Well let’s start with the most recent. .
This saturday, an annual Toronto art festival was in town – called Nuit Blanche. It’s a one night festival which starts at 7 pm and goes until sunrise… and pretty much, hundreds of artists come and install 3D and interactive art pieces all over the city, and you can just meander around the streets and view them as you please!
So of course we decided to meet at an apartment and all have a few drinks before going out to explore.
What was forgotten in this planning. . Was that we are all students. . On exchange.. and inevitably we were distracted by our drinking and ended up partying at the apartment for way too long. And then eventually leaving the house way too drunk.
The apartment though, was a super gorgeous modern, 2 bedroom place, just a short walk from where I’m living.. And in good company. . Time simply slipped away..
So by the time we did venture outdoors we actually decided that popping in to a pie shop was the number 1 priority..
And we found an “Australian” pie shop! That had even included a “Kiwi” (steak and cheese) pie on its menu! AND the guy behind the counter was from Tauranga, New Zealand! (The second Taurangian I have found over here!). It was such an incredible novelty for us all.
And I even got to have one myself (spinach and cheese – being a vegetarian) which was something I have not experienced in years..
And. It was damn delicious.
Then, with satisfied stomachs and a renewed thirst. .. we somehow found ourselves in line to a nearby pub.. And ended up dancing and drinking the whole night away ($3.00 spirits running till 3 am kept us all more than enthusiastic).
Any way eventually..We ended up leaving the pub – somewhere just before 3 am, and decided that we should go see some of the installations before the sun came up.
And I must admit. There was more than likely a really excellent festival going on that we missed out on that night.. And I feel this way because in our very short stroll, we got a very good taste of the creativity that was going taking over the city… we saw a huge Maze, an outdoor dance party under a giant music screen, a rainbow of lights streaming out from Torontos CN tower AND several palm trees suspended on cranes in the air..
And the streets… were filled with people. The whole thing was no small deal.
We made it home sometime around 4 am.. and sat up for a short while, chatting in my bedroom before bed.
Brittany however… lay down to talk and fell straight to sleep.. cuddling Oslo (my stuffed hedgehog who travels everywhere with me).
So we switched beds for the night..
And prior to this all… moving further back in time..
On Thursday night a small group of us (me, Brittany, Mike and Ryan) tried out a different pub called Gracy O’mallies.. it was a very studenty pub..
Where we drank a collection of liqueur (sambucca), spirits (jager) and beer (?) and danced to a live band.
We ended up bumping into several other exchangees as the night drew on, and when we eventually did decide to leave.. we found Stu, dismayed by the length of the line waiting outside.. so we collected him, left Ryan to dance, and walked back to our house to conclude the night, as is so often the case now.
In brief. .. When I woke up the next morning my bedroom desk was a mess of empty bottles, bowls, lighters and chips… and after a bemused once over.. I showered and met Brittany and Steph (to procrastinate on cleaning) to go find breakfast at the St Lawrence marketplace.
This market is actually a world renowned food market.. And it was instantly obvious why…
Croissants, pastries, chocolates, fresh bread, vegetables, cheeses and meats… bakery after bakery.. freshly squeezed juice.. Italian coffee.. so much goodness.
So we indulged in some absolutely gorgeous pastries (one spinach and feta and one strawberry and cream cheese for me) for breakfast.. and I did some brief produce shopping too (cheapest free range eggs I’ve ever purchased).
What was highly amusing was the huge range of pumpkins that are coming into season as fall sets in here in Canada.. The people are obsessed with them.
Big ones, small ones, speckled ones, striped ones.. wrinkly ones! Some that were absolutely deformed! Some that had faces painted on them..
Some that I didn’t even want to touch because they were so strange looking. ..
And then we headed up to the cities central square (Dundas and Younge) to watch a Poutine eating contest…
It should probably be told… Poutine is a Canadian speciality. A French term.. for hot chips covered in gravy and riddled with cheese.
And we got free Poutine just for being there! (Making for a really healthy eating day after our morning pastries)which was actually more delicious than I expected it to be..
But the competition itself… was horrifying.
Contestants had 5 minutes to eat as many pounds (1 pound I think was equal to 1 box) of poutine as they could.. . There were about 9 contestants.. but there were 2 very obvious leaders right in center stage..
It was the previous years winner vs the new talent.
And the 2 techniques were so obviously dissimilar…
The standing champion added water to each of his boxes to soften the grub, and lifted the whole box to his face to save box-to-mouth time… he scooped chips out from each corner of the box – rotating it as he went, in several fast and really, quite comparatively graceful movements…
The new guy… didn’t have this strategy.
He drove both hands into each box, grabbed out the entire contents.. and compressed them into a solid ball in between his fists… then he proceeded to eat the now solid matter, as you would eat an apple.. except.. aggressively shoving it into his mouth and half way down his throat with every bite.. it looked at painful.. it was hard to watch.
And at the end of the 5 minutes.. it was a draw.. 9 pounds each…
So it had to go to a tie breaker…
First one to finish one more box and show the “all clear” mouth.
And I’m very glad to say, the standing champion.. kept his title.
And moving even further back in time… me, Brittany and Steph made a trip over to Toronto Island (which sits in the middle of massive lake Ontario) earlier in the week.
We had decided that we needed to make the most of the sunny day we were having because it would likely be one of the last.. and so far we have been very right on that one.. Because the cold weather and Grey skies very quickly moved in after that day..
But any way!
We generally laid about in the sun and attempted some note writing, untill it got too hot… at which point we decided we needed to go and find some ice cream..
But! during our search we stumbled upon an animal farm! Where we befriended some rams and laughed at some goats.
And to conclude the evening we met the boys in the “Distillery District” for dinner. Which is a very quaint, old school area of brick courtyards, restaurants and craft breweries – just a wee way out of the city center.
And there we had a delicious dinner of burgers and steaks.
Actually my time in Toronto seems to increasingly revolve around eating… But there are just so many places to try! And relatively such little time!
And being students who are so often drunk or hangover. .. eating is always a top concern.
So now we’re caught up!
And it’s back to university work and study… But no doubt next weekend .. There will be more stories to tell!