We did it! We committed to embrace Toronto with the same curiosity as we did Manchester and after a few months here I feel we are on our way. When we were bathing in the sun, in Brisbane we were discussing how to properly enjoy winter and how we would need suitable clothes. So we made an investment, and now we use words like base layers, medium layers, ski pants, wool socks and I visit websites like Icebreaker and MEC. Actually with Icebreaker we have a slight affinity as it kept us warm after we bought a pair of leggings in New Zealand.
This post is a good fit in the Wanders section due to a couple of winter trips. One for me to learn how to ski and the second we had a go at ice climbing. Both experiences had varying levels of success.
For skiing we went to Blue Mountain, a couple of hours away from Toronto, a bit of a similar look and feel to the peaks of British Columbia. I should not be a smart mouth considering there were slopes in the resort I didn’t not even touch. Although plagued a by a two day headache, I managed to go from the kiddies slope to the graduate level, still within the learning slopes. I enjoyed the thrill of it and the combination of excitement and fear. I had a slight fall at the end to baptize the experience and my left knee still reminds me once in a while that I began the year with a skiing adventure.
A few weeks after, we joined our friends at their cottage in Halliburton, same place where we met the hungriest chipmunk as portrayed in a previous post. The house is by the lake, appropriately named Maple Lake and Saturday we enjoyed it frozen, covered with more than a meter of snow, of course taking lots of photos and even disturbing the peace of some local ice fishers. I do not remember ever seeing so much snow.
On the second day, we had a very modest go at ice climbing with a guide, of course. The sentence: ‘I tried ice climbing while I had a slight knee injury from skiing’ is something I didn’t think I would say or write anytime soon. While skiing was excitement + fear, this was hard work + adrenalin. For training we had a small climb where I was the last one to go and I can’t say it was a good appetizer. For the second climb, a more serious setup, I did a lot better. I guess the adrenalin kicked in and by the end I felt grateful that Husband Chris is pushing me to do weights once in a while at the gym and also very happy that I did not need to go to the bathroom after spending 6 hours in the cold. The day itself was absolutely splendid, sunny and no wind.
One other thing we have done to embrace this winter, was to walk in our park both during snow and ice storms. One evening while still dark Husband Chris made his first snow angel, a worthy event in the life of an Australian. Oddly enough during summer time I never had the courage to walk through the park in the dark, winter time the reflection from the snow lit it up, creating a beautiful setup for either a romantic movie or a thriller, depending on your imagination.
Winter activities and hibernation aside, some recent highlights include an excellent exhibition at the AGO, The Great Upheaval with works from 1910 – 1918 brought in from Guggenheim, a play in support of local writers at Passe Muraille Theatre, booked a few more Romanian plays coming up in spring and managed to see one movie since the beginning of the year.
We have revisited Yakitori Bar and still love their Ramen and we have replaced our local Japanese restaurant with a new one, Kiyomizu, near Yonge and Sheppard, with a promising first experience.
Local shopping has been quiet, except the stuff I bought from One of a Kind Show, which was indeed sufficient. A worthy mention is Eliot’s Bookshop and a great record shop Around Again, on the same street as the Yakitori Bar, how convenient :).
And to wrap this post: ‘I see grass again Toronto!’. I am ready for spring.