We've spent a soggy, but fun day here in Toronto! Such a great city to visit!
After a mucho hectic week, we started driving around the west end of the lake right after school yesterday. The trip was fairly easy and not because I was knitting and Jim was driving, but because the traffic was light, the weather was pleasant and customs was uneventful! Jim "Pricelined" a room for us, getting a bargain at Le Meridien King Edward, a hotel on King Street, just a block away from Yonge Street. We arrived here in plenty of time to go for a nice walk.
Today we awoke to rain, as forecasted, but that did not deter us from our plans. We read that the annual Toronto Dragonboat Races were taking place on the Toronto Islands today and tomorrow, so that was our morning destination after a nice breakfast at the famous St. Lawrence Market. The market was indoors and featured hundreds of different food vendors from meat to bread to desserts, with every nationality represented. Here are a couple of photos from the market.
I bought a butterscotch tea biscuit at the vendor pictured above and Jim bought and eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast at some Middle Eastern vendor next to this bakery. The above photo shows about 25% of their baked goods!
After our local breakfast, we walked to the boat pier where we bought our tickets for the ferry to the Toronto Islands. This next photo shows the ferry approaching the dock, and what may be difficult to see is the wind-blown, driving rain that is falling! Fortunately the ferry had some indoor seating, which was very popular!
Upon our arrival on the island, we walked around quite a bit. The Toronto Islands are a collection of 17 small islands that provide nice shelter for the Toronto shore line. The Dragonboat Races are held on a 500 meter stretch of fairly protected water between 2 of the islands.
Each Dragonboat has 20 paddlers, each using a canoe paddle, a coxswain-type person who screams at the paddlers, telling them to work harder!
There are about 6000 participants and a full day of races both today and tomorow. There were 6 boats in each race and races were going off about every 10 minutes. We saw "rookie" level races and it took those boats just over 2 minutes to complete the 500 meter course. It appeared that there were 12 of these Dragonboats and when teams were done competing, they would paddle to a docking area where they would jump out of the boat and another team would jump in. I talked to 2 women on our ferry ride back to the city who had just raced and they said that their team signed up for 8 lessons with a boating group that owned some of these Dragonboats. The races we saw were comprised of teams from businesses, kind of like the Corporate Challenge at home, where businesses send teams of runners to the event.
The Toronto Islands are a wonderful series of green parks, and a place we would go back to another time.
After the ferry we returned to our hotel to dry off before we headed for "the" yarn store here in Toronto. You may have read about this place in blog entries from July 2008. This is Jim's favorite yarn store because it is right next to an Adult store, called Miss Behavin'! This place features live models in the store windows! I was overwhelmed at the yarn store and came out with only one ball of bamboo sock yarn! We did discover another yarn store on Queen Street, but I did not purchase anything there, although they did have some lovely yarn.
We ate dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant so Jim could carbo-load for tomorrow's big event, the reason we came to Toronto, the Ontario Masters Track and Field Championships! We will have to leave the hotel by 6:30 AM tomorrow because the first of Jim's 3 races is at 8 AM. I hope that the weather cooperates so I can go for a bike ride between his first and second races.
I will put race results in a blog entry on Sunday night or Monday night, depending on when we get home.
Happy Father's Day to my Dad, to Porge, and to Jim! You all are wonderful fathers in so many ways!
Hope all is well.