A Mini-Break in Toronto

In order to beat the winter blahs I took a mini-break in Toronto this weekend. While it wasn’t the sun, sand and surf of a destination like Cuba or Mexico, it was still nice to change up the routine a little bit.

After going over to the p|m Gallery to attend the opening of a show called “Immersive” (a great show featuring work by my friend and colleague, Duncan MacDonald), we stumbled on to some fabulous live jazz at the Communist’s Daughter. We had just planned to go there for a post-gallery pint, and had no idea of the treat we would discover once we walked in. The tiny bar was packed to the rafters with people enjoying the “Saturday afternoon Gypsy Jazz” show. Musicians were crammed up against the front window, and behind the bar was Michael Lewis Johnson – pouring pints, playing the horn and belting out jazz tunes. We ended up staying for two sets, enjoying the music, the atmosphere and the people. While I have included a picture below, no camera footage could ever come close to capturing this experience, you really have to be immersed in it! I hear this takes place every 2 weeks – I’ll certainly make a point of heading back for another show!

Earlier in the day, we had brunch at Sadie’s Diner. I was especially looking forward to checking out Sadie’s this weekend because of a fabulous exhibit of work by 6 artists, all of whom are either currently students in the Brock Visual Arts program or who have recently graduated from our program. The exhibit is called “Playing House” and it will be up until the 28th of March – if you are in Toronto, be sure to check it out! (and grab some delicious vegan pancakes or a tofu scramble while you are there too!) Congrats to Miranda Austin, Carley O’Hara, Julia Prudhomme, Bethany Scholl, Bruce Thompson and Michael DiRisio on a great exhibition!

I was also happy to have a chance to check out Panacea and The Loving Hut (vegan AND nut free!! Yay!). I also discovered that places like Rancho Relaxo veganize many of their dishes by adding Daiya cheese and/or faux meats. This seems like a simple enough premise, so why can’t other eateries do this? That evening I was dining with a vegetarian and an omnivore and we all were able to find something we liked on the menu. Don’t get me wrong – I love an all-vegan place and I am not at all suggesting that everyone should run around and eat “fake” cheese and meat every day. However, there are times when it becomes necessary to pick a vegan option at a “mainstream” restaurant and I’m always impressed when there are more options than a measly “garden salad” on the menu.

All-in-all, a whirlwind trip into Toronto complete with good fun, good friends, good art, good beer and good eats. And really, what else could I ask for?!

Happy February! Spring will be here before we know it!

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