This summer has felt like a whirlwind of travel, whether it be weekend road trips or around the Midwest or a weeklong trip to Florida. My latest destination? A quick weekend trip to Toronto with Joe!
We were supposed to go last fall, but had to cancel the trip last minute for our friends’ engagement party. We’ve both been antsy to get north of the border, so we had a lot to squeeze in in a very short amount of time. We drove in Thursday night from Cleveland, which is about four and a half hours. The worst part of the drive was at the Canadian border while we waited in the longest line of cars to show our passports and get through. We were both surprised how packed it was at 10:30 on a Thursday night with people crossing over into Canada. Once we finally got to our hotel, we both crashed and got a good night of sleep in prep for the busy weekend ahead.
Our first stop Friday day was at St. Lawrence Market, which holds the title of ‘Number 1 Food Market in the World’! I’ve been to a few markets, and this one was easily the biggest of them all. Not only was the main level massive, but there was a lower level equal in size with just as many vendors! I was totally blown away. I had to eat with my eyes since there were nutty things all around us.
Next up, we walked to the Distillery District, which you could easily spend an entire day at. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was totally blown away once we were there. The area is comprised of Victorian industrial buildings, and I truly felt like I was stepping into history when we were there. I can’t explain the feeling, but it’s something you need to experience for yourself to understand! There was just something special about it. Essentially, the area is made up of all kinds of shops and restaurants, but with a creative twist. The Distillery District was formed with the intention of being a space for creative types of all backgrounds. There were cute coffee shops, interesting boutiques and stunning art galleries. I feel like we only got to see a fraction of it, but that small fraction was breathtaking.
I tried to take pictures, but they don’t even come close to translating the beauty of the area. One of the coolest shops we went in was The Saucy Milliner. I was instantly transported into old world Europe when we set foot in the store (at least what I imagine Europe was like back in the day). Joe immediately went to the wall of driver caps and was in hat heaven. The shop owner was in the middle of constructing a hat while we were there, and it was fascinating to see her work. You really don’t see shops like that anymore, and it made me appreciate the craft of hat making. I was eyeing some gorgeous fascinators, but tried not to get too invested because I unfortunately know I have zero life events in the near future that call for a fancy headpiece. *sigh*
We ventured into a ton of other establishments where I had to practice my best self-control with money, which was hard. My favorite fashion store we discovered in the area was Got Style. The store was open and massive, and had that vibe where you feel like there’s so much to discover. I was practically salivating at all the clothes. I stayed strong and only bought one thing, which is now the most feminine and gorgeous piece in my closet. Seriously, I can’t wait to wear it on here soon because it involves lace and statement sleeves!
Arvo was another cool spot in the Distillery District. I believe it had just opened when we stopped by. True story: I took about 60 pictures of the decor and exposed brick walls in here. It was gorgeous.
For dinner, we went to Marinella’s, a family-run Italian restaurant in Toronto’s Little Italy. I wish we could have seen more of the neighborhood because it was in a less touristy area, but we were on a tight schedule. Our meal was to die for, and I would love to go back whenever I get back to Toronto.
After dinner we raced to the Toronto Blue Jays game. The Blue Jays are having an amazing year, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the stadium. Joe and I both love baseball, so it was pretty cool getting to experience a sold out nighttime game in another country. Plus, we had an amazing view of the CN Tower from our seats. It was so hot at night that I was not dressed appropriately, and had to buy an oversized Blue Jays shirt. I seriously think we picked the hottest weekend ever to visit.
I was pretty wiped during the daytime Saturday, and was a little relieved when it stormed. We packed in so much Friday and these legs were aching. Later in the day, we ventured over to Yorkville, a high end area of town with some incredible (dangerous) shopping. There’s all the high end options like Burberry and Chanel and then other well known brands like Brooks Brothers and Anthropologie. Our goal was to visit the Royal Ontario Museum (also in Yorkville) and then do some shopping. Well, since it was a rainy Saturday it seemed like the entire city of Toronto also wanted to visit the museum. The line to get tickets wrapped around the outside of the museum, and it was chaos. Joe and I decided to tap out and just hit the shops.
Since Joe isn’t the biggest fan of shopping, I had to choose wisely when picking the few stores we’d go to. I had my sights set on Club Monaco (which started in Toronto), and it ended up being the only store we visited (because I spent so much time in there). I always look at Club Monaco’s website, but seeing this store in person was a totally different experience. Granted, this particular store was located in an insanely gorgeous historic building, but I could have easily maxed out my credit card in there. I was so caught up in the vibe of the store and the clothes that I didn’t get any good pictures, but it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever shopped in my life. There were rooms with hardwood floors and bright white walls, and then there’d be hallways with mosaic tile floors and stunning archways. It felt like a grand old church. All this hype, and all I have is this lousy picture.
On Saturday night, the last night of our trip, we had reservations at Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse. Now I’ve been to a lot of steakhouses in my 26 years, and this one was at the top of the list in terms of service, presentation and most importantly, taste. What’s really ironic about my love for steakhouses is that I don’t even eat meat. That’s right. I’m all about the family style sides when I go to a steakhouse. With my nut allergy, I’m always extremely cautious about which restaurants I feel safe eating out. It’s a bummer because I used to love going out to eat and trying new places before I buckled down and started taking my allergies seriously. People always look at me funny when I say I love steakhouses, but honestly they’re always one of the main restaurants I feel safe eating at. Fine dining establishments tend to be more accommodating and serious about allergies, and to me that is always worth the money. Plus, if you know me you know mashed potatoes are my absolute favorite food and we all know those are always on the menu at a steakhouse.
The decor at Jacobs was modern and minimalistic. Joe and I made reservations to eat at the lower level piano bar since the main dining room was booked. I’m so grateful they had a few openings because I procrastinated and made reservations a week before the trip. Joe ordered a Caesar salad (which was prepared table side), asparagus and a steak (I could not tell you what kind because I know absolutely nothing about steak). Having already scoured the menu before our visit, I knew I was getting an order of mashed potatoes and creamed corn. People are always taken aback when I tell them that I will not in fact be sharing my sides with the table :). Everything was incredible, and you’ll just have to take my word on that because I wasn’t wearing my blogger hat that night and forgot to take pictures. Between the piano player and relaxing atmosphere, photography was the last thing on my mind. I cannot recommend Jacobs & Co. enough, and will definitely be making a trip back next time I’m in Toronto!
Although it was a short trip, Toronto 100% lived up to my expectations. Joe and I both loved exploring around the city, and have already been talking about getting back there in the future!