Browsing archives for 'City Love'

A Few Thoughts On City Living

7 August 2015 | 4 Comments


Early yesterday evening, our regular UPS guy knocked on the door next to mine. I heard it loud and clear, because our house is a semi (meaning it’s attached to the house next door), and every knock on their door sounds like a knock on our door. I said hello to the delivery guy, and told him I’d inform the neighbour they had a package on their front stoop. I then headed upstairs to my office, stuck my head out the window, and hollered at my neighbour (who was entertaining guests on her back porch) that she had a box to collect at her front door. I didn’t think twice about the privacy issues… it’s always seemed like their business is our business, and vice versa. We can hear them through the shared wall in our house, and are often aware of their comings and goings, but it’s a peaceful co-existence.

I thought about my lovely cousin, who lives in the country with her small children, and how there are metres and metres of space (if not acres) between them and their neighbours. They would probably have no idea if the UPS guy left a package on their neighbour’s front stoop.  When my cousin and her daughters came for a sleepover in the city earlier in the summer, my cousin’s eldest daughter told Clara that she had a forest in her backyard, and couldn’t believe how small our backyard was. It was so sweet! Clara, being the ultimate city kid, had no idea what she was talking about.

A friend recently shared something on Facebook about city living vs suburban living (this friend is moving to the ‘burbs soon). The post talked about which is “better”… living in the city, or living in the suburbs. As if there’s a right answer for everyone!

My family moved around a fair bit when I was growing up. We had 5 major moves before I was 13 years old (including moving from the States to Canada). I guess because of that, or because I’m a fairly practical person, I feel like I could make a home anywhere.  I find the choices people make, and the variety of options to be fascinating.

We’ve seen a lot of friends decamp from the city for the ‘burbs or for the country, and I don’t think anyone has made a *wrong* decision. It’s just different. More than once we’ve thought about “cashing out” of Toronto’s insane real estate market and heading for the hills. But ultimately, I don’t think it would be right for me, for many reasons. It’s right for a lot of people, but not for me. So we stay. For now. For a while.

I do love hearing stories of how people live in various ways though. Have you seen the Motherhood Around the World series on the Cup of Jo blog? It’s so fantastic to read about all the wonderful and diverse ways there are to make a home and raise a family.

[photo above of my city backyard, so you can see how close the neighbours are. It’s tiny, but I really love it.]



The Toronto Flower Market is This Sunday

11 June 2015 | 0 Comments


The Toronto Flower Market now makes its home much closer to me – at 659 Queen Street East in Riverside. Their next monthly event is this Sunday, June 14.  I went last month and picked up the gorgeous dahlias and freesias in the picture above.

The market always features whatever is in season, so you know what that means… peonies!!! My friend Rosie tells me her adorable flower truck, Qt, will be full of beautiful white peonies for you to pick up.  Hot tip – get there early. The market opens at 10am, and the early bird gets the flower. Or however that’s supposed to go.

Preschooler Date at TIFF and DigiPlaySpace

16 March 2015 | 0 Comments




Lately Ian has been doing more than his fair share of the parenting duties as I’ve had a lot of work commitments. So to even the scales a little bit, and have some precious time with Clara (who is just shy of 4 years old), we had a girls-only date on Saturday.

We spent the afternoon at the TIFF Lightbox, having lunch at Canteen (we both had mac and cheese with bacon lardons… so yummy), watching The Little Mermaid on the big screen, and then checking out the DigiPlaySpace exhibit. It was so much fun. Highly recommended!


A Food Truck for Flowers in Toronto

22 October 2014 | 0 Comments


My friend Rosie owns the amazing Quince Flowers in Toronto, and she’s just launched a super cool new service. It’s called Qt (which stands for Quince Truck, and if you say it fast enough it sounds like “cutie”, which is fun), and basically it’s like a food truck for market-fresh flowers.

Rosie’s team goes to the flower market early every morning, and posts their inventory on the website every day. You check the website to see what’s on the truck on any given weekday (no weekends), place an order online (before 2pm), and the truck will deliver the market-fresh flowers to your door later that same day. Or, if you see the Qt truck parked around Toronto, you can walk up and spontaneously order in person (kind of like an ice-cream or food truck).

You can also set up repeating orders for daily, weekly or monthly standing orders. Wouldn’t that be amazing, to get fresh flowers on the regular?!?

Bonus – if you sign up for the Qt email list, you’ll get a sweet discount off your first order.

