Day 4 took us on a stroll around The Beaches. The temperature was in the plus, the sky was blue and the sun shining. We left our coats and scarfs at home and hit the ravine. The snow everywhere was rapidly melting. We met my Welsh and Scottish friends and went for breakfast at the only place that I know does a great bacon bap.
There is an exhibition on the beach where different artists have created sculptures around the lifeguard stations. Last year was fantastic – the fully functioning sauna. Among this years designs, there is one with lots of upside down christmas trees, glass bottles to put messages in, reflective stations and the winner was a metal cage shaped like the tail of a fish filled with different coloured plastic bottles.
I introduced Kerry to my favourite coffee shop and we had dinner in the pub.
We went to hunt down the elusive Beavertrails for brunch. They went down well and Kerry devoured hers in a much messier fashion than I usually see from her. We shopped. We spent the day at the Eaton Centre playing with makeup at MAC and getting some makeup guidance, shopping, trying things on and just generally pottering. We did this until our feet hurt and it was time to go. A friend invited us for dinner which was lovely of her, so after a quick pit stop, off we went.
Today we went for a Beavertail brunch again. We pottered around downtown by the harbourfront and slowly made our way to the Ricoh Coloseum ready to see the Marlies hockey game. Unfortunately, after making it all the way there – and it is quite a trek – we realised we were at the wrong stadium. There was much confusion about why we couldnt find a door open to get it, and why there was noone around. Luckily, another girl and her friend had made the same mistake and we all shared a cab to the Air Canada Centre getting there just in time for the anthems!
This is the first time I have seen the Marlies, so it was strange being in the ACC without it being full. It was a lot quieter and lots more children. It was still such good fun and Kerry seemed to love it.
That seems like enough entertainment for one day, but we popped home for warm layers and went to visit the Distillery District to see the Light Festival. We were warned it was not all it was made out to be, but thought we would go anyway. There were some pretty lights and displays but yes, we didnt stay long. There were long queues and serious artsy people. The LOVE padlocks looked nice lit up though. Pub grub and bed.
Another day with the freedom that comes with renting a car. We picked up my friend from Manchester and headed north. The huge fields of perfect untouched snow were gorgeous and the snow drifts at the side of the road so pretty.
First stop, the Spirit Catcher in Barrie. This sculpture has been there since 1987 after being created in Vancouver in ’86. It is right by Lake Simcoe in downtown Barrie.
The lake was completely frozen and we took some tentative steps out. We were advised by locals 1. The snowmobiles were out in the middle where the ice is thinner and 2. People were out in tents ice fishing, so we should be absolutely fine. They did however end with a caution to run if we hear a cracking sound. Great. We strolled along the edge of the lake and saw the ice sculptures from last weekends Winter Festival. They were melting a bit and some limbs had fallen off the people, but the maze was still intact and they were pretty to see. We were just in time. We took another step out on to the lake further around the bay, when a man strolled out past us with no hesitation with his dogs. By this point, me and the one from Manchester were feeling okay about it felt safer. As safe as you can feel standing on a frozen lake.
We walked back through the high street stopping for chocolate brownies and hot chocolate, and to get some treats in a cheese and and chocolate shop. We tasted chocolate cheese. It was vile. The shop was cute though, and stocking just chocolate and cheese in one shop, genius.
Lunch. AMAZING red pepper soup in a pub that sold pints for $3.25. How the place wasnt a complete dive with this pricing, I have no idea. It was nice inside, friendly, and we left full and satisfied ready for an evening of snow tubing at Snow Valley.
The snow tubing was so much fun! We paid $15 for unlimited rides. You sit in a rubber ring and get dragged up to the top of the slopes, then they push you over the edge of a steep drop. We went on our own, holding on to each others tubes, and in a big one that all three of us sat in. It was brilliant. Much better than expected. The sunset at the top was stunning. The only thing that was a shame was the school style canteen. The food looked awful, so we headed to our old friend Wendy for square burgers to end the day. All the love for Wendys. I would love to be served by someone actually called Wendy.
Day 2 was a for venturing out of Toronto and seeing some waterfalls. With a cold temperature in the minus, we wrapped up warm and hoped for some frozen waterfalls. Albion Falls is one of my favourite waterfalls in Hamilton and we went to see if it was still flowing. Unfortunately we could not get all the way down as the ice was too slippery, but we got level with the water and saw some bits of frozen mini falls around the main flow. The day was lovely and fresh with a bright sky, so it was nice to be out and about.
An obligatory stop at the outlet mall, for me to visit Kate Spade and Kerry to develop a love for Roots and Davids Tea.
Niagara Falls was its usual beautiful self. I have wanted to go in the winter for a long time, so it was great to finally have the chance. I never get tired of taking photos of Niagara Falls. The rainbow was at the top of the falls and I took some stunning photos from a different angle. The water was frozen in places in to icicles along the bank around the falls. We got to the top just as they closed the Journey Behind the Falls, but luckily the lady still let us go down. I was so glad we did. This was so much better in the winter. The viewing windows were covered with ice and more icicles. I loved it.
The Skylon Tower was a pretty trip during the sunset, though extremely cold. The sun didnt actually set over the falls, so we didnt stay too long.
We went for a walk around the shops. We had hoped for some Beavertail, but again it was closed due to the off season. So disappointing when many of other shops and attractions were open. I love Wendys, so was pleased to be able to grab a Daves double before we went back to the car and to see the falls lit up in the dark.
Day 2 was met with the same level of tiredness as Day 1 and we both passed out tired out.
With two weeks notice, one of my oldest friends from Home is here to visit. I have been so excited and as it was last minute, there wasnt enough time to get impatient. She arrived on Valentines Day just in time to go out for a nice meal, where we were asked if we were a couple.
We hit the ground running and Day 1 involved the CN Tower and Toronto Islands. This was one of my favourite visits to the CN Tower as it is the first time I have been up and been able to see snow. It was so much prettier with snow on the ground. We had hot chocolates, perused the gift shop and headed for the Beavertail place. Unfortunately, we arrived and it was closed Mon-Thurs.
We got some chilli from Tims and boarded the ferry for a nice walk around Toronto Islands.
We went to Far Enough Farm and petted the animals. It was sad to learn that Charlotte, the giant sow, died. I loved going to see her.
It was so so cold. The day started at -8 and we got colder. The ferry had the school children on it on the way back and we were not allowed to sit indoors. Cold.
Off to the Toronto sign and it has had a new piece added – there is now a maple leaf as well as TORONTO. I think this is because Canada is 150 years old this year. There are lots of changes and new things creeping in around the city.
We were shattered by the time we got home, but managed to find just enough energy to go to the pub quiz with friends. I have come last every time I have been. This time, we were runners up and won a $25 gift voucher. So exciting! To come second was amazing! Who doesnt love a quiz night that has Spice Girls related questions?!
We slept. So much. Just passed out on our beds.
Sadly, last week, my foster car Gizmo was adopted. He was the best. Today, my new pal was delivered and Clark is now hanging out washing his paws on the end of my bed.
Rescued from a shelter not in Toronto, he has a cold and needs a few good meals. There were over 400 cats to be rescued from a no kill shelter that was looking at having to kill them. He came for cuddles immediately and is so affectionate purring and jumping up for attention.
I gave him a toy mouse and he started growling, “killed it” and then continued to sit guarding it and growling. I have never seen a cat do this and it was hilarious how quickly he flipped in to hunter mode. Luckily, he didnt mind me taking it from him.