As soon as we got off the train at Union Station we were happy to be here. It's a feeling, a vibe, its a collection of things that make it what it is. Don't get me wrong NYC is cool, but for me, Toronto takes it.
We didn't arrive until about 5ish. Funnily enough, we were staying on the same street that we did last year. Strange coincidence. So we knew the area well (well Elly did, my sense of direction is crap!) So we headed off to Yonge Street. Yonge Street is a really cool area. To be honest, from the outside it can look a bit seedy and could maybe look a bit unsafe
. Sure, its gritty and the very definition of urban, but once you spend a bit of time there, you'll see past the rough exterior and see it for what it is. While I'm thinking about safety I should really make a comparison with NYC. I've been thinking about this for a few days too, and can't figure it out. In the time we were in NYC, I think I saw maybe 1 or 2 people sleeping rough and a handful of beggars. None of which were in the subway, as I had imagined. I don't want to associate the homeless with crime, but I hope you can see the comparison I'm trying to make. It can make you feel uneasy, and on your guard when faced with a certain type of person. You see, the thing is, in NYC without seeing hardly any of this, and no crime whatsoever, I still felt uncomfortable at times. Like I wanted eyes in the back of my head. Whereas in Toronto, you'll find people begging all the time. On the streets and in the subways. We saw a couple of incidents, people getting arrested, and heard more sirens at night. As well as the occasional crazy person. You know the ones, the ones shuffling along the pavement with crazy eyes shouting to themselves. Yet, with all that I felt a 100 times safer in Toronto than in NYC. Why? Maybe because Toronto is smaller, and I know my way round it better. I don't know. Elly said that she wound have no problems with walking around at night on her own in Toronto but not in New York. Weird right?
The following day Elly indulged in some more retail therapy. I think she has a problem. At this rate we'll be home by the end of the month!! That evening we went to the baseball. We went last year, and it was a great laugh. A popular team were in town, the Boston Red Sox, so it was busy. As we were queuing up to buy tickets, a guy in a suit on his mobile tapped Elly on the shoulder and asked if she was getting tickets and how many. Then he just gave her 2 tickets and said "have a good night", and walked off
. Random act of kindness. They turned out to be amazing seats too! Right at the front, behind the Blue Jays dugout. It was a really exciting game too. The Jays were behind all game and came back to win at the death. Brilliant atmosphere. We loved it. (and Elly hates sport! But I saw her clapping and shouting!)
On our last full day, we just went and found the places we wanted to see last year, but ran out of time for. Kensington market is an interesting place. Like Camden in London, but smaller. Same sketch. Cool cheap clothes, and great variety of fresh food stalls. Worth a visit.
Knowing that we had a long train journey the next day, we just went and had a few beers at the waterfront. Then headed back and prepared for the next days early start.
I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that I love about Toronto. I've been thinking about it for days, and just can't sum it up in a few words. But I do, i love Toronto. It's my favourite city that I've been too. I remember loving it last year, and Elly and I wondered whether we'd have as much fun this time.