I was so excited to get out and about on Saturday that I woke up after only 6 hours of sleep, which for me, is a very bad thing. As many of my friends and colleagues know, I require a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night or I’m not my usual cheerful self and can turn into a bit of an ogre (and not the cute Shrek variety). I had planned to ride the ferry to the Toronto Islands, but it was very windy last week, not to mention 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius) outside.
So I decided to look for Plan B. It was a glorious day and I ran across free walks hosted by the Toronto Historical Society. I settled on a tour of an area of Toronto known as Cabbagetown (http://www.cabbagetownpa.ca/). They call it Cabbagetown because of the number of Irish immigrants who fled to the area during the potato famine in the mid-1800′s. They, of course, wanted to make sure their families didn’t go hungry as they had in Ireland so they planted plenty of crops in their front yards, much of it cabbage – et voila! Cabbagetown was born. The homes are semi-detached and the owners would live on one side and rent out the other side for income, usually to family since they knew where to find them. The architecture is mostly Victorian in period and gothic renaissance and bay & gable in style. There was a hotel built on the main street that was 3 stories; the rich people who lived in Toronto used to go to Cabbagetown for the weekend to “get away from the city” and only the richest of the rich were allowed on the 3rd story balcony so they would be able to see the unobstructed view of downtown Toronto!
We ended our walk at the Necropolis – Toronto’s 2nd oldest cemetery and the only non-deonimational cemetery until the early 1900′s (http://www.mountpleasantgroupofcemeteries.ca/our_cemeteries/toronto_necropolis.asp). All of the other cemeteries in Toronto were either Catholic or Presbyterian so you better have been a good paying parishioner when you died, or you would end up at the Necropolis!. It’s a beautiful cemetery in a very quiet party of the city and next to the Don River. There’s quite a bit of the High Victorian Gothic style and such famous Canadians as Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon MacKenzie are buried there.
After the walk ended, I went into a little pastry shop to grab a baguette and only later found out that it’s evidently one of the best in Toronto. It’s called Daniel et Daniel and if/when you go, you have to get a Hedgehog Rum Ball – yummy (http://www.danieletdaniel.ca/)! One thing I have found here is that there are not the plethora of sweets like we have in the US. And, the sweets they do have aren’t as sweet as ours at home. I actually think my sweet tooth has lessened from lack of choices if you can believe that. There definitely isn’t a Dessert Gallery here.
I had walked over to the “walking tour” which turned out to be a leisurely (not) 2.5 mile walk . i decided to try taking the streetcar on my way home, so I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I realized I was on the wrong corner of the street and, after I got on I realized it was going AWAY from downtown! Lost again. Sigh. Thankfully, Canadians are nice to a fault and the driver helped me get to the right stop AND didn’t make me pay again! While we were driving home, there was an Indian wedding outside of the King Edward (for those of you who went to the Platinum Awards) and get this – there were these drummers and a bunch of men dressed in very fancy garb on these beautiful horses with hoardes of people outside clapping and dancing. They had King Street closed down….now THAT’S a celebration!