24 Hours in Toronto

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Twenty-four hours of freedom.

Twenty-four hours of escaping the daily routine.

Twenty-four hours without Mark.

I’ll take it.

Don’t blame me: I love Mark but after almost eight months of repeating the same routine over and over again (and another nine months of pregnancy), I’m slowly working regaining a little bit of freedom. The longest stretch of time I have been alone in the past eight months was about two hours. Now you can imagine how much I was looking forward to spending some time with Feng without having to think about feeding, diaper changing, burping, napping, etc.

Early in the afternoon, Feng and I made our way to YOW, the Ottawa Airport, to catch The Rolling Stones concert in Toronto, later in the day. Killing time before the flight, we realized we had never properly “visited” YOW—most of the flights we took from there were very early in the morning, and we were too sleepy to check out the place.

Ottawa Airport is small but pretty new, and the various flight-related processes, such as check-in and  security check, were fast and efficient. We had packed everything we would need for the day-long trip in a carry-on to speed up the process when landing in Toronto. It was a bit of a headache though, because so many common things (shampoo, nail clippers, etc.) are on the prohibited items list. I had managed to find enough samples of cream, soap etc. to last for a day and had packed the best I could. Security didn’t seem to mind about me carrying matches and lighters, so I guess the rules are a bit more lax now.

We landed in Toronto an hour later, under the rain. It felt like April weather: grey, windy, damp and chilly. Good thing the concert was indoors at the Air Canada Centre!

Flying to Toronto always reminds me of my first time ever in North Amarica and in Canada, in February 2002. We were coming from Rio de Janeiro and the difference of weather had been brutal. The smell, the cold, the people… everything was new and interesting to me. Little did I know at the time I would eventually become a Canadian citizen, seven years later!

From YOW, we took the bus to Kipling, and then the subway. We checked in in a hotel downtown and took the subway again to our favourite restaurant in Toronto, The Olde Spaghetti Factory, on the Esplanade. Eating a nice meal without having to keep Mark busy was wonderful—I miss eating calmly, without drama, without fuss.

From there, we decided to explore Toronto’s underground world, aka PATH, the city’s underground walkway linking 28 kilometres of retail space. From one shopping complex to another, from one food court to another, we walked besides the never-ending crowd of commuters going back to their office tower or heading home.

We eventually arrived at the Eaton Centre where we rested at my favourite bookstore, Chapters/Indigo.

The concert was a blast but left us hungry. After the show, we walked on Yonge Street looking for something to eat but options were thin on the ground. We ended up getting a pizza and eating it in the hotel room, still sweaty and dirty from spending three hours in the mosh pit.

I admit it—I didn’t feel like going home the following day. Traveling had felt good, had made me feel alive again. Just for a day… a day of freedom.

You can see the complete set of pictures of Toronto here.

Waiting at Ottawa Airport

Waiting at Ottawa Airport

YOW Ottawa Airport

YOW Ottawa Airport

YOW Ottawa Airport

YOW Ottawa Airport

Rainy Takeoff

Rainy Takeoff

Above Ottawa

Above Ottawa

Landing in YYZ

Landing in YYZ

Subway to Downtown Toronto

Subway to Downtown Toronto

Grey Weather in Toronto

Grey Weather in Toronto

Hockey Hall of Fame

Hockey Hall of Fame

Hockey Hall of Fame

Hockey Hall of Fame

TD Centre

TD Centre

Foot Traffic in Front of LCBO

Foot Traffic in Front of LCBO

Underground Bay Street

Underground Bay Street

But They Don't Even Sell White Shirts!

But They Don’t Even Sell White Shirts!

Raining on Nice Ceiling

Raining on Nice Ceiling

Walking on a Cloud... After the "Massage"?

Walking on a Cloud… After the “Massage”?

Rainy Yonge Street

Rainy Yonge Street

Chapters Bookstore

Chapters Bookstore

Subway to the Airport

Subway to the Airport

YYZ, Toronto Airport

YYZ, Toronto Airport

Need Coffee...

Need Coffee…

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

18 Comments

  1. Ahhh, un bon “TH”! 😉 Heille, yé propre en maudit le métro là-bas! 🙂

    La Madame ‘est allée une fois à Toronto mais a l’avait rien vu de spécial à l’époque, on était juste allé à la Tour du Cn :/

    Tu as vraiment l’oeil Zhu, j’aime toujours regarder tes photos 🙂

    Bisous 🙂

  2. Just out of curiosity: how did it feel to be without Mark for an entire day? I’ve seen mothers feel bad about “abandoning” (that’s their wording, not mine) their child even for a few hours. Personally I think it’s ok, I mean you need to breathe sometimes and that doesn’t mean you don’t love your child.
    Oh and I’m glad you went to Tim Horton’s! I was about to report you. You can’t be Canadian and neglect Tim Horton’s, right? 😛

    Greetings from rainy Paris!

    • I cried the entire day.

      Nah, just kidding. Honestly, I’m not very anxious when I “leave” Mark, I know my limits and I know I need a break. He was and still is a “velcro baby” and I do spend a lot of time with him, so I don’t feel guilty for taking some time off once in a while. Plus he was with his grand-parents, people I (ahem, mostly) trust.

      I think taking a break is the right thing to do, for the baby too. He has to learn to trust other people as well. Because Feng and I both work from home, he got used to have us around all the time and I think he should start being taken care of by other people a bit as well.

  3. I dunno what it is, but I miss Toronto. Your pictures reminded me how I loved that city. I remember that whenever I would take the bus back to Buffalo, I would listen to Panic! at the Disco’s “Northern Downpour” and the refrain goes something like “Hey moon, please forget to fall down” since I wish the day wouldn’t end and so I wouldn’t have to return to Buffalo. I didn’t have a kid in Buffalo, I had a dissertation I had to write, which is nothing compared to having a kid, but I think I know what you mean when you said you didn’t want to go back home.

  4. I need “Me Time” every day. Even if we have visitors and we spend all day with them, at the end of the day I need some down time. I don’t know how any parent does it, I can’t imagine my life without my “Me Time”. So don’t feel bad about wanting to be alone! It doesn’t make you a bad mother at all. Some people need and crave some alone time.

  5. Hey Zhu Zhu,

    You look happy in the pictures :D. And you lost a lot of weight too (I haven’t been here in a while, obviously)…

    Keep having fun, girl ;).

    Cheers

  6. This sounds like fun! I should take a trip like this to a city nearby!

    The last time I flew back from UK, I was told I lighter was ok for personal use.

    Btw, you have a typo – “North Amar­ica”.

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