Melbourne – A Little Touch of Toronto

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but I felt compelled to share some of my thoughts on my recent trip down under. The past month has been incredible. Australia and New Zealand has been on my travel bucket list since I was a kid so to finally be able to go, was pretty surreal.

We spent several weeks in a van (post about that coming soon!) and then flew to Australia to visit the Gold Coast and drive all the way from Brisbane to Melbourne and surf at as many spots as possible along the way. I will definitely make certain to share with you some of my favourite plant-based foodie finds while I was there but before doing so I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the great city of Melbourne.

Immediately when we arrived, I felt a familiar sensation in my chest. I right away felt like we were back in Toronto but with the nature and weather of Los Angeles. The parallels between Toronto and Melbourne are actually pretty crazy.

Here are a couple of similarities I noticed:

They have streetcars. They look and sound exactly like the ones in Toronto. They’re even made by Bombardier!

They have similar architecture. They have tons of old houses that remind me of the houses in the Annex in Toronto, with the stained-glass windows and a victorian feel. Even the downtown looks the same and has many of the same street names.

They have a big train station. It resembles Union Station because of where it’s located in the city, what it looks like and also because it connects both commuter trains and the local subway to the downtown core.

Lower Dawn Parklands is known as Merri Creek Trail. In Melbourne, the trail goes more than 21k across the city and is a mix of forested area, gravel and road.

They are right on the water. There’s both the beach and the river, both of which have a similar vibe than The Beaches and parts of the Martin Goodman Trail. It’s a great place to explore, go for a walk or run. The only difference is instead of being Lake Ontario, it’s the ocean!

They have a “Trinity Bellwoods” and “Christine Pitts”. There are tons of similar looking parks around the city, but the area called Fitzroy, definitely reminded me of West Queen West.

There’s a graffiti alley. This is probably what reminded me the most of Toronto. The alley was filled with awesome artwork and tourists taking photos or staging photoshoots.

They have West Queen West shops. There are so many of them that remind me of the ones in Toronto. I found a super cute shop that reminded me of Bluboho in Toronto. Since leaving Toronto, I’ve definitely missed my friends and also the city’s edge, independent shops, fashion, etc. Recently, I was able to get some pieces from Bluboho sent to Vancouver and I now bring them with me everywhere I go. They are a lovely reminder of the city I spent 10 years in and will always love.

Wearing my Bluboho Lasso Bracelet and La Petite Amie Signet Ring (that I engraved with my initials!)

There are countless other ways Melbourne made me think of Toronto from restaurants to the coffee shops and various neighbourhoods. It made my visit to Melbourne that much more enjoyable as I spent time remising about the great years I spent in Toronto.

If you’re planning on heading down under, make sure you stop in this incredibly multicultural and lively city!

Get my Bluboho Lasso Bracelet (here) and La Petit Amie Signet Ring (here). 

*I was not compensated for this post but was gifted the Bluboho jewelry

5 Counties Worth Visiting in Gold Country – Pt. 2 El Dorado County

Today’s Gold Country destination is El Dorado County. The county is located entirely in the Sierra Nevada and ranges from the western foothills to the High Sierra in the east.

This is the location where gold was found for the first time!

Situated just a 45 min drive from Sacramento, El Dorado County is where James W. Marshall discovered gold in Coloma on January 24th 1848. Soon after, the population of the area exploded with miners hoping to strike it rich. Today, the area is home to more than 181 000 residents.

These days, the area is known for its wineries, 26 miles of biking and hiking trails, pristine public lands, glamping tents as well as fun outdoor water activities on the American River.

White water rafting has become a huge attraction in the area, thanks to companies like Raft California, that offer a multitude of organized excursions from a simple rafting trip to rafting and wine tasting, camping and so on. Rafting with the crew from Raft California, was hands down one of the coolest experiences of my life!

Talk about a thrilling adventure. I would go white water rafting again in a heartbeat!

The area is also filled with tons of cute farm to fork cafés such as The Argonaut, which is located just a stone’s throw from the river and the historic Sutter’s Mill Site, where gold was first found.

The first covered bridge in California was built in Coloma.

In addition to the protecting the rich history of the area, locals have worked hard at protecting the local environment and unique lands such as the Lake Tahoe area since the 1960 Winter Olympics hosted at Squaw Valley Ski Resort.

El Dorado County is an easy getaway to the Californian countryside for anyone coming from Sacramento and beyond.

For more information on El Dorado County, go here.

Tomorrow’s Destination – Amador County!

Trail Running

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Trail Running has always been on my bucket list of things to try out. Having recently moved to British Columbia, I thought that this would be the perfect occasion to finally give it a try. There are so many great trails located just a few minutes from downtown like the Grouse Grind, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, Stanley Park, Rice Lake, etc.

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Last week, with the help of a local friend, I did my first ever trail run. Trail running is unlike any sport I’ve done before. It’s one of the few activities that requires you to be 100% in the present moment, it’s like a meditation of sorts. It’s an activity that forces you to focus and work on your feet and eye coordination. You have to make split-second decisions about which way you’re going down and where to put your feet at all times. Also, because you are running up and down the entire time, it really gets your heart rate up and forces you to work on controlling your breathing.

davThe thing about it that I loved so much, was that unlike road running, you get completely lost in nature. You get to not only see some of the most beautiful viewpoints but also breathe in clean and fresh air and hear little to no noise.

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Having good gear is key when trail running. You want to make sure you have the proper footwear that will support your feet and provide you with the right amount of traction. Wearing breathable fabrics and bringing with you some form of hydration and even a snack are key. Experienced trail runners will often go out on their own but it’s never a bad thing to be accompanied by someone who knows the area, if you’re going out for the first time. Other things like having a whistle, compass, phone, etc. are all great, as you never know what could happen while you’re out in the wild.

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So if you’re like me and just easing into the sport, I recommend checking out MEC‘s website (here!) as they have run meet-ups, clinics and many races across all of Canada this spring, summer and fall. I am really looking forward to doing my first ever trail race this summer!

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Outfit provided by: MEC. Photos by: Chris Thorn.