Taking on Toronto

*photo slideshow at the end of post. click photo to go to the next one*

Hey friends! I called this blog "Taking on Toronto" because it was my first time traveling to a new country and city solo. I realize it's just Canada, but let me have my Destiny's Child "Independent Women" moment okay? My flight landed at 10 am while Justin's landed at 8 pm so I had some time to kill. I decided to adventure, mapping out my stops by area and day one, I walked A LOT. I don't necessarily regret that, but Uber is so cheap there, if I could go back I would've just done that everywhere to cover more ground. So, before we went I made a list of "Must-Do's" based on other blogs. This included going to BYOB, seeing the TORONTO sign and Simcoe Wave Deck.  

Day ONE: I typed directions to the TORONTO sign in my maps app and started walking. It was a cool sight to see, but nothing to write home about. Then I went down to see the Simcoe Wave Deck and loved hanging out by the water. It's a cool little deck that makes you wonder how the idea came about. It's so fun to see how other countries operate, even just the names of their grocery stores and seeing their street signs. I'd heard rave reviews about the Distillery District so I started walking that way because 1. I had all the time in the world 2. I wanted to get a lay of the land by walking it. I walked along the water and enjoyed the beautiful weather for way too many miles. Just when I thought my feet were going to fall apart, I stumbled upon Sugar Beach. Oh. My. Gosh. You HAVE to go to Sugar Beach. It was so cute and gave my feet the rest they needed before continuing. The pink umbrellas and white sand are just adorable. 

Once I rested up, I went to the Distillery District, which ended up being my absolute favorite area of Toronto. The exposed brick and cobblestones are so beautiful. The industrial feel sends you back into history and they have some super cute shops there. Then, for the first time, I ate lunch at a restaurant alone. It felt weird, but by the end, I loved being able to people watch and enjoy a fireside taco fest at El Catrin. The food was great and it was a really cool spot. It came highly recommended and I support that. My next stop was coffee. Obviously. Odin coffee to be exact OoOo cause you know I'd walk 1,000 miles if I could just...see..you... if I could just...hold...you....toniiiiiiight. (Ode to coffee, thanks, Vanessa Carlton). Idk where that came from. Moving on. It was a cutie trendy coffee shop and it was also the most delicious Almond Milk Latte this Basic has ever had. I went back to the hotel to recharge my phone and enjoy this deliciousness, via Uber. 

I had previously read about BYOB, so I had to find it. Does it get any cuter than this shop of elixirs? No, no it does not. Do I drink enough cocktails at home to need anything in the store? No, no I do not. Did I walk out after spending $50? Yes, yes I did..... there are two locations and I went to both and you should too. Ugh, I loved it so much. So many shiny cutey things. Okay, my last stop of the day was The Vog Vault. For a unique and fun photo, go here. it's inside a shoe store that I walked in pretending like I liked the shoes, but they are...different...to say the least. Anway, I got my photo and bolted, which you can see below. It's a super cute idea and smart marketing on getting people to come into your store ha. When Justin finally arrived, we went to Hair of the Dog for dinner on Church St. by our Hotel. It was calm, cool pub that wasn't loud and had great food. A WIN! We turned in early to get an early start on day 2. 

Day TWO: Our main goal for this trip was to see Niagara Falls because I LOVE waterfalls and my husband is the best. I'm so glad we ended up staying in Toronto and renting a car to go to the falls for the day because Niagara is SUPER touristy. Like, more than I imagined. A mini golf course with giant dinosaurs, arcades and rides, and it pretty much just felt like a miniature version of Las Vegas. No thank you. We hurried to the Falls and stood in awe. They are so gorgeous. I knew they would be, but really. SO gorgeous. As much as I wanted to get closer to them, I didn't want to get soaking wet on a boat with 100+ strangers on the Maid of the Mist, so we ended up driving to the White Water Walk and doing this much less crowded adventure and stayed dry. I LOVED it. You could read a little bit of history and have a closer look at the gorgeous water. I highly recommend this and I think it was ~$15/person. We had heard about wineries in the area, so we chose to swing by the Redstone Winery as it was named the 2017 Winery of the Year. We enjoyed a couple of glasses and some fries. This is a beautiful place that was easy to get to. After this, we made the drive back to Toronto proper and I think we ended up getting Wendy's and just turning in super early. I know, so lame, but Justin had had a crazy work week with another one coming up and needed to just do nothing for a few hours. Since I did a ton of exploring the day before, I was fine with it. Oh, by the way, we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott which has Starbucks in the lobby and smells good & clean. That's all I need ya know? Here are some fun facts about Yonge St, which is what our hotel was on. 

Day THREE: Because my husband had us listen to Drake the entire way back to Toronto, we felt obligated to swing by OVO, which is his storefront in Toronto. It also happened to be right by the brunch place I was hoping to take us to…which was closed because it was Toronto’s Thanksgiving holiday. We ended up at La Palma, and I’M SO GLAD WE DID!!! It was such a cute place with a delicious Nutella donut and great avo toast. It’s definitely a must. After brunch, we went to Kensington Market which is a ton of vendors and shops outside. It felt very Austin, TX which I enjoyed, but other than the CXBO chocolate shop, eh. I think my hopes were too high. Once we ate chocolate and went to the second BYOB location, we headed to Graffiti Alley. A fun little photo spot that is tucked away in an alley...obviously. 

To end our blissful weekend trip, we went to the Toronto Islands. YALL. Spend at least half of a day here. It's so cute and Martha's Vineyard-y. The best part was probably the Toffee Blondie from The Refectory Cafe but renting bikes and riding around the island is so dreamy. 

So that was our Toronto trip and here's just a bonus tip: DO NOT FLY PORTER AIRLINES. I fly quite often and know how to pack my items carefully so nothing is messed up or broken. Yall, every bit of my makeup that could've been broken, was broken. It was a small carry on bag (their bins are too small for you to put your carry on in the actual bin) so they had to gate check it. You'd think not much could go wrong in such little handling, but they are really rough with your stuff.  

Funny story: we tried to take this trip a month prior, but we discovered that Justin's passport was expired the night before we were supposed to leave. hahahahha Give him a hard time about it next time you see him ;) Below are some photos!