Category Archives: Toronto

Our Toronto Wedding: Ceremony and Reception

(plus I have a couple videos from our wedding videographer in Cuba at the very end of this!)

All photos in this post are again by Nicole Kirk Photography.

So I left off right before the ceremony. After our first look at Brickworks, Nicole, our photographer, drove us over to the venue, only a five minute drive so it was very convenient. We got married at the Globe Bistro, a restaurant in Toronto at Danforth and Broadview, and it was just perfect.

We wanted to be officially married before our destination wedding in Cuba, so our initial plan was to go to City Hall and then take our family out for dinner, however the logistics of that ended up being a bit more complicated than we anticipated. So, we started looking around at small wedding venues in the city and in the end the Globe Bistro won. Okay honestly we didn’t look at very many places, we just really liked this one. We went for brunch there a few times, loved the food and service, and decided that was the place for us.

They had a perfect room upstairs for the reception, and the restaurant was big enough that the ceremony could take place there as well (SO convenient, this way no one had to move to a different location). And since it was a restaurant it was already a nice space, we barely had to decorate, and they handled all the food and drinks (and servers, and plates and cutlery, and table linens and all that stuff that you might have to rent elsewhere). It was easy peasy planning-wise. I’m so, so glad we got married there.

Okay, onto the ceremony. I felt very calm all morning. In the week leading up to the wedding, I just wanted to get the show on the road already! I think seeing the venue with just Evan the day before also helped to calm my nerves. I was just excited and happy and ready to marry Evan.

My handsome dad walked me down the aisle to, once again, the instrumental version of Jack Johnson’s Better Together (I used it at both weddings, I just love it so much).

And my most wonderful groom was onstage waiting for me.

Literally we had a stage, the restaurant used to be a theatre, so that was nice. I felt very important.

We may have been low key with the decor and the details, but the ceremony was something that was very important to us. I still can’t get over how amazing it was, and a lot of that had to do with our officiant Heather. She has been a longtime blog reader of mine who also happens to be a United Church minister, and actually reached out to me through my blog and offered her services to us when I wrote that we were getting married. We met up with her for lunch a couple of times in our planning days and she could not be a nicer or more genuine person. She was so helpful when we were planning out our ceremony and worked with us to make sure that it was thoughtful and meaningful to us. I loved working with her. She did such a great job during the ceremony. Her voice was loud enough for everyone to hear and full of joy and charisma. I feel so lucky to have had her.

Aside from our families, I only had two friends in attendance — my good friend Beth from high school and another friend of mine since elementary school, Allison, who was Beth’s date (which worked out so well, my mom was so excited to see both her and Beth!). Beth and Michael (Evan’s brother, aka Brotherman aka the Best Man) stood up there as witnesses for us.

And Evan’s cousin kicked off our ceremony with a really great reading that Evan and I chose. Here it is.

From The Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.

All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, ” You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed — well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another —  acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this; is my husband, this- is my wife.

We both had a hard time holding it together during that. We found that reading while we were internet searching it really resonated with both of us. I love that it is practical and less about the romantic, two people becoming one, soulmate bullshit. We both said that we knew very early on that we would get married, and we had all of those conversations. We’ve been all in for a while and our wedding was just the next step in the process, so it felt very fitting. Also, it said “lover” in it and I like that.

Heather said some other nice things, and then before our vows we did our question of intention, which was:

Do you Evan promise to love Lindsey and respect her, to share your life and your dreams, to build with her a home that is a place of love, happiness, commitment and growth?

I do.

Do you promise to be a companion to her in all of her successes and failures, her happiness and sadness, to always give to her your unwavering support and above all else, the freedom to be Lindsey?

I do.

Do you Lindsey promise to love Evan and respect him, to share your life and your dreams, to build with him a home that is a place of love, happiness, commitment and growth?

I do.

Do you promise to be a companion to him in all of his successes and failures, his happiness and sadness, to always give to him your unwavering support and above all else, the freedom to be Evan?

I do. I really do!

My favourite part of our question of intention was the part about the freedom to be ourselves — that is something I think is so important in a relationship and not something that I’ve always felt, until Evan came along.

And our vows, which I loved. We had talked about writing our own, but in the end we found some that again resonated with us and felt fitting to us. Here they are.

