Oh Canada!

“He’s just not ready”…during our trip to Canada we’ve learnt the Conservatives admire Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s hair but advised via ‘smear campaign’ adverts..being Prime Minister isn’t an entry-level job!

Political happenings are a huge discussion topic, we’ve also learnt Canadians like drinking, watching sports, talking about the weather more than us Brits do, eating potatoes in all forms and that Toronto is ever-expanding.

We’ve had a wonderful 3 weeks in Ontario, staying with family and friends has been a treat, everyone we met was interested where we are from and are super friendly.

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We started our trip staying in ‘rurban’ Alliston with our Evans cousins. We shopped making the most of the $2 to £1 exchange rate, ate poutine in potato land, drank 1930 tequila drinks and had a fun weekend at the Alliston Potato Festival.

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Toronto is huge, it’s the fourth most populated city in North America and is an international centre of business, finance, arts, and culture. As Alliston is just over an hour away from Toronto, with our trusty guide Gary we took a day trip into the city.

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On the former site of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, which was once the largest whisky distillery in the world, now stands the Distillery District. Impressive brick buildings now house pedestrian only walkways of art installations, restaurants, microbrewery bars, shops that sell what I would describe as ‘nice things’ and coffee shops a plenty. It’s certainly a popular tourists destination.

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Incredibly trendy, Toronto is the city of bearded hipsters where shops and bars have outrageous on trend double names such as Frank & Oak, Lavish & Squalor and Scotch & Soda. 140 independent and ethnic neighbourhoods make up the city, so being with arty Gary we took a walking trip through just a few of these hip hoods.

We parked in Little Italy, where one level older homes were framed with pretty gardens. Strolling down Ossington Avenue, Gary told us this area was a den of sketchy heroin houses during the 80’s and is now transforming into a popular hangout for the hip. From Dundas St W we saw delicious looking Gelato shops in Portugal Village.

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Queen Street West is the art and entertainment district, we stopped at Paul Petro Contemporary Art Gallery to view Gary’s latest art exhibit ‘Ghost Host’. From there we visited Chinatown, if I lived in the city this is certainly the place to buy fresh exotic fruit and vegetables.

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Kensington Market is a distinctive multicultural neighbourhood, although we didn’t visit on the popular outdoor market day, we still saw plenty of bustling vintage boutiques and deli stores in converted grand Victorian buildings. We ate Jamaican spicy doubles and beef patties, then took a break to sit in the sunshine with a pint at Ronnies.

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Our day ended watching a baseball game. Toronto Blue Jays were playing at home in The Rogers Stadium against Minnesota Twins. The stadium roof was open to the clear night sky and the crowd were cheery as The Jays have been on a winning streak.

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It was great to see so many families at the game with kids sporting their baseballs gloves ready to catch any high balls. Final score Jays 9, Twins 3.

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In Port Credit, we stayed with Aunty Dee who owns a fabulous apartment that has views of Lake Ontario and out to the spectacular Toronto skyline. Purple Dee is just the most lovely person and it was great to stay with the Evans girls there for a few days. She is certainly the cool granny!

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Toronto’s York University were hosting The Rogers Cup competition for the Womens Tennis Association. We had day tickets with opportunity to watch the top women warm up on practice courts. Those Williams girls make playing tennis look easy, boy they sure can hit the ball hard! On centre court there was a big Romanian crowd cheering for no 2 Sabena Halep.

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After tennis we headed up to Cottage Country for a fabulous weekend with the Biggart family on the River Severn.

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During our last week in Canada we couldn’t miss out driving down to visit to the fantastic Niagara Falls. It is truly a wonderful sight that I will never tire of seeing.

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Once you drive out of the GTA, Ontario has beautiful individually designed houses, there is plenty of green spaces with vast beautiful skies.

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When we are in Canada, we certainly feel like it’s home and we aim to visit more often over the next few years as we certainly ‘heart’ Canada.

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