A Nice Day Out
Yesterday we finally caught a break with the weather--it was a warm sunny day (high of 14 C/58 F!!!). My advisor and I had a meeting in Toronto in the morning; he headed straight to the airport after that, so I took the opportunity to hang out in town and wander about.
I've come to realize that cities are the places that I feel comfortable and at home in. Walking around places where parking lots do not dominate the landscape, and population density is high enough to support lots of good restaurants. I browsed record shops, and spent the afternoon at a coffee shop, writing postcards and working on thesis on my laptop.
Incidentally, the top photo shows the streetcar right-of way tracks they are building on St. Clair Avenue. Traffic was pretty bad getting through there on the way to the meeting, but walking back along the as-yet empty streetcar tracks was nice.
If you will indulge some geekery: they are still laying track in parts of the line; for some reason, they are using ridiculously long sections of track--I would guess several hundred foot lengths--that they are dragging/sliding down the street behind construction machinery:
The part you see in the picture was less than half of it, if not a smaller fraction.
It was pretty cool, but I really don't understand how this makes sense. I thought that they would typically take shorter lengths of track and weld them in place. Maybe they have a stationary automated welder, and join shorter lengths of track? It's not like they can transport multi-hundred foot lengths down city streets on a flatbed... maybe they're hot rolling it in Hamilton, and dragging it in a straight line to Toronto on the streets. ;)
Anyway, the evening was dinner in Chinatown (at Swatow), followed by catching a jazz trio at The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar. Even though the place has all the ambiance of an American Legion banquet hall, the group (The Peter Hill Ensemble) was worth listening to. There was definitely a moment of, "I'm sitting listening to a cool jazz group, drinking a beer, in an awesome city. This rocks."
Caught the bus back to KW, and was home by 11:30 at night.
Sadly, there were several culinary disappointments that day. I found that Steam Whistle (a local brew, made right at the base of the CN Tower) is pretty underwhelming. The carrot cake at the coffee shop was noticeably aged. And the noodles at Swatow were pretty run of the mill (although their fried stuffed tofu was excellent).
But in sum, a good way to spend the day.