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Taking in the Big Smoke


It's a crispy cold day at the farmette and things didn't quite work out last week with the kitty. Suffice it to say the wee boy was not in the best of health and we couldn't risk exposing the others...but, undaunted, we will continue the hunt. On Friday, my sister, myself and a couple of friends took a time out for our semi-regular 'girls' weekend. We glammed it by staying at the Hilton in downtown Toronto and had a fantastic time, per usual.

It's been donkey's years since I've been in the Big Smoke. This time, we did the full-on tourist trip, with lunch in the revolving restaurant at the CN Tower, dinner at the Drake, attending the Come From Away show, and mooching around at the St. Lawrence Market. We laughed, stuffed ourselves, went shopping for clothes (mostly the window kind, cause it's sooooo expensive) and were awed by the sights and sounds.

The day wasn't optimal for views from the CN Tower with all the cloud cover, but we managed to get in more than a few giggles, a couple of hazy pics and good eats anyway.

Catching up after months of not seeing one another in person is so amazing because there's, well, lots to catch up on. Here's Karen (l) and Sandy mugging for the iPhone while another customer tries to get a decent photo of the cityscape.

While the old faithfuls were obviously still there - City Hall, the tower itself, and the train station, the city has hundreds more condominiums that have sprouted up along the waterfront, and the Ontario College of Art and Design building was an amazing addition (Yes, it's been that long since I've been downtown).

In restaurants, I always get food that I would never cook for myself and if you're going to have a meal high atop the metropolis, you might as well go for the gusto. For me, it was a selection of Canadian smoked salmon, King Cole duck confit with white bean and sage puree, duck bacon, Northern Woods mushrooms, wilted spinach and arugula and Labrador cloudberry jus. We had a lovely white wine that Karen selected and topped it off with a cappuccino (for yours truly, it was to stave off the usual afternoon nap).

Then it was off for a trip around the (mostly American) stores that have put down roots in the big Canadian city. Saks Fifth Avenue is a sight to behold, with glittery jewelry and high fashion dresses and bags - many, many bags. In some of them, you might be able carry one credit card and a mint.

A particularly fetching Stella McCartney bag caught my eye, and out of curiosity, I checked out the price. $950.00. Yikes. Thought about the fact that it would cost me about two good-sized, well-researched stories, so I put it down fairly smartly.

Come From Away was stupendous and just as entertaining as all the reviews have said. I can't believe the stamina of the folks on the stage - a full 100 minutes of action-packed singing, dancing and fiddle-playing with no intermission. I especially liked the scene where the people stranded by 9/11 were made honorary Newfoundlanders by getting them to drink a shot Screech and kiss a cod.

It was ironic in the extreme to go to a musical that showcases the very best of humanity - kindness and selfless charity for complete strangers while a guy who foments greed, intolerance and dishonesty was airing his views across the street in a debate at Roy Thomson Hall.

Anyhow.

The St. Lawrence Market is about twice the size as I remember. There's a whole covered tent area at the back of the big old two storey building. On a Saturday morning in early November, it was packed with dozens of nationalities - older couples, young families, and middle-aged women like us. Sandy, Leanne, Karen (back to front) and I all left the place laden with yummy treats. I bought some delicious cashews for Rob, and, in honour of the play, I nabbed delectable black cod soaked in ginger and lime that cooked up nicely for dinner at home.

As were making our way to the parking lot after our shopping spree, I got Sandy to pose for a ta-da picture and got her laughing by singing 'who can turn a squirrel on with her smile?'

It was a whirlwind experience that had many memorable moments, thanks to the organizational skills of my sister who always does such a wonderful job.

Now, it's back to normal and a busy work week at the farmette. Until next time.


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