I decided to dissect my time in Toronto into “Conference Time” and “Toronto Time”, as it was important for me to get a bit of local flavor during my visit – not just the downtown, conference scene.
The flight from Austin, Texas is not cheap, so I stayed a few extra days.
Sadly, when I added it up, I only spent about 18 hours exploring Toronto. It was spread out over the days prior to and after TBEX .
This skyline image and the street art photograph above were both shot on 35mm slide film.
CHOOSE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD:
I started by choosing the right neighborhood for me. Toronto is a massive multi-cultural city. Find the cuisine or culture you love and stay near it. I chose West Queen West for its plethora of art galleries, independent designer boutiques, vintage boutiques, and the burgeoning restro-bar scene.
The Drake Hotel
Easily one of my favorite hotels anywhere – the attention to detail is superb and the design, uniquely its own. They recreate their common spaces and rooms often enough so that on your next visit, you will have a new visual experience.
I enjoyed eating breakfast in the cafe several mornings, where I was also able to work and prepare for the day with my computer and the free wi-fi.
At night when I wanted an excellent glass of wine to keep me company while I sorted through paperwork and half watched <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005JMJ4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00005JMJ4&linkCode=as2&tag=traveltracks-20″>Lost in Translation</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=traveltracks-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00005JMJ4″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />, I was able to get what I needed at the Sky Yard bar.
Sky Yard shot on 35mm slide film.
EXPLORE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD:
Maybe this is an obvious one, but doing this saves you time. That is why you stay in an area you are excited about, or within walking distance.
West Queen West
It’s worth investing a little more money (in my opinion) to be near things you are already intrigued by. I loved that I was able to walk outside my hotel on my first night, after a very long day of travel, and stumble onto art openings, pop-up shops, and people out enjoying the neighborhood as well.
I was close to Ossington Avenue which is quickly becoming a mecca for “restro-bars”. This was a new turn of words for me, but it seemed to be coined for restaurants that are occupied in narrow spaces but are able to use every inch to create dining areas, a bar with food service and I’ve even heard the word “lounge” thrown around. I’m sure there is a better description; help me out here, Torontonians!
Fishbar shot on 35mm slide film.
Stay tuned for Part Two! There’s so much to share! I love Toronto!
May your journey be your muse,
Related links: TBEX Toronto: I Arrived With No Pens and Went Home With Four