Woofstock, Tia Carrera, Peameal Bacon & Walking In Circles In Toronto...Oh My! - Saturday, June 12, 2010

Despite last night's revelry, the four of us were ready and willing to start our exploration of Toronto - not letting the pitifully gray skyline dampen our spirits.

We first off to search for breakfast, ideally a greasy spoon frequented by the locals - check! We found a nice, albeit packed, place. Food was very good, and despite being confused that they didn't have Canadian Bacon, we discovered a local favorite alternative: peameal bacon - I believe the Boys liked it, I just settled in with my eggs and toast...happy as a clam.

After breakfast we decided to walk down towards St. Lawrence Market (www.stlawrencemarket.com), which is this beautiful indoor food market that Larry and I noticed on our way in - the May's love food, so this was a must-see!

As we were walking towards the Market, we saw some beautiful architecture, great people watching...and Woofstock (www.woofstock.ca)! Don't know about Woofstock? Believe me, after experiencing it first-hand, you should! It's the largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America. I can tell you, if we lived anywhere remotely near Toronto, I'd make this an annual trip. It was hysterical to see all the cute dogs of all shapes and sizes, walking around, sniffing each other, romping in the fountain, some dressed up, most not, all having a fabulous day in their honor. And most conveniently, Woofstock seemed to converged right in front of the St. Lawrence Market!

Larry and I always try to search out these type of markets (Pikes Place Market in Seattle, Milwaukee Public Market, Dayton, Oh's etc.) and the St. Lawrence Market certainly did not disappoint. I think most notably is the fact that the Market amply showcases all the different ethnic populations in Toronto - this truly is an international city.

Of course when we arrived at the Market, despite having breakfast not too long ago, we were suddenly hungry from seeing all the fabulous treats. So we decided to have a little picnic lunch (inside because it was now pouring rain outside): various cheese, crusty bread, olives, peameal bacon, nuts, and chicken kabobs - quite a diverse lunch!

At some point we were walking around and got separated from each other, during which Scott and Gwen oddly enough saw Tia Carrera walking around. And on our way out of the Market, we saw several contestants running around from the TV show the Great Race - of course, I for some ridiculous reason thought they were runners preparing for the Toronto Marathon, which was taking place tomorrow - not a clue, why I thought this other than the fact they were running around - I must have had some sugar low causing my momentary lapse of sanity.

We continued exploring the city, going to Eaton Center to check out Toronto's shopping - read for Gwen and I. Larry and Scott hung out at the Baton Rouge Restaurant, which had a nice looking pub. One thing that struck me about the shopping center is I thought I'd see things like Ann Taylor, the Loft etc...nope. Only Banana Republic. They did have high end stores, but I'm assuming mostly local to Canada - so it was kind of throwing me for a loop not knowing the stores. One thing that completely through Gwen and me was that Sears in Canada has a remarkable makeup department with all the makeup lines - we were in heaven! Wish the US Sears stores had this!

After picking up Larry and Scott from the Pub we decided to look for the Italian Village area for dinner, via China Town, because we wanted to see a couple of different areas. So we hopped on a bus and went West. China Town was huge, and had we not been so tired and hungry when we arrived I would have been a little more apt to appreciate it. But my feet were starting to give way and the stomach pangs were growing louder...

We actually had know idea where we were going except knew we needed to get on a bus on College and head West. Got the bus, started going West and West and West. We were getting a little antsy because it was looking a little iffy, so we decided to get off and look around for something.

We came upon, unbeknownst to us, the Kensington Market neighborhood. Now I'm sure it is a quite the cool, trendy area, the restaurants looked great etc. But it was going on dusk and while walking down the street we really felt not quite in our element. Actually what did it for us was the extremely creepy guy who came right up to Scott and I and started to follow-us even when we crossed the street! I swear he was high on something and the fact that he came within inches of Scott's face, made me very uneasy. So unfortunately, this neighborhood will have to wait for another time, because said creepy guy made us hightail it out of there.

So we got back on the bus, headed East because we thought we'd never find Little Italy and got off right back downtown again.

Now we were starved and headed back towards Young-Dundas Square (I'd compare it to a smaller version of Times Square in NYC) and Eaton Center. And wouldn't you know it...we ended right back at the Baton Rouge Restaurant! Now Toronto is known for great restaurants and unfortunately by the time we made it back downtown everything was packed so we settled on the Baton Rouge. Totally sub-par meal, but we had wine! So the evening was not lost.

After dinner we headed back, I crawled because my feat about gave out (20,000 steps that day!), to the hotel via Young-Square, where there was some festival going on - lots of action at 11pm - what fun!


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