July 2012 Archives

High Park Zoo | Toronto

The High Park Zoo is the perfect zoo to take your toddler. There are many different animals to see such as bison, reindeer and capybaras. It's a short walk from one species to the next, and it's situated in Toronto's beautiful leafy green High Park. Here's one of North America's largest land mammals looking very calm.

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Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. It appears that once a rodent exceeds the size of a big stuffed animal, it goes from being totally gross to quite adorable. They are a very social species as you can see here.

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Hello reindeer! You show such composure despite the constant stream of parents parading their kids in front of you saying "look, look, there's Rudolph!"

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Along with many interesting animals, there are also lots of great twigs in High Park. My little man loves to run around and pick up twigs. The bison distracted him only momentarily from intense twig-gathering.

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There are also llamas, peacocks and wallabies at the High Park Zoo, which is free to visit. Due to funding cuts by city council, this zoo almost stopped operating in June.

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The non-profit Friends of the High Park Zoo and private donors have raised funds to keep the zoo going for at least another year. Make a donation if you go (there are donation boxes) or online at the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. Rosie :)

Michael Power Park | Etobicoke

You know you are old when you take your toddler to a park that is located on the exact spot where your high school used to be. Michael Power/St Joseph's High School was long ago razed to make room for a condo complex. The homes encircle a large playground with a wonderful water feature. My little man sized up the spouts from all angles before he attacked. (I think this is where north portable was!)

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The playground is huge and lots of fun. If there was a Toddler Olympics, we would have won gold in Baby Swinging. I'm pretty sure the smoking section was somewhere here. So funny... what high school has a smoking section? Those days are long gone.

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Michael Power Park is located at the corner of Dundas St. West and Michael Power Place in Etobicoke. Rosie :)

Leah's | St. Clair & Wychwood

Leah's is a sweet little bakery at the corner of St. Clair and Wychwood. The Americanos are great and they have really fun freshly baked treats. I like the "kitchen sink" cookie, because I'm ten.

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Next time I'm getting a chocolate sandwich cookie. Or a chocolate caramel skor pretzel. Leah's is located at 621 St. Clair Avenue (corner of St. Clair and Wychwood.) Rosie :)

Melt Grilled Cheese on Lakeshore: NOW CLOSED

Aren't you enjoying how grilled cheese sandwiches are trending in Toronto these days? I quite like that there are eateries entirely devoted to melting cheese between bread. The classic grilled cheese at Melt in Long Branch is crazy good. Here it is on asiago and red pepper bread. You can also add several free toppings but I kept it simple.

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Melt is another yummy spot in Long Branch, a lovely part of Etobicoke which is home to my other guilty pleasure Ice Cream Junction. Look how happy the staff is, and why shouldn't they be? They delight people all day long serving them insanely delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. And poutine. Everyone in this place is smiling.

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You may have noticed in this pic a sign in the window advertising "Toonie Tuesday." On Tuesdays, you can get Melt's classic grilled cheese sandwich with Canadian cheddar for two bucks. Rosie :)

Rescue Vintage | Ossington: NOW CLOSED

My first experience with upscale vintage was about ten years ago when my husband was working in Ottawa on Parliament Hill. He was called in to work on a Saturday for some long-forgotten breaking news story so I was left to roam the city. I wandered into a clothing store with an interesting window and came out with a rainbow-coloured Oscar de la Renta strapless gown with a short tulle skirt. This was my first vintage purchase. It's a totally mad dress, glamorous and fun, and I love that there was just one. If I'd walked in ten minutes later it might have been on the way to another closet. When I lifted it out of the tissue at home, I wondered about the woman who owned it... what kind of party she wore it to, and what she was like. There is enchanting mystery to vintage clothes and I love that. I've been in a lot of Toronto vintage stores since then. Rescue Vintage, which opened in June, is the most beautiful boutique I've ever seen.

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I think I fell in love when I saw the vintage sewing machine and desk, and the pretty white drapes for the fitting area.

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But it's not just the décor that got me. The clothes are gorgeous. Owner Renee Kaylor carefully chooses everything in her collection, which is a mix of upscale vintage and contemporary designer pieces.

