Ever since we moved to Toronto, I have this constant, nagging feeling that I am missing something extraordinary happening in the city. Like there is some underground, epic “thing” that is going on that I cannot go to because I just don’t know it exists. And I would most likely have the best day of my life if I went to this “thing” because I would love it so much. Whatever “it” is, it is beckoning me and calling me. I am becoming borderline obsessed with finding the “thing” I don’t know about yet and may not even exist.
All this is making me anxious.
So I came up with a theory, in order to find my “diamond-in-the-rough-of-a-good-time”, I have to start from the very beginning. You know, a very good place to start [you see the “Sound of Music” solves everything] And that means, [ahem, let me clear my throat in preparation for your gasp] being a tourist. I know, I know, tourists are typically bothersome pests to the steady local, with their camera slung around neck, fanny pack in tow and peace sign ready at any given moment. And although becoming one of them in your own town is a walk of shame, I am willing to do it to win my prize (please, mind you, I am being slightly facetious).
So first on the list, Kensington Market. An eclectic melange of shops and restaurants line the streets of this famous outdoor market, and to be quite honest we didn’t do our research. We just assumed it was a big open air market housing your everyday fruits, veggies, meat and dairy. While of course there are places you can buy these things, Kensington Market is far from this. It is an outdoor strip of shops lining several streets rather than an enclosed and contained market. There is everything from espresso bars, local art, vintage clothing stores, and bike shops to any kind of world food you can imagine. And if you like people watching, this is the place to be. There are people from all walks of life treading through Kensington market. We encountered a young performer who was busking by reading Dr. Seuss books. Really. And the hipsters. There are no words.
Willow is becoming accustomed to public transit as she takes the bus and the subway with me each day to work, but her absolute favorite is the street car. They zip by the end of our street every 6 minutes or less and with each encounter Willow emphatically proclaims, in her native Willownease, “street car!!!”, and throws her hands in the air in absolute joy. It’s adorable. So taking the street car to Kensington Market already made her day. Watching all of the people and performers was the icing on the cake. I thought she would be overstimulated, as I was, from the immense crowd, but she was thoroughly entertained and managed to be completely content, even until we arrived back home [except for when we bought ice cream for ourselves and she found out we were eating it behind her back–oops].
Kensington Market was a great experience, but you won’t see me hustling back there anytime soon. It was just a step in my master plan to finding “that thing”, and honestly a big crowd amongst an overwhelming amount of tiny shops doesn’t completely hold my intrigue. But I’m glad we went. The best part was the streetcar ride home when we had almost the entire back car to ourselves and made silly jokes and pointed at babies and dogs. The list seems impossibly long, but exploring the city with my loves is kind of magical in and of itself. There will be many more adventures to share.
Have you ever felt like a tourist in your own town? I would love to hear your stories. Until then.