Great cities offer fantastic travel experiences - people, food, museums, parks, civic buildings, markets, transit and traffic - all right there outside the door of your hotel. 'Love it!

Last weekend, acting as tour guides, we waded into our own city with one-thing-after-the-other intensity we usually only undertake when we're away and I have to say it was just great fun.

(Drafting this post I surprised myself at how many spots we managed to visit in a couple of days.)

Friday evening we dined in the revolving restaurant "360" at the CN Tower. (One of the 7 wonders of the modern world pictured on the right below...

Toronto Island (on the left) our harbour and the downtown waterfront punctuated by the CN Tower on a stunningly perfect cool spring morning.
With that overview fresh in our minds we set out Saturday morning to explore things at ground level.

Our first stop - the St. Lawrence Market - named "best market in the world" by National Geographic. Back bacon sandwiches are a breakfast tradition there. Canadian butter tarts and nanaimo bars also made their way onto our "strolling menu". (It may have been a bit early in the day for these treats but its important to immerse yourself in the local cuisine!)

'Being a "tourist" I didn't buy groceries but I was tempted by these beautiful bluish-green duck eggs...

Fragrant locally roasted, fair trade organic coffee...

And these pointy beauties...

Never mind the cheeses, seafood, meats, sausage, rice, grains etc. etc. etc. also on offer!

After the market we toured the waterfront east of downtown (Over the course of the weekend we'd eventually see the central and western bits too.)

A sun drenched walk along the Boardwalk in the Beach
Then it was off to explore a few of the 55 great neighbourhoods in the city; strolling residential streets and checking out their local shops. (By weekend's close we managed to visit 15 in all)

We also hit a couple of look out points.  The one pictured below is high above the Don River Valley overlooking the Evergreen Brick Works (which we toured after leaving the Lookout).

The Brickworks was the source for much of the traditional red brick of Toronto homes but once its quarries were exhausted it sat, abandoned and derelict for years until Evergreen and the City of Toronto teamed up to re purpose it into a bustling hub of Green commerce with a revolving schedule of farmer, Etsy and antique/vintage markets,  a children's garden, off leash dog park, extensive walking trails and about a millionty other things that change with the seasons.

Post Brickworks we headed to another repurposed industrial property - the  Hiram Walker Distillery (built almost entirely of red brick) in the neighbourhood of "Corktown" where love seemed to be in the air.

LOVED lunch at "Cluny" (can't recommend it highly enough!)

 Then, LOVED a coffee-to-go from Balzacs'...

Walking around with coffees in hand we couldn't help but see these two clearly loved each other...

And this group, was of course, all about the love...

One of three weddings we saw over our Saturday wanderings.
Then it was on to the main downtown shopping area at The Eaton Centre to check out a certain flock of flying geese , and as we went I couldn't help noticing how funky our skyscrapers are getting...

Next we turned to government buildings...

 Old and New City Halls...

The latter, of course home to the Toronto Sign...

Then it was on up University Avenue past the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Courts, the Ontario Parliament Building at Queen's Park all en route to a tour of  the amazing "Hogwarts-ian" Hart House at the University of Toronto.

From there we walked the quiet, treed length of the Philosopher's Walk ravine between, the Faculty of Music and Royal Conservatory of Music and the Gothic Revival buildings of Trinity College before leaving the University grounds to emerge onto Bloor Street at the Royal Ontario Museum where Daniel Libeskind has fused its traditional architecture with some pretty modern ideas...

Next, east along Bloor - where the luxury branded shops cluster then to Yorkville, checking out its unlikely mix of chic renovated Victorian homes, condo buildings and bustling patio restaurants before finally finishing our day at Canada's largest Public Reference Library.

We headed home after that - a dog needed walking - our friends 'heading to the Entertainment District for dinner at "Luma in the Toronto International Film Festival "Lightbox". 

And that was just Saturday!

Sunday morning, also gloriously sunny, we started in the empty-on-the-weekend Financial District checking out some of the bank towers (why not cover a bank building with gold impregnated glass right?).

To really understand this area of the city we headed down into the underground "neighbourhood" of the PATH - the world's largest network of  underground shopping it also connects subway, hotels, trains, office towers, condos and music halls and its really handy for just getting from "A" to "B" when the weather isn't great.

Then it was off to tour more neighbourhoods, passing through our "fairgrounds", High Park (the biggest in the city) and its residential surroundings before a walk through what's been called the second "coolest" street in the world - West Queen West.

As noon approached, there were planes to catch . It was time to wind up our Toronto tour.

Just as we'd started with a food market so too we ended with one - this time peeking into a gorgeous second story Loblaws Grocery on Queen Street where we naturally found store brand butter tarts and nanaimo bars prominently displayed - bearing out our assurances these treats are a "thing" in Canada.

It was a great two day adventure in our own backyard and it has us ready and primed for this coming weekend when My Beloved and I will be the ones taking rather than giving a tour, this time, of London with Number One Son acting as guide. (I'm looking forward to the trip but as a mom, have to say, really excited to see our "boy" for the first time since Christmas!)

Which reminds me...I've got some packing to organize - 'best to start with "travel knitting" right?

Thanks for dropping by and today taking this little tour of our town with me!


"Pro" Baking Tip

After letting bread rise for the final time it best to remove plastic wrap before baking...

"Granola Round", Flavoured Breads by Linda Collister

...Because it's quite fiddly picking it off afterwards. (At least this loaf - for weekend toasting and honey drizzling is almost clean!)

Have a good weekend. That's what I'm planning to do. Thanks for dropping by!


And this why I need a dog...

The FO's of recent months have led to piles of patterns, receipts, remnants, labels and valuable project notes cluttering up my space and my brian.

Yesterday, I finished filing the whole works away into my little archive, clearing the decks and my mind for spring/summer knitting, travel and yet-to-be-thought-of new projects.


Early this morning, feeling newly free of creative encumbrance, I dove into researching yarn shops in London ahead of our trip there in May. As I surfed I was sucked into a swirling vortex of inspiration that quickly escalated into crazed clicking and planning where, in less than half an hour from starting to research British yarn I was mentally sewing myself a new wardrobe from scratch.

Because here's the thing...

Big British brands like Debbie Bliss and Rowan have long been in our LYS's and now, newly available breed-specific British yarns are for sale in Toronto too.  So I do not need to spend time in London shopping with British pounds to buy yarn I could pick up with Canadian dollars half an hour from home any time I want.


London shops are featuring yarns from this side of the pond. Again, I'm not looking to buy yarn in London dyed by Torontonian Viola or Koigu from Ontario or the likes of American Quince and Co. either.

None of this will stop me making a trip to Loop for goodness sakes but for that all I need is a map to the shop from our hotel.

Instead of doing that and saying "job done" I pour another coffee and start looking at British fabrics... which lead me to Merchant and Mills... which led to their "Workbook" pattern collections... which led to the idea of a home sewn wardrobe...

Time to step away from the computer.

And as I reluctantly do, there he is, steadily staring his silent reminder what we need to do is exercise. There may be only so many hours is in a day but at least a couple of them need to be spent moving.

I may want to spend all my time on other things like trying my hand at making this oilskin jacket in this or yardage of dress weight Irish linen  and maybe an indie British pattern to go with it but what I need to see to first is that I spend a good couple of hours up and out and moving briskly in fresh air every day.

If I do, I can actually make more stuff because being fit and healthy gives me more energy and it means what I make is smaller/cheaper and quicker and so for less money.

And this is why I need a dog...

Off we go!