On Tuesday evening I drove away from our Toronto home for the last time. I peered over the tower of laundry that kept Noodle and I company in the back seat and felt such a strange mixture of wistfulness and excitement. The city will always be in my blood, but I’m excited to leave it and move on to new and exciting things that await under the canopy of green in the country.
Guess how many boxes I packed yesterday? None. Not a single box. I did however spend the entire day with Aylu and The Noodle, and half the day with Hannu. We hit the playground, grabbed some tacos, and then Ayla and I hiked home from Bloor and Christie making a few shopping stops along the way.
I have totally taken for granted how easy it is to just pop the baby in the stroller and go and see things. Soon we’ll only be walking along our country road, looking for interesting road kill and wildflowers that I might not be allergic to. I’m really starting to realize how many things I’m going to miss about living in the city. Here’s an overview of the ten things I’ll miss most about living in Toronto.
Tacos El Asador – This tiny, sweaty little joint is on the north side of Bloor just east of Christie. It’s so typical of Toronto that the best place for Mexican is in Little Korea. The food is cheap, the beer is cold, and the place is never empty. Also, Smokey who has worked there for 15 years is the only stranger who can currently grab Noah out of our arms and not make him scream. Check out the great blogTO review here.
Dufferin Grove Park – If you are easily offended by vegans who smell like garlic, women who don’t shave their armpits, or families with same-sex parents, DO NOT go to this park. If you would like to sit under the shade of massive old trees and watch your children frolic in an epic, community-run playground while you graze on healthy snacks prepared by the local volunteers you need this park. I will so miss being able to go to a playground where Ayla can yell, “They’re BOTH my mom, and that’s my DAD!” and nobody will raise an eyebrow. Also, did you know that patchouli is a natural insect repellent? It even repelled Daddy before he got used to it. This photo is from the darling and informative Neighbourhood Walks blog found here.
The Toronto Public Library – Sure there’s a lady who smells like cheese sitting under a pile of dubiously stained granny square afghans who always threatens to pinch my baby, and yes, the old Asian man is asleep and not dead on that stack of periodicals, but I will miss my local library. The St. Catharine’s Library branches might be pristine and filled with fresh flowers, but I doubt they will have the same kind of selection available in Toronto. I also doubt they will have anyone hiding in the back of the cookbooks stack talking softly to their pet ferret.
Walks At Dusk – I love talking walks through city neighbourhoods just before sunset. This is a lovely thing to do any time of the year, but summer is my favourite because all of the gardens are in bloom and the fragrance is magical.
Free Stuff to Do – There’s a seemingly endless stream of awesome and free summer events and festivals in Toronto. We didn’t take advantage of this nearly enough and now we’re stuck with the St. Catharine’s summer concert series which includes the Walter Ostanek Polka Band.
Fiesta Farms – Long before Whole Foods farted up it’s quinoa scented obnoxiousness in Yorkville, there was Fiesta Farms, an independent grocery and nursery specializing in organic foods and healthy food choices. You can buy groceries for less than a month’s rent, and you can be sure to run into at least one of the families from the local Waldorf School.
Pride – True I haven’t gone to a Gay Pride event in years, but I love that our city has a massive week-long celebration of our LGBTQ community that has become a tourist attraction. Woah, wait! What’s this? PRIDE NIAGARA? Oh yessss!
The Restaurants – There is a truly ridiculous number of great restaurants in Toronto, and an incredible variety of cuisine. Daddy assures me that there are some incredible restaurants in Niagara and Fort Erie, so I suppose I will look forward to the adventure of culinary exploration. If you can recommend anything, do let me know.
Shops – I don’t shop in them, but I do like to browse. I’ll miss all of the quirky storefronts, particularly in Queen West. I really dislike shopping in the mall, and that’s basically all I’m left with in Niagara. I’ll have to sniff out all of the antiques markets and thrift shops in the area.
Ethnicity – I know Niagara won’t necessarily be totally WASPy, but I will certainly miss having entire neighbourhoods of ethnic variety to enjoy. I can’t imagine a world without the PAT market in Little Korea, or the Mexican grocery store on Dufferin, or the Danforth, or…Oh god, what if they don’t have pho in Niagara?