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p class=”p1″>Evan/Lindsey, I promise to be your lover, companion and friend,
Your partner in parenthood,
Your ally in conflict,
Your greatest fan and your toughest adversary.
Your comrade in adventure,
Your student and your teacher,
Your consolation in disappointment,
Your accomplice in mischief.
This is my sacred vow to you, my equal in all things.

I particularly liked the mention of lover, again, and the ending with “my equal in all things.” Also comrade in adventure and accomplish in mischief — this felt very true to us.

Then we had Heather read the Blessing of the Hands, which we also found somewhere online and just loved. Here it is:

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children (and all your cats).

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled with age, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

That sure started the ol’ waterworks. I think that is such a beautiful blessing.

After this we lit a candle for our loved ones who are no longer with us, specifically my D-Dad and Nana, and Evan’s Bubby and Nana, and said a little prayer for them.

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p class=”p1″>Although we cannot see you
We know that you are here
Smiling down, watching over us
As we say “I DO”
Forever in our hearts
Forever in our lives
And so we say our vows
In loving memory of you
This light shines
as a symbol of life
and love remembered.

And finally, we have the exchange of the rings.

Evan/Lindsey, as you place the ring on Lindsey‚Äôs/Evan’s finger, please repeat after me:

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p class=”p1″>With this ring, I marry you and bind my life to yours.
It is a symbol of my eternal love,
My everlasting friendship,
And the promise of all my tomorrows.

And we sealed our vows with a kiss.

And I got my lipstick all over Evan’s face and he looked like Howdy Doody for all our family photos.

We signed all the legal things…

And then we were officially husband and wife!!!!!!! YEAHHHHHHH.

And then it was party time!

Our guests mingled in the reception room and ate h’ors doeuvres and drank mimosas while we took family photos — this was originally going to happen outside but it was raining quite heavily so we just did it right there on the stage and it turned out well (they say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day!). Because we only had 35 people in attendance we were able to get pictures with absolutely everyone, which was great. Tracey, our wedding planner was a HUGE help in wrangling people for pictures. We had a list of photos we wanted (highly recommend doing this) but I still don’t know what we would have done without her.

For the reception room we kept it simple with the decor and just did tulips with a local florist as centrepieces (Tracey also arranged this for us — and the florist brought them over and then came and picked them up afterwards, which was fantastic).

We also put framed pictures of Evan and I on the tables in mismatched frames, and our guests could take them home if they wanted to, you know, adorn their homes with our faces.

The mimosas were a’flowin!

Evan’s uncle kicked things off with the most perfect toast.

And then it was food time. We had a brunch buffet which included a veggie frittata, baked French toast, bacon, sausage, a fruit plate with yogurt and granola, greens with field mushrooms and roasted tomatoes, potato salad, and an assortment of pastries and sour dough toast.

Ahhh I love brunch food so much and it was all really delicious. A lot of people say that have trouble eating on their wedding day but I had ZERO issue with that at all. I cleaned that plate and went back for more.

Evan and I sat at the head table with our moms, Brotherman and family. Throughout brunch we did speeches, and Brotherman’s was so great. It was thoughtful, funny without being embarrassing for Evan (not that he would have cared) and with just a littttttle bit of sap.

And my friend Beth’s speech about our longtime friendship was touching as well. She may have shed a tear, or several million ūüėČ

It was cute. When I had my heart shattered into pieces when I was 17 she was the one who came straight to my house with a pint of ice cream. She also talked about how bad of a driver I was in HIGH SCHOOL. (I’m much better now, but you may remember the Captain Hook story…whoops).

And then my dad got up there and was so genuinely touching because he got choked up and left in the middle of what he was saying and sort of left us all hanging. I was like “Dad are you going to close this out with a toast or what?” so he had to come back up and finish that off.

It made us laugh harder than I have laughed in a long, long while.

We didn’t do dancing or anything, just mingling. I loved that it was low key and I had time to go around and sit and chat with everyone. Perfect!

My cousin Allie and her daughter Nora came all the way from BC! (remember Allie’s wedding? One of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to) I was so happy they were there.

And then Evan and I got up there to do our thank you speech together as husband and wife!

Evan started with mentioning that he had planned and written down everything he wanted to say and my plan was just to wing it, and he pointed out that was very representative of our relationship.

