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Friday, February 10, 2006

Toronto Favorites

I was thinking of Toronto again, and thinking of my favorite places in my home away from home that I miss so much. I'm a City boy, so my list is pretty focused on places you'd find downtown. My home when I was with my love was downtown on Bay Street, and from that central location, my adventures always began either on foot, or by taxi. There isn't any special order or logic to my list - simply what is coming to my mind and my heart tonight...

  • Younge Street - from near the Eaton Centre to the South and The Bay to the North, this slice of the longest street in the world is packed with more variety and interest than you could imagine. There are toy stores; SAM SAM the record man and other record stores, large and small; yummy pizza, Spring Rolls, coffee shops galore, and don't forget the almond croisants; sports stores for both fitness needs and Leafs gear (go Leafs go!); strange little shops with questionable electronics at prices so good that you probably wont buy anything; and stores so expensive that you probably can't afford to buy anything at all!
  • Kennsington Market - this is a weird little neighborhood, almost like a hippie throwback, with houses truned into shops and fruit and veggie stands here and there and everywhere. I remember it hot and crowded and hard to park.
  • Nathan Phillips Square - A skating rink in the winter and a wading pool in the summer and a gathering place all year round. I love the modernist architecture, though the huge, unused concrete ramp is a real detraction. Rumour has it a remodel is in the offing. Maybe they'll make the rink big enough for hockey games, or maybe they'll make a skating path all around the square.
  • St. Lawrenece Market - I love this old place off of Front Street. The cheese shop is amazing and it's a lot like shopping at Seattle's Pike Place Market - lots of small local vendors. If you like the adventure of putting a meal together at a time, you'll love this place.
  • West Queen Street - I could adventure all day on Queen. From the cafe, "Sugar", back to where the street meets Nathan Phillips Square, there are more boutiques, cool shops (especially for me the vintage guitars at "Capsule") and yummy snacks than I can remember. This is an organic neighborhood at it's best. I hope it doesn't become too gentrified.

That's a start I guess. I think my lists are redundant, but I cycle these memories and they are always fresh and warm to me, like the croisants on Younge Street. If you're in Toronto, pick one up for me sometime.

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