Here is a summary of some of the things we took from our honeymoon in Toronto; given Jay had been to Toronto before and lived just outside of it for a couple of years a lot of these weren’t shocks to him. Jay had prepared Jane for some of this, but nothing beats the real experience…
1) Pedestrians have rights!
Living in a country where you are often stood waiting for the green light for a good minute or two whilst rain is lashing down on you, you only really appreciate how amazing Toronto is for pedestrian rights when you are there. Toronto is like a friendly and more chilled London, and the transport is a sign of that. Cars often were waiting for minutes whilst pedestrians had the right of way at junctions and there are what seems endless seconds to cross roads. It does take a few days to get re-used to the UK roads, so be careful!
2) Vegan food!
As two vegans, Toronto was heaven! We had so many options. On one of the days we were so full after eating at Cosmic Treats and squeezing in Doomie’s we had a very uncomfortable journey across town walking back to the hotel to go out for more food later on! There were smoothie bowls, pancakes and waffles for breakfast, sandwiches, pizza, raw food, ice cream, cup cakes, mac n’ cheese (Jane’s favourite) and burgers for dinner and tea. These options were available at independent restaurants like Cosmic Treats and Hogtown Vegan but also at chains such as Pizza Pizza and Kupfert and Kim – the latter of which is totally vegan! The Pizza Pizza experience inspired Jane to come back and write to Pizza Hut to inform them of how successful the inclusion of vegan cheese would be on their pizzas, but there was no need as once back Jay & Jane learnt about Pizza Hut’s vegan cheese trial!
Toronto is a place where people say sorry when you bump into them! Everyone seemed to ask you how you were when you talked to them, and there was an ease and friendliness to the City and people that you can’t really put into words.
4) Notice boards
It was great to see public notice boards up around the City on popular streets such as Yonge Street with people freely able to advertise local and community activities and events. It is something we really miss and need in the UK, with opportunities for such public marketing really restricted, which harms people’s ability to get the word out!
5) Skyline and views!
We didn’t plan to go up the CN Tower – Jay had been up 10 years ago but didn’t expect to get Jane to go up because of her fear of heights! However, it was one of the best experiences of the trip, with the amazing skyline and City landscape at clear view. The architecture, especially the tall mostly modern looking buildings make the City look almost futuristic. The space and spread of Canada was clear to see when coming in to Downtown Toronto from the station via the UP Express Trains; that sort of spread is not something we are used to seeing in the UK.
Honestly, for us it was the best coffee we had tasted! We especially enjoyed the Second Cup coffee. The less said about Tim Hortons the better though…
The trucks that populate the roads are like the toys you collected and played with as children, it was a fascinating sight and they kept sneaking into our photos!
You forget how uncommon squirrels are in the UK, as shown by how giddy we got whenever we saw a squirrel run past us whilst most other people around us were unfazed!
9) Sport interests
We mostly came across Blue Jay fans that week, especially when heading back on the day of a Blue Jays home game. It was a lot more chilled and family friendly than what you are used to in the UK when the local football/soccer team is at home! What was striking was how few soccer/football pitches and mentions of soccer/football there were. Jane commented to Jay on how this was even more apparent when being on the train home from Manchester station, where she saw around 4-5 football pitches in the space of 20 minutes!
10) Media is different
We watched a bit of Canadian T.V. whilst there in the hotel and the news was markedly more chilled and also again more polite! We even got a tweet back from a CBC reporter after complementing her media reporting skills!
There were lots more things to take from our trip and these are generalised statements, but the main one was that we will absolutely be back to experience the City and all its wonders as soon as we can!