Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Summer in Toronto

July 21 is the summer solstice and the first official day of Summer here. And boy has summer arrived. This week temperatures have averaged in the 30C's with humidity making it feel even hotter.

There are so many public events happening, especially now that it has warmed up. Everyone is out and about. Canadians take full advantage of the good weather :) The sun is setting after 9pm these days, so sitting out on the patio chatting and drinking is the norm here. Every day after work, the streets are lined with tables and chairs filled with people enjoying the great weather.

Speaking of which, we are leaving this fantastic weather for the cold of Joburg's winter. We'll be back visiting for the first two weeks of July. So we'll see some of you soon!

In the meantime, here are some highlights of what we've been up to:

At the end of May, Toronto has an annual "Doors Open" event. This is one weekend, once a year when "up to 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration.

The program allows visitors free access to properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Many locations have organized guided tours, displays and activities to enrich the visitor experience." The whole idea is to get to know the city that you live in.

This year, Doors Open was on 26 May. We went to see the TTC Lower Bay street subway station. This is an old, unused subway station. Bay Lower is fully operational but is used today for work vehicles, moving trains from one line to another, train driver training and filming.

We were able to walk straight along the subway platform from one end to end. Not much to see, really, but fun to say we've seen it. A number of movies and commercials have been shot at this station, including films such as "Johnny Mnemonic ", "Don't Say A Word", "Mimic" and "Bulletproof Monk". There were movie posters up, and subway maps of New York lying around (used when filming a movie set in New York).

During the weekend of 15-17 July, the "Taste of Little Italy" festival was on. A section of one of the busiest roads downtown dubbed "Little Italy" was closed to traffic, creating a weekend-long street festival. There were *crowds* of people - sampling Italian food, listening to live music, game stalls, clowns, etc. Very family-oriented and festive. Reminded me of Lusitoland, except it's on the street.

A friend from back home stayed with us for the weekend, so we took him to taste a bit of Toronto life. We arrived at a good time, sampled some oysters, kebabs and then looked for a restaurant for dinner. We had to wait a mere 20 minutes in line for a table, but then a further 90 minutes for our food to arrive, it was that busy! I felt so sorry for the people waiting in line later on, I'm sure their wait must have been at least 2 hours just for a table. The food was good though and worth the wait.

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