Toronto Day 3: a little bit of this and a little bit of that

My third day in Toronto wasn’t filled with many plans. That was a good thing. After walking half a mile my legs felt like rubber again because I walked so much yesterday. I decided to take it easy and after going through my plans in less than 2 hours I knew I needed a new plan quickly. Here’s what I did on day 3.

My first stop was St. Lawrence Market. This fresh market/ deli is housed in a big hall where you can find all the gourmet food you’d ever want. It is housed in an old industrial market hall with two levels.

Exterior

Interior

I then walked through ‘old town’, which, despite the name, didn’t look old at all. It actually looked a little rundown and uninspiring. I was looking for The Distillery District though and after a few minutes I found it. Only to find out that The Distillery is now a shopping and art gallery area. Interesting but not exactly what I had expected. The buildings are some of the oldest in town though. What they are, are old distillery buildings and are reminiscent of the Industrial Age factory buildings.

The Distillery

The Distillery

It was only 11 AM and I was already through my plans for the day. I was near the Quay again though so I decided to walk along the harbourfront back to Bay Street, take a subway and go to a museum I had come across yesterday: the BATA Shoe Museum. I did stop for a bagel and some Starbucks where I sat for a while just reading a book. Like I said: I was trying to take it easy.

Bata Shoe Museum

This museum wasn’t very crowded and not very expensive either. It wasn’t huge, but still interesting. They had an exhibition on shoes through the ages, shoes for women in the 1920s and a special exhibition on Roger Vivier: the lead designer for Christian Dior in the 1950s and later on YSL. The best part though is that the town in Holland where I grew used to be the home of the largest Bata shoe factory outside the Czech Republic. So to find a Bata Shoe Museum on the otherside of the world was quite strange. I really enjoyed it though.

Since the shoe museum is located on Bloor Street I found myself near Yorkville which I had failed to explore the day before. I had a walk around there and found out it was an area with mostly small multi-story boutique stores selling anything from insurance to cashmere clothes and some more higher end items.

And this taught me one thing: if there is one thing you can do well in Toronto it’s shopping. Here, you can really shop till you drop. There’s Eaton Shopping Centre on Yonge and Dundas Street where you can find all the major high street stores (and there is more around that area). Then there’s Bloor Street (around Yonge & Bay street) has high end shopping with Louis Vuitton, Chanel and the like. Yorkville has boutiques, the Distillery has art, Kensington Market has vintage and Queen St. W. has more highstreet shopping. Too bad that Canada is not as cheap as the US: prices are higher, tax is higher and the exchange rate to the Euro is also less advantageous.

Another thing there is not shortage of in Toronto is places to eat and drink. Everywhere you go are small restaurants, bars, ice cream places, pizza places, deli’s and supermarkets. And there is a big variety, though Asian cuisine is represented mostly I feel. It also seems to me there is a large Asian group living in Toronto, which is no wonder considering Toronto has the largest China Town after San Francisco and even has a separate Korea Town.

The last remarkable thing I would like to mention are bikes. Bicycles are around everywhere and this may very well be the first North American city I have been to that actually has separated bike lanes. Granted, not everywhere, but they are there. You can see anyone riding bikes everywhere: from small children to students to older people. Bikes seem to have been accepted here as a good alternative for browsing the city.

I went for a burger at Johnny Rocket for dinner and went to see Rock of Ages (which is hilariously corny: a great I-don’t-want-to-think-about-anything type of movie).

Tomorrow I will be visiting Niagara Falls and hopefully also the nearby town of Niagara on the Lake. So stay tuned for that. For now though: have a great day and enjoy your summer! By the way: what’s the weather like over there? Here it will be sunny with 29 degrees again tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Today was a bit of a downer on the weather front (which is why I went with a museum visit): it was cloudy and it even rained for a little while.

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