As part of my resolution to be a tourist while staying home (and saving up to travel elsewhere), I have been going a little further afield than my regular routes accessible by subway.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have disovered jazz jams in Etobicoke, the magic of Christmas at the Brickworks, and painting the town in Hamilton.


I don’t live far from Etobicoke, but it feels like another world that I honestly never really cared to discover.  Other than the nostalgia of going to the Nostalgic as a kid, a 50-seat cinema that screened the Wizard of Oz, or sometimes going to the Merlot (both along the subway line, may I add), Etobicoke is a suburb of Toronto I don’t know.  So when offered the chance to go to a jazz jam on Lakeshore at Islington, I figured: adventure!

Holding Sarah's bike as she stops at the ATM to stock up for on our Etobicoke adventure

After stopping for 1/2 price Tuesday fajitas at Sneaky Dee‘s (the first bar I ever went into as a teenager), Sarah and I grabbed some sour candies for the trip to the end of the subway line and got a bus down down down, past things that scream “suburbs” like Milestones, Jack Astor’s, and loads of highway-like roads.

If you’d like to discover the fact that there’s actually quite a lot of life on the Lakeshore, including the adorable and delicious Gallery Studio Café, check out the Tuesday night jazz jam hosted by Riley O’Connor.


It turns out that Hamilton- Steeltown, the Hammer, Lunchbucket City- about 45 minutes away from Toronto, is a great city for a night out for a few drinks, new friends, and the jamming tunes of local bands.

Sarah and Sarah with the pill we found in the parking lot.

The Sugar Daddies rocking the joint

Having a drink in Hamilton

After four hours of sleep and a BLT sandwich, we wandered down a trendy street, bought butter chicken meat balls and a tiny stuffed owl puppet, and found a poem on the sidewalk that connected with much of what I was feeling at the time, and still does.  Here are a couple of lines from it:


On the coldest night of the year so far, I wandered around the Brick Works, following shepherds and wise men and a feisty girl in search of logic.  The Story, a Theatre Columbus production of the Nativity, may be over (sorry!), but it is definitely a highlight of my theatre-going experiences this year.

Haley McGee and Richard Lee in The Story

Discovering this magical and frozen bit of Toronto reminded me that even though I’ve lived in the city for 18 years, I don’t know it very well.

The Brick Works is the site of an old brick factory and it’s got old, graffitied buildings that provide the perfect backdrop for hipster wedding photo-shoots.  It also has a rich historical and geological heritage- read more about it here.