Miscealleanous

Toronto Zoo

What? Toronto Zoo
How much? $21 regular admission, $14 for seniors and $13 for children, free for toddlers and babies.
How do I get there? Take the green line to Kennedy station and take the 86A Scarborough bus to the Zoo. It takes a while, but you’ll get there, eventually.

The enclosed pavilions are a must-see. They’ve recreated the animals’ natural habitat, so it’s often hot and humid inside as well as smelly. Butterflies, exotic plants and streams make you feel like you’ve stepped into a forest. My favorite part are the free flight birds. This means that exotic-looking birds of paradise of all colours are flying around above your head while you look at the monkeys, tortoises, snakes and alligators in cages. It’s a pretty cool experience especially for a nature/animal lover!

My favorite part of the zoo: The Beaver Tail. A fried, flat piece of pastry topped with cinnamon sugar, cinnamon sugar and lemon, cinnamon sugar and apples or chocolate and candy. Deeeelish.


Standard
Miscealleanous

Downtown Diaries: Lakeshore Walks

What? Lakeshore
How do I get there? Walk south from Union to Queen’s Quay West or, south from Mill St (Distillery District) and west past the harbour-ey looking area.
How much? Subway fare or free!

This post was originally meant to be a part of the one about Distillery District. That’s because I sort of covered both places in one day. Walking South from the Distillery District leads you down to a sort of cargo-harbour-docking area and a kilometer or so west from there, is where the fun starts.
Redpath sugar factory is one of my favorite things to look at on this walk. One of the buildings has a gigantic mural painted on it– it depicts ocean life, large whales swimming under a sunny ocean surface. It’s amazing to look at, it feels almost life-size.

After the factory comes the ferry pick up location for Centreville Amusement Park. If you walk towards it (and don’t want to visit Centreville), you’ll come across a large park with seagulls, families, dogs, all frolicking in the great summer weather. The park is lined by a boardwalk where people often walk, jog or bike. It’s amazing to just walk by and watch water birds and yachts floating calmly on the lake.

At the end of this boardwalk is Harbourfront Center, on Queens Quay West. I’m not really sure what Harbourfront center can be categorized as, but I guess I would call it a sort of “cultural” center. Last time I visited they had some amazing art, they had a glass factory and ice skating on the lake. It’s an experience.

My favorite thing to do here is photography on the boardwalk or simply sit on the benches and watch birds and boats. It’s one of the calmest spots downtown Toronto.

I’ve also heard of an urban beach called HTO Park that has recently opened on Lakeshore. Walking further west past Harbourfront should lead you there. I’ve heard it’s got those wonderful tanning chairs and yellow umbrellas. Wiki/Google it, it’s beautiful! I’ve never been, but when I do, perhaps I’ll write a little Downtown Diaries post about it!

Visual, photographic tour? Here ya go.

Standard
Art, Miscealleanous

Downtown Diaries: Distillery District

This is the best alliteration ever. It makes me so happy, four word alliteration, yay!

What? Distillery District, formerly Gooderham and Worts Distillery.
How do I get there? Take the subway to King St, take the streetcar going East (504) to Parliament, also known as St. Lawrence. Walk south on Parliament till Mill St and then walk east on Mill St, till you see the main entrance.
How much? As much as you want to spend! Entrance is free, food, wine, steaks and items you wish to purchase are not, but are in a high price range.

So, Distillery District. For anyone that’s into good beer, wine, steak, chocolate or art, this is the place for you! Formerly an actual distillery, this area housed the famous Gooderham and Worts, once the world’s largest distillery. Today, its cobbled streets and large Victorian industrial architecture house some of the best cafés, steakhouses and art galleries.

My favorite place in the Distillery District is Soma Chocolaterie. They do justice to chocolate. They have gelato, hot chocolate, cold chocolate drinks and a wide range of chocolate bars, truffles, cakes and cookies. I ordered a Mayan Hot Chocolate– something I’ve been wanting to try BEFORE I knew of Soma, since I watched the movie Chocolat. It’s a hot chocolate beverage, like your regular hot chocolate with a spicy kick. It begins with a sweet, chocolatey taste on your tongue and proceeds to a hot, spicy, tingly after taste in your throat. I was kind of nursing a sore throat that day so it worked perfectly for me. There was so much chocolate around me, I felt that just trying one of these amazing items wasn’t enough. So I bought a pricey, $7 bar of “Old School Chocolate”. It is basically roasted cocoa nibs with raw cane sugar. It smells like heaven but the taste is acquired– it is a little bitter, almost sour at some point and sweet with a crumbly texture. I loved it!

I’ve also heard quite a bit about the Boiler House, a great place to get a good steak and some beer and perhaps wine and whiskey. I’ve never been but I will as soon as my financial situation allows me to!

Here’s a little virtual, photographic tour of the Distillery District..


Standard
Art, Miscealleanous

Downtown Diaries: Royal Ontario Museum

Museums are always fun. To me, at least. I love history, I love culture, I love weird stuff; I go crazy in museums. If you like museums too, this is a must-see.

What: The Royal Ontario Museum
How do I get there: Take the subway to St. George station, leave from the Bedford exit and walk to Bloor. It’s the building that looks like an explosion (credit for that gem: Jessica Kissun).
How much? Regular admission price at the ROM is $22. However, if you don’t feel like paying that much, they have half-price Friday nights– you pay only half if you arrive after 4:30pm. University and College students pay nothing on Tuesdays– just bring in your student ID and photo ID.

The ROM is open everyday from 10:00- 5:30, except for Fridays. On Fridays, it is open till 9:30.

This is what the building looks like.  This part of the building was funded by Michael Lee Chin and is called the Michael Lee Chin Crystal.

The ceiling to the right of the main foyer. It says “That all men may know his work”. I guess the women will never know!


A Greek statue of some sort. This is one of the things I love about the ROM. You know how a lot of museums do not allow you touch their items? The ROM doesn’t either, but they recreate some of the items so you can get a more tactile experience!

This happy looking man is about five times larger than you. Find him in the Chinese/South East Asian part of the ROM.

Smiling Buddha. The swastika on the front makes me wonder if this is an Indian version of the Buddha? I’m not sure I’ve seen the swastika used widely in South East Asian Buddhism.

Quartz, I think. I’m not too good with rocks. I kinda just go “oooo pretty” and forget the name. Pretty sure the collection includes a meteor of some sort.

Giant Totem poles: I read that totem poles were supposedly used to mark large Inuit houses. I guess they marked the ancestry and the tribe and all that important stuff.

Fun Fact: Polar bears have black skin. They’re also the world’s most dangerous bears. My favorite!

Eye of the tiger!

The biggest flower in the world, the rafflesia– a plaster remake. The bright petals and disgusting smell coming from the flower has the function of attracting insects that it eats. Yum!

This sharp lookin’ fella is a marine creature. Pretty teeth, huh?

A dinosaur baby! This poor guy hatched only about a million/billion years after he was supposed to!

This is only about 0.5% of what the ROM has to offer. If you love museums, this is the place for you. If you don’t like museums or have no particular feelings about one, it is a good way to spend your summer indoors away from the burning heat while gaining an educational experience. I believe history and culture must be experienced by all, so I would suggest going on the free/half-price days!

No, they did not pay me to write this.

Standard