Which got a good laugh. And he is not wrong.

I just had a big love burst for him while I was typing this.

After a few hours of eating and drinking and chatting with our guests, we cut the cake. The cake! It was made by a former coworker of mine at Girl Guides, Cathy, and gurrrrrlllll, she slayed.

Evan had one request and that was NO. FONDANT. So we had all the buttercream and it was fabulous. I love that she matched my bouquet with the flowers.

The top layer was coconut with coconut buttercream, and the bottom layer was vanilla lemon. SO FREAKIN DELICIOUS. If you’re in the Toronto area and need a cake check out CakesByNaCJ, I highly recommend!

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I could not have been happier with the way everything turned out.

And then we went off and did it all again in Cuba, as you may know.

So if you made it to the bitter end and you don’t feel wedding’d out yet, here’s a video of our Varadero ceremony, I haven’t shared it here yet!

I still don’t really know what our officiant is saying (well I caught “thank you for choosing our hotel”), but I like it anyway. And a bonus video of us frolicking around with our bridal party, which is one of my favourite things.

I have no regrets about having two small weddings instead of one larger one. I feel so lucky that we were able to have an intimate celebration with so many people who mean so much to us. I’m just going to say, we also saved a lot of money doing it this way, so I definitely recommend.

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We’ll All Float On OK

Last Wednesday was my birthday! March 1st! I was too busy with my California recaps to mention it I guess. I turned 34, so not like a crazy milestone or anything.

Funny story though, I was making the Facebook event group for my birthday party this weekend (we’re going cosmic bowling) and I wrote in it that I was turning the big 3-5. I remember writing it and thinking “damn girl, 35 is a big year!” I don’t know what happened but I genuinely forgot how old I was and assumed I was a year older than I actually am. About an hour later my friend Dawn commented¬†“uh, did we skip a year? You’re turning 34.” HOLY MEATBALLS¬†I AM. I’m still young!!!! Oh I was ecstatic to realize that I was a year younger than I thought. And I’m pretty sure a sign¬†of getting old is forgetting¬†your age…

Anyway, on my actual birthday Evan took me out for a surprise night. He made a reservation at my favourite pizza place in the city, Pizza Libretto on the Danforth. Yessssss.

Man I love that pizza. I’m sure there are better pizzas, probably¬†even in the city, but there is just something about that one. I also really like their tiramisu, and that is saying something because I am not a tiramisu person at all. Theirs is so delicious though, more of a pudding than a dry cake.

Evan had another surprise activity planned afterwards¬†and I tried unsuccessfully all through dinner to guess what it was. I had no idea and I didn’t come close to guessing. I don’t think I would ever in¬†a million years got it. He made us a reservation at the H20 Float Spa.

A float pod, or also called a sensory-deprivation tank. I’ve¬†heard about these and have been so¬†intrigued. Evan and I have discussed¬†in the past what an interesting experience it would be — but it’s expensive and not a luxury I would ever think to purchase for myself.

If you’re not familiar, basically for an hour you float in a dark pod filled with water that is exactly body temperature and has something like 1,000¬†pounds of epsom salt in it. I’ve never been so buoyant. I mean, I’m a good floater in general, I got that down, but even if you don’t know what you’re doing¬†it would be impossible not to float in this water.

So, why would you do this? You can read all the details on the website, but basically it’s the most relaxing thing you’ll ever experience for your mind, your body, your emotions, your skin, and it has several other health benefits.

You have your own private (locked) room with your float pod and a shower filled with wonderfully smelling shampoo, conditioner and body wash, and they provide you with flip flops, ear plugs, body lotion, fluffy robes and towels as well. Evan packed me a bag with my bathing suit and some toiletries in it, which was thoughtful, but I just went naked for a true free and breezy experience.

You can listen to music (theirs or your own), relaxing sounds, or you can listen to nothing but your own breathing. I listened to ocean sounds and Evan listened to the jungle over in his pod room (I’m not sure if the jungle¬†would be particularly relaxing for me). You can close your pod or keep it open if you don’t feel comfortable, and you can leave the lights in the room and in the pod on or turn them off. I turned off everything and closed the pod and I didn’t have any feelings of anxiety or anything. Once you’re in there for an hour an alarm goes off to let you know your time is up, and then you have 10 minutes to shower and stuff.

