I happen to live 1 hour east of Vancouver, BC. It’s a big, beautiful vibrant city!
Or so I’ve heard.
Would you believe I’ve only made my way that way for bus tours as a kid, or sporadic needs such as the airport?
I know. I KNOW!
However, this directionally challenged country girl has just been more comfortable with my 1 3-way stop kinda town.
Well, as you may already know, I’ve been challenging myself to set some new goals in order to grow. And one of them was to get a little more travel fluent with busy towns and such. I mean, if I ever want to drive on the left side of the road in Europe, I need to get the right side of the road down first!
So when I was invited to teach at a conference in Toronto, I went for it. Plus.
While the main reason for this trip was about stencil work, I also wanted it to be about checking out the local sights, hang out with some dear friends I also work with, and challenge myself to brave new things, ultimately turning in a 3 day conference into a 2-week stay.
I don’t mess around when I travel, do I?
Honestly? It’s the best way to see a little more of the world, while venturing off the beaten track. My best travel moments are those that are discovered by wandering without a map in hand. And this trip certainly does that and more.
So, let’s start with a charming stroll through Toronto during fall!
And of course, my personal travel story.
The flight from Abbotsford, BC to Toronto was absolutely beautiful and amazing in every way imaginable. Flying pretty much right across Canada brought so many gorgeous views into play. And you bet I requested my always-present window seat so I get the ever-moving live slideshow in.
Please explain why one would not pick a window seat? I’d really like to know. I always feel sorry for the person on the isle and even more-so for the person in the middle!
Anyway, I knew the big car rental hurdle was before me, so I prepped myself to be super positive about it all. I just reasoned the GPS will just tell me where to go!
Oh my goodness. The mumbling and affirming self-talk I did to pump myself up even entertained me.
“It’s no big deal! People drive pretty little ribbon highways everyday and come out the other end alive and well!”
So after I got in the rental car, I let it run for awhile while I fiddled with all the dials tweaking this and that, then jotted down notes from the GPS. I wanted some idea on where I was about to go. I did not rush this step! Notes, notes for days.
Then I tapped in my busy destination on the GPS (oh my… don’t do that if you don’t know much about it maybe…), then off I bravely went!
Hellooooo ribbon highways…
Actually, leaving the airport was not all that bad. However the travel quickly turned into what felt like angry bees buzzing around me. This happy-go-lucky country granny bee not in a rush will let you pass, count on that!
But Toronto roads can throw a fast one at ya if you aren’t on top of it. You’l be on one road that magically morphs into a turnoff before your GPS can sputter out what in tarnation is even going on.
A little bit of stress ensued…
Well anyway, I don’t remember anything really drama filled on the way to my chosen destination other than bumper to bumper traffic. This is apparently normal.
But when I spotted green and blue to my right, I quickly forgot about my difficult destination, ignored the GPS and bravely turned right instead!
I made my way through an avenue along the water that forked into a park! What? Yes! Better! I like that kinda fork just fine. So I found a place to park and went for one incredibly spectacular fall-filled walk.
As I glanced towards the big city looming in the sky, I reasoned I’ve already been to the busy districts last round which were fun, but I haven’t seen this yet, so this was even BETTER!
So I wandered through some incredibly amazing areas. One after the other. So SO pretty!
This is the entrance to the Exhibition grounds.
Upon seeing this, I felt like I really arrived. This was gorgeous.
And then THIS!
YES! YES YES YES! Take all my money, I want in! There were SO many bike paths all along the water, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of these bikes!
Unfortunately, this bike company rejected my credit card. I have no idea why. I even tried another run of bikes. I even attempted to call their number but with no answer, I had to leave the bike idea behind and walk instead.
There was some sulking involved.
But it was pretty hard to hold a pout when there was just so much beauty right in front of me.
This is a gorgeous waterfront district that felt very much like Central Park in New York, but this went on for miles along the water.
For not even knowing this area existed, I’m so glad I followed my nature-lover gut on this one.
I mean… nature, waterfront, pretty painted Adirondack chairs…
And views of the big city from afar!
The very best of both worlds I say.
Oh the views…
You can see my past Toronto City tour HERE. It’s fabulous!
See what I mean by bike paths though? The trails were all paved and ran for miles and miles all along the waterfront.
Spectacular spot. I’d love to come back in summer and do this bike run!
With a Toronto-happy credit card.
While I’m not normally a walker, it was a chilly day so I was grateful to be moving at a slower pace and just take my time getting creative with pretty pictures.
It was a fabulous moment to unwind from all the prior fretting of getting ready to travel, then travel, then getting around in unfamiliar places!
Travel is a wonderful adventure, so the effort is ALWAYS worth it! Always.
Those spectacular fall colours… I honestly couldn’t have timed this visit better!
Oh, hi there Ontario Place. So THIS is where I was! Nearly an island.
Every city in the world needs a pretty little island like this!
Kaboom. Gotta love a great fall tree lineup.
See the evergreen tree on the far right?
I’ll take a tree with all those pinecones please… pretty incredible.
Swoon. Even Toronto rocks are artistically beautiful!
Well, I really REALLY enjoyed the downtime I had with my wander through nature. I found a cute cafe, had an amazing lunch with a great cup of coffee, then it was time to head to my next destination.
I ended up at Jennylyn Pringle’s place for a lovely dinner. Jenn is the creator of Fusion Mineral Paint in which we met 4 years ago right in Toronto, the place where we had our first chit chat about firing up my stencils!
You can check out our city tour together HERE. So so fun!
Then after dinner, ‘big city driver me’ made my way over to Roncesvalles to spend the night at Loree’s, Jenn’s mom who is the owner of Homestead House and Fusion.
And I got to stay in a historic brick house that blew. my. mind. I want one.
Visiting Loree’s neighbourhood the next morning made me forget this town even HAD traffic… I could not even close my mouth!
Historic brick buildings everywhere you looked.
Oh gosh. You have no idea what this even means to me. I was born to live in a neighbourhood just like this!
With no traffic though…
Fresh produce and flowers daily? Why not if you have this right on your doorstep!
Stop it! Gorgeous! Can you even?!
Little did I know how much I’d fall in love with The Simple Kitchen. I thought, cool building! But the food was even cooler. Rice and acia bowls… super healthy and sooooo good!
As you can see, I fell hard for the lovely Roncesvalles district BIG time. And as always, I love taking you along with me to catch a glimpse of real time as well. It just doesn’t feel complete without it…
Click above to visit the video tour through Instagram Story captures!
And this amazingness was only the start.
Next up was the big paint conference at Niagara On The Lake!
With SO much more to follow… if you’d like to check out Niagara Falls lit up at night, check out a trolley that crosses a gorgeous ravine surrounded by fall trees, see a wonderous butterfly conservatory, check out my cottage stay in the cutest town ever, and then a lake front cabin stay with dear friends, and a Halloween night like you’ve never seen before… (guaranteed)… I got all that on my camera card. PLUS!
Ya know, as much as I enjoy a big city visit, this visit was even more special. To catch a glimpse of nature, stay with friends and frequent the quaint Roncesvalles neighbourhood was even more than I had imagined it could be. Good GOOOOOD memories were made!
Stay tuned for more Ontario 2018 coming up!
…in between some decorating posts coming up soon too!
Have you been to Toronto? What’s your fav district to visit?
You can visit more of my TRAVEL POSTS HERE