Thursday, August 3, 2023

July 29, 2023 – Rainy Day in the Big Smoke

We didn’t see much of the kids during last year’s boating season. With Magnus driving and Stella working every Saturday, it just didn’t work out very often and we thought they had both really lost interest. Which is why we were so happy they both decided to join us for parts of this boat trip. They are both at or near a junction in their lives where they are making big decisions so we always have plenty to discuss, as we do over breakfast this morning with Magnus. He is on the tail end of a gap year and looking to make his next move, which will likely be school, and he wants to get started on something in January. So we decided last night to walk over to George Brown college today and have a look around as they offer some programs he is interested in.

A big nasty system rolled in last night and it is pouring outside. I dress up in my full rain gear – pants and jacket, which Ana and Magnus just wear jackets. After walking for a short while through the torrential rain we slip into Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up two umbrellas as Ana fears a major makeup malfunction. From there we have a long, drawn-out coffee stop at Aromas Espresso Bar then continue on our long walk to George Brown through half empty streets, unheard of for a Saturday in Toronto.

The first George Brown college building we reach looks closed but we find a back door entrance and give ourselves a tour. The entire building is deserted and there are construction works in progress, giving it the feel of a set on a zombie apocalypse movie. We go over to the culinary arts building which isn’t hard to find because we can see people through the streetside windows in there wearing kitchen whites and making bread and cookies.

We walk in and it smells heavenly. There is a single administrator working and she gives us a brief overview of George Brown and points us in the direction of the adjoined Business department which offers the program Magnus is interested in. We take a quick walk around then decide it would be best to continue our discussion over lunch so we find a nearby Thai restaurant and go crazy with the curries. Magnus positively loves this area of this city as it right in the middle of all the action – Front Street, St Lawrence Market, the Financial district, and within walking range of the entire downtown.

Ana finds a thrift shop and thrifting ensues. I duck out early with a big bag of our purchases and Ana’s umbrella which I am charged to protect and go outside to sit in the park. The rain is finally letting up and bits of sun are peeking through the clouds. When Ana and Magnus come to get me I, of course, leave her umbrella hanging on the back of a chair and don’t realize it until we’ve walked a couple of block, so I race back and of course it’s gonzo. I creep around the park hoping to yoink a similar umbrella from another hapless doofus who left one lying around, but no such luck so I return empty handed and feel great shame.

We make the long walk back to the boat then have a nice chill out session in the cockpit for a couple of hours, then Magnus heads back into the city for a solo coffee and Ana and I go over to a nice lakeside seating area in the marina that has a firepit, Bluetooth speakers, comfy loungers, and a resident mink that peeks out from under a planter every once in a while and scratches the back of his head on the wood while he looks up to the sky with glee. We have a drink and enjoy the beautiful sunshine that’s finally made its full appearance. Life is good.

Soon the Thai curry wears off so we walk back downtown, meet Magnus, then have spectacular rotis from my favourite place to eat in Toronto – the Indian Roti House, just across from Amsterdam Brew House. Ana goes for a slice of pizza instead as she claims Indian food turns her insides upside down and we don’t want to risk any permanent damage to the boat’s plumbing.

It’s getting close to dark when we get the call from our friends still moored in the islands. Our presence is required. So we jump in the dinghy and accidentally motor right through the restricted zone beside the airport runway. The giant white marker buoys which are so easy to see during the daytime are much less so at night and we get totally confused with where we are. Fortunately no police boats come chasing after us and there’s no botched plane landing.

We settle on Chris and Miriam’s boat for a drink and visit and confirm that yes, Daryl and Lydia were stalking us last night, but gave up and went out drinking and clubbing instead. Man, those guys have energy.

We play it safe on the dinghy ride home and take a wide berth around the buoys but still manage to accidentally cut through half of the forbidden zone, but now we just feel like marine commandos on a midnight mission.

As we pass by the phenomenal Toronto night skyline headed to the boat I think again how incredible this city and this moment is.

And tomorrow, we will head home.

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