A Thoroughly Entertaining (Canadian) Thanksgiving

Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
Trip End Apr 16, 2011

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Saturday, October 8, 2011

We must confess that it was with some trepidation that we turned up at our friend Sam's house around lunchtime on Saturday in Toronto. We had not seen Sam since a few brief days in Mongolia and were now rocking up, practically unannounced, to their family home for Thanksgiving.

The unease soon evaporated, however, as we were ushered into the house, welcomed warmly by everyone and provided with several beverages in quick succession and a selection of delicious canapés. Within a couple of hours we were chatting away with everybody as if we were old friends. Then we sat down for an incredible Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings and North American touches, including Sarah’s childhood favourite from the US – sweet potato pie (for the uninitiated that’s sweet potatoes, butter and maple syrup with just a touch of cinnamon baked in the over with marshmallows on top that go gooey and brown, what’s not to love?). After full second helpings of everything we could barely move by the time the apple pie & ice cream came out, served with a lump of cheddar cheese. This was then followed by something we are going to adopt at all future family gatherings - free flowing jelly shots. Sam’s friend Nicky who we had also met in Mongolia came around after dinner for drinks and the party carried on. We had an absolute blast and really were touched by how the whole family welcomed in some virtual strangers and made us feel at home.

The next day, nursing slightly sore heads due to the number of jello shots, we set off to meet up with Sarah’s friend from work Lauren and her boyfriend Scott who had recently moved back to Toronto. We had a lovely brunch which cleared up the hangovers nicely and then had a wander around the city, going up the CN Tower for views of the city and Lake Ontario which was looking beautiful. The weather, throughout the drive across and the Thanksgiving weekend had been clear, warm and sunny; something we were assured by the locals was not usual. It was not unheard of apparently for it to snow at Thanksgiving!  Happily the weather was unbelievable all weekend and left us convinced that Toronto is a gloriously sunny city.

That night we headed over to another friend of ours, Frank, who also has been living in Toronto with his wife and 2-year old son for another Thanksgiving dinner party. It was one of those bizarre evenings where you realize just how small the world is as they had some other friends over who, it turned out, lived on the same street in the little village of Calverley, just outside Leeds, as one of Sarah’s bridesmaids and that we shared some mutual friends. These are the 2nd set of people we’ve met who live in Calverley, which is really a tiny place!  What are the chances?

All in all we’d had such a great time in Toronto that we didn’t want to leave.  So we didn’t.  Instead we imposed ourselves on Sam for a little longer and spent another very pleasant day enjoying the sunshine and (in Sarah’s case) seeking out an outlet of the boutique she’d found in Whistler to invest in yet more clothes.  It had been such a lovely weekend catching up with everyone and taking part in such a fun family gathering that ironically it left us looking kind of forward to getting home and seeing more family & friends.  But perhaps not quite yet.

Sam & Katy, we can’t thank you enough for your wonderful hospitality and making us so welcome.  And Lauren & Scott & Frank & Sam, it was so great to catch up with you all.  Can’t wait to see you in London sometime!
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