Even though almost all my travel adventures involve seeing the world on my own as an adult and the friends I go with or meet along the way, there’s something to be said about a good old-fashioned trip with the family. After all, that’s how I developed the travel bug in the first place. Despite being back in Michigan for a little while, life can get crazy busy and having the chance to actually spend some time quality time with my parents can still feel few and far in-between. As a television producer, time off is about as rare as it gets, so when you can take it, you TAKE IT.
We used my 3-day Memorial Day weekend to go on a short trip. The question though, was where to go. We were down to the wire trying to figure out something cool when it was my mom who suggested Toronto. I hadn’t been to Toronto since I was a little kid, which really equates to not remembering much of it at all. It was the perfect idea. It’d be like discovering the city again. Plus, it still counts as international travel too, so there you go. My folks, who are enjoying trips all over Europe and Mexico in their retirement, are well-versed in booking Airbnb, so they set it all up while I was just counted the days to the mini-vacation.
The pre-Memorial Day Friday rolled around and my folks swung by my apartment and away we went. Because of my crazy work schedule, I happily volunteered to nap in the back seat. It was just like the old days - except for instead of being a kid tuckered out from playtime, I was an adult tuckered out from an overall lack of sleep. Life, am I right?
Anyway, after a few “Are we there yets?” we finally made it to our Airbnb in Toronto that evening. We took it easy that night so we could hit the ground running the next day bright and early.
Saturday morning was the start of our big day to really explore the city. We had some suggestions and used those as a reference point for places to check out. Now, let me tell you something, navigation is always an adventure, but perhaps even more so when you’re with your parents. To be honest, I’m not sure what we spent more time doing: seeing the sights or trying to figure out how to get there. Oy vey. Either way it felt so good to be back in an actual city again. You think you’d never miss a subway after living in LA and New York, but you’d be surprised how much you do. God bless decent public transportation. Michigan, step it up.
Eventually we made our way near St. Lawrence Market, which was recommended to us. The surrounding neighborhood kind of reminded me of Soho in New York, with some similar architecture in parts. Before heading to the market though, we stopped to grab some coffee. As we sat there trying to map out our day, a super-friendly local guy (who clearly could spot these confused Americans a mile away) must have overheard our conversation and proceeded to give us some great tips on things to do. Canadians really are as friendly as you’d think.
As I began to wonder if universal healthcare truly was the key to friendliness, it was time to go St. Lawrence Market. Basically, it’s an indoor market inside a building that is, according to my research, over 100-years old. It’s a pretty cool space actually. Inside though, it was super busy, so if tight crowds aren’t your thing, you’ll probably just want to appreciate it from the outside. All in all, it’s a spot worth checking out and grabbing a bite to eat, but it’s not a place you’ll need to spend a long time at.
After St. Lawrence Market, we headed over to the Distillery District. The aesthetic here is brick roads and old-school brick buildings. It’s a neat place to walk around and maybe even grab a drink but like the St. Lawrence Market, you won’t need a ton of time to explore.
Our final stop of the day was the Kensington Market, which was my favorite place on the trip. This felt more like a neighborhood really than a confined market space like St. Lawrence. It has much more of an eclectic, hipster vibe to it, which might be why I gravitated toward this place more. Unfortunately, shortly after we arrived, so did a thunderstorm and downpour of rain. We got cover inside a local bar, where we ended up meeting some fellow Americans in town from Buffalo, New York. Shout out to William and Leola. They were really cool. That’s one of the best parts of travel for me: those unexpected, awesome people you meet along the way.
Stay tuned for Part II in Niagara Falls, including our attempt at recreating a famous movie moment.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com