It seems ridiculous to break up such a short trip, but I saw so many things, and popped into so many charming little places, that for the sake of not having a million photos, I'll post each day separately.
Usually, when staying at a nice hotel, I would have indulged in room service and enjoyed breakfast in bed. It's always a favourite part of a stay. However, I had so many places that I wanted to see. My first stop was coffee, of course. One of the cafes I wanted to visit was Dineen Coffee. I opted for Dineen Outpost, one that's not downtown, as I had the car and didn't want to worry about finding parking. It didn't disappoint. First, the design of the store alone is so pretty - with so much attention to detail. Pink marble-topped tables, a long sweeping counter with brass accents and brass fixtures, large built-ins and so much natural light. It's been done so well- but the best part? Not having to sacrifice a great cup of coffee to enjoy it somewhere stylish.
A perfectly-poured cappuccino and a pistachio croissant (which I had never heard of) were the perfect start to my day.
From there I headed to Cabbagetown. Toronto, like most large cities, is made up of different neighborhoods. I picked here for a few reasons - the historic homes in a variety of styles, being close to the park and historic Riverdale Farm. It was the first day of spring, and the weather couldn't have been more perfectly suited. I parked at the edge of the park and just started walking up and down the streets. One street can be lined with four story Victorian brownstones and the next street, charming workers' cottages.
I love seeing how they bring character and personality to these small spaces. Each has such a small, modest front plot. Like this charming home above - it actually had one of the larger properties, and yet it's still quite tiny. But despite it's size, it doesn't compromise on style. I loved the boxwood walk.
Across from Riverdale Farm is the Toronto Necropolis, a historic cemetery with it's Gothic Victorian architecture. In the summer, it's covered in Ivy.
This is Riverdale Farm, a working farm right in the middle of the city. You can walk around the historic buildings and see the farm animals and the herb and vegetable gardens.
George and I decided that if we needed to live in the city, this is the neighborhood we'd like to live in. Particularly, one of the charming little cottages on the street that ends at the edge of the park.
From here, I drove to the other side of the city, to Coriander Girl. I fell in love with this sweet shop when it was over on Queen St West. While it's mostly a studio space now, it was still pretty to look at.
From there, over to Little Italy, where I found the aptly deemed "World's Most Adorable Bar". During the day, they serve tea and pastries, and in the evening it's a bar. Any place that serves tea in Blue Willow china with monogrammed teaspoons, and has vintage trays piled high with a variety of croissants this delectable, may rightful call themselves that.
Of course, good quality tea and a delicious scone, with a perfectly crunchy top, are also important.
As is good company, and I had the best.
I decided to walk around for a while, being as it were that all I had eaten so far that day were pastries. I ducked in and out of a few shops, including this charming looking cheese shop.
I had taken some pastries home with me from tea, and decided to pick up some cheese to accompany them for breakfast the next morning.
From here, I made my way back downtown and decided to finish the afternoon at Allen Gardens Conservatory.
We took our time walking through the different greenhouses, enjoying the warmth.
The Jasmine was in bloom and it filled the entire space with such a heady fragrance. We stayed until they were about to close and then made our way back to the hotel. Ryan had a short break before dinner, so we caught up for a bit before we both headed out for the evening.
This time I did Yorkville again, but earlier so that I had enough time to browse the shops, and still grab dinner before everything closed.
This shop, Pink Tartan, was my favourite of the trip, solely from the exterior. It's the most beautiful old building sitting perfectly in an urban setting. I love the black accents, and the greenery growing up the side, and the lower entrance, and even the pink door!
After closing the shops, I quickly popped into Pusateri's, a true gourmet grocery that was right around the corner from the hotel. Selecting something for dinner was near impossible and only less difficult than resisting the desserts on display. I did grab some of my favourite french yogurts, the ones in the glass petit pots that I can never justify getting, as well as some fresh raspberries, also for breakfast.
Then back to the hotel to sit and enjoy dinner and golf until Ryan got back. We ended the evening in the spa for a late night swim and a soak in the hot tub.
It was such a full day, but it was so relaxing. As I was driving, I came to a realization about the city. The city stresses many people out. It's fast paced, a frenzy of overhead wires and towering buildings that never seem to sleep. But when you don't have anywhere to be, it's actually quite relaxing. You can walk for hours without realizing it, and there's never an end of things to discover. And if you look for them, there are these tranquil little spots all over, perfect for slowing down and sipping tea or window shopping or smelling the Jasmine.