Tourist In My City

I have been very fortunate to have traveled to numerous countries and cities over the years, yet I somehow have not fully explored my own city.

I have lived in Toronto for 12 years yet people are shocked to hear that I have never visited some of this city’s landmarks such as:

  • Centre Island
  • Toronto Zoo
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Casa Loma

Why is it we take time to explore other cities but not our own? Is it because its very easy to procrastinate in our own city? “This weekend I will do spring cleaning, maybe next weekend I will explore” or “Looks like its going to rain.. let’s skip it and watch movies at home instead”.

Well, no more! The time is now people! I have decided that this summer and fall I will be scheduling days to explore this city and sticking to it.

First up: Centre Island.

The husband, Baby J and I didn’t have defined plans for Father’s Day, so about three weeks prior I put it in our calendar and decided we would go.

The morning of Father’s Day, I checked the forecast for the day and saw that it was going to storm around 3PM. My husband and I both looked at each other, wondering if we should cancel our plans, but I decided “No! We are going! A little rain never hurt anyone”.

We left home by 10:45 got downtown, parked the car, took the ferry and were on the island by 11:30. I was shocked, most of the island is a giant park, with a small amusement park for kids, a beach, splash pad, play structure, and numerous areas to have a picnic.

We started the day at Centreville (amusement park) which has free admission though you do pay for rides. Baby J loved the Antique carousel, the train ride and was brave enough to go on a few rides by herself! She was also fascinated by the numerous ducks and geese wandering about.

Centre Island, Centreville, shwetasays

For lunch, we decided to put out our blanket and have a picnic by the water’s edge. I was very glad to have packed a lunch as food was quite expensive ($7 for a slice of pizza and some milk). Afterwards as Baby J drank her milk, I lay on the blanket staring at the clouds. It was a true “stop and smell the roses” type of moment where I was able to fully appreciate being in nature, without the distractions of phones, iPad’s etc.

At the end of the day, I felt completely recharged, similar to how I feel when I go to the cottage for a weekend. Yet, instead of driving for hours to the cottage, it was a quick half hour ride to the island!

In the end, I am so, so glad that I toured a little piece of my city, and can’t wait to explore what more it has to offer.


P.S. We were at Centre Island for 6 hours and it only rained 4 drops ūüôā

Baby J’s First Lockdown

Thursday morning was more stressful than most. My two year old daughter, Baby J had been sick for the last few days and stayed home from her babysitters, but on this day, she seemed to be mildly better and as full-time working parents my husband (DH) and I couldn’t afford to take any more time off. So, with a heavy heart and a guilty conscience we dropped her off with her wonderful sitter at about 8AM and headed off to work.

Throughout the day I texted the sitter and was on high-alert in case she told me that Baby J had either

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Fortunately, Baby J seemed to be doing okay, so I went for lunch and decided to check Twitter.

Suddenly, reading the news, my day turned upside down.

Shooter, school lockdown

Police searching for shooter. Schools on lockdown.

There was a gunman on the loose near my house and the school where Baby J goes to play twice daily was on lockdown. The street that my sitters house is on was shut down to traffic and all cars/buses were being searched.¬† As the minutes ticked by, I learned that the gunman had been seen running down my street and that police has yelled to my neighbours to “get your kids inside and lock the doors!”.

Panic began to set in. I called my sitter who told me that she was home and Baby J was fast asleep unaware of the helicopters flying overhead and the armed police just outside her door.

In my my mind I knew Baby J was safe, but in my heart I kept wondering.. what if… What if the gunman chooses to hide out at the sitters house? What if he forces his way in? What if Baby J gets caught in the cross-fire? What if, What if, What if….

As time went on, 15 schools in the area were put on a “hold and secure status”; more and more police were called in; and I became more and more anxious.

What do I do? Should I pick her up? Is it more dangerous to take her out of the house? What if I see the gunman? (Well this didn’t really worry me, b/c I am pretty sure with the adrenaline rushing through me I could take him down… don’t mess with a Mama Bear!)

So, there I sat helplessly watching the news, praying that all would remain status quo.

After two tense hours, the holds were lifted as the police realized the gunman had escaped the perimeter they had set up, but this didn’t make me feel better. There was still a gunman out there, and I was trusting someone else to protect Baby J as I would. After work I picked her up and gave her many hugs and kisses. Fortunately Baby J never knew that this day was any different than the others. Ignorance truly is bliss.

Alas, out of this heightened situation is the dilemma that all parents face. You can’t be with your kids 100% of the time, you can’t protect them 100% of the time so how do you keep them safe? How do you live without being in constant fear?

I don’t have the answer…. but if you do I would love to hear it.


photocredit: Toronto Star/Rene Johnson

Affordable Outfit – High Tea

You may remember my recent post about my Dream Outfit for High Tea. Well, unfortunately that Dream is a far way from reality for this working mom, and so I’ve put together an outfit that I think would still look spectacular for High Tea. These are all pieces that can be worn together or separately and create a very timeless look. What do you think?

Affordable Outfit - High Tea

J Crew party dress

ALDO stiletto heels

Ivanka trump handbag

Tom ford sunglasses