I’m writing this as a tornado warning passes over Toronto, something I just missed, after getting back from a cycle roughly three minutes before the emergency alert hit my phone.
Since the last update in April it’s strange to think about how different things look now.
It felt like it went from snow to 30+ degrees in the space of a week, the heat has stuck around and shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon. And yes, you’ll find me complaining regularly that it’s *too hot*.
Ontario is coming through the other end of the coronavirus pandemic and is starting to see regions open up with parts hitting stage 3 of province’s reopening plan. Toronto, however, is not quite there yet.
Settling into life here has been a fun ride so far. A couple of days ago marked SIX whole months since I left the UK and I feel like I’ve experienced so much change in that time, so many great moments and some “what the hell is going on” days but with all things considered, I’ve been lucky and I’m ready to get to see more of this city/province/country.
Moving to a new city and being faced with a lockdown not so soon after you arrive does somewhat alter your perspective on this place I’m trying to call home.
As I expected, finding work has been made slightly more difficult. Apparently trying to find a job in an economy facing a pandemic is kinda hard (who knew?) but I’m getting closer everyday.
Besides just simply applying for jobs and trying to survive there have been some brighter moments. Times I’ve laughed with new friends and explored different areas of the city.
Finding a secluded spot of Tommy Thompson Park to swim, eat and drink made for a great day. Actually finding where your friends were in that secluded spot was a quite different experience though.
Buying a bike that isn’t as heavy as those Toronto rent-a-bike has been both crucial to getting around (say no to public transport) and easier on the legs. Regular trips out east towards Cherry Beach, Tommy Thompson Park or Woodbine has been a great way of keeping sane. Dips into Lake Ontario (huge and cold) is often refreshing and wakes you up.
Longer cycle trips out west, towards and through Etobicoke and Mississauga, have been a way to keep up with the exercise during a time with rugby shut down and gyms closed. It took me a while but I discovered I had a slight dislike for running so the bike works out well.
Watching the sunset over the Toronto skyline from some of the many great vantage points just a short distance away is another way I’ve kept myself occupied over the last few months. You might get sick of seeing the CN Tower from literally everywhere but slap a real life filter on it and it’s a sight for sore eyes.
Getting lost on the way and wearing jeans made for a traumatic first trip to Scarborough Bluffs but what made up for it was a great view of a good looking slab of rock.
Cycling out that way a couple of weeks later but bottling going down to the park because of the painful looking cycle back up the steep inclined hill is another fond experience of the area.
Getting out of the city and up to Nottawasaga Bay for a Saturday on roughly 10 minutes notice was up there as a favourite day. The water happened to not be freezing like Lake Ontario and managing to captain a paddle board made up of an Irishman, a Frenchman, a Kiwi and a Brit. There’s a joke in there somewhere.
The Islands, from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island, in the summer are (unsurprisingly) far superior to the same places during the winter. Being able to feel your face is underrated.
Bickford Park, a nice little park in Koreatown, has become a go-to for me and friends of late. From comedy during a lightening storm to celebrating Canada’s birthday there watching what can only be described as a slightly dangerous firework display.
So it’s fair to say I’ve experienced a lot in the last three months or so. Watching behind-closed-doors sports, the heat and humidity kills me on a regular basis and I was able to go out in all directions away from Toronto and still manage to see that CN Tower.
Toronto is a great city with a lot going for it and anybody thinking about visiting a new place post-Corona travel restrictions, I couldn’t recommend it more.