Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day - Ah the memories...

Wednesday was Canada Day. Personally I would have preferred to move the statutory holiday to Friday, so we all could've enjoyed a long weekend, but I'll take any free day off that I can get.

I hadn't had a chance to settle down with a book for a long time. Sure, I read on the subway train sometimes, or at a restaurant if I'm eating alone, but those are public places and always filled with distractions. Yesterday morning I found time to curl up on the sofa under a cozy blanket, and read the first few chapters of The Shack. I approached it with fairly low expectations, because there has been so much hype surrounding this book, but so far it's delivering a pretty solid narrative.

In the afternoon Ken and I headed downtown for a walk. There's a city strike on at the moment, which limited our options. For starters, ferry service to Toronto Island has been suspended, so we couldn't go there. Normally that would have been my first choice. All the usual Canada Day festivities were cancelled. Boooooo! And the absence of garbage collection has turned many parks into impromptu garbage dumps.

When in doubt, go for ice cream. We rode the subway down to Yorkville and got cones at Summer's. Neither of us can eat proper ice cream, being various shades of non-dairy, but Summer's has other options. Ken got a lactose-free soft serve. For the life of me I can't recall the name of it. It was something silly like Moo Whip. (But not Moo Whip.)

I got watermelon sorbet. It's pink and contains "watermelon seeds" made of dark chocolate. Mmm... Summer's also rocks because they'll give you a freshly baked waffle cone at no extra charge. I've seen them baking them there myself. That's good stuff.

After ice cream we went for a walk down Yonge St. We figured all the retail stores would be closed, but it was not so. We window-shopped and browsed the spring fashions. We people-watched and dodged crazy homeless folks. What is it about holidays that brings all the nuts out into the streets? There are never that many when we're downtown on a Saturday.

We finished the day with dinner at Milestone's, courtesy of a gift card that was given to us as a wedding gift. Milestone's is an upscale bar/steakhouse with locations across Canada. They grill consistently good steak, and considering that my iron is still low I feel that red meat is justified.

For fun we decided to order some bizarre mixed drinks. I got an "Emerald Martini", which included rum, blue curacao, peach juice, and pineapple juice - I can't remember what else. It was very green, and very sweet. Too sweet for me. But definitely fun.

And there you have it! That was Canada Day. We walked home; I practiced my violin; then I fell into bed and slept like a log after all the walking, sun, fresh air, ice cream, steak, and rum. Now, that's a good day.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Yay, for days off!! Chocolate watermelon seeds??? OMG! You have such cool things up there in Canada. I totally need to get up there and check it all out someday. Hmmmmm.... and maybe get some free medical care while I'm up there :)

michelle said...

possibly silly question ... if the ferry service is suspended, how do the people who actually live on toronot island (i'm not wrong in thinking that there are houses there, right?) get back and forth? are they marooned?

wigsf said...

First off, Michelle, the people who live on the Toronto Islands (only about 600 people) secretly rule Toronto with an iron fist. The have engineered the public works strike so that nobody can go onto the islands so that they may be left alone. They hate when people visit the islands and see their palacial mansions. The inhabitants of the islands are opposed to a 200 foot bridge to the islands.

Scarlet said...

That watermelon ice cream with the chocolate seeds sounds fantastic! They have to make that here in the states!

I remember Yonge St. now that you mentioned it and York. I loved visiting Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa when I lived in upstate NY. I miss the Canadian side of Niagara Falls! You brought back some sweet summer memories. ;)

The Shack was very good. It's one of those books you'll want to pass along and hopefully that person will pass it along and so on. Enjoy it! :)

Anonymous said...

Despite all the set-backs, it sounds like you had a nice time. I envy you the steak dinner. ;) And mmmm -- ICE CREAM. Yum.

A great day on a day off ... what's better than that?

Aurora said...

your ice creams sound great! what a lovely day. It has been hot here too recently but I do miss Canadian summers. And Canadian air conditioning. No-one can make a meatlocker like a Canadian.

San said...

You can't beat ice cream, followed by steak and an exotic martini, as a way to celebrate a national holiday.

As you know, our American Independence Day is around the corner. We're invited to two cookouts, each hosted by our offspring. No exotic martinis, as our son isn't of drinking age. But grilled meats--yes. And ice cream--maybe.

powdergirl said...

Sounds like a great day Sparkly!
Haven't spent much time in the Big Smoke, but had a hell of a time when I was there.
My then fiance was attending the police academy just outside of the city, left me lots of time to roam and people watch, loved it.
LOL, on Aurora's meat-locker comment : )

Anonymous said...

I believe the fake ice cream you're talking about is actually called "Wow Cow."



Sparkling Red said...

Ron: We're incredibly lucky to have government-funded health care. Every time I'm at the doctor's office getting some horrible procedure, I comfort myself with the thought that I'm luckier than people who don't have access to medical care.

Michelle: I guess they're stuck taking the water taxis for $$$ per trip. Some of them might own boats, but there must be limited parking spaces at the Harbourfront docks, I'm guessing. Or they could swim, if they don't mind all the pollution and goose poop. ;-)

wigsf: It's true - the island-dwellers don't much appreciate the "tourists" who disturb their special paradise with noisy parties. I've known a couple of people (friends of friends' parents) who live there. Those lucky ducks are spoiled!

Scarlet: My mom is next in line to read The Shack. In fact, she bought it for me on the condition that she would read it. She keeps saying that she can't believe in Jesus, but I think maybe he's sneaking into her heart.

darcknyt: It's funny - after I wrote that post and re-read it I realized that it sounds like we spent all day eating. But hey - that's what holidays are for, yes?

Aurora: I rarely go anywhere in the summer without a sweater in my shoulderbag. Some places really crank the AC to ridiculous lows.

San: Have a happy 4th of July!

Powdergirl: That's the first time I've heard Toronto referred to as the Big Smoke! I love it. This summer's been pretty good so far, but we might have to change that to the Big Smog if there's a heat wave.

Unsigned: That's right - it's Wow Cow. I still prefer Moo Whip.

NicoleB said...

That sounds like you spent the day well.
Summer's great :D!

Vanessa said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic day all the way around. :) Yay! Life doesn't have enough of those.

And red meat is ALWAYS justified! Remember, there's no such thing as a chicken knife. ;)

Glad you had a good time. :)