Sunday Dec. 15th dawned sunny, as usual, and I was excited to see my friend AJ (below) and his husband Tom who were meeting me for brunch at the famous Valley Ho hotel. Poor pneumonia-plagued AJ had mustered enough energy for a couple of hours of catching up, enjoying a great meal and showing me his and Tom’s fave hotel in Old Town.We saw a gingerbread version of the famous mid-century modern hotel (above) on the way into Zuzu’s cafe for our brunch. Isn’t it cute? After our deelish meal, the guys showed me around the property, much of which has been preserved in its original form, complete with colourful wall tiles on each balcony, sexy lounges and outdoor courtyards….After being dropped off by AJ & Tom, the remainder of the afternoon was spent out on my balcony, enjoying the sunshine and watching the palm trees “dance the hula” in the high desert wind.
Next day, I decided on what genuine touristy experiences remained for me to explore so off I went for my morning latte at Barista Brothers to plan the next few days before returning to cold grey Toronto.I just walked around and watched for interesting photo opps, like this one of the colourful buildings surrounding the Civic Centre:And checked out the artful sidewalks near my hotel (below)…such civic pride makes me wish that Toronto took as much care with their public spaces.Just a few more days remaining on my holiday – I wonder what adventures remain?
Each year, Toronto hosts a special weekend called “Doors Open” where we can visit beautiful buildings around the city that are normally closed to the public such as offices, law courts, architectural treasures and places of worship. I’m fortunate to live next door to one very special building: St Paul’s Anglican church which is one of the largest parish churches in N. America. When I entered, the organist was practicing – take a listen here…
During today’s special tour, visitors got to see some of the most gorgeous stained glass windows in Canada, many depicting heroic WWI stories and in fact, one of the windows was made from the glass fragments found around some 70 destroyed churches and buildings in Belgium, France and Italy.Around the walls of the massive interior were many plaques and memorials dedicated to past parishioners who had lost their lives fighting in Europe….…and the incredible wooden carvings of angels were breathtaking…Not a lot of people ever look up when they visit such venues but I always do (you never know what cool things you can spy up above) and I’m so glad I did…check out these awesome state-of-the-art fans in this video. They look old-school to fit in but are actually brand new….
The marble altar (above) shows the Last Supper – it’s so beautiful and is flanked on either side by historic figures from the first World War. There is just one female depicted in the carvings and statuary…Florence Nightingale! I found another beautiful window behind the altar screen (below). I could have stood there for an hour enjoying all the intricacies in this little window and the marble carvings in front….Next month marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of St Paul’s and to commemorate the occasion, a special craft lager has been created, the St Paul’s CLXXV, which will be available in 6-packs for a limited time only following their June 11th anniversary service. Considering the church’s reputation for warm hospitality and sharing food and drink, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!
If you’d like to learn more about this fine church and the wonderful work they do, please visit: www.stpaulsbloor.org