A Toronto Birthday Celebration

Toronto, CA | October 13-16, 2012 | Jon’s 30th birthday trip to Toronto! | To celebrate Jon’s 30th birthday, I planned a big trip to Toronto for us. I flew to Michigan late Friday night so we could get on the road early Saturday morning to begin the festivities! Jon’s parents had graciously arranged our hotel downtown so I took care of rest of the long weekend.

We left Ann Arbor pretty earlier to head through Detroit over the bridge into Windsor Canada. And the drive to Toronto commenced. I fell asleep about halfway- which is what Jon prefers anyway so he can drive and not have to talk to me the whole time or make him stop for bathrooms! 🙂 We ended up making it to the hotel in the early afternoon, got all checked in to our hotel and rested a bit before we had plans to meet Jon’s friends Sommer and Steve. Sommer goes to Michigan with Jon and being from Toronto she gave us a huge list of wonderful places to check out in Toronto. That list was invaluable all weekend!!

We met up with them at Beer Academy which was pretty close to our hotel. We got to try some of their local tastings and I wandered around the brewery space. Afterwards they led us over to the Distillery District to wander around. It had lots of artist space, cute shops, nice restaurants, and reminded me of warehouse districts in NC. I found a cute chocolate shop: Soma Chocolate maker and had to get some yummy looking chocolate for later. We ate dinner at Mill St. Brewery- tried their local brew and poutine (first poutine experience). Dinner was delicious and so far we had had a great first day. Afterwards we headed to BierMarkt (not too far away) to sample more beers. It was a rainy evening, and randomly on our way back to the hotel we passes Sommer and Steve on the street and they offered us a ride back- so nice!

On our next day, we took Sommer’s list and found a brunch place nearby called Le Petit Dejeuner. It was delicious. We bought subway tickets to take us up to the Royal Ontario Museum to explore. There is a lot of stuff in that museum. We found a China section which made Jon happy and there were lots of dinosaurs! Afterwards we were near some shopping spots so I made Jon go into an H&M and we got him some new polo shirts since his other ones were so worn out. Then the adventure began to get real poutine. We tried a couple of different spots before we finally found Smoke’s Poutinerie. It was well worth the pain and the hike to find. I got Double pork and smoked bacon all of top of the fries, gravy and cheese curds. This was amazing. The poutine the day before had been tasty, but this- this was epic. And I got a small that I still could not finish. SO GOOD!! Afterwards, feeling like we were going to explode (in a good way) we hoped on a streetcar and then walked down to the lakefront. We stumbled onto the Toronto music garden which I thought was going to be a bigger deal than it was. Jon made fun of it, but I thought there were pretty parts and of course I made him take some photos. We walked the rest of the waterfront area before attempting to visit the Steamwhistle brewery- but they were closed for a wedding. We then needed to sit so we stopped for drinks at Fionn’s to rest. Late that evening we finally had a delicious dinner at Beer Bistro. 

Niagara Falls day! Since Toronto is pretty close to the Falls I thought this would be fun to go to- plus they have a great winery area. We grabbed some breakfast from the hotel Tim Horton’s. I also got some canadian candy bar snacks for the road. The weather was overcast as had been the trend but the falls were beautiful and we got some great shots! I was really glad I brought a rain coat! We saw the Maid of the Mist and walked the entire edge walk. Some sections were drier than others. 🙂 Then it was on to the wineries! Candians have a special ice wine that kind of tastes like juice. Of course we tried it. Here’s a rundown of the wineries we hit up: Strewn Estate Winery, Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, Reif Estate Winery, Lailey Vineyard Winery, Hillebrand Estates Winery and Peller Estates. So many tastings. 🙂 This of course meant I took a nap back to Toronto. For dinner that night we decided on Mercatto and Jon got a beer finally after all that wine! It was a delicious dinner starting with a cheese course continuing with amazing pasta and finishing with a decadent caramel dessert. Yum!

Last day in Toronto. 😦 We ate brunch at School. It took a bit to drive over there because we weren’t 100 percent sure where we were headed but it was worth it. Jon got a giant cup of coffee and I got cheesy bacon french toast. Yes!! Another quality food spot from Sommer. Best food list ever. After stuffing ourselves we decided to climb the CN Tower. Once at the top we got some beautiful Toronto views and got to stand over a windowed section looking down to the ground. We took lots of photos before heading back down to finally check out Steamwhistle Brewery to try their beer. It was more to Jon’s taste than mine- but their building was really cute. We had a a quick last meal at Hoops sports bar before getting on the road to head back to Ann Arbor.

Fun times in Canada. Happy Birthday Jon! Love you.

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