The year is 2006 and it's mid March. The air still has that winter chill in it but at least we're not in sub-zero temps anymore. I am in Toronto to attend a seminar about travel photography that was put on by National Geographic Traveller magazine. It's a treat for me after a rough winter.
I decided to stay at the Delta Chelsea which is convenient to downtown Toronto. Got a standard room and crashed out for the night after a late night in the rooftop bar with a friend putting the world to rest. Only I forgot to close the curtains and my room faced east. With the rising sun. Too bright at 6 a.m.! Back to bed for me!
I decided not to have the $13 family buffet breakfast in the hotel and just cherry picked a few things which ended up costing me about $20!!! Live and learn! It's too early in the morning for most places to be open but I went for a walk with my camera. There is a skating ring in front of City Hall with a few early risers on the ice. I watched them for a bit before heading up University. I came to the Textile museum and I decided that would be a good way to spend an hour or so. I got there just as it opened. It's an interesting little museum and one of the special exhibits was a bit gruesome... it was patterns all over the walls and in boxes and on tables all made from insects, mostly very large ones! Wings, beetles, moths. Kind of ick but fascinating just the same.
I walked back down to the huge mall, the Eaton Centre, to meet my friend Trish and her girls for lunch at one of the restaurants in the mall. The girls, both teenagers, were intent on some major shopping so we mostly just followed them around though poked into a few interesting stores that interested us as well. We were in there all afternoon and after a bit of a chat outdoors we parted ways.
I took a taxi further downtown as I was meeting a few more friends at Fionn McCool's, an Irish pub near the waterfront. Good food and company, not too crowded even for a Saturday night. We didn't make a late night of it and I was back to the hotel by 10.
Sunday was an overcast day but this was the day of the seminar so the weather didn't matter. It wasn't too cold at least. I had the buffet this morning and discovered that one of the ways to make it cheaper (for a hotel) is using paper plates and plastic cutlery. Nice.
The seminar was held at the Art College not far from the hotel but I got a cab because it threatened rain. It was a really interesting day. National Geographic Traveler magazine has some of the top photographers in the world. They do seminars every year in a scattering of cities, rarely in Canada and I felt it was worth the money for the weekend. They had a giant screen with photos revolving with the speakers and topics. It isn't geared to professionals, it's something that anyone with an intererest in travel photography would enjoy and it gave some great pointers how to take better pictures and even hints on how to become professional if that's what you wanted.
That evening, I went to a friend's apartment on the 22nd floor of his building for dinner with him and a couple of his friends and wow, great view from the balcony! We're all Coronation Street fans so we got caught up on today's omnibus and had a laugh.
Monday was foggy and a bit rainy. I didn't have to worry about the sun waking me up but i'd forgotten to turn off the alarm and it went off in my suitcase. Crap. Back to bed again. I didn't have a plan for the morning before heading to the airport so i headed out for a walk about 10 o'clock. It's not cold today either, in fact a bit too warm for the winter coat I was wearing. I found myself up near Ryerson University campus, not far up Yonge Street from the hotel. I walked past a couple of cathedrals and churches on, appropriately named, Church Street. There was a historic house where William Lyon Mackenzie lived but it isn't open on Mondays. The St. Lawrence Market, a buzzing hive of activity on the weekends was also closed on Monday. Drat! And by now there's not enough time to go into the Hockey Hall of Fame but that's definitely on my list for a future visit some day!
Back to the hotel to pack up, check out and get the airport bus and I'm on my way back home after an enjoyable weekend!