We now live in a world where face masks and social distancing is the norm. Most restaurants only offer take out service, coffee shops are either closed or have only to go options and even parks are closed to cars and playgrounds to young children. With all these obstacles in the way, how can we spend time with a significant other or even have that first date with that special someone you have been face-timing for 3 weeks?
Well, if you must get out and about in Toronto amid these times, I may have just a few solutions for you. Being a resident of Canada since the age of 2 (even though I was too young to date then), I grew up here and therefore have a few hidden gems up my sleeves to charm or surprise and get away for an hour or two with that special someone.
Yellow creek – This is perhaps my favorite of all. Located just off Yonge and St. Clair, just south of Mt. Pleasant cemetery. this hidden ravine in the heart of the city will make you forget all about the concrete jungle and dive right into a divine bliss. Great spot to just head out and enjoy a nice weekend hike.
Evergreen Brickworks – Located in the Rosedale neighbourhood, just off the Don River, this former quarry is brought back to life on the weekends with a farmer’s market. And if that wasn’t enough, you also have a few hiking and biking trails along the way. Great spot to spend the day just hanging out or doing various activities available throughout the year.
Old mill – All the way in the west end, the Old mill area is home to a section of the Humber River and the Humber marshes. During the day the area is home to many parks and trails. You can also indulge in fishing during the year, it’s a fantastic spot to watch the salmon run. Old Mill is also home to one of the many trails on the discovery walk – these are trails all over the city used by the natives many generations ago and are still available for us to follow today. These are quite fun as you can just end up just about anywhere in the city.
The excitement really comes alive at night as along the discovery trails along the Humber River, are located small fire pits. Anyone can use them to make a small fire which is great for hanging out at night under a full moon and roasting some s’mores!
Sunnyside Park and Beach – Just a great place to get outside and enjoy the sun. Sunnyside beach is verified under the blue flag program as safe for swimming and other water related activities. So, if you are craving the sun and the sand now that we cannot fly to Cuba, this may be a close second.
Market 707 – A stretch of sidewalk near Dundas and Bathurst, is a collection of recycled shipping containers offering food selections from around the world. This spot is an all outdoor seating and close to Alexandria park. A fantastic spot for a sunny day or a pit stop while exploring downtown Toronto and Kensington market is just a stone’s throw away.
Now that you have a few ideas, make sure to get out and enjoy these outdoor activities instead of spending hours deciding on the traditional restaurants/café/bar first dates. It worked for me and I guarantee you that this is definitely a good way to also explore a city which has so much to offer.
The writer of this guest blog is my partner in crime – Ricardo Pozas. Ricardo and I met almost a year ago and he is just the kindest individual who also offered to be my Toronto guide. We explored food, places, drinks, and so much more that slowly and steadily I began to fall in love with a frozen Toronto and became warm to the idea of staying and calling it home.
Ricardo is an EL Salvadorian by who moved to Toronto, Canada at the age of 2. Even though a Latino by blood, he has easily adapted to the ways of the Canadians as a child growing up in the hustle and bustle of everything that Toronto has to offer.
Multilingual in Spanish, French & Italian, he also has done very well academically. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from McMasters, Canada, a Master’s in History from Cambridge University, UK and A Juris Doctorate in Law from University of Toronto. Currently working as a Human Rights and Immigrations lawyer with a reputed firm in Toronto, Ricardo also likes travelling, hiking, trying out different cuisines, dancing, video gaming, and keeping up to date with the news from around the world.
In the earlier days, he volunteered with Engineers across Boarders and has travelled to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Sri Lanka, UK & Europe.
One of the best ways to explore local hidden gems is usually found out by talking to taxi drivers and bus drivers. They have spent years showing people around, giving directions and in fact are usually settled in a city since birth and they are the best people to advertise what commercial travel guides don’t.
Try to learn & remember local emergency contact numbers and information. A lot of the times if you’re lost & you can call your hotel they will send a car to get you. Keep a card sized info sheet with important numbers in case you lose your phone or it loses power.
This may not be obvious to others but we Canadians love our ice! Not just for hockey but in our drinks from a glass of water to a cocktail on a patio – We sure love cold drinks! When traveling I would advise to avoid ice. Not everyone has the same water standards and ice is usually frozen using tap water.