Summer in the city

A good friend from Ottawa came to visit last weekend and we had a great time exploring the city together. We went to the Beaches, took the ferry over to Toronto Island, and ended the day with a delicious dinner (and decadent chocolate cake for dessert) and a play: Titanic: The Musical. It was a wonderful way to start the summer! As usual when I’m having fun, I generally forget to take pictures. But here are a few from when I managed to remember I was lugging my camera around.

DSCN0829At the Beaches

DSCN0831My destiny! (in the amusement park on Toronto Island)

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Signs of Spring

I would like to thank the many people who have shared their support and gave me words of love and encouragement after my last post. I truly appreciate you journeying with me this year, and for supporting me. You all mean so much to me. Thank you.


Potted arrangements for spring

Last weekend my dad was here for a visit (Hi Dad!). It was so much fun to have him visit the Abbey, meet some of the sisters (they all told him he couldn’t be my father, he looks like my brother! – I think he was secretly thrilled even though he laughed it off ), and explore the city with me. Excellent father-daughter bonding time! And he didn’t even seem too nervous having me chauffeur him around the big city. (I’ve come quite a ways since our driving lesson days – as long as I don’t have to drive a standard, of course!) But his visit certainly did make this choice I am making more real to me. No longer am I welcoming family into my own home, but to the home of many other people. The visit had a different feel than when he would visit me in Ottawa, and I think it will take a bit of time to get used to the new scenario.

DSCN0800  A splash of purple by the Abbey chapel

Spring has definitely come to Toronto in the past couple of weeks and I am enjoying every minute of it. Signs of spring abound. This past week has just been gorgeous. Beautiful sunny days and warm temperatures. I’ve been getting outside more often – exploring the neighbourhood (and making a mental note of cafes and restaurants I would like to try), and trying to get back into shape (running and tennis are back on the agenda!).



Red celery? No idea what this is. Do you know, Master Gardener Aunt? 🙂

The grounds around the Abbey are showing their own signs of spring. From the potted plants by the entrances and exits, to the wild flowers that spring up in the grasses, new life is taking over!


Hyacinth? They smell lovely, whatever they are!



Searching for Spring

March. At last.

I read in the paper this morning that February 2015 was the coldest February in Toronto since 1875. This is not the kind of winter I had been expecting when I moved here in the fall. I had prepared myself for “winter lite” compared to past years in Ottawa, thinking that I wouldn’t need those pairs of long underwear anymore. But, I guess, winter is winter, and a Canadian winter generally is cold.

This weekend, though, it warmed up considerably. Still below freezing, yesterday was washed in sunshine and blue skies. It was a day to believe that spring is around the corner. I went to Cobourg to meet with my spiritual director and took a walk afterward to enjoy the bright blue of Lake Ontario against the winter sky. Sadly, I didn’t bring my camera along to capture it.

Today feels cooler and the sky is overcast. But it’s March. Finally. And I’m convinced spring won’t be too long now in arriving. I went to Edwards Gardens this afternoon for a walk. I kept a lookout for any little buds or signs of new growth. As the pictures show, I’m a bit early looking for signs of spring. Still too much snow and ice on the ground. It’s hard to deny, though: hope is in the air.

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I found the spring flowers…hiding inside where it’s warm!




Getting off at the Chester subway stop, I started my tour of Greektown. What a lively area of the city!  Lots of shops and restaurants and people on the go.



I had been craving a gyro for lunch and decided to stop at Messini Authentic Gyros. Delicious! For $10 I had a massive (and delicious!) gyro, fries, and a drink. (I took the photo below with my phone and it doesn’t accurately capture the generous portions!)


Thoroughly satiated (and with enough leftover to take home for dinner!), I walked along Danforth, checking out the shops and sights.


One store I wandered into sold an assortment of Greek books, music and DVDs. I passed bakeries and supermarkets, all selling Greek products. I had a great time checking out Treasure Island Toys. Even though it really is too early in the year to be thinking of Christmas, I couldn’t resist the Christmas storefront window display.



Despite the wet and chilly day, I really enjoyed exploring Greektown. It’s definitely on my list of places to return to soon!


Little Portugal


When I’d had enough of Kensington Market, I let my stomach guide me further west along Dundas Street. I was on the hunt for a much dreamed of Portuguese custard tart. Having had been lucky enough to sample a few of these beauties several years ago, I have been craving them ever since! Luckily, I didn’t have too far to go. Dotted along Dundas are a few outlets of the Caldense Bakery. I stopped inside to sample a tart and warm up with a coffee. I enjoyed the tart so much that I decided I couldn’t keep the gustatory pleasure to myself so I picked up some up for the sisters.



I continued along Dundas, further into the heart of Little Portugal. What a charming neighbourhood! It was such a treat to see Portuguese signs and advertisements in store windows. It really was like being transported to Portugal (not that I’ve ever been!!), minus the warm weather and sandy beaches. There were many restaurants and cafes that I would like to return to and test out. I also passed many boutiques offering formal gowns and evening wear, should I ever been in need. I should have picked up a sparkly number for the jubilee celebrations!

I finished my exploration of Little Portugal at Dufferin Street and navigated my way to the subway. After a longer than anticipated walk up to Bloor, I happily collapsed onto the subway seat to rest up for the last leg of my Saturday journey.


Kensington Market

I recently had a free Saturday to do some exploring in Toronto (my first since I arrived!) and I took full advantage of it. Despite the somewhat gloomy wet weather, I set off for parts unknown. First stop: Kensington Market. I had heard many great things about this neighbourhood – the eclectic shops, multicultural cuisine to be tried, and interesting artwork and architecture. To get there, I had to battle with the TTC and subway closures. After a combination of subway, shuttle bus, and hoofing it, I arrived at my destination.




I popped into the interesting shops, including the Blue Banana Market, which has a diverse assortment of wares. Kitchen gadgets, handmade hats, scarves and socks, children’s toys, gourmet foods, novelty items, candles, bath products. The list goes on. Even though I emerged empty-handed, I was toasty warm and ready to check out the other sights.



As I wandered the streets, I came across a series of fantastic metal art adorning a front lawn, including a Vespa scorpion and other unlikely creatures!