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I wanted to try on every dress, and I'm picky. I don't just try on anything. It has to be different and striking, like this one.

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Rescue Vintage is located at 102 Ossington Ave. It's open Thursday to Sunday from noon to 8pm. Rosie :)

Nadège Patisserie | Queen West

My friend Chrissy and I needed a gorgeous snack to take with us to Trinity Bellwoods park the other night. How convenient for us that Nadège is just steps away. If you are going to indulge in just a bite of something sinful, then it should be a bite from this beautiful bakery.

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The macarons just make you feel happy. Look at them, all lined up like perfect little colourful bites of egg white and icing sugar:

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This place just kills me with its gorgeousness. Handmade flavoured marshmallows, monogrammed chocolate bars... Nadège is a little blast of France right on Queen West.

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Nadège Patisserie is located on Queen St. West right beside Trinity Bellwoods Park. There is also one in Rosedale, at 1099 Yonge St. Rosie :)

Hawker Bar | Ossington: NOW CLOSED

Pictures often speak louder than words. I think that is the case when describing the food at Hawker Bar. Let's start with the son-in-law eggs.

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I like dishes that require instruction- wait 15-20 seconds then eat the whole thing in one bite. It is said that Thai mothers prepare these eggs for their future son-in-laws as a warning of what fate could befall their family jewels if they are unfaithful husbands. No idea if this is true or not, but, eek. Those eggs get deep-fried. Behave fellas.

The curry pork satay was covered in a really fresh and flavourful peanut sauce:

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Here is the laksa... OMFG. It was perfect. Rich, spicy and incredibly flavourful. I was dying to try Hawker's laksa and it did not disappoint.

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I have read complaints on foodie forums that Toronto's first spot for Singapore-inspired street food isn't authentic enough. Oh please. I have never eaten street food in Singapore but even if I had I wouldn't be comparing; I like when restaurants give tradition a twist. Rosie :)

Buster's Sea Cove Food Truck

On Friday the Buster's Sea Cove food truck was at Front and Bay. It's a great lunch option if you like seafood or if you haven't had a chance to eat at their location in the St. Lawrence Market, which has been a Market favourite for years and years. Buster's is the first seafood food truck in Ontario.

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I was moving slow on Friday so by the time I got there, the lobster rolls were sold out. I saw a few people have mini-meltdowns. One girl nearly fell off her bike in disappointment. It is disappointing, especially when the fish tacos are sold out as well. But that's life in the big city people, you snooze you lose a lobster roll at Buster's.

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We were easily placated by the crab rolls. Buster's seafood is really, really fresh.

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Visit the Toronto Food Trucks website to find out where Buster's, and all the other fun Toronto food trucks, are located any day of the week. Rosie :)

Free Outdoor Movies in Toronto

I used to see about a billion movies a year, then I became a mum. Since then my movie-going has seriously slowed. I barely count the two movies I saw at Mommy+Me screenings- I found it impossible to concentrate on plot points while nursing a voraciously hungry baby. (Not that it should have been hard to follow the plots to The Back-Up Plan or Letters to Juliet, but mummy mush brain is a real thing.) I finally just saw my first 3D movie, Promethesus. (And it was good, because Ridley Scott thought about how the 3D should add to every scene.) But before that, it was the Descendants. And before that, Jack Goes Boating at the Toronto Film Fest. Just one TIFF movie... it used to be ten!

I really love movies, and the only thing more awesome than seeing them in the theatre is seeing them outside, for free. And because we live in such a cool city, there are some options for doing that in the summer time.

TIFF in the Park is so much fun. Every Wednesday at David Pecaut Square (beside Roy Thompson Hall) there is a movie screening when the sun sets. There is a different theme each year- this year it's Screwball Comedies, which really strikes a chord with me as I can't go an hour these days without doing something ridiculous. We have TIFF and the Toronto Entertainment District BIA to thank for such a lovely and free thing to do in the city.