I loved it. It really was the most relaxed I’ve ever been. How often do you do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for an entire hour? It was weird, but it was wonderful. Once you’re in there for a few minutes you can’t even feel the water anymore so it really is like you’re just floating on nothing. I did have a¬†hard time shutting my brain off though. I found that most of my thoughts were about what I should be thinking about. For at least the first half an hour my brain was just casting around for things to dwell on.

My thought process went like this: Should I think about my book? Should I think about what I’m doing with my life? Should I think about Evan? Should I think about wedding stuff? I need to write my wedding vows, should I think about those? Should I think about nothing? Should I think about my friends? Should I try to fall asleep? Should I think about my breathing? Should I get out and switch the music to Jack Johnson?

I only had an hour and felt I needed to have¬†a¬†deep revelation about something by the end of it, but¬†because I couldn’t think about any one thing in particular,¬†I didn’t. Or maybe I wouldn’t have anyway. For a while I just stared at the purple-ish spots my eyes made in the dark and thought about what kind of shapes those looked like.

The awesome thing is, I get to go again. Evan got a three pack so I have one float spa experience left. Next time I’m going to prepare for it. I’m gonna go in there armed with Jack Johnson and hopefully figure my life out and it’s going to be great!

Also I wanted to mention that my skin has never been so smooth! That salt water really did a body good. I still think it’s super expensive and probably not a luxury I would by for myself, but if you ever have the chance to try it, go for it.

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TO Light Fest and other things (mostly food-related)

I’ve been working on a cartoon post this week but it’s taking longer than expected, so in the meantime here’s what’s been¬†happening around here.

Last week Evan and I met up with our friends Emily and Corey at the Toronto Light Festival, a new thing going on this year in the Toronto Distillery District. We had planned to all go to the Christmas Market together back in November, also an annual thing in the Distillery District, but unfortunately the stars did not align for that and it never ended up happening. So, Toronto Light Fest was our back up plan.

It was originally advertised with a stock photo of tunnel of lights, so Emily and I were a bit disappointed that wasn’t actually a thing, but the exhibits were pretty cool.¬†We wandered around the area for a bit and checked out the sights.

Big kitties!

The love locks, which are always there.

This thing…

The Uniting Lightstar…

And my favourite, the Angels of Freedom by the OGE Group, an architectural firm in Israel.

I love that Marcus has his own little halo over his carriage.

If you go there, take a picture with the wings and then post it using the hashtag #MillStLights, Mill St. Brewery will donate $1 to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Pretty groovy.

We didn’t get a chance to see everything and one of the exhibits we missed was My Light is Your Light.

(photo from BlogTO)

I would have loved to see that and I’m not sure how we missed it. The light exhibits are there until March 12 though, and it’s free, so we might have to go back!

Evan has reservation-making skills and somehow managed to get us into El Catrin, a Mexican restaurant in the area (that I actually went to for Eat The World Mexico). It was totally packed and they were turning people away at the door so we were very lucky to get in. A note that if you’re planning on eating in the area during the TO Light Fest, try to make reservations in advance! I think we just called at the right time. I don’t LOVE the food at El Catrin, but they have great drinks (important) and one of the best atmosphere’s I’ve experienced in a restaurant so I guess I’ll forgive them. Evan and I started with corn on the cob though and that was insanely delicious.

The rest of our food was fairly mediocre but I will be talking about that corn for years to come.

The weekend was pretty low key, which was exciting.¬†Usually January and February are a bit slower on weekends but this year they seem to be exceptionally busy — we have had stuff going on every weekend so I just assumed we were busy this weekend as well. When I actually looked at our calendar and saw nothing was happening I was ecstatic. We watched Outlander on Friday (I assumed I’d be watching it by myself but Evan’s mom and aunt were telling him how good it is so he was actually interested), Saturday morning I went to Orange Theory, ran some errands, and then in the evening Evan and I had a pho date at our usual haunt and came home and watched Gilmore Girls (still slogging through the sixth season).

On Sunday we met with our wedding officiant (for our Toronto family wedding, not the Cuba wedding) in Newmarket at a restaurant called Made In Mexico. Heather, our officiant, chose the restaurant, and I could not have been happier with the selection. I got the enchilada sampler and it was so, so good.

