7 years ago this month, I moved to Toronto. In less than 3 weeks, I packed up my life and left everything behind to go find myself. And find myself did I ever! It was the best decision I’ve ever made. The past 7 years have been undoubtedly the BEST years of my life. I’ve learned so much and accomplished so much, I’m truly proud of how far I’ve come.
Two months ago, I decided to leave my full-time network television job after 5 seasons in pursuit of the next life adventure. I’ve always dreamed of spending several months traveling but those who work full-time jobs will know that these kinds of adventures are almost impossible to get when you’re working for someone else. So I decided to pursue this website endeavour full-time and also a few other creative projects (some of which will be revealed to you soon, can’t wait!!) in order to fulfill this dream of going on a great travel adventure. With travel comes uncertainty, risk, the unknown, lack of funds, etc. So my husband and I have decided to give up our apartment, put everything into storage and see where these travels take us. Because you never know what the future is made of, I’ve decided to write a little post today on some of the things I love most about the amazing city of Toronto. I know I will be back but knowing I will be away for a little while, I figured this would be an appropriate farewell for the next couple of months. I am forever grateful to the city of Toronto for the past 7 years and am excited about future adventures in the city in 2017! In the meantime, here are the 5 things I’ll miss most while I’m away!
1) Parkdale – Ah Parkdale… I could write a novel about this neighbourhood. It’s with a lot of pride that I called Parkdale my home for the last four years. I LOVE Parkdale. It is a real example of a little tight-knit community in a big metropolitan city. You can stay just in Parkdale and find everything you need. Parkdale has character and personality. Parkdale is a little rough around the edges but it has charm. When I first moved, the area wasn’t so sought after but over the past couple of years, it has become one of the city’s hotbeds for new restaurants and bars, young entrepreneurs, artists and creatives that are pursuing their dreams in the big city. Through the years, I got to meet so many incredible people in the neighbourhood and lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. Parkdale residents look out for each other and help each other out. Some of the things I will miss most about the neighbourhood is The Abbott, the West End Food Coop, the Cadillac Lounge, Electric Mud BBQ, Grand Electric, Tempered Room, Public Butter, etc. No matter where I end up, Parkdale will always be a part of me. It made me fall even deeper in love with the city.
2) The amazing fitness community – For the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to really become acquainted with the amazing people in the fitness community in Toronto. Through my website, I was able to work out at some of the raddest gyms, studios, with some of the nicest and most supportive crews. Whether it would be the Nike Running Club, Nike Training Club, Spokehaus, Misfitstudio, Big Hit Studio, Academy of Lions, Black Toe Running, Greco Toronto, etc. all of these amazing crews all share their passion and love for sport and being active. Through being surrounded by such inspiring people on a weekly basis, it has helped me become the healthiest and best version of myself. It has inspired me to starting running races, lead a healthier lifestyle and take care of myself, something I had never really taken the time to do prior joining all these groups. What’s also amazing is that no matter the activity you want to do, there’s always someone that will be up for a cycle session, a run, a training session, etc. The women in the fitness community here in Toronto are all incredibly supportive and push you to accomplish goals you’d never thought possible. People like Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath, Nike Running Club Coach Inge, Adidas Running Club coach Rejean Chiasson, are just some of the inspiring people that I’ve had the opportunity to learn from. They have taught me more than I would have ever thought. All the pacers, volunteers, race organizers, gym leaders, instructors, etc. in Toronto have all had a positive impact on my health and am so grateful to them all!
3) The vegetarian food – Toronto is vegetarian and vegan heaven. When I first moved here I had high hopes, leaving a very meat-heavy city like Montreal, all I wanted to find was amazing vegan food and that I did! Some early favorites were Sadie’s Diner (RIP!), LIVE, Hogtown Vegan and Urban Herbivore. Now there’s also Doomie’s, Fresh, Kupfert & Kim, and the list goes on. Toronto knows their vegetarian and vegan food! Plus almost all restaurants in the city also offer delicious vegan or vegetarian options on their menus. I now definitely hold higher standards for vegan and vegetarian cuisine, thanks to Toronto’s topnotch restaurants. I definitely need to get my Toronto vegan fix before I leave on my adventures…
4) The waterfront – I love nature and if it wasn’t for beautiful Lake Ontario located right at the foot of the city, I’m not sure if I would have loved Toronto as much. Luckily, I had the opportunity to live right by the waterfront for the past couple of years and it has allowed me to find peace and solitude in times when things in the city got a little too crazy. The vastness of Lake Ontario, the beautiful parks on the waterfront, the islands, etc. are all aspects of Toronto that I love the most. Running on the waterfront several times a week became my meditation, my getaway and a huge stress relief.
5) Friends – When I moved to Toronto, I didn’t know anyone in the city. I moved on a whim, in less than 3 weeks, with a car packed with the few belongings that I owned. It’s one of the proudest moments of my life. A lot of people are afraid to just pick up and leave, to move away from familiarity, from friends and family. Though a little scary, I just couldn’t ignore the voice inside my head that told me I had to go. Though I was afraid that I would end up alone in this big new city, I was lucky to meet some of the most incredible people over the past 7 years here. Some people came and went but some of the friends I’ve made in the city have become family. Making friends seems easy as a kid or when you’re in school but when you become an adult, it’s always a little more challenging. Luckily, half of the people that reside in Toronto also come from somewhere else and therefore are open to making new friends. I’m so grateful to all those who have had such a positive impact on me in this city, who have inspired me and bettered me and no matter where I end up, I know we will always remain close. Thank you!