Recently we went on our much anticipated otolaryngology international conference held this year in Toronto, Canada. Personally, I was excited just to visit a city that I’ve heard so much about and yet had never before been. Being so close to Canada, it is almost a right of passage to visit their largest city. My sisters 7th grade class went, friends going to concerts went, I think even my grandparents went. All of their returning tales were similar, ” Best city EVER!”, ” Super clean and SOOOOO SAFE!”, ” Can’t wait to go back!”. I was pumped! This long awaited break from mundanity was going to be such an adventure. So, perhaps it was with this exaggerated anticipation that destined the city to be a whopping disappointment.
Just a bit more pessimism and than I’ll tell you the good bits: Toronto happens to be experiencing an uncharacteristic crime wave of gun violence, and a summer heat wave that topped out at 113 degrees F ( 45 C ), which made sight seeing a test of human fortitude. Everything closes at 7pm. They have a 13% tax on purchases and if you use your visa card you can add a 4% fee on top of that. So all in all we were uncomfortable, leery, and horrified as our first impressions. Oh yes, and our hostel had no air conditioning, perfect for romance.
So now the good bits- Casa Loma has secret passageways, homeless people gave good directions and had interesting life stories ( yes, I got a little lonely one day while John was being a smarty pants scientist), the chocolate is just as good as the U.K., and we found the best fish and chip shop outside of Sherwood Forest ( not making that up, Nottingham, England has a wonderful chippy shop just up the hill from family friends Stewart and Christina).
Once we realized that we couldn’t just wander around downtown after 7pm, we did a quick google search of things to do at night other than sit in a pub and stare at each other. We went to a discounted show at The Second City comedy club, I recommend this highly, I’ll give it a totally made up rating of 5 diamond paddles. We are still quoting and laughing about the skits we saw. We also met a lovely couple from Halifax that recommended we come be best friends with them, and may have invited us to crash their anniversary night, I’m a little fuzzy on the details what with the Canadian/American language barrier 🙂
The search for cheap entertainment also lead us to walking 9 miles to a park to watch a ‘ pay what you can’ Shakespeare play. I had blisters for a week but loved the play, loved the park, and loved the nighttime walk back along the beach with my sweetie.
Stayed Tuned for part 2 of our Toronto adventure, I have to go pee now.