I could not have been happier about our officiant, either. It was our first time meeting her — Heather reached out to me through my blog last year when I mentioned we were getting married in Cuba but wanted a Toronto ceremony first. I love blogging for things like this!!! We wanted to do lunch to sort of get to know each other before the ceremony, and we absolutely loved her. I’m feeling really excited that she is performing our ceremony and so grateful she emailed me about it!

On Monday I went to I Can’t Keep Quiet with Choir! Choir! Choir! and MILCK that I mentioned in my last post. Before the show I met up with my blogger friends at Loblaws in the old Maple Leaf Gardens by the Phoenix Concert Theatre (where the event was happening). We figured it would be good for a quick dinner. I grabbed soup and a mini baguette, and then since they have a Nutella Cafe in there this had to happen…

Because of course. So good!

We headed over to the Phoenix just before 7 and found a lineup that stretched longer than a city block.

That’s just behind us, there was probably double that in front of us. It was awesome that so many people came out, and there were pussyhats in abundance! We had printed our I Can’t Keep Quiet signs.

Me, Casey, Michelle, Shanondoah¬†(they’re all coming to our Cuba wedding which I am so excited about!)

I’m sure we held our signs¬†upside down half the time, but that’s okay, you get the point. There was one sign there that I was

MILCK came out and Daveed and Nobu taught us how to sing her single I Can’t Keep Quiet which went totally viral for¬†the Women’s March, I like this video especially:

Anyway, it was a really cool experience.

Singing that with strangers gave me all the tingles. MILCK sang the lead and the hundreds in attendance sang a three-part harmony that Daveed and Nobu taught us. I’m so glad we went! I hope my blogger friends had a good first Choir experience, though I have to say it ran a little longer than a usual session and all of our legs were dying by the end so I hope that didn’t ruin it for them. I can’t wait to see the video!

Here’s a good article about the whole thing on BlogTO. I’m not a fan of that “Women, Their Rights, And Nothing Else” sign, though. There are plenty of other things. Human rights and nothing else, yes.

All proceeds went to the ACLU, in this case, but past events have supported many Canadian charities (they raised over $25,000 for local¬†charities in December) and C!C!C! has also raised over $60,000 to sponsor two families from Syria and Iraq. It’s something I’m proud to be a part of!

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High School Eating Parties

It feels weird to be writing normal things right now. I’m devastated and terrified about what’s going on in the world and it doesn’t feel right to just be writing as usual. I don’t really know how to handle it¬†and my blog seems so trivial right now, but I don’t currently have anything genuine to add to¬†the conversation that will help bring about change. Or at least nothing that I feel comfortable writing an entire post about. But¬†normal¬†is¬†comforting. So, I’m going to do¬†some weekend recapping.

On Friday evening my high school friends and I had a dinner party with two of our former teachers turned friends, Marni and Mr. B (I still can’t call him anything but that!). We planned this back in November and it’s been a while since I’ve seen either of them¬†so I’ve been looking forward to it. I was also really looking forward to talking to Mr. B about everything that’s been happening since Trump’s inauguration. He was our history teacher all through high school and many times lately I’ve wished I was back in his class discussing how NOT NORMAL (but unfortunately not unprecedented) this is. Mr. B was always a voice of reason and I had so many¬†thought-provoking discussions in his class so I wanted to hear what he thought of this insanity.

We got those discussions out of the way early on and then had a really great night telling stories and reminiscing about our high school times.

My side of the table missed the memo about having a meatball prop.

Pretty similar picture to a dinner party we had at Mr. B’s a few years ago.

It was summer then, though, so we’re definitely all looking a bit brighter.

We went through all our old yearbooks, which is always a good time. Dawn and I in Grade 9!

I’ve really only ever had two hair styles, middle part and side part.

That picture isn’t in black and white because it was just soo long ago, but because our school was so small we didn’t have a big yearbook budget. Everything was black and white.

Also Grade 9, semi-formal.

You may recognize myself, Joel (back when he had luscious locks), my friend Beth, my bestie Lisa, Emily and Dawn. Just babies!

We had such a good night. I had a big love burst for this group.

