The next day we woke up early and had a leisurely morning with breakfast at a nearby coffee shop. After breakfast, we headed into the city to find a park to go running. Never again will I complain about traffic in Pittsburgh! So many lanes were closed or blocked off and parking was even more challenging to find. Eventually, we did locate a place to park and walked down several blocks to the ferry to Toronto Island. On the way, I was excited to catch a glimpse of the Google Streetview car, which I’d never seen in person before.
The ferry ride was enjoyable and took about 20 minutes by the time we boarded, sailed across, and disembarked. Many passengers didn’t realize that the airport is also on the island, so we were shocked as a large jet flew overhead and landed on a runway that appeared to rise right out of the water.
Once we arrived on the island, the rest of the family went running while Thad and I opted to explore the park at a more leisurely pace. We set our destination as the lighthouse on the far side of the island and headed off. Along the way, we took in the skyline, watched some dogs and owners playing in the green lawns, walked past a small amusement park, and stopped to take photos. Thankfully, we didn’t accidentally stumble across the “clothing-optional beach.”
By the time we found the lighthouse it was nearly time to meet back up for lunch. We weren’t able to go up inside due to the time crunch and line, but we did quickly tour an art gallery/residence which was open to the public. We enjoyed the one artist who did landscape paintings of Banff national park.
Food options in the park area were limited, so we went to Shopsy’s, a cafe-style restaurant that looked out over the water and the city. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, figuring the cost of the meal was mostly a premium for the view. The food, although expensive, was still good and the portions of everything – hot dogs, sandwiches, fries, salads, were all large. We enjoyed relaxing in the sun before heading back to the main city.
The walk back seemed to take longer in the heat. Open Doors Toronto was going on that weekend, though, so many different buildings and boats were open to the public for free. By the time we got back to the hotel, we only had a few hours until we needed to leave for dinner and the ballet, so we just rested in the room and outside the mansion.
Without any particular plans for dinner, we walked around until we found a restaurant a few blocks away called Spirits. Since we were eating early and indoors when most of the rest of the crowd was outdoors, it was a little empty, which was odd. Our waitress was incredibly nice and agreed to ring us up early since we were in a little bit of a hurry. I got a Prosciutto and pesto sandwich, which was good, but the real star of dinner was the spinach and arugula salad I got as a side. It was topped with walnuts, a nice dressing, creamy goat cheese. The perfect dinner to follow a lunch that was basically a huge hotdog and a ton of fries! Thad liked his pizza topped with pesto and mushrooms and we also had a can of Somersby Cider.
After a drive out to the “suburbs,” we arrived at the Chinese cultural center, where the ballet was located. It began with a lecture by a man who knew nothing about ballet, which was an interesting choice. After that, we enjoyed seeing the apprentices dance with the Cathedral Bluffs Orchestra. Besides being a great orchestra, the conductor was also a very nice man who we talked with briefly afterwards.
I’ll be honest – I don’t know that much about ballet and it’s never been something that grabbed my attention on a deep level. But this performance was absolutely my favorite I’ve seen, from the costumes to the choreography, to the obvious passion the dancers put into it. It was great getting to see my sister-in-law dance in a variety of dances, especially a very moving piece from Romeo and Juliet. It was quite the night!
(A funny side note: there was a wine and cheese reception at intermission, and when I went to get some of the refreshments, I kept getting shoved out of the way by several very aggressive old ladies. I guess the moral of the story is don’t get between octogenarians and their free wine!)