New Thing #152: Grimsby Farmers’ Market

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I’m having a nice little vacation visit at my parents this week and today we went into town for the Grimsby Farmers’ Market.

I had no idea that my home town shuts the main street down on Thursdays and let’s a variety of fruit farmers, artisans. musicians and others set up shop downtown.

It was even busy at two in the afternoon. I swear that we stopped to talk to half the town, including a guy I used to go to high school with. But it was fun and I got to see a lot of folks I hadn’t seen in years. And my mother got to show off Audrey.

I’m glad to see the town embracing local food and giving a bit of the finger to car culture in general. That’s probably the pinko-commie in me talking though.

And I bought a lot of peaches. Of course.

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New Thing #146: L’espresso Bar Mercurio

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I only found out about L’espresso because I happened to walk past it on the way to the Bata Shoe Museum. It seemed pretty well established for the neighbourhood so I had high hopes. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to expectations. It was fine, just fine. Which is pretty much the most damning thing I can say about the place. Too bad too, because the machine looked wonderful.

Also, someone really need to talk to their logo designer. I totally thought that was a Z instead of an L the first time I saw it.

New Thing #144: Ritz Carlton Toronto Bar

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My colleague and good friend Shelly is moving to South Africa and she had her going away party at the Ritz Carlton. 

The bar is pretty cool, although as expected pricey. Ok, very pricey.

If I weren’t watching my wallet it might just be the go-to patio in the city. It’s away from the street and there was a lovely breeze flowing during this heat wave. Also, it has an amazing view of the CN Tower.

I just wish it weren’t so damned expensive for a beer!

New Thing #121: Town Hall Square

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There’s a neat little urban park called Town Hall Square a couple of streets back from the office that I work at. 

Armed with a Hawaiian Slice, rootbeer and my buddy Stuart, I ventured into to the rather well grown greenery. Peppered with benches and raised concrete beds, the park has plenty of seating. The oversized pots make for an almost Alice in Wonderland feel to the whole place.

I’m pretty sure that the park is one of those green areas demanded of the condos that surround it by the city. It’s also nice that it sits atop the location of the original Yorkville Town Hall and includes a couple of plaques to commemorate the spot.

It’s nice to enjoy another little oasis on another fine, sunny, summer afternoon.

New Thing #120: Bluffer’s Park

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After Shauna’s Grandfather’s 95th birthday extravaganza (aka dinner out at the Swiss Chalet) we stopped for a quick jaunt around Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough. 

I had no idea just how expansive a park it is, with beaches, ponds, tons of ducks and geese and some stunning views of the Scarborough Bluffs from below. And one very angry Red Winged Blackbird. What a jerk.

Plus I got to show Audrey how to skip stones for the first time which was particularly fun for me. For the first six years of my life I lived right next to Lake Ontario. I spent much of my time down by the water skipping stones with my own father. I’m still not as good at it as he was, and probably never will be, but I was still the king of skipping to my own daughter tonight. 

And best of all, the running up and down the beach and through the bushes equated to one tuckered out toddler when we got home. No coaxing to bed necessary this evening.

All in all it was the perfect place to watch a sunset with my family tonight.

New Thing #110: Asquith Green

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It’s been one of those weeks at work and today I made a point of leaving the office and getting a bit of Vitamin D the natural way.

That’s how I happened upon Asquith Green, a tiny park tucked in between Bloor and Church Street.

Soon I found myself lounging under a maple, freshly pressed panini in hand, enjoying a perfect noontime lunch.

I love that you can turn a corner in Toronto and find a lovely little oasis amidst the glass and concrete. I especially love that I found this one so close to work on the day I needed it most.

New Thing #105: Dip ‘n Sip Donut Shop

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There’s an old donut shop that looks like it was built in the 70’s just up a ways from my house called the Dip ‘n Sip. From the outside it looks pretty cool; all curved glass and funky design elements on the outside.

It was one of the many location in Kickass that I screamed at the screen “I know where that is!” and it further cemented my need to visit the place.

After last night’s trip to The Feathers my friend Tom and I wandered in just past midnight to grab a snack for the way home.

The inside was decimated at that time of night; the only patron a middle-aged woman playing video Bejeweled on the terminal set up on the counter. The food selection was, well, not one. There were about 8 donuts in total for sale and I don’t think I’d eat anything else I saw behind the counter.

But it had charm, and I like it for that.

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New Thing #104: Feather’s Pub

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I’m not the world’s biggest Scotch Whiskey aficionado, but I’m no slouch either. So tonight I hiked over to The Feathers with my friend Tom for a drink.

With the largest single malt collection in Toronto I soon found myself paralyzed by choice. The menu is daunting to say the least. The only thing I could do to pare it down was to decide on age. So I figured I’d go for something as old as I am: a 1975 Linkwood cask strength that was out of this world.

And best yet, it’s within walking, I mean stumbling distance home.

New Thing #101: Don Mills Station

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Don Mills Station has always seemed like some weird outpost on the outskirts of the Sheppard line to me. That’s probably why I pretty much forgot that it existed until I was commuting back from the Dentist this afternoon.

When I got to Sheppard Station I quickly jumped off the train and headed upstairs to the Sheppard line. About 10 minutes later I hit the end of the line.

After lumbering up a huge set of stairs and taking one of then longest escalators that I’ve encountered on the TTC, I was unceremoniously spit out at the mall that I never remember the name of. That’s not true. I’m pretty sure it’s called “That Mall Where I Got That Ice Cream Cake For Shauna’s Birthday Years Ago”. That sounds about right.

As for the station itself, it’s what I’ve come to expect out of one of the newer or newly renovated locations. Spacious, clean and sporting at least one non-functioning escalator.

New Thing #97: Stairs Below Bloor Street Viaduct

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I take the subway under the Bloor Street Viaduct pretty much five days a week. In the winter time it’s hard to miss the long, winding stairway that leads down the hill towards the Don Valley. And every time I do, I wonder how the heck you get to it.

After looking all over for the staircase after work I finally happened upon a path around the side of Rosedale Heights School of the Arts and made my way down under the viaduct itself. If you thought the bridge was impressive from up top, try standing underneath it. It’s marvellous. 

And the stairs themselves get you just far enough away from Bloor Street and not quite close enough to the Bayview Extension that you forget you’re in Toronto around the midway point. A dense canopy of brush and trees keeps it cool and quiet.

It was a nice little break from the hectic week I’ve had and I’m glad I finally made it down there.

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