Saturday morning I got¬†up early and headed to an OrangeTheory class. I’m still loving it. I upped my membership to unlimited, so I’ve been going four times a week the last few weeks. I’m definitely seeing some results, too, which is nice. Mostly in my limbs and chest right now, which is the story of my life. Nungas are always the first to lose and first to gain (this is more annoying than it sounds).¬†It takes a while for my midsection to catch up.

Saturday night Evan and I ¬†had a dinner date with my pal CathRON (she’s appeared in my blog a few times, Kitten the Cat‘s owner for context) and her boyfriend Trevor.

That picture is from 2013, we need a new one. The flash on my phone at the time sure liked to make me look fluorescent. Anyway, Catherine and I met when we worked together at Diary Queen when we were in high school. It was a high school themed weekend. I also worked with Trevor at Dairy Queen, they recently reunited which makes me so happy!!!

We went to Loka on Queen West, which opened in 2016 and¬†is known for having inventive, locally-sourced dishes. Our original plan was to do the Winterlicious prix fixe menu (Winterlicious is an event that¬†runs for two weeks every year and gives Torontonians the chance to try a value menu at many of the city’s restaurants) but then we noticed we could taste the entire restaurant for only $12 more per person. That seemed to be the better value to me. Super small portions though. For example our first dish was a whitefish chowder, and while delicious it was literally one spoonful.

Afterwards Evan was all “I bet they had an entire giant vat of that chowder back in the kitchen, they couldn’t put a full ladle in our dishes?!” Yeah. I feel that. I should mention that Evan did not like this restaurant at all, it was just not his thing. On Sunday he said he had a nightmare Saturday night that we were back at the restaurant eating more food. We had a really good time because Catherine and Trevor are a good time and we LOVED our server (well I did) but I agree the food wasn’t anything to write home about. A few things were pretty good though. I liked these little sourdough toasts topped with preserved plums and goat milk jam.

And we all loved the pan roasted mushrooms with truffled potatoes and deer lichen. I think it was the stand out dish of the night.

Deer lichen is a moss that grows on trees, so we asked our server where the moss came from and he said they have a guy who is a local forager that they source it from. I thought that was interesting. I asked our server if I could become a forager and just bring them things that I find out in the wild but he didn’t make it seem like Loka¬†would go for that…

We also tried the bone marrow. Both mine and Evan’s first time trying, but Catherine and Trevor had been telling us earlier how much they both loved it (not from here). As soon as it arrived at our table I saw Catherine side eye that bread.¬†She said bone marrow was best served with soft bread as opposed to crusty bread, so she was not impressed.

It definitely wasn’t Evan’s thing but I enjoyed it. I liked that it was all smooth and buttery. I do agree that it would be best served with a soft bread to sop up all that marrow goodness. The crusty bread was pretty useless. And we needed more of it!

We had eight courses in total, which sounds like a lot but they were so tiny that I left there barely full at all. We had a lot of beer though, so that helped. It was a good night and I’m excited to hang out with those two again!

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Livin’ on the Edge

Back in the summer (and I’m sad it’s over) my pal Casey asked me if I would be interested in doing the CN Tower EdgeWalk with her this year for her birthday.¬†If you are not familiar with the CN tower, it is the giant focal point of the Toronto skyline.

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Pretty sure I mentioned this when Evan and I went up there with Emily and Corey a couple years ago but it is the tallest freestanding structure in the western hemisphere and the fifth tallest in the world (it was the tallest until 2010). It’s about 1,800 feet, so it’s tall. It is large and in charge. You’ve always been able to go up¬†inside¬†the tower. It’s a pretty big tourist attraction and it has a revolving restaurant and a glass floor and a few other things happening. But in 2011 they started the EdgeWalk which is a walk OUTSIDE – around the circumference of the roof. You are tethered the entire time so it’s not quite as scary as a free walk. But it is still scary.

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It’s kind of been on my radar to do for a while, but it’s expensive and I live here so I figured one day, but I’ve never really had an excuse. Evan can’t even walk on the glass floor up there so there’s no way I would ever be able to get him to do it.¬†When Casey asked me it was all the encouragement I needed! So a few Sunday’s ago I met up with Casey, her mom and her friend Erika and we got suited up for our adventure. We were looking goooood.

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They take you out in groups of eight, so we had some new people with us. The two guys on the right in the above picture were visiting from Sweden (here for the World Cup of Hockey) and the couple on the left were from San Diego. We were the only Toronto natives!

