So, yes, even though Toronto is not the most romantic place on earth, the weather is variable, it’s a large crowded city, we both still really enjoyed it. Coming from LA where it’s really warm and we have the mountains and beach, Toronto actually seemed pretty exotic.
We saw some really amazing films at the festival such as Naomi Kawase’s meditative and poetic Mourning Forest and Carlos Reygadas’ visually stunning film, Silent Night and Persepolis, Marjane Satripi’s film adaptation of her two graphic novels describing her childhood. Doug’s put up some more extensive reviews on his site, Film Journey.
Maybe because I was born in Canada, it seemed fitting to begin this chapter of my life there. I loved exploring the neighborhoods and yarn shops, being able to hop on a tram, looking through used bookstores. While I didn’t find a lot of really amazing roving like I would in LA, and the yarn deals weren’t all that great considering the falling value of the dollar, it was still fun to go to some of the different shops and the neighborhoods they were in. The most amazing of all of them, though, is Romni Wools.
This place is totally like crack for a fiber addict. Something like 5000 square feet of yarn. We won’t even go into what the basement (where everything is marked down and there are mill end cones) was like! I decided to limit my purchases to just a few items — a new spindle, some roving, and some cotton sale yarn, but I could see how this place would eat through one’s budget really quickly.
It was also fun to see things that you won’t normally find here in the US of A. Like tourist billboards all over the city saying “Vive Cuba” or posters in the movie theaters advertising birth control pills. I felt like I really had entered into another world at times and really long for the day when such things are common in the US. On the minus side, though, it seemed like everyone in Toronto smokes unlike here in California, where if someone blew smoke in your direction, they’d be getting dirty looks…
We stayed in a funky area called Kensington Gardens. It reminded me of what Venice Beach once was — indie coffeehouses, potheads, rasta shops. They had the best greengrocers I have seen in my life there, tons of cheese and spice shops. It was easy for me to just spend a few hours exploring each day.
During the middle of the trip we took a short break and went to the falls. We stayed at Niagara-on-the-Lake, which was a little too touristy (in the shopping sense) for our tastes. But since neither of us has really gone to Las Vegas or do much that is campy, we did quite a few touristy things at the falls — the Maid of the Mist, slot machines at the casinos, walking along the whirlpools — and had a blast.
On the Maid of the Mist
It’s great to be home, though, even though I found out the day before we left that my writing gig is no longer going to continue. The past week has just been spent recovering from colds gotten while traveling, planning, job hunting, and getting wedding stuff put away.