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french fries and gravy …

I am told that the road goes on forever and after this past two weeks I do believe that the highway never ends. The road that wends through Toronto, Ontario was especially sweet, allowing us to sip Canadian Club, eat Canadian cheddar, drink Canada Dry and see Canadian Mounted Police. I liked Canada.

Our friend Barbara who works for Hilton Hotels and helped us figure out our hotel stays for this trip had not been able to find a room in Toronto, which we discovered later was because a Microsoft convention had taken over Toronto.  We lucked into a pretty cool room at the Westin Harbor Castle – and according to Hotels.com, it was one of only two rooms left in the city.   Our hotel was situated on the waters of Lake Ontario right next to the ferries that left for the Toronto Islands every thirty minutes. We enjoyed a view of tug boats, sailing ships, fishing boats, and pirate ships.

The lady at the Westin front desk gave us tickets to the Hockey Hall of Fame and recommended some fun things to do while in Toronto. The first was a Brazilian Music festival on the lake front. We decided to walk  around the lake looking for the festival while enjoying the perfect weather.  We walked for miles (at least four) seeking out the music festival  but instead of music all I heard was something growling behind me. It turned out to be Garrett’s stomach calling for dinner.

Realizing that every mile we had walked forward we would also have to cover on the return trip we decided to take the easy way out and flag a taxi and by this time we had reached the Irish Park–the perfect place to end our walk.  Earlier, the same lady that had recommended the lake front music festival had also recommended the Distillery Historic District (an area composed of 47 buildings that were originally part of the Gooderham & Worts Distillery) for dinner–I found myself hoping that the Distillery was not imaginary as the Festival seemed to have been.

No worries-the cabbie took us directly to this historic area. The Distillery is now a shopping and dining district. We found out just how popular it was when we were told that there was at least an hour wait for any of the restaurants in  the area (some were even sold out for the evening).  We put our names on several of the wait lists and were given a  “pager” which allowed us to browse the sh0ps while waiting for a table. The first beep came from the oyster place, so oysters it was.  While the family was escorted to a table, I walked around the distillery grounds and returned the pagers to the restaurants who were not lucky enough to accommodate us. We walked back to the hotel and within minutes of reaching our room we were asleep.[slideshow]

The next morning shortly after TCON we took to the streets to see what we could discover. First stop had us in an artsy-*artsy area called Kensington, a market area reminiscent of the Montrose or, as the boys thought, Venice Beach.  While a young tattooed local offered her suggestions of what to do in Toronto we sampled some great fish and chips and poutine (a French Canadian dish of french fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds) at the Fresco Cafe.

After lunch, we wandered from shop to shop trying on scarfs and glasses and hats. I couldn’t believe my good luck when I found not one, but two nifty straw hats to replace my worn and perhaps a bit too small Venice Beach find from last year’s road trip.  The 103 degree heat (yes, in Toronto!) had me desiring a treat to help cool off. Yes, you guessed it, ice cream.  Just so happens that I had, as Chicken Boy calls it, a hand-held device intended to help me locate the perfect place for ice cream. My hand-held device directed us to Ed’s Real Scoop on Queen Street.  We were only a few blocks off Queen Street but we soon found out that Queen’s East was quite a drive from our current location–seems one must pay attention to the word “East”  when it follows a street name.  Ed’s Real Scoop was on Queen’s Street”East” The Beaches. Have no fear, Ed’s was worth the drive.

All in all, the day was as good as it gets and I love my new blue hat – hope Graham will let me wear it sometime.

Tomorrow we return to the States.

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