Welcome to our monthly series we are running on Flat Earth! Our weekly blogs only touch the surface of what we’ve been up to, so we’ve decided to dive in a little deeper every month so you can see what travelling and living abroad is really like.
Recap our previous entries here.
Places Visited: Toronto (ON), Niagra Peninsula (ON), Hamilton (ON)
Canada Day! This year Canada celebrated its 150th birthday in style. Unfortunately we had to work most of the day, although we made sure we were decked out in Canada themed attire. We closed up the cafe early and shot over to our friend’s apartment on the other side of town and toasted to Canada’s 150th birthday. Our original plan had been to catch the fireworks being set off from the iconic CN Tower but after a couple of drinks our timings went out the window and we turned up in Downtown just as the crowds were heading away from the tower and towards the second lot of fireworks of the night at Nathan Philips Square.
We dutifully followed the massive crowds and, due to our tardiness, ended up straining to see the fireworks from the ground level of a multi-storey car park – not ideal. After witnessing little more than a few flashes of colour as the fireworks went off out of view, we gave up and took solace in a downtown bar instead.
Due to our firework fail the night before, we returned the following evening. The square was hosting fireworks and free concerts for 4 nights on the trot so we headed down early to get a good spot. We watched a fairly dull performance by OVO artist DVSN which quickly descended into hysteria as Toronto’s very own Drake joined them on stage for a “surprise” appearance. The crowd surged forward and the dull glow of smartphones filled the crowd. Despite not being fans of Drake, the enthusiasm of the crowd was infectious. Oh, and the fireworks were good too!
Watching The Arsenals at Sounds of Leslieville. July is officially Jazz month in Toronto, a fact that had eluded us due to most of the festivities happening at the other side of town. However, we were pleasantly surprised when, walking home from work one night, we stumbled across the Sounds of Leslieville fest. A free festival happening in a park a couple of blocks away from our house. We heard it before we saw it and followed the sounds of ska along the leafy streets of our neighbourhood.
The band playing was The Arsenals and their energy on the small stage was incredible. Old-school ska fans were dusting off their skanking shoes at the front, children were clapping along and the whole crowd was going wild. For the finale, one of the band members brought his trumpet down into the crowd and started an epic conga line that danced its way around the park. What more could you want?!
More music! We managed to squeeze in two fantastic gigs this month. Royal Headache at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern and Whitney at Danforth Music Hall. We have finally started to dip our toes into Toronto’s incredible live music scene and are particularly excited about the next gig we have on the docket… Bonobo!
Rollerskating the Leslie St spit. When Ryan started floating the idea of roller-skating around the city, I was sceptical to say the least. I haven’t strapped myself into roller-blades since I was in primary school and I’m not known for being the most graceful human being.
However, after Ryan found some blades in our local charity shop for $15, there was no escape. We buckled up and sped away to Leslie St Spit. After a wobbly start, I finally found my feet and we spent a lovely evening watching the sun sink behind the city skyline as we glided along together.
A day on the Niagara Peninsula. We will be doing a full write up about this trip soon as it was so simple from the city and a lot more beautiful than I expected! We started the day off at Niagara Falls and quickly scarpered from the ugly town after catching the obligatory glimpse of the falls. From here, we headed into the countryside and explored the beautiful Niagara-On-The-Lake. Despite the insane humidity, we had a great day and hope to get back to the peninsula’s wine region for some obligatory tastings soon!
Shakespeare in High Park. We finally made our way across town to High Park for the pay-as-you-can performance of Twelfth Night. The company puts on alternate performances of Twelfth Night and King Lear every night (Tues-Sun) from the end of June to September. We arrivedup early, spread out a picnic, drank our wine we had snuck in our water bottles and waited for the play to start as dusk began to fall.
This also happened to be English Literature graduate Ryan’s first ever Shakespeare performance and happily it went down very well! It was a great way to spend a balmy summer’s evening in the city.
Exploring Hamilton. We have a very hectic work schedule over August so decided to squeeze in another day trip this month before the madness begins. We chose the city of Hamilton as our next destination, an increasingly cool city slowly filling with arty cafes, breweries and incredible restaurants.
The hour long bus trip from Toronto is easy and well worth the $24 return price-tag. Despite choosing to visit on a Monday when almost everything is closed we had a great day sipping flat-whites, eating Vietnamese food and wandering around the peaceful lake-side park.
Reality Check. We received a slight blow to moral this month as we found out we were never going to be able to afford the astronomical prices of car insurance in Ontario. After looking at a few amazing campervans and cars this month, we did the math and worked out that insuring a vehicle in this province would cost us over $300 a month. As Ryan has no car insurance history since having his first car when he was 17, the insurance companies would assume that he passed his driving test on the day he was issued his Ontario license.
It’s not the end of the world by any means but we will have to continue to shell out for rental cars for the foreseeable future.
Werk, werk, werk. This summer is going to be all about the work. It’s not really a bad thing as we enjoy our job and need the money but it does mean that the majority of our summer is going to be spent indoors.
Posts Published This Month
We celebrated finally feeling settled in our new city by posting Learning to Love Toronto. It’s been a bit of a slog but we finally feel at home in this adopted metropolis of ours.
Most Liked Instagram Photo
This skyline shot pulled in the most likes this month. Even on a gloomy day, seeing Toronto from afar never fails to impress me. The sheer scale of this city is awe-inspiring and I still can’t believe that we can call this place home.
Follow us on Instagram here.
Destinations of the Month
The Beaches. As the weather has been scorching this month, we have taken any opportunity to avoid the steamy streets of Downtown and head instead for the breezy shores of The Beaches. Located east of the city, The Beaches is an affluent neighbourhood spread along the shores of Lake Ontario. We love spending the morning having coffee and ice-cream on the main street before strolling along the boardwalk and relaxing on the surprisingly scenic beaches.
The Niagara Peninsula. We barely scratched the surface exploring this region. There is so much to see and do here that we have no choice but to return. From waterfalls, beautiful hikes to rolling wine country – this is a definite place to escape to for the day when the city gets a bit too hectic.
Coming up next month
August is going to be a crazy month. As well as an overflowing work schedule, we will be house and dog sitting, hoping to fit in a trip to Algonquin National Park and trying to get to as many of the hundreds of summer events we can! We will see you on the other side…