Ishy’s Toronto Holiday

Posted on January 11, 2015

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As I sit here with what is reported as the last day of the deep freeze (for the time being anyways), I recollect what transpired for the last few weeks. I am so glad this cold set in this week just as my little sister left Toronto. I am not so sure she would give winter a second consideration if she stayed to see what -20 C windchill meant.

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My little sister, Ishy, spent the Christmas season with me as she wanted to understand how cold does the Canadian winter get. It is quite funny that when she landed in Toronto, it felt a lot like fall. For a time I was a little bit worried that there will be no snow to show and was wondering what we will end up showing Ishy. It is quite amazing to discover how a lot of different things are out there even with the frigid weather. I just wanted to share what we have found out and maybe you could try it out too. There are still a long winter ahead of us.

1. Skating at the Harbourfront Centre
Open to the public, anyone can skate for free at the Harbourfront Centre. If you don’t have skates, there are rentals for both kids and adults. I recommend to go there before noon and enjoy the rink almost all to yourself. It was the perfect scenario for Ish, Ayen and my niece Gabby as the can glide along slowly, teaching Ish how to keep on moving. As I am too scaredy cat to try it, I was contented taking pictures of them bonding, while sipping my hot choco. There is a snack bar just right in front of the rink and it sure does help when the wind nips too much.

2. Watching Denmark vs. Sweden World Junior Hockey
As the Toronto Maple Leafs were on the road and watching hockey is a must, my sister Ayen found us good seats with the preliminary game of Denmark vs Sweden at the Air Canada Centre. I had no clue which one was the better team when the game started but Sweden sure lorded over throughout. I am amazed at Sweden’s goalie blocking each and every Denmark attempt. It was sure one a game to make your voice hoarse shouting.

3. Shopping at the Eaton Centre and viewing Toronto’s Christmas lights display
With the remnants of boxing day, we could not resist checking out the sales at the Toronto Eaton Centre. It has been a long time since I last shopped at the Eaton Centre and we did have some worthwhile finds. We also had a chance to take a peek at the skating rink by the city hall at Nathan Phillip’s Square and the neighbourhood lined with 10-foot Santa Claus at Mt. Pleasant and Inglewood Drive.

4. Checking out the Winter Festival at downtown Collingwood, ON
Most Christmas holidays, I stay in Toronto and never really venture driving up north. For the first time since I got to Canada, we finally take that trip and found a lot to experience. Amidst all the coziness of small retail stores at Collingwood’s downtown Pine St, are sidewalks littered with ice carvings. We dropped by a small diner Olde Red Hen and after we finished our hearty meals, we went in and out of the shops of Collingwood. We ended up in a candy store and got ourselves sweet fortune cookies!

5. Blue Mountain ski resort
For $79/person, my two sisters and Jeremy and Gabby were able to get a skiing lessons and they actually held up skiing for a good three hours! I thought my sister Ishy would be frozen solid by then. Seeing that it seems taking them a long time to finish, I spent all of my time looking around the little city of the resort, entertaining myself with a Beaver Tail, a tall cup of hot apple cider from Royal Majesty Espresso Bar and home made maple fudge from one of the gift stores. It was very picturesque watching the cozy town get snowed in as I hold a steaming cup of apple cider. After my family was done with all the skiing, I filled them up with a poutine each from Mile High Poutine.

6. Horseshoe Valley tubing
Last day to dance around in the snow was a morning of tubing in Horseshoe Valley Adventure park. I still did not go and do some tubing but my family’s squeals of delight was quite infectious. We were blessed with blue skies and a day that is not windy when we got there. I found myself a bonfire and waited for them to finish with warmed myself up with some hot choco. Even with the cold, I didn’t regret to be out there. It was too pretty to be indoors.

On her last day, my sister maxed it out by still wanting to see St. Lawrence Market. Being Saturday, I thought it was the perfect day to experience St. Lawrence with all the commotion of early shoppers milling through the market. When we arrived, the market was closed for the weekend for renovations! I am glad I was with my coolest little sis as she just doesn’t believe in disappointments and just asked to look for another place to eat breakfast. I started searching at Urbanspoon and the funniest of finds was that up at King and Sherbourne was the Patrician Grill. Ish is my little sister’s nickname and her real name happens to be Patricia. Now how cool was that? A diner with the comforts of fast and filling breakfast, it was good to catch to make up with not being able to enjoy St. Lawrence Market.

I miss my little sister. It was sure another whirlwind of seeing winter in Canada. A lot of where we have been, I would have not gone to if it were not for Ishy. She might be more Canadian than I am. :)

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu on Urbanspoon
The Olde Red Hen Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery on Urbanspoon
Beavertails on Urbanspoon
Mile High Poutine on Urbanspoon
Patrician Grill on Urbanspoon