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, Elora, Ferguson, Guelph, St Jacobs, Algonquin Provincial Park, Kawartha Highlands, Philadelphia (USA).
Twin Peaks Finale at Hitch. We kicked off the month pulling up a bar stool at Hitch, one of our favourite Queen St East bars. As massive Twin Peaks fans, we had often made the trip to Hitch to watch the Sunday screenings of the latest episodes. Surrounded by other die-hard fans, it had been a great atmosphere to digest some of Lynch’s most absurd episodes. So when the season finale (and possible last ever episode) aired, we knew where we wanted to be.
To accompany the final double-bill of episodes, the barman at Hitch (and fellow Peaks enthusiast) laid out a spread of cherry pie, doughnuts and freshly pressed coffee. We happily indulged as we watched the last episodes with our usual wide-eyed amazement.
Walking the red carpet at TIFF (kind of…). As I mentioned in this Instagram post, we didn’t think we would be able to get involved with Toronto’s famous film festival. But even if we weren’t able to get down to any screenings, we wanted to see where all the action was taking place (and hunt down George Clooney, obviously).
When we were wandering past one of the theatres we were approached by a representative for Bell who were sponsoring the screening taking place inside. They invited us to watch the red carpet parade from their ‘VIP’ area (I use VIP very, very lightly). We had a couple of hours to spare so leapt at the chance.
It was so interesting seeing how these events worked. How the crowd opposite was coaxed into cheering for everyone who stepped onto the carpet, to the signs with the names of the attendees which were flashed in front of the paparazzi so they knew who they were taking photos of. I also had a complete fan girl moment when Claire Foy, from Netflix’s The Crown, arrived looking like the Queen she is!
Learning about the Mennonite Community at St Jacobs. Desperate to finally inject some adventure back into our lives, we took a day trip to Guelph, Elora and St Jacobs in Eastern Ontario. We revelled in escaping the city after a month of non-stop work. One of the most interesting stops of the trip was St Jacobs, a small farming town home to a large population of Mennonites. The Mennonites can be compared to the Amish community, with Old Order Mennonites choosing to reject modern conveniences and technologies and live in simplicity.
We saw families farming their fields in old-fashioned dress, elderly men riding horse-drawn buggies through the streets and a group of young Mennonite girls giggling over ice-cream in the town centre. It was fascinating to witness this completely different way of life being practised here and learning about how the community treads the line of tradition and the ever-changing modern world around them.
Seeing a black bear at Algonquin Park. Algonquin Provincial Park has been on our wish-list since we arrived in Toronto and this month we managed to find a rare weekend to escape north. Algonquin is known for its large moose population, incredible Autumn colours and beautiful lakes so we weren’t expecting one of our highlights to be a bear spotting!
Nevertheless, as we were driving along the park’s main road, we were greeted by a confused looking black bear on the side of the road. We were so taken aback that we didn’t have a chance to stop and watch the bear for longer but we can now tick our first Canadian bear off the list!
Lake swimming. We’ve had such a busy summer working that we thought the whole season had passed us by. But during our trip to Algonquin we manged to catch the last of it with temperatures climbing into the 30s. We made the most of it by finally becoming true Canadians and partaking in lake swimming. The lakes in and around Algonquin were perfect, we just had to keep a wary eye out for the snapping turtles which call the warm waters home!
Catching up with old friends in Philadelphia.
With old mate Brucey working a corporate gig down in the U.S of A, Ryan took off for a long weekend to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia to catch up with some friends from University.
It was a short, sweet visit that entailed cheap lager, live music, expensive restaurants, late night walks around the city and plenty of idle chat.
The sightseeing took a bit of a backseat but between the myriad dive bars, the streets of downtown Philly were much more attractive than I was expecting, with a tight block structure and abundance of colonial town homes on tree-lined streets and pocketed downtown parks, it’s certainly a place worth exploring!
Booking the next stage of our trip! We have outdone ourselves with organising our upcoming travel plans, scarily so. We usually leave most of our travel open-ended and spontaneous but with a tight schedule and funds that will have to last us multiple months, we decided to plan. We have booked a car and accommodation for an 8-day road-trip around Quebec and Nova Scotia as well as flights to Vancouver and accommodation for a 3 night stay in the city. We are so excited to finally get on the move again and see what else Canada has to offer.
Surviving 40 degree highs with no air-con.
A little less than a month ago, the stifling heat of the East coast summer seemingly dissipated and gave way to more bearable Autumnal temperatures. We took this as a sign of fall, returned our borrowed air conditioner unit to its owner and pulled our coats and hats off the top shelves in preparation for the incoming winter.
However as quickly as it had left the heat came back, with a vengeance. The humidex had temperatures in the city at nearly 40 degrees which we battled with little more than a floor fan in our compact, sauna of a bedroom.
You live and you learn.
Most Liked Instagram Photo
This cheeky snap of Parisian-looking Ryan won the Instagram war this month. I always love editing in black & white and the stunning Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate provided the perfect gothic backdrop.
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Destinations of the Month
Elora was one of the cutest lil’ towns we’ve seen in Ontario. Filled to the brim with cafes, adorable shops and surrounded by gorgeous woodland and gorges. An all-round winner!
Of course this list wouldn’t be complete with Algonquin Park. The leaves might not have quite turned into all their Autumnal glory but it was stunning nonetheless.
Our favourite stop of our whole Algonquin trip happened to not be in Algonquin at all but the Kawartha Highlands. We randomly pulled into Loon Call Lake and were floored by the peace and serenity we found there. We had the place entirely to ourselves and spent a happy hour revelling in the silence. It might not have been the most scenic stop of our trip but there was just something about that spot that made it one of our favourite places we’ve visited so far.
Coming up Next Month
October has the potential to be one of the most exciting months yet! We will be finishing up with work in the middle of the month and then embarking on the aforementioned road-trip around Quebec and Nova Scotia before heading out West for the next part of our Canadian adventure! See you on the other side…