I read reviews beforehand and the main point that kept coming up was that they take safety extremely seriously, and I have to agree on that. They are super super safety conscious. We had to be wearing rubber soled shoes, we could not bring anything out with us that could potentially fall, any jewelry we had on needed to be stored in a locker, and they triple checked our suits and harnesses. Once we were suited up in our attractive red jumpsuits they took us up a dedicated Edge Walk elevator, double tethered us to a track that goes around the entire building outside, and we were walking out over 1,600 feet in the air above the city.

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Pretty crazy.

Heights are not really a fear of mine, but that feeling of falling sure is. Evan is absolutely not a heights fan and he thinks it’s so funny when I say that I’m more afraid of falling than afraid of heights, he’ll be like “But that’s the whole point!!!!” But I mean that just standing up high¬†doesn’t get me. The feeling of free falling though, that terrifies me so bad that I worry I’m going to die of anxiety on the Drop Zone at Wonderland. So for me¬†I think I found it easier to do something like this as opposed to jumping out of a plane.

But even though heights have never really bothered me, when we first walked out I felt breathless when I looked down. It was an adrenaline rush for sure and it was a pretty weird and unsettling feeling. The very first activity we did was called toes over Toronto, where you walked to the very edge and kept only your heels on the platform. Eep. I think that was the toughest for me. But after that I started to trust my equipment and feel comfortable with the height.

The next activity was where we walked backwards to the edge and leaned back. We got a video of our entire experience afterwards so I made a short clip of this…

The first time was definitely scary, but by the time I did it again I felt like an old pro!

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We were outside for a good half an hour walking around the tower, pointing out our city’s landmarks and and doing activities. Another one was leaning forward over the city as opposed to backwards. Our guide was fantastic and I’m kicking myself for not being able to remember her name – she remembered all of ours after a very short time and that was really impressive.

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I would definitely recommend the EdgeWalk whether you are visiting the city or live here. And if you don’t like being up high, we had a guy in our group who was super afraid of heights and he didn’t do all the activities but he was okay, and I think even he was feeling more comfortable towards the end. It is expensive at about $200, however I feel like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it was definitely worth the money. We received a couple printed photos and a full DVD of our experience, all included in our package. We also split the photos package between the four of us – It was only $20 extra so $5 each for all the photos taken of us that day, so that seemed worth it to us.

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It was a good time! Super cool experience that I can cross off the ol’ bucket list. Thanks for inviting me, Casey! I don’t know how you’re going to top this on your next birthday…

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Blue Rodeo and CNE Date Night

Evan and I had tickets to see Blue Rodeo on Saturday night at the Molson Amp (again, I feel like I live there) and because you have to walk through the Canadian National Exhibition grounds to get to the concert venue we got into the CNE for free! aka the Ex. aka where all the crazy food is!!!

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The CNE only runs the last two weeks of summer, until Labour Day, and it is a quintessential Toronto summer activity. I used to go for years with my Nana when I was younger and she would go on all the rides with me! These days I prefer to check out the food situation¬†–¬†the food building is ridiculous. I was completely overstimulated and overwhelmed in there. I didn’t know where to look, let alone what to eat. I wrote a post last year on Buzzfeed about all the crazy foods. They add new food every year (and it keeps getting crazier) but they still had the old favourites, like¬†the cronut and donut burgers that were all the rage a few years ago.

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That churro cheeseburger might be new though. And pizza in a cone.

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I guess I’m falling for the novelty of it because I do quite like the idea of pizza in a cone.

Evan and I did a lap of the perimeter and settled on sharing snow crab fries to start.

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Ehh, overrated. Too many fries, not enough crab. The crab was good but it was so skimpy that I can’t recommend for $11. Keep walkin.

Keel walkin right on over to the Vienna food stall with the POUTINE BALLS!!!!

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This was worth every penny. Little balls of mashed potato and cheese, deep fried and served with cheese curds and gravy. OH GOD YES. That was as good as it looks. Maybe even better than it looks. No regrets!

As we were walking out we passed the Japanese street food booth and this caught our eye… the RAMEN BURGER.

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That is a burger with ramen noodles as the bun. What a dream. I don’t know how you say no to that, so¬†we got it to share. Really good. Kind of weird, but weirdly delicious. 100% would eat again.

