Thursday, January 17, 2013

Housesitting In Toronto Part 2

As we come to the end of our stay in snowy Toronto, it's time to look back at the last few months. It has certainly been very relaxing and couldn't be more in contrast to the first half of last year when we were backpacking through India, Nepal and Sri Lanka!

Although we have been concentrating on getting our blog off the ground, writing, learning Spanish, raking leaves (thousands of them!) and planning for the future, we have also found time to explore the area and enjoy what the city has to offer.

Back in October, we went to the Zombie March downtown. The gathering of zombies in Nathan Phillips Square was not for the feint-hearted! It has become an annual event in many cities throughout the world, including our home town of Brighton.

We made it to the excellent Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was very well presented, vibrant and colourful. There was lots of fascinating background information, footage and music in addition to the amazing paintings. The gallery itself is very impressive, a contemporary space with an extensive collection of work by Canadian artists.

We eventually managed to find our way from where we are living down to the beach at Lake Ontario. Although the lake is only a two minute walk away, it is difficult to get access to the beach, and it took us some time to find a way to get there! After a walk through some woods, we found a sandy stretch of beach - a nice spot for a walk and a view of Toronto's skyline. Scarborough is massive - impossible to get around by foot, but luckily there there is a very good transport network.

The week before Christmas, we went to the Christmas Market at the Distillery, which is a gentrified area similar to Convent Garden. There were stalls, fairground rides, carol singers, seasonal snacks and dancing elves. It was a particularly cold day and we warmed ourselves up with mulled wine sitting next to a log fire in an outside bar.

On Christmas Eve, we had a light snow, and by morning a thin layer on the ground, so it's true to say we had a white Christmas (just!) The next day, however, there was a snowstorm and it was over a foot deep by the time it stopped snowing. Because the temperature is so low here, it takes a long time for the snow to melt so it has become a permanent feature.

Canada is quite expensive, so we have had to limit our activities, but have found lots to occupy us. It's so lovely to have the time to do the things we aren't able to when at work. We have seen some interesting birds in the garden including blue jays, red cardinals and an owl. The area is over run with squirrels - we have never seen so many! We have yet to spot a raccoon, although there were some mysterious footprints in the snow that came up to the front door and back.... The house sitting gig is going well and we have become fond of Connie the cat - we will miss her when we go, but new horizons beckon.....