It’s the last cider from Canada, and the fiftieth different cider I’ve drunk this year! I had this one on the 23rd of July, so I suppose it’s possible I might get to a hundred different ones for 2018. We’ll see!
Back to the ciders! I’ve got a bit of a backlog of these so I’ll be posting lots of them in the next wee while.
Dragon Cider, like a lot of the Canadian ciders I had while I was in Toronto, is a very light-tasting cider – very refreshing for the hot weather. Awesome-looking can too! If I wasn’t trying to de-hoard my life at the moment, I’d have kept it as a souvenir.
I had ALL THE FOOD at hotel breakfast on my last morning in Toronto, because I knew I wouldn’t get another chance! The French toast was amazing and I’ve missed it since I left, although obviously there’s no way I would be staying at target if I were eating that every morning.
Geth went off for a meeting with a contact he’d made at the conference while I packed. Mum and Dad arrived at our hotel shortly afterwards, and we caught up with the Tour de France on the TV – then once Geth had returned and Malcolm had arrived, we went down to the hotel bar for a couple of drinks. It was nice to have one last drink together before we had to head off.
We collected my bags and walked over to the Holiday Inn, from which Mum and Dad had booked a taxi to the airport. It was sad to say goodbye to Malcolm, but everyone’s already looking forward to meeting up again on this side of the pond next summer. Geth had another day to spend in Toronto, but for now I had to leave it behind – I’m sure I will be back again before long.
On the Monday, which was my last full day in Toronto, Geth and I decided to go and visit the Royal Ontario Museum. Before that, however, we headed to Carlton Street for a quick look round the Maple Leaf Gardens, which is next door to the Holiday Inn where Mum and Dad were staying.
The Maple Leaf Gardens is currently used for sports by Ryerson University (the same uni that was hosting the conference Geth was attending while we were in Toronto). They took it over and massively refurbished the interior in the early ’10s. In the ’00s, it lay empty and deserted, but up until 1999, it was a thriving venue for political events and music concerts and was the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team (hence the name of the venue).
(Incidentally, it’s always really annoyed me that the team are called the Maple Leafs rather than the grammatically-correct Maple Leaves. This is why I will never get into watching ice hockey. #proofreaderproblems)
As a concert venue, the Maple Leaf Gardens hosted Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and pretty much everyone else who was big in the 20th century. In 1984, Duran Duran filmed the video for The Reflex there, which was one of my main reasons for wanting to go and have a nosey around.
Inside the building, there are lots of boards on the walls telling you about the history of the venue. The number of famous sayings that were apparently coined there is difficult to believe!
‘He shoots, he scores’ – apparently said for the first time at the Maple Leaf Gardens! Wiktionary and Urban Dictionary do back this one up.
‘Hat-trick’ – apparently originated at the Maple Leaf Gardens! Geth didn’t believe this one for a second, and again Wikipedia claims differently – cricket players were using the term almost a century earlier.
Still, I guess one out of three turning out to be true is not bad going.
The shiny installations dangling from the ceiling were nice as well!
After I’d finished looking around the exhibition, I met back up with Geth and we took a quick trip to the dinosaur floor. They had some good skeletons, both real and replica, but it was a bit too full of kids having pictures taken with the T-Rex, so we eventually decamped to the Museum Tavern nearby, which is one of our favourite pubs in Toronto, for a couple of pints and a good chat with the barman.
In the evening, we met up with Mum, Dad, Malcolm and Steff for our last meal in Toronto, at Scaddabush. This involved more pizza (which was served on a board with SPECIAL PIZZA SCISSORS for cutting it up! They were amazing and I want a pair!), more cheesecake, and more crayons for scribbling on the table:
After the meal, we said goodbye to Steff – she was working and wouldn’t be able to see us off the next day – and Geth and I headed back to our suite at the Grand for one last sleep in the city (for me, anyway).
Returning from parkrun on the Saturday was a lot more relaxing than getting there had been! A couple of friendly fellow parkrunners gave us a lift back to Whitby train station, and we got on the GO train to head back to Toronto. I like the GO trains because they’re double-decker, like the trains in Italy:
We had some lovely lakeside views going back into Toronto.
Once back in Toronto, there were lots of interesting things to see on the way back to our hotel, including this insanely tacky dog-themed fountain:
After we got back to our hotel for a post-parkrun shower, we headed to Panera for a coffee and a pastry, having missed the window for breakfast at the hotel. The pastry was delicious and I can still taste it now. After tomorrow’s weigh-in, I may have to put aside some syns for something similar!
We then went shopping – Geth for shorts (which he couldn’t find in the right style at the right price point, so we gave up) and boxers (trusty ol’ H&M did some Star Wars ones!), and me for tops (H&M again) and underwear (on a good deal at Victoria’s Secret Pink, but Geth was not impressed with how expensive bras are these days). Geth’s habitual ‘Valleys boy’ reaction to spending a lot of money in the shops is to go and find a pub for a stiff drink, so we went to one of Toronto’s many ‘British’ bars and watched the sport on the TV again.
In the evening, we went out for Mum’s birthday meal at the Pickle Barrel, joined by Malcolm and Steff and Steff’s parents Mike and Antoniette – it was lovely to catch up with them. I skipped the starter this time so that I could be sure of fully enjoying the Brown Cow cheesecake!
On the Saturday in Toronto, Geth and I got up very early, and went to Ontario’s only parkrun, Whitby parkrun.
We walked for about forty-five minutes to get to the train station, bought tickets, spent another forty-five minutes on the train, and arrived in Whitby shortly after eight o’clock. It was at that point that Geth realised he couldn’t really remember how to get to the parkrun. I’m not leaving him in charge of directions in future!
After a bit of a saga involving asking lots of people at the train station and the nearby leisure centre for directions, we made it to the parkrun start line with just a few minutes to spare, and met a few other Brits who were also parkrun touristing.
The parkrun itself was a really nice route – a simple out-and-back course through a lovely quiet park with nice wide paths. There were only twenty-odd people taking part, and so Geth and I both came first in our age categories – something that I doubt will be repeated any time soon!
I got my standard-for-now sub-33, which I was fine with considering I hadn’t run for two weeks. I’m really pleased to have done some international parkrun tourism at last!