It seems like beautiful weather has been following me all summer. If you’re willing to fly me to where you live, I’ll consider a trip. Vancouver has been amazingly rain free for so long that the grass is turning brown. When it did rain, Emily and I were in Toronto enjoying the best weather they had all summer.
We spent the last week of June in Ontario celebrating Emily’s Mom’s Birthday and Donna & Brandon’s Wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed both events and was glad I was able to be there for them. In between, we explored Toronto and spent time with Emily’s friend and family.
The best parts of Toronto:
- Patios – every restaurant and cafe has an outdoor patio, which is really nice when the temperature is around 30 C. I think we only ate 2 meals indoors the whole trip.
- Plastic Bag Fee – As of June 1, every retailer in Toronto has to charge 5 cents for plastic bags. Some cities have attempted to ban plastic bags, but I like this approach better. 5 cents might not seem like a huge deterrent, but it forces retailers to ask customers if they want a bag and customers to think if they really need it. One of my biggest peeves is cashiers who automatically put what I bought in a plastic bag without asking if I need a bag. And the 5 cents isn’t a tax, but a mandatory fee – the money goes to the retailer.
- Green Bins – Toronto has a municipal composting program (although with the garbage strike no one was picking up the scraps).
- Public Transport – Each subway train in Toronto is at least 10 times longer then a SkyTrain in Vancouver, and wasn’t nearly as crowded during rush hour. The street car system was also really convenient for getting around.
- Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) – I’m not a huge art gallery fan, but the AGO was impressive. The building is a piece of art in itself.
The worst parts:
- Garbage Strike – the strike had only started when we were there, but it was annoying that all the street garbage bins were taped up. The worst part was seeing people illegally dumping garbage only a few days into the strike.
- Smog and congestion – When you’re in Toronto, everything is great. Leaving or entering the city is another matter. That’s when you notice the giant freeways, the traffic, and the blanket of smog that covers the city.
- Beaches – we didn’t make it to the official Beaches neighbourhood, but we did visit “Urban Beach” – a small split of sand in downtown Toronto. Compared to Vancouver, it was disappointing.