We wanted to visit Toronto but decided to get a hotel room in Burlington - it was cheaper and the location was perfect for exploring, so we would commute into Toronto every day. We did have a rental car but everybody said not to try and drive in. That was some very good advice, the road construction was everywhere. The best way to get in to Toronto from surrounding areas is the Go Train. It is amazing how honest everyone is. There are no ticket scanners or gates to go through. You just put the ticket in your pocket in case they ever want to see it. We rode the train 4 times and showed our ticket once... The Go Train is a wonderfully comfortable means of transportation, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
There are so many different types of markets in Toronto! We had a great time exploring as many of them as we could. First on our adventure was Chinatown, now that was an eye opener. You can buy everything from scorpions to meal-worms to that duck hanging in the window, and everyone is ready to make a deal. The streets are so colorful with all the different signs - of course we couldn't read any of them. So we just started walking and did a little shopping. Paula purchased a large Red, white and blue scarf for herself and got one for Delise also - you'll see more about that later on our Fourth of July post. We decided to ride the trolley car from the rail station to Chinatown but found out about halfway there that we would have to get off and catch a bus the rest of the way due to construction. Toronto has some of the nicest people. As we were getting on the bus we realized that they only accept exact change and that we did not have. The driver motioned us to board the bus as we were frantically looked for Canadian change in our bags and pockets. We then noticed that many of the passengers on the bus were also looking for change to give us and the driver even said whatever we had was ok. The generosity was amazing. It is said in Toronto there are two seasons - winter and construction season and we quickly learned how true that is.
The colors are overwhelming in Chinatown, inside and out of the stores it is very much eye candy but the whole experience does become overwhelming. After a little shopping we stopped to have lunch - hot tea and fried shrimp balls at New Ho King restaurant. It was interesting. Don't know if we will ever visit Chinatown again but we are sure glad we went. Not to say that we didn't enjoy Chinatown and it did lead us to Kensington Market right around the corner, now that was interesting. The selection of fruits, vegetables and cheeses was divine, much like you had stepped into the another country (oh yes, we forgot we were in another country) If we had all that fresh produce and variety available to us I think we would cook more.
But the best market of all was the St Lawrence Market; you could spend a week in that market. Some of the most beautiful fruits and vegetables and every kind of cheese known to man. If you can cook with it they have it - everything from seafood to rabbit to octopus to lamb. They had truffles and caviar, pastries from sour tarts to macaroons to brownies to chocolate truffles. Oh yes, and flowers! Delise’s favorite - peonies.
We had been told by many locals that we should have a Peameal Bacon sandwich at the market so we asked the cheese guy where he would recommend that we get one. He told us that the one he liked best was at Carousel Bakery. We picked up a Peameal sandwich, sat down with our sandwich our Cheese Kurds and a macaroon and lunch was delicious...
It was then time for a little more shopping. We found the cutest booth – Delise said it was one of the best she has ever seen. It is called Selsi - She just loved their style. They carry all kinds of Gourmet salts, some for cooking and some for the bath and they had a great selection of handmade soaps. You know we love lavender so the Lavender's soap for us, boy does it smell good. Delise can hardly smell the cheese curds... You should check them out - Sensi on Facebook - great stuff for gifts.
We did not get to see all of the markets in Toronto but it is our view that if you are visiting this wonderful town you should not miss St Lawrence Market!