I spent some years living in Toronto and loved every minute of it. But my feelings when I think about when I lived there are bitter sweet due to the way some things turned out and the circumstances surrounding my having to leave. When I got my current job in Hawaii, I was only given several days notice from the night I got the call offering me the job to my first day at work. I have no regrets about my decision to leave, and I would make the same decision all over again, but such short notice caused me to not get the chance to say good-bye to everybody or get some needed closure with regard to some people. I sometimes can’t help but wonder “what if” or “what could have been”.
After leaving Toronto, I made it a point to go visit at least once a year. I think, maybe, I was subconsciously looking to get the aforementioned closure. But I don’t feel like I got it. I sometimes still feel like a lot was left unresolved.
Last time I went back to visit was in November 2014. I actually ended up staying for almost two weeks but things were different. Time definitely didn’t stand still. But the city was still beautiful and I did manage to get some great shots.
I flew into Pearson International Airport and took the TTC(Toronto Transit Commission) to my hotel because everything, including cab fare, is every expensive in Toronto and I wanted to keep travel costs to a minimum. The weather was brisk but snow had not yet begun to fall and the trees still had some color to them. It was a nice change from the year-round warm weather in Hawaii.
I remember my first night there, I went out at night to do some street photography and walked into a camera store on Queen St. That’s where I bought the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 lens that I still use regularly. Buying the lens in Canadian dollars with my Canadian credit card offered me a huge discount after the conversion rate was factored in because I payed off the credit card with American dollars. I practically got the lens for free.
After I picked up my new lens, I walked to my old gym on Yonge St between Queen and Adelaide St and bought a two week membership. It had been a couple of years since I had worked out there, but let’s just say that some things never change.
The following day, I made my way westbound on one of the street cars and got off on Lakeshore Blvd in Etobicoke where I then walked to Prince of Wales Park on the shore of Lake Ontario. There is a clear view of downtown Toronto from there. The view at night is even better. The last time I had been there prior to this trip was a chilly night in May 2012 when I took someone there who I, so badly, wanted to win over. We had a cheesecake that night with a fruit topping from Baton Rouge Restaurant in downtown Toronto. Though I was unsuccessful at winning him over, I’m still glad I took him there, and I don’t ever want to forget how beautiful he looked when I first met him.
For lunch one afternoon, I went with a friend to Raijin Ramen, a Japanese noodle house on Gerrard St in Downtown Toronto. I wanted to try it because I had developed a taste for good ramen after going to Goma Tei in Honolulu. I don’t remember the name of the dish I had, but I do remember it tasting good. I’d go back again.
While I lived in Toronto, I worked two jobs and went to school full time. One of those jobs was working security on Church St at the Barn Nightclub and then Crews and Tangos. I tried going out on Church St during weekend but it wasn’t the same. Times changed. Staff changed. And I changed. But I will always remember what a great time I had when I worked there.
One evening, I went with a friend to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. I’d never been before, but I’m glad I went. We found Nemo and Dory.
Toronto is great for shopping, and I spent a great deal of time walking around through the Eaton Centre and Queen West area. I don’t recall buying anything since I had already spent a lot on a new camera lens, but window shopping is fun too.
I met my old roommate for dinner my last night in Toronto. We ate at Milestones restaurant at Yonge and Dundas St in downtown. I’d been there before. The food isn’t bad but it’s nothing to write home about. This particular location is about five stories up and has a view of Yonge/Dundas Square. I often worked backstage during the summer concerts there. It was good seeing my old roommate again. Nice to talk to and catch up. I hope he’s doing well.
Over the years, I’ve learned that change is constant. When I was younger and living in my parents house, I would always see these really cool places on television that I wanted to get out and go see. I never wanted to be one of those people that only talked about getting out to see the world. For the most part, I’ve done just that. As a result, I’ve seen more, done more, and have more life experience than most people I know. But there is one negative consequence to moving that I was not prepared for. I have no regrets because I believe I’ve made the best decisions that I could have made with what I knew at any given time, but life doesn’t stand still. People will move on without you after you’re gone. And when you meet up with them again after time has passed, you’re likely to realize that things are not the same anymore.
I wouldn’t change any decision I have made to get out and see what the world has to offer me. It’s just a shame that absence doesn’t actually make the heart grow fonder.
I’m not sure when I’ll go back to Toronto again. I’m glad that I went there. I’m glad I went to school there. I’m glad I worked where I worked. And I am greatful for the people that I met. I’ll definitely go back one day. It just wont be because I am trying to hold on to something that’s not there anymore.