Last summer, Gabriel and I discovered the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, just steps from his downtown condo. Since then, we’ve returned numerous times, for long walks, trips to Toronto Island, and Brazilian festivals. This past weekend was so hot and sunny in Toronto that we decided to make our first trip of the season down to the harbourfront.
Although Gabriel mentioned that Toronto’s harbourfront just doesn’t compare to that of San Francisco, we do think that Toronto has done a great job in revitalizing this area, which now attracts locals and tourists alike. We started our long walk with a trip over our favourite bridge, which pays homage to Toronto’s twin city, Amsterdam. I loved seeing the boat-owners scrubbing their winter-worn boat decks, unfurling their sails, and slowly chugging out of the marina. There is something about the presence of water in a city that is so important to me. I suppose that’s why I loved living in Amsterdam so much, with its myriad of canals and the looming presence of the North Sea beyond its boundaries. On humid summer days, escaping to the harbourfront of Toronto is a must, and if you look South, you almost feel as though you are in the midst of Canadian cottage country (when in reality the CN Tower and city skyscrape stand powerfully a mere blocks from the water).
Determined to soak up the most of the warm weather (since it did snow last week after all!), I got some toasted coconut ice cream from a vendor, and Gabriel had a nap in the late afternoon sun. We even discovered an area of the harbourfront that we had not seen before, HTO park, with its man-made beach and steel umbrellas. A bit cheesy, and not nearly as enticing as an authentic beach, I commend Toronto’s ambition in creating an urban oasis for its beach-loving citizens. We sat on Muskoka chairs underneath an umbrella, watching the pigeons and ducks, as Porter Airlines planes flew into the Toronto Island airport meters away.
Albeit crowded on a good day, the harbourfront is quickly turning into one of my favourite Toronto spots. There are some nice restaurants, with expansive patios ideal for long lunches or mid-day cocktails. A number of tour boats operate from the docks, and an ever-present outdoor photo exhibition is constantly rotating its portraits. Basically, there is always something happening at the harbourfront, and I’m sure this post is just one of many you’ll be seeing here on Life Abroad this summer! What can I say, I’m a sucker for boats and anything remotely nautical :)