Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Beaches

Toronto - The Beaches (16), originally uploaded by LunaModule.

Just as the name suggests and despite Toronto not actually being by the sea, you really feel like you are!  Long stretches of sandy beach, water that seems to go on forever (well, to New York State anyway), a board walk and ice cream ;o)  And it's not just by the Beaches that makes you feel that way too.  You can wander over to the harbour front by Queens Quay or to Sunnyside Park and have that very same feeling of being by the sea.
The Beaches are in the East of Toronto and despite 30+ temperatures, the water is still bloody cold!  (Apparently, it gets a little warmer by the fall...).  Dipped my feet in but that's about it... Am hoping that I'll have mustered up enough courage to swim in great Lake Ontario before I leave.  We'll see!

More photos from a stroll around the Beaches below including more of the lake that very much looks like the sea, some remarkable rocks and giant dandelions.

And just on dandelions... Torontonians do a pretty good job of being eco friendly - as well as recycling being city wide (including composting), city parks and green spaces aren't allowed to use pesticides.  Springtime has never been so dandelion full - it looks beautiful and... as it should!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Caesar is a Bloody Mary

The Canadian Bloody Mary..., originally uploaded by LunaModule.

and seriously tasty...

New housemate, Brock, makes a killer version! We drank a pitcher sat on our front steps soaking up the sunshine to listen the the drums being played in the park.

Music on the rooftop

What to do on a beautifully warm and clear night?

Invite some friends, grab something to drink, a couple of instruments and go up on the roof ;o)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Welcome to Kensington Market

Think food, art, music and lots of general randomness.

(in the photo - umbrellas to give shade to the fruit and veg, graffitti, hanging shoes and the top bit of the CN tower)
More Kensington Market including glorious Pedestrian Sundays below...'s meant to be a WORKING holiday!

Toronto (25), originally uploaded by LunaModule.

Man, what's that about?!  I have to keep reminding myself that as well as trying to live in another country, I'm also s'posed to be working to save up money for more travels around the rest of the Americas...  It's quite the struggle because the more I learn about Canada, the more I want to explore it ;o) 

This is all grand except that travelling Canada takes quite some time just to work out the logistics (esp when you're on a budget) nevermind actually doing the travelling.  Moreover, agh, I remember I'm meant to be working and saving for further travels!  As well as really trying to 'live' somewhere - which is tricky to do if you're moving around lots...

Anyway, that was quite a big preamble to the fact that whilst in TO, I have also managed to get some work, hurrah!  Admittedly, after a couple of weeks of job hunting looking at craigs list (gumtree for canada), signing up to 3 recruitment agencies and doing about 5 hours of IT testing, my immediate reaction to finding I'd got some temp work was to be gutted!  haha, I know, I should be pleased and I am really - just loved not having to think about work for so long. Anyway, having been in post now for 3 weeks, I can't complain.  It's good work doing passenger outreach for GO, one of the transport companies for the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).  Considering I was willing to be paid minimum wage, I managed to be appointed a team leader and get paid a bit more than that.  We're basically 'reaching out' to customers using GO to provide info and answer their questions on the new electronic fare system being introduced (like Oyster cards).  Our shift is 6am to 1pm - yikes! Still, it means I can make the most of the rest of my day ;o)

I have also had to do some shopping for work clothes... After one of the recruitment consultant's complimented on how cool and colourful I looked, she politely asked if I had more 'corporate' wear - I said I'd go shopping.

