It used to be that, if we had a few days to spare and wanted to take in the urban lifestyle, we’d drive 2 hours, into la Belle Province, and trek around Montreal for a day or two. That would usually involve enlisting a bunch of friends from Ottawa and going to the usual haunts – places in the Village mainly.
Such trips were common a few years ago, when we’d regularly go to check out the clubs and just leave behind the drudgery of Ottawa for a night, but they have become increasingly rare.
Montreal is still an incredible city, but it used to be that we didn’t have any friends there, and so we had no tour guide to direct us to the interesting sights. That’s changed and we now have an awesome friend in Montreal who is great fun to hang out with. So who knows. Things might start to swing back towards Montreal. Time will tell.
But in the meantime, Toronto has pretty much replaced Montreal as the prime destination for a weekend getaway. Over the past two or three years, we’ve developed a good-sized network of friends in that city, which has made it more interesting to travel the extra 3 hours. In fact, we’ve gone at least four times since Canada Day 2006.
One of the The nicest things about it is that all our Toronto friends now know and like each other. They hang out together when we’re not there, for Pete’s sake! So we know that a visit to Toronto means we’ll get to see EVERYONE (and don’t have to play favorites) and each of them will propose going somewhere we haven’t been, or showing us a sight we haven’t seen yet. The options are endless.
Unfortunately, this weekend was all business for Mel. He was in town for a course at McMaster and wasn’t able to join us for everything, what with the daily drive to and from Hamilton and classes all day. But for me it was simply a matter of going with the flow. What a luxury!
Together with our hosts Lex and Ger – who have been wonderful in their hospitality and in taking us to some of the best cheap restaurants in Town (Lex and Ger publish the CheapEats series of books) – the flow took us to some new (to us, anyway) parts of the city. We managed to:
- Play Trivial Pursuit, Cribbage, and Parker Bros.’ Sorry! (C’mon, you remember it!)
- Check out some local markets (and try on a few toques, but not find an appropriate style)
- Browse the pawn shops and camera outlet stores
- Grab some Pakistani food
- Stuff ourselves at Dim Sum
We really count ourselves fortunate to have such great friends – not only at home in Ottawa, but in nearby cities like Toronto and Montreal where we can go for a change of scenery. Keep the visitor kit handy, folks. We’ll be back soon!