy or Hungry Eats the World adventure with my blogger buds. Only this time we sat inside at the bar. It is amazing.
Look at all that repurposed wood. The building itself is really old and I have a feeling that wood was found in there when they were renovating it. El Catrin truly has the most amazing restaurant decor I’ve ever seen.
We all agreed it was a Toronto highlight.
We shared a pitcher of the classic margarita, which was delicious.
And then moved on to a pitcher of mojitos.
Also really good, but not enough for four. BARELY enough for three, and poor Fabian’s glass was three quarters mint leaves and one quarter booze. Our server needed to think about our priorities when she was pouring that. That would be my only complaint. Otherwise we had a fantastic experience.
And Fabian’s shirt because I know you’ve been admiring it…
I want it.
Drinks at El Catrin was a really great way to end their trip. I am sad they’re gone and already thinking about where we need to take them the next time! And also thinking about when we’re going to get out to Florida so we can make them show us all the things.