The half way point of our trip, and a welcome 5 nights stay rather than our typical 3 or 4: Toronto.
We’re staying just on the outskirts of downtown in an apartment owned by yet another Englishman! It’s a great base camp – you just have to make sure you walk in the right direction! The first night we decided to head out to get some food and with it being a mild evening agreed it would be nice to walk for 30 minutes to a restaurant we’d chosen. Our first impressions of Toronto were a little unsettling since we chose a route that took us through blocks of tired old buildings ‘decorated’ in graffiti; each with their own crew of unsavoury looking vagrants and drunks with the occasional whiff of pot drifting by (we weren’t aware yet that possession is legal for medicinal purposes). Apparently the further east of Jarvis Street you venture the rougher it gets! Nevertheless there were plenty of people about so we carried on and arrived safely in the beautiful Distillery District. We both agreed that a taxi would be our preferred mode of transport for the return home though.
Here you can find restaurants, bars and gift shops aplenty set in a repurposed collection of Victorian industrial buildings with the occasional modern sculpture breaking up the brickwork. We aimed for the Mexican restaurant El Catrin to sample their delicious fish tacos and freshly prepared guacamole. Braving the chilly evening we opted to sit on the patio since it was beautifully presented and appeared to have heaters, which they turned on about 5 minutes before we left! But being British of course we didn’t make a fuss, electing to suffer in silence. We’ll just have to sit inside next time!
We loved it here and would go on to return to this area at the end of our stay to visit the Mill Street brewery, which serves one of the best porters I’ve tasted: flavoured with vanilla but not too sweet, I could drink this all night long.
Like New England there is also a big craft ale presence here in Canada, and Toronto has its fair share of breweries. Just across the road from the famous CN tower is the Steam Whistle Brewery (this one gives you free beer as soon as you walk in the door!) We figured it got its name from the engine shed next door, which is now a steam train museum (this one’s for you Dad!). The turn table and the engines were pretty cool to see up close. Our timing wasn’t great on this one since they were just about closing up, so we just snook in the freebie before heading towards the quay where the Amsterdam Brewery Pub sits proudly on the lake.
This place was huge, 2 massive bars and upstairs seating. It had more of a commercial feel than other brewpubs we’d been in but the beer still tasted great! We shared 2 flights of 4 beers and Amy tried her first oyster! The chef shucked them right in front of us. So Amy, what’s the verdict?
It stays down!