For months, Lauren has been trying to convince me that our future is in Toronto. That’s where she went to college/university, where most of her closest friends live, and she considers it to be an all-around awesome city. Despite Lauren’s pleas, I had yet to be convinced that packing up and moving to a different country was in my/our best interest. But that would all be put to the test as we departed for a 4-night stay in Toronto Thursday through Monday this past weekend.
Thursday after work, we boarded the plane and flew to Buffalo, New York for the second time in six weeks. We rented a car again from Hertz (a 2010 Nissan Altima this time, also very nice) and Lauren made the drive to Toronto while I struggled mightily to stay awake in the passenger’s seat. We arrived into Lauren’s old familiar part of town at 2am, where she drove me around to her AGD House and other parts of campus, but I was fairly groggy and didn’t remember most of it.
After a night’s stay at the Best Western near another of Lauren’s former residences, we spent Friday taking in many touristy things. We traveled by subway to the heart of downtown and rode to the top of the famous CN Tower, Canada’s highest lookout point. I was brave enough to stand on the glass floor, which looks straight down 1,083 feet. Next we stopped off for a bite to eat at an Irish pub, and took a brewery tour of Canada’s favorite Pilsner beer, Steamwhistle. That evening we met up some of Lauren’s friends for sushi. The night concluded with a trip with Lauren’s friends to Tim Horton’s, which appeared to be the Canadian equivalent to a Dunkin’ Donuts, only wildly more popular.
Saturday we checked out of our hotel and drove 40 minutes north to Richmond Hill for the Jocelyn Shih/Elias Paisley wedding. I had met the two at the last wedding in June, so they weren’t total strangers to me. The wedding was quick, but there was a three-hour break between the ceremony and reception, so where did Lauren and her friends decide to go hang out in between? Tim Horton’s, of course! The reception was lots of fun, highlighted by a choreographed cultural dance by the wedding party, as Jocelyn has both Chinese and Indian heritage. The dinner was tasty, the bar was open, and the speeches were amazingly long and heartfelt. As was the case with the other Canadian wedding we attended, speeches and dinner took until 11pm and then the dance only went on for two hours. That night we stayed over with Lauren’s gracious friends, Paula and Jonathon at their house in Toronto.
Sunday Lauren and I met up with a few more friends to take in the Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre. A surprisingly large crowd of over 20,000 were treated to the league’s single most outstanding pitching performance of the year as Brandon Morrow came within one out of no-hitting the Rays, striking out 17 batters along the way in a 1-0 victory. Though the game was thrilling, I found the stadium to be very “Metrodomish” and the concession prices to be astoundingly high, even in Canadian currency. After the game Lauren and I visited the Scarborough neighborhood and the home of her good friends Daphne and Sal. We spent the next five hours watching Always Sunny and various other shows and eating Chinese. It was a nice way to slow down our ridiculous pace of the first few days.
Monday morning, we said our goodbyes to Paula and hit the road for Buffalo. Having a few hours to kill before the 6:45 flight, we stopped at two wineries for tastings including Wayne Gretzky’s 99 Winery. As we expected, it appeared to be nothing more than a regular winery that Gretzky lent his name to. We stopped off at one final Tim Horton’s before we hit the border. We were split apart on the plane, and neither of our seat partners were willing to give up their spots so we could sit together, but we were home to absurdly humid Minneapolis safely by 8pm.
So, have I caved on my stance against relocating to Toronto? Not quite yet, but if Lauren wants to visit there on a regular basis I will certainly tag along.