The people I work with are cool and a good laugh - which makes it easier being friendly to passengers at silly o'clock!  Does however mean that my ambitions to be a cow girl/waitress/ice road trucker will have to wait a little longer.... (hell, one plus is that I'm not actually sat in an office in front of a PC all day!).  Photo above is Union Station in the early morning light.  Sometimes it can be a little quiet but I'm enjoying chatting to people and doing lots and lots of people watching.  Lunchtimes are pretty chilled too - reading and soaking up the sunshine by the harbour ;o)

Toronto (26), originally uploaded by LunaModule.
Lunchtime at the harbour (my 'lunchtime' is at 10am!)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Toronto downtown

Photos from around downtown incl. the skyline from a balcony in Liberty Village, Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario College of Art and Design, Queens Quay, The Grange, Distillery District, St Lawrence Market and a little of Kensington Market
Augusta Avenue and Alin on the doorstep of the 'Crazy House'

Toronto (38), originally uploaded by LunaModule.
The CN tower from the rooftop

Toronto - AGO, originally uploaded by LunaModule.
Art, tramlines the the CN tower - walking down Dundas - the first street I walked down!

O Canada

Canada, originally uploaded by LunaModule.

Introduction to the Tee Dot

or Toronto.  (Okay, despite one of my couch hosts telling me lots of people call it that... I haven't witnessed it!  I've had the best introduction to it whatever you want to call it - courtesy of Couch surfing what else ;o) 

I landed fairly on my feet. My first lovely Tee Dot couch host, Severine, (the whole couch surfing thing is also turning out to be really interesting in a sort of social anthropology way) lives in a big house with 5 other people.  She's around my age which I figured would be cool... She's so open easy to chat to (despite the couchsurfing website flagging up that we might have a language barrier as her english is intermediate and my french is rubbish to non-existent).  Anyway, her other housemates are in their early 20s and I have ended up hanging out with lots of tweens... good thing I still look like I should be ID'd!  I'm just the random british girl they take to things and is squatting in their house. I'd call them tweenage dirtbags but actually they're really rather lovely!  They are also a really rather mature bunch with lots of interesting things to say - am really quite impressed by them! I'm sure I was never so wise, free and full of awe of the world when I was in my early 20s.  They've also been ridiculously giving in terms of letting me share their world whilst I'm here.

The house is like it's in some crazy time warp. It's slap bang in the middle of Kensington Market (like the Camden/Brick Lane area of Toronto - I know, check me out and my bad self!). It used to be a hostel so the odd person still turns up asking if there's any rooms available.  There is also no key to the door - just a code. Sometimes, people who don't live in the house just came in (tho' they are good friends of people who do).  One day, a french accordian player called Tongy came to drop off his stool for a bit (he'd been busking on the street and would be back for it another day). He affecionately called it the 'Crazy House'.

The best thing about the house though (other than it's fabulous residents and randomness!) is its rooftop.  I love climbing up on the rooftop - to admire Toronto on a starry and moonlit night, soak up the sunshine and the blue skies whilst reading and sometimes... to join the party!  One such evening involved a few of us climbing up on the rooftop to admire the skyline, drink vino tinto and ouzo, and a couple of people played guitar and accordian. There ended up being about 15 of us (from 10 different countries) on the roof until 3am and then as we were just about to hit the sack more people turned up at the door and there was more chatting until 5am. So much random fun (that I actually think i am now too old to be doing everyday but the odd day is fun!).

I thought I'd get out of these lots hair for a few days and stayed with another couch host, Katie (and her boyfriend Gord and son, Sam). My liver started to hurt from how much they were 'making' me drink! Again, really lovely cool folk.  I loved chatting and drinking beer on their balcony - or in the park over the road in little camper chairs with pockets for your drink ;o)  Hey, we worked hard too - I helped a little with a spot of gardening... I might yet grow up to be a green fingered person!  I also feel strangely proud that I am one of three people my new couch host knows from the UK - one being someone I used to work with (such a small world!) and the other being Belle du Jour (the person Billie Piper's playing at the moment... you know, the one about the high end escort and author)!!!!

A spot of gardening on Katie's balcony

Toronto is really very diverse and colourful which was a surprise. I don't know why it was a surprise, I wasn't sure what to expect but in my wanderings, the thought that comes in to my head is always how wonderfully colourful it is.

Check this out - just because I love it so!