Toronto: A Love Story

Have you ever just fallen in love with a city? The people, the places, the memories… That’s how I’m feeling about Toronto right now.

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Troy and I celebrated our second anniversary earlier this week with a quick trip across the border. We’ve both been (Troy even celebrated his bachelor party in the city) and we always have a great time. Since we weren’t able to go to Aruba for our anniversary this year, we decided on Toronto as a driveable, budget-friendly alternative for a quick getaway. Here are my notes and some photos from our trip.

Stay: This trip we booked a room at Hotel Ocho, a small boutique hotel in Chinatown. I can’t say enough good things about the hotel, the staff, the location, and the value. We even got upgraded to their largest room, which has never happened to me before.

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source, along with a nice little write-up from the Vancouver Observer

It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but trust me, it’s adorable!

See: This trip there was a good mix of touristy things and local flavor. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very cooperative, but we made the best of it.

On Monday we took the ferry out to Toronto Island. The plan was to rent bikes and ride around the island, but since the weather had been overcast and chilly earlier in the day, all of the rental places were closed.

We made the most of it and managed to spend the day’s only hour of sunshine on the island, walking around and meeting some new friends.

On Tuesday we took a guided tour of the St. Lawrence Market area. This was primarily a food tour, which I’ll talk more about below, but we started with a walk around the market, getting some history and working up an appetite.

Did you know that Toronto was built over the water? It’s why many of the streets leading to the lake are down-sloping: they mirror the original topography of the lake bed.

This church, the Cathedral Church of St. James, has the second highest spire in North America.

And now to get to the good stuff…

Eat & Drink: As with most vacations, we planned ahead as far as what we’d be eating. Lunch on Monday was kind of a bust, but dinner at the Carbon Bar was outstanding. We got the pit master platter, which was some of the best brisket I had ever had.
Troy treated himself to a visit from the bourbon cart, which may have been the highlight of his trip (though I am fairly sure his own collection pales in comparison).   

We were seated next to a group of gentlemen that we talked, joked, and laughed with the entire meal. The people of Toronto are so friendly and welcoming — it’s one of my top reasons for visiting.

The grand finale of the trip was a visit to St. Lawrence Market and a tour with the Culinary Adventure Company. Our tour guide, Ian, brought us around the market and we got to try so. much. food. I think my favorite was the Portuguese dumplings.

I would highly recommend CAC and their tours if you are in the Toronto area. We’re already eyeing their other tours for our next visit.

Like a lot of people, I rely on the internet to do research on things to do, see, and eat while we are on vacation. I normally rely heavily on the forums and reviews on Trip Advisor (they also have great all-inclusive maps so you can see what’s near to where you are staying). This trip, I also utilized Thrillist‘s Toronto page — they have pages for a lot of major cities, but also one-off articles that include much of the globe. Definitely worth a quick search to see what’s out there.

Of course, the best part of this trip was being able to share it with my husband and celebrate our anniversary. The traditional gift for two years is cotton. Troy received a polo shirt and some super fancy Japanese cotton swabs (guy likes clean ears). I was gifted a soft cotton nightgown and the most adorable embroidered airplane hoops:

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For those of you who followed our wedding blog, these little airplanes were kind of the “symbol” of our wedding. I absolutely love them!

And because I can’t conclude an anniversary post without getting a little mushy… To my amazing husband, thank you for two incredible years of marriage. Every day we’re together, I can feel our bond getting stronger. To think back over everything we’ve been through over the past year, and to know that we’ve only become closer because of it all… There is no doubt in my mind that we can do anything. I can’t imagine this life without you and I never intend to. I love you so much. Here’s to many, many more years of ups and downs, good times and bad, and of course, lots of adventures.

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