Shreya talks about becoming a Toronto ‘local’ and a few of her favourite things to do there. Read on for her quirky (as always) picks for you.
I’ve been living in Toronto for almost two years now and it’s been great! Even though I don’t feel like a Canadian, I think I’m well past my deer-in-the-headlights Indian tourist phase. I think I might be in a transitional phase of sorts because I have established my territory and go-to spots for all the things I need. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Toronto
#1 Shop at Vintage clothing stores “Vintage” clothing is just a fancy way of saying used/second hand clothing and this concept is pretty cool to a girl from India, where there is no concept of second hand clothing of the fashionable kind. Toronto’s Queen Street West has a lot of shops where I have gotten a lot of amazing vintage clothing. I recommend just walking down the street and checking out places like Black Market or Tribal Rhythm or Timeless Apparel to start with. Toronto’s Kensington Market area is also another vintage clothing hotspot but is generally more expensive.
Reasons to do it! ♥ It’s cheap and sometimes you can donate your own old/unused clothes to get new (ok, new but used) ones. ♥ It gives you a unique look! While mass produced fashion is great, making minor alterations and/or pairing a look from the 80’s with new accessories give you a one-of-a-kind look. If you’re lucky, you could find a major designer label item! Always wanted that Burberry Trench coat? You could find it! ♥ Stores that sell used clothing also normally sell used books, small furniture, old records, video cassettes or used DVDs for rock bottom prices! So if vintage fashion isn’t your scene, you could enjoy these instead!
Pro tips! ♥ Vintage shopping takes patience because sometimes you may not find something but other times you may find a whole lot! ♥ ALWAYS WASH EVERYTHING YOU BUY BEFORE YOU WEAR IT! This goes without saying because you have to wash clothes that you buy from any store before you wear them, but this is even more important when it comes to vintage clothing stores.
#2 Experience Nuit Blanche
Every year for one night in October, Toronto turns into a great big art exhibit and it is spectacular! The event that started in 2006 is sponsored by Scotiabank, runs from 6:30 pm to dusk and is completely free! You can walk through downtown Toronto and see art installations or performances and they are all conveniently located along the subway line! There are even some independently funded art projects at other places across the city. Every year is something different and for the past two years that I’ve attended, I’ve come out of the experience feeling a bit more open-minded. Highlights from last two years include, watching a short film that was a compilation of the best scenes from the best zombie movies, getting free hugs, weird taxidermy art, a reenactment of a tennis match and improve comedy!
Pro tips! ♥ Don’t forget to take a jacket/cold weather reinforcements and to charge your camera! Trust me, I speak from experience.
#3 Eat the best onion rings known to mankind!
Being a vegetarian in a predominantly meat eating culture can be tough. Which is why I was so taken with this next restaurant recommendation called Fresh. Fresh is a vegan restaurant at three locations in Toronto and makes THE BEST, I kid you not, onion rings on this planet Earth. They are covered in a crust of quinoa oats and fried to perfection. Paired with the restaurant’s garlic mayonnaise, these onion rings are divine. I may be exaggerating here, but when you bite into one of these onion rings, they make you feel like the world around you has seized to matter. They make you feel like cherubs have descended from the heavens to play you a calming song on their tiny harps while you enjoy the deliciousness.
#4 Go clubbing in Church-Wellesley village!
India is unfortunately still a predominantly homophobic country, so I don’t get to see a whole lot of LGBTQ culture that is more accepted here. “The Village” (Church-Wellesley Village) is the hub for LGBTQ culture and has some of my favorite places to go dancing (yes straight people can have an amazing time too)! Crews and Tangos on Church Street is to be recommended!
Some photo credits Kyle Perron and Elizabeth Swales
Have you been to Toronto? What do you love/hate about it? Write to me in the comments below!