Driving Across Canada Day 6: Neighbourhood Gazing in Toronto

We had high hopes of getting on the road early. Last night I believe there was even some talk of ‘leaving at 6am’, but after we left IKEA we bought a case of Steamwhistle and ended up over at a friend’s house drinking until midnight.

We then had to come home and finish doing our laundry (while fighting to stay awake), and ended up getting on the road closer to 9am.

I had my first glimpses of Toronto around 1:30pm. The friends we were staying with have what I had fantasized about as the epitome of an artsy Toronto abode – a rent-controlled hard loft located on St. Clair West, with a wide open studio space/living room, prints everywhere, an old vinyl dinner booth against the bay window, racks of camera gear in the corner, and vintage wallpaper peeling off the walls. It was an awesome place to stay. Thanks Liz and Sam! You guys could make a killing on AirBnB.







We felt like having a chill day, so after getting caught up with emails and making friends with the chief feline where we were staying, we decided to go take a walk around the city to check out some of the neighbourhoods.

I really wanted to check out The Annex and the area around the University of Toronto Campus.

Located downtown, The Annex is full of these bay-and-gable homes with old, overflowing gardens and red brick facades.

The Annex’s boundaries are a perfect square made by tracing a line from the corner of Bathurst and Dupont, going east and down Avenue Rd. to Bloor Street, and then heading west until you hit Bathurst, and back up to Dupont.

With its proximity to University of Toronto, the area is a student quarter, but also houses university faculty and is known for its academia-vibe. Rumour has it that my big crush Margaret Atwood also lives around here.








A few blocks over, the University of Toronto campus was lively, despite it being the middle of summer. We hung out and joked about what it would be like to have lived here. In my imaginary life, I lived in the Annex and attended Victoria College for my undergrad, biking home from the vine-covered music building after late-night flute practice. Tummies grumbling after so much walking, we walked over to Fernando’s Hideaway and got Mexican food and tried deep-fried ice cream for the first time.


We reunited with friends we hadn’t seen in the years since graduating from Bishop’s at Christie Pits Park near Koreatown, shared some hugs and after debating, got Vietnamese takeout and walked to Dufferin Park where we spent the rest of the night drinking and catching up.


We also recorded a sweet little ditty that you’ll hear on our Ontario video once we finish recording our timelapse in this province. Stay tuned for some folk magic.

Also, right now we’re camping in Montana where the wifis are few and far between, and painfully slow when they do exist. In a couple days I’ll be staying with family in Calgary, and am looking forward to powerful wifi and showers.

Day 6 Costs:

  • Tim Horton’s Breakfast: $5.25
  • Happy Meal: $4.50
  • Gas in Oshawa: $74.60
  • TO Green P Parking: $7.58
  • TO Green P Parking until Sunday noon (using app): $30.70
  • Mexican Food at Fernando’s Hideaway: $27.83
  • Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls: $5.20
  • Beers at the LCBO: $15.60
  • 4 TTC Tokens for Public Transit: $11.20

Total: $182.46

Author: Mel Hattie

Hi, I’m Mel, blogger and tea sommelier at Mel Had Tea. I love to explore, learn, and meet new people. Nothing inspires me more than reading, traveling the world, talking to strangers, and drinking tea.

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