5 Things I’ll Miss Most About Toronto

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Photo by Cabello by Carolina

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!

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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.

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Photo by Tobias Wang

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!

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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…

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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.

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Photo by Tobias Wang

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!

Urban Art

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Urban art is one of my favorite things and Toronto has some amazing art all around the city. This particular mural has been one of my favorites for a while, I absolutely love the color of this mural. To me, it’s one of Parkdale‘s signature murals and adds so much character to the area. I’m always excited to find new murals all around town and it’s also one of my favorite things to photograph when I travel. Do you have some favorite murals or urban art in your city?

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Photos by @Offner

Springsioux fishleather gloves (get them here)

Zara oversized knit v-neck sweater 

Anine Bing boyfriend jeans (get them here)

Nike Free TR Fit 4 (get them here)

 Zara Biker Jacket with zips

The 10th Tribe beanie 

 

The Tempered Room

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A cute new patisserie opened up in Parkdale recently called The Tempered Room. Located on Queen West, this hip new spot is incredibly cute and homey. The owner and chef Bertrand Alépée, is from France and has brought lot’s of his home country to this little café. At the Tempered Room, you’ll find freshly baked croissants (that taste like France and that are way cheaper than Nadège!), croque-monsieurs, chouquettes, baguettes, flans, etc.

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The space is well designed, you can either sit with you computer on a stool at one of their individual tables or at the big table in the front or even right by the windows. They have complimentary wifi for their clients and always have a killer music playlist. Their staff is also very friendly.

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The flavors of the food he presents is very similar to what you would find in France, which warms my heart and makes my mouth water. It’s so rare to find baked goods that really remind me of France in Toronto. The place seems to be pleasing locals as it’s been busy since they’ve opened. They plan on expanding their food menu come winter and are also working on developing special wine, pastry and dinner events in the future. J’ai hâte!

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Photos by @Offner

Adidas Women’s SL Loop Runner Shoes

 Zara Biker Jacket with zips

Anine Bing Double Zipper Jeans – Light Grey (get them here)

Anine Bing Crewneck Knitted Sweater In Snow Melange (get it here)

The 10th Tribe beanie 

Bear Necklace from Three Fates

Geraldine

Last Friday, Offner and I tried a fantastic new restaurant in Parkdale called Geraldine. We had walked by the place a few times during the last couple of months and it always seemed to be closed but we had loved the black and white floor tile that gave the place a very French bistro look.

Reservations for Geraldine were easy to make through their website. We got a beautiful table at the back of the restaurant close to their upright piano. The piano was beautifully lit with candles, which illuminated all the artwork at the back of the restaurant. I loved the way all the round tables were placed right by the wall, every couple sat almost next to each other instead of facing each other. It was very intimate and romantic. All of the tables were decorated with simple white cloths and adorned with lovely vintage silverware and antique dinnerware. All the plates were floral, some even had gold trim, which gave the restaurant a very classy look. The marble bar was extremely classy. I also loved their vintage fresh seafood display at the back of the bar. photo 1 (37)

All of the restaurant’s staff were dressed in prohibition era garments. The men all wore suspenders, high-waisted pants, short and slicked back hair. The men looked like they were straight out of an episode of Boardwalk Empire. It went perfectly with the big band, jazzy music they were playing and the overall look of the place.

Geraldine had a lovely drink menu called “Libations” all made by the restaurant’s Mr. Mooney. All of the drinks we had were interesting and unique and seemed to have quite a lot of thought put into them.

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The entire menu looked super tasty! Lot’s of French-inspired dishes. They also had a separate menu to order fresh seafood. Offner ordered the seared duck breast and I went for the lentil salad with mushroom and tapenade plus the cheese board. The portions were small but everything was cooked to perfection and perfectly seasoned. Though a little pricey, it was well worth it! We capped off our dinner with a little digestif and tea for myself!

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All in all, it was a beautiful and romantic experience. I definitely consider Geraldine one of my new favorite restaurants in Parkdale. We’ll definitely be back! Geraldine is also having a special until the end of the month, they are serving wine bottles at half the price on Tuesdays. So make a stop on Tuesday night January 28th to enjoy some great wine for cheap!

 

Go Lounge

Last weekend I discovered a great new bar/coffee shop and board game lounge  in Parkdale called Go Lounge.  It’s a quaint little cosy space located on Queen Street West, just steps from Roncesvalles that opened at the end of November.  For those of you who are fans of Snakes & Lattes, just think of it as being a modest and much more laid-back version of it.  I was a huge fan of Snakes & Lattes when it originally opened up a few years ago.  I lived in the area, so would spend a lot of my nights playing board games with friends and loved ones there.  I loved the fact that it belonged to a Parisian couple who baked fresh desserts and served baguette sandwiches just like in France. However, as the place’s popularity grew, it became less and less acessible and the once friendly staff, changed and wasn’t so nice anymore.

I was therefore thrilled to find out that a second board game lounge had opened up in the city.  Basically, you can go play board games, have a pint or glass of wine as well as a tasty panini or yummy dessert in a super chill environment with great tunes playing in the background.  Plus, you don’t have to pay to play their board games.

So if you’re looking for a fun new place to hang this week or weekend, try the Go Lounge.  My favorite game: Cards Against Humanity. Hilarious!

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Blue Monday #DailyOutfit

Exciting day of shooting with BRBR today. I get to do two of my favorite things: First I start my day at Glory Hole Doughnuts, my favorite doughnut shop in Toronto. I really hope they’ll have their Parkdale Anniversary doughnut, it’s my favorite (plain doughnut topped with creme cheese and peanut butter icing + cracker jack popcorn on top). Unreal! Then, we’ll be filming the second half of the show at Pinky’s Nails, the raddest nail art shop in the city. Their staff is super creative & fun.

This definitely makes my Monday 100x more exciting. Though I love shooting the show, Monday is my least favorite day of the week… I’m sure I’m not the only one.  I was really excited to wear some new cheap threads today. I got a new bleached denim vest yesterday at Forever 21 (amidst the chaos that is Forever 21, it’s sometimes possible to find a few cool cheap pieces) and a new fishnet sweater. I also added my favorite The 2 Bandits silver bangle & leather wrap bracelet to complete the look.

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Forever 21 Bleached demin vest (get it here)

 Forever 21 Ribbed Trimmed Fishnet Sweater (similar one here)

TOPSHOP Moto Blue Supersoft Skinny Leigh Jeans (get them here)

The 2 Bandits Naja Bangle (get it here)

Steve Madden booties