There are more free outdoor movies to be found in Toronto... Movies in the Park in Riverdale East on Broadview not only has a totally fun line-up (you missed Ghostbusters but Back to the Future is playing on August 5th!) but donations go to kids charities like the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club. I also just noticed a really cool tweet from MoviesRiverdale:

Um, I LOVE stuff like that- you can totally tell someone you love them ON THE MOVIE SCREEN! How romantic. And then you get to watch Back to the Future. The perfect summer night. Rosie :)

'Call Me Maybe' by Cookie Monster | Videos for Kids

He is not only powerless to resist cookies, but also Carly Rae Jepsen's crazy catchy song- with a Cookie twist of course.


THE LYRICS ARE SO FUNNY!!!!

Sesame Street made the video after tweeting this, and then gettings thousands of RTs:

More starring Coooookie:

I may enjoy these even more than my toddler. Rosie :)

The Junction Flea

I was driving on Dundas West last month when I noticed a sign in an empty lot advertising a new flea market. I usually find flea markets exhausting but I suspected that one being held in the now super trendy Junction would be a choice selection of antique dealers and vintage clothing sellers. We checked it out on Sunday and it was definitely hipster heaven; the merchandise was old and interesting and I really enjoy a good hipster vibe.

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There were some food sellers that looked good,

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and a fortune teller in a trailer.

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Please note it's not called the Junction Flea Market... just the Junction Flea. This means you can charge $10 for a Slinky, instead of $2 like you would at a garage sale.

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Second Sunday of every month, last one is in September. On Dundas east of Keele, rain or shine. Rosie :)

Caplansky's Food Truck | NOW CLOSED

Toronto food trucks are awesome. I love finding them as much as eating from them. It's like a way more delicious version of Where's Waldo. I'm happy to go anywhere in the city for my faves, but it's always a treat when @foodtrucksTO tweets that Caplansky's truck is in the west end like it did yesterday, when it was on Ossington north of Queen:

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You are going to eat good when the Bubby Doris rolls in. Caplansky's smoked meat sandwiches ARE THE BEST! And obvi couldn't resist these freshly made bacon doughnuts. Couldn't resist three, actually.

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Caplansky's Delicatessen is on College if you aren't in the mood to track down the truck! Rosie :)

The Toronto Zoo | Scarborough

Today we went to the Toronto Zoo with my little man's toddler class. It is record-breaking crazy hot outside so the trip was short but sweet. Upon arrival, my little guy went over to visit the friendly fellows at the Welcome to Toronto booth. (He later shared with me his thoughts on Toronto's hospitality excellence initiative. Unlike many, he quite likes the logo but feels it could use a punch of colour.)

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We saw some monkeys, tigers, pigs and turtles before calling it a day. Because it was so hot, this tiger got up close and personal going for a drink of water.

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Just love the giraffes, rhinos and zebras.

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We didn't make it to the elephants, but I felt guilty about visiting the elephants anyway after learning how unsuited they are to Toronto's climate. It certainly didn't feel like that with the temperature today (34°) but summer is short in this city. I hope they end up in the place that is best for them, and that the zoo's accreditation is restored. Seeing the children's fascination with the animals and the genuine care for them showed by the staff, I think it is crucial an amazing city like ours has a zoo to be proud of. Rosie :)

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Port Credit Memorial Park | Mississauga

Ok, this is not a Toronto park. But it's so close, and so lovely, that I had to give it a shout-out despite the fact it is not in the 416. It's in Port Credit (Mississauga) right across from the Port Credit Harbour. The playground is great and it has a really adorable miniature village. Now, I saw no kids remotely interested in the kiddie-sized model of Port Credit, but I still think it is the cutest thing:

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What's neat about the play area is the blue spongy ground which protects little knees from scrapes and bruises.

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In 1967, part of this park was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Canada's confederation. I have a thing for flags, and there is a lovely display of all the flags of the provinces and territories.

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Port Credit Memorial Park is located by the lake in Mississauga at 32 Stavebank Rd. I love Port Credit, it has a good chilled-out vibe, and the waterfront is beautiful. Rosie :)