After all the eating we walked around the grounds for a bit before heading over to the concert.

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Blue Rodeo was wonderful but seeing them¬†on Saturday night meant we were missing the last Tragically Hip concert, which I was initially a bit bummed about. I have seen the Hip¬†before a long time ago, but I know watching it would have been such an amazing and emotional experience. Although maybe for the best because I couldn’t even watch a commercial about the concert without tearing up…

I’m aware I have a lot of American readers (like, mostly American somehow) so just in case you’re not up to speed – the Tragically Hip is a Canadian rock band that is SUPER popular here in Canada. Strangely they don’t seem to have garnered much of a following outside of our country, but this means that we Canadians have been able to keep them to ourselves for all these years and we¬†feel sort of protective towards them. They are ours. You might know Ahead By A Century.

Or maybe Bobcaygeon? Probably my favourite song to listen to at the cottage!

Ah, they just remind me of summers growing up.

Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Hip, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (an aggressive form of incurable brain cancer) back in December, and so they announced they were going to do a final Canadian tour this summer. ¬†They played three shows in Toronto a couple weeks ago and their last concert was Saturday night in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. I can’t imagine traveling and performing like Gord has been over the last couple months while suffering from brain cancer. Truly amazing.

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Because this was such a big deal and so many people wanted to watch, the CBC (our national broadcaster, similar to NBC) decided to stream the concert live for the entire country. This bumped out Olympics prime time, and what I think is the most impressive thing, they streamed it without any commercials! CLASS. ACT. There were viewing parties all over the country, in bars, in parks, in homes, everywhere, and like a third of our entire population was watching live. Nuts! Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was even there sporting a Hip shirt and a Canadian tuxedo! Here’s a good article about the whole thing. I think it was amazing that we can rally together like that for a rock band. It makes me very, very proud to be Canadian.

Anyway, so we were at Blue Rodeo and missed the Hip party.¬†But that’s okay, we plan on watching it later and making a night of it. And Blue Rodeo was so good! They actually¬†played Bobcaygeon in a very fitting (Blue Rodeo is also popular mostly¬†in Canada, although maybe not¬†quite¬†on the same scale) and VERY emotional tribute to the Hip, while they showed CBC footage of the concert on their¬†screens.

They also played Lost Together, my very very fave of theirs.

Evan and I slow danced during this and I was basically melting the entire time. Also¬†Try, Hasn’t Hit Me Yet, and Five Days In May. So many of their hits. Hasn’t Hit Me Yet was also a pretty emotional experience, as it was the last song they played and this was the last concert Blue Rodeo would be playing with Bob Egan, their longtime pedal steel player (who is super impressive) because he’s leaving the band to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a librarian. I kid you not. They got the crowd to sing the first two verses of the song to Bob and you could just see him tearing up and ah. It was happy sad. I may have cried. You go fulfill your dreams and be the best librarian, Bob! Here’s that moment live (they actually start singing at about 2.40 in the below video):

Bob Egan SLAYS that steel!!! Evan and I loved them live and had such a good time.

We walked back¬†through the CNE grounds when the concert was over, and it was all I could do to not get everything on these signs…

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I heard there were deep fried Reese’s peanut butter cups and I wanted them so bad but I couldn’t find them anywhere! I’m going back next week so I am making it my mission to find them. Instead I¬†got an ice cream cone. Maybe for the best.

I also really wanted a little Pikachu. Evan is really good at games, as you may know, so I thought this could actually happen…

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We were wandering through the midway looking for a game Evan could easily win, when we came across the balloon darts game. Done. Evan was all “what do I have to do to win a Pikachu?” they gave him 8 darts and told him he needed to hit a balloon on every single throw. He not only did that, he got so cocky he started calling the balloons like he was playing pool. He’d be like “PINK! Bottom left! Yellow, top right!” I was dying. I got my Pikachu!

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And then we went on the gondola ride that goes over the entire park.

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He is not a ride fan so it’s the only one he’ll go on. Even that was almost too much for him, and it moves slowly! I get it, carnival rides arrive in a truck and are put together on site so I understand the apprehension about that (although I think the gondola is up all year). Gimme all the rides though, I love it. Minus the Zipper. No thanks.

It was quite the date night!

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