Tuesday morning started with a buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant. It cost a steep $30/person per day and isn’t something I would opt for again. I chose room & breakfast this trip because we didn’t know if breakfast was available anywhere else close by. Breakfast was in the tastefully decorating restaurant and the continental buffet included lots of choices ranging from eggs prepared to your liking, to meat and to delicious little chocolate croissants. We always had a great breakfast and my choices were usually fruit, eggs, orange juice…and maybe a little croissant (or two).
The morning’s destination was an anime shop located in Toronto’s Chinatown. Mathew found this shop online, before our trip, and was determined to visit it. Kristen opted to lounge by the hotel pool so the rest of us hailed a cab and went to Spadina Ave about 10 blocks away. The little shop was tucked in a downstairs location and presented a small challenge to find. We then waited around until it opened at noon, after which John carried Mathew’s wheelchair down the stairs and into the store. Mathew contentedly browsed for so long that John and I took turns sitting in the wheelchair! It was a small store crammed with all things anime which Mathew loves. He found several items he purchased and then John carried the wheelchair back up the stairs and onto the street.
The next thing I did was purchase one of those bags with wheels. The weight of my purse, plus camera, water bottles AND purchases was causing my back and neck to hurt after only an hour. That bag was a blessing; it held everything and rolled easily along. That was a smart decision. My dumb decision was not bringing any sneakers or walking shoes. Although I had good sandals (Propet’s) my feet hurt. They hurt every day and some mornings it was hard to walk on them. I have unusual…er, special feet… that are extremely wide so finding shoes is excruciatingly difficult otherwise my next purchase would have been a sensible pair of walking shoes.
The sights of food were sometimes appetizing and other times less so ~ the cooked ducks did look good until I saw the crispy heads… the smells were the best and we all regretted being so full from breakfast we couldn’t try anything in Chinatown.
Before too long John wandered off to visit computer-type stores while Mathew and I stumbled upon the Kensington area market. Unbeknownst to us we were in the outdoor market area where hundreds of little shops and stores offer an amazing array of foods and goods for purchase. While pushing a wheelchair on the narrow sidewalks proved a challenge, sightseeing all these little shops plus the unexpected art projects turned out to be one of our best excursions.
This art refers to the notorious Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Some love him and others, such as the artist behind this pictures, don’t.
Here are more examples of the beautiful art in the street and on the buildings where Mathew and I walked:
Done with meandering, we met up with John and started towards Yonge street. Mathew and I detoured into a market to check out foreign foods. We purchased some different goodies to try back at the hotel. Just the sweets though ~ and nothing too weird.
Once we turned onto Yonge Street we walked several blocks back towards the downtown core and stopped at the Village Idiot Pub for a rest and some lunch. How cool is that name for a pub? The name is difficult to see in this next photo but it is there if you look closely.
It was a small and cozy pub but was a welcome respite from all the walking. John laughed at the loo and took a picture. He couldn’t believe how tiny it was.
I’m wondering where the heck is the toilet? Those are three walls there folks and John is probably standing at the door to take the picture.
We ate some good, typical pub fare before heading out and back on our way.
We walked several more blocks – John mostly pushing Mathew while I had the shopping bag on wheels. The shops increased the closer to downtown and more typically your clothing and shoe-type stores. The boys decided to hang out for a while but I was exhausted and returned to the hotel.
Later in the early evening we took a cab to the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre. This was something else Mathew badly wanted to try and when we discovered Toronto had Canada’s only Medieval Times I immediately ordered tickets online. Initially neither John nor Kristen was thrilled about going. John thought the horses were just people dressed up in costumes jumping around (really?) while Kristen didn’t know what it was. Turns out they were as enthusiastic as we were enjoying the show and cheering our knights on!
Toronto’s Medieval Times Dinner Theatre is in an early 20th century building located next to the Exhibition Grounds close to the waterfront. We just happened to be there at the same time as the Canadian National Exhibition. The CNE is a huge fair that sets up for a week at the end of August, you know, the same time as our vacation! We weren’t interested in the fair but the traffic and sheer volume of people meant streets were blocked off and the taxi had to drop us off a block or so away from our destination.
There were waits for the doors to open, to thread your way through the ticket lineup, then past the photo opportunity booth and into the souvenir shop area to wait yet another 45 minutes or so for the arena to open. The arena is divided into six different coloured sections.
Each section has its own knight and horse identified by the same colours. You cheer for your knight and at a lesser amount, the other knights on your side of the arena.
You boo the other knights from the other side of course. As an added cheesy bonus, you get to wear a matching coloured cardboard crown (Now I know where old Burger King crowns go!).
The music, smoke and special light effects lends to the jovial mood and the crowd’s enthusiasm for their knight. John and Kristen jumped right into excitement helped by their shared bottle of wine.
Mathew was keen to celebrate the whole experience and I just enjoyed the whole thing. It helped that our knight bested all six others in the games and emerged the overall winner!
Dinner was served on medieval looking crockery and consisted of garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, ¼ roasted chicken, a spare rib, ½ a herb-basted potato, an apple strudel and 2 rounds of a non-alcoholic drink. The food was good except the dessert. The pastry was heavy and something lighter would finish the meal off much better. Our section had a designated wench and …man-wench? What do you call them anyway? The only problem we encountered was getting extra drinks (including water) to quench our thirst. The dinner is well choreographed to the show so that the timing is perfect ~ meaning your servers only appear at certain times.
After the show Mathew and Kristen picked up a couple of souvenirs before we walked back a block to hail the taxi that drove us back to the hotel where we ended the evening.
Mathew was definitely tired because the wheelchair stayed behind for this excursion. We didn’t do that again. Lineups and lengthy waits are a no-brainer when visiting tourist spots.
So ended the second day.