Family Day Out at Bluffer’s Beach

9 July 2014 | 0 Comments


This past Saturday, Ian, Clara and I went to Bluffer’s Beach. It’s part of Bluffer’s Park (remember this post from 2010?) and it was amazing – seriously the best beach for young kids I’ve seen in Toronto. That’s because it’s man-made. No rocks, no algae… just clean, clear, shallow water with a sandy bottom.  We got there around 10:00am and were able to easily find a parking space (although the lots were all full when we left around 12:30pm – so get there early!). We set up our Sportbrella, put on some sunscreen, and set out to build sandcastles and wade in the water. Lake Ontario was cooooooold but it felt good and refreshing after sitting in the sun. A perfect way to spend a Saturday in the summer, and only a short drive from our house. Toronto is so cool sometimes.

Here are some more photos.




Best Idea Ever: Toronto Grilled Cheese Festival

18 February 2014 | 0 Comments


Next weekend there’s a Grilled Cheese Festival at Roy Thomson Hall.  A $40 ticket gets you all-you-can-eat grilled cheese, gourmet soup and 3 beer samples. Check out the menu of different grilled cheese sandwiches… I would love the Tatooed Chicked (with oka-style cheese, chicken, bacon, herbed tomato and garlic mayo)  or the Bacon Avocado (cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, bacon, avocado, spinach, red onion, tomato and garlic mayo).

Of course tickets for the festival are sold out… I didn’t hear about it early enough (boo).  But if you want to put your name on a waiting list, you can do so on the Grilled Cheese Fest website.  Or, be like me and have your own mini-grilled cheese festival at home.  Best idea I’ve had all day.

So… I Took My Time Coming Back from Break…

15 January 2014 | 0 Comments


I haven’t blogged for a couple weeks, which to be honest, has been kinda nice.  But now I’m back, and I have lots of fun, random stuff to share!

First up… a list of 5 Amazing Transit Hotels (hotels that are in train stations or airports). I would love to go to Hotel La Ferme, in the Charlevoix region Quebec. I would eat cheese and Ian would drink beer all day.

Next up… I can’t wait to check out a new coffeehouse in my neighbourhood, Brickyard Grounds. They’ve had  great writeups in blogTO and Toronto Life, and those Belgian waffles are totally calling my name.

And finally… Clara (who is almost 3!) has started little ballet lessons at our amazing new local play centre, Sprouts. She has proper ballet slippers and everything. It’s so cute I can hardly stand it. Little girls really are the best.

[picture of Clara in her ballet class, above]

Advice from Creative Mornings

18 November 2013 | 0 Comments

Creative Mornings Toronto

Do you know about Creative Mornings? It’s a FREE lecture series that happens one morning a month in cities around the world. Creative Mornings was started in NYC by my web hero swissmiss, and while the talks are aimed at the creative community, I think they really appeal to anyone.

Creative Mornings recently celebrated their 5-year birthday, and at their party, a number of people took the stage and gave short talks with advice. Check them out – they’re pretty great (and short).  The advice from Oliver Jeffers is sweet, with his adorable Irish accent. And Maria Popova’s 7 Things I Learned talk ties in to her blog post of the same topic, which I absolutely loved.

And, speaking of Creative Mornings, we have a chapter right here in Toronto. I try to attend each month – the talks are great, there’s free coffee, and it’s at 401 Richmond, right next to my favourite design bookstore Swipe. What’s not to love?

This month the Toronto chapter is celebrating their 2nd birthday, and will be presenting a special Creative Morning on Friday November 21.  Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clark will be speaking on the topic of Bravery.  Tickets are available at 9am this morning (yep, today – Monday), and will probably go fast.  See you there!

[photo of Ilana Ben-Ari from last month’s Creative Mornings Toronto talk. You can see more pictures from Creative Mornings Toronto here on their Flickr page]

Make/Design/Shoot in Toronto – A Guide

30 October 2013 | 0 Comments

Make Design Shoot - Toronto Guide

The awesome team at 4ormat has put together a PDF guide for Toronto newbies who are here to make, design, or shoot (aka creative and nerdy types).  Of course, I can think of more stuff that isn’t included, but overall, I think they’ve done a great job with the guide.

4ormat also makes an online magazine for the creative community called Explore Create Repeat. I subscribe by email, and look forward to a new article every Monday.

The New Aquarium Is Finally Open in Toronto!

17 October 2013 | 0 Comments




The Ripley Aquarium in Toronto (located near the base of the CN Tower) is finally open to the public. I can’t wait to take Clara. Both Toronto Life and Torontoist have photo tours on their sites.

[photos by Corbin Smith for Torontoist]