23 May 2008


It’s hard to believe it was two weeks ago that I woke up in J’s sunroom to a beautiful day already beginning over the Toronto skyline, ate cake and drank tea for breakfast, and chatted and did some internetting until A arrived (I only just realised there are two people who are called A! Henceforth this cute-as-a-button A will be known as Toft). We had a few things planned out for the day, mostly involving heading toward the Distillery District and the Soma chocolate factory, St Lawrence Market, and (for Toft and I) to begin our great thumbs-up tour of Toronto. The thumbs-up tour has some backstory, mainly involving our online realisation that we are both inclined to stick our thumbs up in front of touristy and other places of interest. It began for me when D and I went around Europe in 2005 (when this blog started, actually). There are several pics of me doing thumbs up. I’m not sure when it started for Toft, but we bonded over this as we were getting to know each other online, and at some point it was decided that we would do a great thumbs-up tour whenever we met, and that if it was in Toronto it would culminate in a picture of us thumbs-upping in front of the giant concrete turkey library. But I am getting ahead of myself.

On this particular Friday, we were walking among the feet of the giant buildings, headed towards city hall, when we heard the dulcet tones of a protest or rally. Being me, I insisted (politely) that we go and see what was going on. It turned out to be a group of workers (I assume part of a union) protesting outside Moors – Moors is a suit company that bills itself as stocking Canadian suits. However they are apparently closing down their factory Quebec and outsourcing the suitmaking to China. Dodgy.

We meandered on towards City Hall, stopping briefly to snap a shot of the famous Eaton Centre and the geese flying inside. The geese are pretty cool, but it’s a shopping centre, so whatever. The other interesting thing about it is the name – it used to be called Eaton’s, but because French doesn’t have the apostrophe-s thing, and Canada is officially bilingual, they changed it. Very close to the Eaton centre is City Hall – all of them, in fact, including Old City Hall in all its faux-gothic glory, open again after years of renovations and reconstructions. We didn’t go in, but rather took pictures of seagulls and New City Hall, which I had seen overrun with zombies and totally destroyed in that fine piece of arthouse cinema, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. They’ve done a good job of repairing it. ;)

Then to the Distillery District for lunch. I had possibly one of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and eating at Brick St Bakery. If you’re ever there, I highly recommend the (vegetarian roast) veg sanga. Om nom nom. We also had a look in some of the gallery spaces as we digested lunch, but that was really just a formality before we headed to the Soma chocolateria. I was introduced to this when J bought some over last year. OM. NOM. NOM. I purchased some hot chocolate mix to bring home with me (but don’t expect to get any if you visit – I will probably consume it all within days). We also had some hot chocolate (So thick! So sweet! So chocolatey! So spicy!) and tried out some of their hand-crafted chocolates. Toft had an olive oil one, which was subtle and lovely, and I had balsamic vinegar, which worked so well – even I was surprised at how well-balanced the flavours were. J bought some blood orange (I think) sorbet, which was a very good idea, as we needed a palate cleanser.

We decided to walk off a bit of lunch, so turned our noses towards the CN Tower and walked to St Lawrence Market, past the site of Canada’s first Parliament, which was attacked by the Americans, prompting the Canadians (or was it actually the English? It matters not to Canadians) to march on the White House and burn it down. Hahaha! GOTCHA!

At St Lawrence Market, we headed to the CHEESE! {Alex’s Cheese place} to be precise. We tried a few cheeses, and I purchased $60 worth for the coming weekend – two from Quebec, being a gooey washed rind (quite light, actually) and a delicious aged cheddar (rich, and they use port in some parts of the process). I also got a Roquefort and a local semi-soft goats cheese. I was tempted by a pre-wrapped wedge of marbled Guinness cheese, which looked pretty amazing, and all the Stilton reminded me to buy some when I got back to Melbourne. We had a few vegies and bread to get, and I saw fiddleheads for sale for the first time. Fiddleheads are the new furled fronds of a particular fern, which I believe are usually eaten steamed (that’s how I made them later, steamed with asparagus and tossed with a little bit of butter).


We were having a bit of a chocolate crash by this time, so we decided to have a snack and a drink in the BCE Centre. The BCE Centre is quite stunning, with high arches of light and air, white frames and glass. No wonder it’s won architecture awards. It houses this food court thing where you get a swipey card when you enter, and it gets swiped wherever you buy something, and you pay on the way out. So long as you don’t lose the card, everything is fine! Other things of interest there included a photography exhibition – I’m not sure what the theme was, but it included pictures of civil rights riots and protests, the (blimp that caught fire), world wars, etc. – and a shop called ROOTS. HAHAHAHAHA I’M AN IMMATURE AUSTRALIAN. I liked the woeful bloke sitting in front of it, too.

And then it was back to J’s place to get changed into sexy clothes for SexGeek’s party. I got to see J and A (not Toft) in their leather pants (A in uniform! Glee!), L in a delicious corset, and many hott folks in suits. I felt a little underdressed, but hey, black jeans and black shirt is acceptable in most situations, so it wasn’t too bad. And I got to meet SexGeek! W00T! I tried not to be too much of a fanboy! After a couple of hours, J, A, L, D and I piled into the car and L drove us up to J’s parents’ place in the country. And you know a bit about that already.

[OK, time to finish this delicious, delicious Melbourne coffee and tart little lemon tart. Heh, a tart tart.]

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