Watch Anthony Bourdain in Toronto


Last night’s episode of The Layover with Anthony Bourdain featured his visit to Toronto (when he was here back in July).  Someone has posted the episode online, in case you missed it.  And if that link disappears, you can always readToronto Life’s roundup of the show (although reading about it isn’t nearly as fun as watching it).

[thanks to my pal Andrew for the tip]

Haunted Toronto Scavenger Hunt

Looking for something fun to do in Toronto on Friday night?  Check out the Haunted Toronto Scavenger Hunt from Urban Capers.  It’s like a normal scavenger hunt, but you don’t collect items, you collect answers to tricky and humour questions about the people and places you discover along the way.  Sounds like spooky fun!

Read all the details here.  It doesn’t say the date on the website, but I know it’s going to run this Friday, October 26, in its “beta version” (there might be a few kinks to still iron out, but it will definitely be fun!)  Contact Urban Capers to book your spot.

[painting of University College, purportedly haunted, by Edmund Walker]

I Love the blogTO Flickr Pool

There’s a really active Group Pool on Flickr that’s maintained by the online magazine blogTO.  Anyone can submit images, and many of them end up on the website.  I like checking the photo pool every once and a while, just to look at some of the gorgeous images people are taking of Toronto.  Like the two shots above, from Tuesday’s thunderstorm.

[image of CN Tower in the storm by John Mastrella; image of crosswalk by W]

Vintage Toronto

Here’s a nifty way to procrastinate on the internet… check out this Vintage Toronto page on Facebook.  It has over 13,000 “friends”, and there are so many great photos that people are sharing.  Of course, there are lots of really old photos of Toronto, but the ones that I thought were the coolest are the ones from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. (like the “Girls of Ontario Place” – ha ha ha!)

Two things I noticed when looking at the pictures:

1. So many of the photos feature streetcars.  The TTC really is at the core of Toronto’s visual identity.

2. There are lots of pictures of things that I remember about Toronto that have already changed.  Like the shot of the Eaton Centre, above, with the Eaton logo.  I’ve lived in this city for 13 years now, and it’s cool to see it changing right before my eyes.

[via blogTO]

New Year’s Resolutions

Earlier this week, I promised I would share my New Year’s Resolution with you.  Well, here it is: I resolve to try and enjoy city living more. I want to rediscover what I love about Toronto.  I used to really love living here, but when we came home from Brooklyn back in September, I started to compare the two cities, and I started to think that Toronto paled in comparison to NYC.  That, plus finding it really difficult to secure affordable childcare, and all that nonsense that’s been happening at City Hall, all added up to a big case of Toronto disappointment.

I mentioned this to some friends on Facebook, asking for help reminding me why I love the city.  Here were a few of their answers:

So many good places to meet and eat just steps from your door. Creative people all around you. Hundreds upon hundreds of people making deputations to preserve what is good about the city, because we are at heart a city that does care deeply. The Islands. High Park. Riverdale Farm. The Martin Goodman Trail. The Greenwood dog park. People who say thank you to bus and streetcar drivers.

I think Toronto looks really awful without snow or leaves. It looks a bit dowdy right now. And we’ve got this awful mayor and it does cost a LOT to live here. So I understand why you’d want to look around. But there will always be trade-offs and I think Toronto is a vibrant city with a great cultural scene probably unmatched in any other Canadian city (and most American ones). And Momofuku is coming. And the new bakery. And you will always do well in real estate here.

What makes Toronto a great place to live and raise a family Avery are peeps like you! Diversity, overall cleanliness, access to boat loads of services, extremely safe, creative people and communities, good schools, yada yada yada. Yes housing is very expensive as well as other day to day expenses (many which will follow you where ever you move to). Other cities are facing these problems as well and it will only get worse. Take a week or a weekend and visit our great city like a visitor would and maybe you will remember why we think its such a great place to live!

One pal even went so far as to start making a list for me of great things in Toronto, including the AGO, the new Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Momofuku that’s coming, the HBC Collection, and even the Lake!  I have great friends, huh?

So, dear readers, I’m going to take this one seriously.  I already share a bunch of cool Toronto things with you here on the blog, but I resolve to get out to even more cool events, restaurants, shops, and attractions, and I’ll tell you all about them. In my heart of hearts, I really do think this is a great place to live. I”m excited to remind myself as often as possible.

Now I’ve told you mine… what’s your New Year’s Resolution?

PS – a really cool idea care of Swiss Miss… a website/movement that encourages people to resolve to help others, instead of just working on personal goals.

[image above of an orange neon bike by Michael Chrisman for Torontoist. It’s part of the Good Bikes Project – just another cool thing happening in Toronto that I might have taken for granted]