Last week I took a highly-craved vacation and flew down to Toronto to spend the week with Emily. The week was a great balance of typical touristy Toronto stuff and exploring the “real” Toronto. I was even able to take advantage of my presence in Southern Ontario and spend a few days in Waterloo visiting all the poor suckers who are still stuck there. 🙂
I flew out Saturday morning, hung over and sleep deprived. Friday night was a rough night and my antics rivalled that of The London Tube Puking Incident of 2005 – but I’ll save that story for another time. Hung over and tired was not the way I wanted to see Emily, but I did my best to recover on the long flight to Toronto.
Emily welcomed me at the airport. It was weird seeing her for the first time in 6 months. She claims it felt natural to her, but I almost didn’t recognize her. Good thing she saw me first, because I don’t think she would have been too impressed if I ran up and hugged another woman instead of her. After 2 hours together, I took a shuttle to Waterloo and was warmly welcomed by Fish, Nick, and Anoush, who were most gracious hosts. When I arrived they were busy cooking a fabulous dinner, and we spent the night getting caught up on everything that’s happened in the past year, before I passed out on their comfy pull out bed.
Sunday I visited the Wasik’s and got see their house after all the recent renovations. It really looks nice. They tried to show me a few dance moves on their snazzy Dance, Dance Revolution pads, but I could only flail around and embarrass myself to my own beat.
Sunday night, Donna, Doug, and Poper came up to Waterloo and we all went out for dinner. It was great seeing so many old Waterloo friends. Although I don’t miss the city of Waterloo at all, I do miss all the people and the fun we had together. Too bad we’re scattered all over the globe now.
The week in Toronto with Emily was great. The more time we spent together the more comfortable I felt with her, and by the end of the week we were back to where we were when she left. I got to meet all her friends and family, and was carefully sized-up to ensure I met their expectations. And even though everyone should have hated me for influencing Emily to come to Vancouver and leave Toronto, I got along well with her parents and all of her friends.
I was really impressed by Toronto – at least the city centre where we spent all of our time. It’s a lot more liveable than I ever imagined. And some of the neighbourhoods – like the Annex, Queen Street West, Parkdale, and around the U of T – were really funky and full of hippies (I thought they were all in Vancouver). I think I could live in a few of those neighbourhoods, although it still lacks that natural charm and beauty of Vancouver.
I did the requisite touristy stuff – the CN Tower – the glass floor scared the crap out of me; the science centre – I do love science; Dufferin Grove Park – the coolest park I’ve ever been to; and Toronto Island – on a gorgeous and warm day there is no better place in Toronto.
It was a good trip. I got to see a side of Toronto I didn’t know existed and it helped to dispel all those “Toronto Sucks” stereotypes I had. Although flying out of Pearson, and seeing how big and sprawling the city is, brought a few of them back. I guess it is no different than Vancouver. The core is nice and liveable, but outside of that is suburban sprawl and highways.