city life

body blitz water spa

Body Blitz Water SpaAfter the gruelling Algonquin trip, my body was mostly aches and pains (though not as bad as last year; a testament to my much better diet and workout routine these days) so I made a visit to the women-only Body Blitz Water Spa. I knew I had to go within two days of returning from Algonquin for the spa to be of most use, and I’d heard previously of their discounted Tuesday evening rates, so I went then.

My friend and I had a lovely salad dinner at lettuce first, then we made our way to Body Blitz. We paid up our $35 first, then received a quick tour and explanation of how to use the facilities.

Having never been to a spa before, we were glad of the assistance. We were also quite impressed with the interior design of the space; modern, fresh, comforting and not too cramped considering how small venues in Toronto are.

You begin your experience in the locker room, where you get a locker along with a key, a pair of slippers, a bathrobe, a towel, a hand towel and a waterproof paper that indicates how to follow the “circuit”. After changing and leaving your things, you move on to the shower room where you rinse off the day’s grime. The mint and citrus flavoured body wash, shampoo and conditioner are a lovely treat for the nose.

You then follow the circuit around by alternately soaking in a hot pool of salt water, sitting in an incredibly hot, stifling steam room that outputs eucalyptus oil in its steam, jumping into the frigid pool of 66 degrees celsius in an attempt to maintain a normal body temperature amongst this treatment, sitting in an infrared sauna that makes you sweat out all the toxins from your skin, showering off and jumping back into the salt water pool, and then a final soak in the green tea pool. You can, of course, mix this routine up as much as you like and do your own thing, but this was what was recommended and we’d never done it before. We were interrupted before we could finish up the whole circuit as the place closes at 8 PM and we’d only arrived at 7:20. A bit less time than I’d hoped for, although it seemed like longer.

The final stop after showering once more and changing back into your street clothes is the primping room. You get a whole range of skin and hair products to play with, including creams, hair dryers, sterilized combs and brushes. I found this was the only place that felt cramped – with upwards of four women in there all getting ready to leave at closing time, it’s difficult to move around the space.

The whole experience left me feeling so relaxed and clean. I noticed that as soon I stepped onto the street, all of my aches and pains from the canoe trip had vanished. An incredible feeling.

I don’t know how often I’ll return; probably only when I’m in extreme need of rejuvenation. But it’s nice to know a place like this exists. And it’s worth every penny.

(photo above taken from the Body Blitz photo gallery)

city life

kayaking on the harbourfront

Two weekends ago, I attended a beginner’s kayaking course at the Toronto harbourfront.

I’ve been kayaking before, but only once or twice – and never have I had lessons on how to paddle properly. So this course, suggested by my friend, intrigued me. The coolest thing about it was being able to see the city of Toronto from the water – it was like being on the verge between wilderness and city.

The course was fun; it involved two full days of training and paddling on Lake Ontario. Saturday was a windier day, making the waves choppy and rather fun to bob with. We learned the basics that day, and then applied them to a day-trip out to Toronto island on Sunday, when the weather was much calmer. We learned how to get back in the boat when it flips over, and how to help others do the same, on top of paddling techniques such as turning on the spot, moving horizontally, sculling to keep balance and more.

If you feel like trying something new, it’s a safe and fun way to approach kayaking while staying within Toronto. Check out the organization, Paddle Toronto, as they have other levels of courses and also social kayaking meetups on a weekly basis.

city life travel

nyc blast

So, I’m back from New York. I didn’t post right away, because I needed a few days to let it all sink in first. Well, I also went camping promptly upon my return!

In any case, I’ve now formulated a few thoughts about the whole experience of that city, brief though it was.

New York City is huge. It’s heavy – massive – the skyline bears down on you as you move about the crowded streets. I could not believe the sheer amounts of people constantly moving throughout Times Square (although other areas of the city were much less crowded). Up on the 14th floor of the Random House building (I was there for a work meeting), I could look out across some of the city – what wasn’t blocked by even taller buildings surrounding the one I was in – and see miles and miles of high rises, many built with the same dark, stained stones/bricks.

I can’t quite describe how it all felt, seeing so many similar buildings. In Toronto, I suppose there is quite the variety of architectural stylings, but then I also suppose it didn’t build up as quickly as New York must have done, all in one go like that. It makes sense that there would be so much repetition, viewed in that light.

Ah, I think it comes out best like this: looking outward from wherever you stand in New York City, it feels like you are looking into mirrors reflecting mirrors. It’s that endless, that repetitive, and you feel that disoriented.

After a while looking up – trying to see a stretch of sky that could actually reveal a full cloud – became tiring, and I gave up attempting to assimilate the immensity of the place. Instead, I focused on the storefronts and the people – whatever was around me.

This was far more engaging and brought me more fully into the presence of the city and the people within. Although I found the people to very removed, probably overloaded with stimulus (the tourists like myself) or exhausted with the life there (the residents). Barely anyone made eye contact as they bustled through the crowds.

A walk through Central Park was a brief but welcome respite from the intensity of the cement world in which it is encased. Pretty, reminiscent of my experience of St. James park in London, I fully understood its significance within the NYC urban landscape – which is probably proportionate with the percentage of space it takes up on the island of Manhatten.

The whirlwind tour ended with dinner in 10×44, an interesting nook of a restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. Being in a new place made me bold and I ordered food I would never normally think of ordering: watermelon salad (two chunks of yellow and red watermelon with feta cheese and some tomatoes), and a lobster taco (salsa mixed with lobster and avocado with a soft shell). Both were delicious and I was all the more satisfied at having tried something new and actually liking it!

I had only one goal on my trip to New York this time. Fully aware of the lack of time I had on this particular trip to explore deserving landmarks as much as I would have liked, I focused on obtaining my first pairs of Fluevog shoes.

Check them out. I love them.

John Fluevog Choice Hi Meghans John Fluevog Teapot Chamomiles

So, overall, a very interesting experience. I’ll definitely go back to explore it fully.

city life the interweb

days go by featured on blogto

My blog was recently featured on’s Blogerati files. Very exciting! I want to thank Lily from BlogTo for contacting me and asking if I’d like to have it up there. It’s been great getting the extra hits and I think my site is showing up more often in search engine results (usually for Toronto-based events) from all of the activity. Quite cool!

city life travel

new york, here i come!

I’m off to New York City today! I’ve never been… or at least, if I have, I was too young to remember it.

From one big city, to another: I wonder what it will be like? Two friends have been recently and they both said they felt much safer and more comfortable in Toronto than in New York: apparently the people there are really rude. Funny how that conflicts with the study done recently on most polite cities…

In any case, I will be staying in Hotel Casablanca, which sounds exciting. I’m also making it a mission of mine to visit the NYC John Fluevog store, and (less important) the Breakbeat Science store.

city life toronto events

red and white again, but this time it’s not x-mas

Happy Canada Day!

139 years… I think next year’s gonna be a big one. And in 11 years, we’ll have a huge one. Oh… 11 years… I’ll be 35… woah.

I’m off celebrating Canada’s glorious woodlands, camping near Algonquin park for the weekend (yeah, I wrote this post ahead of time). In any case, you should still find a way to celebrate the day.

city life design

the garbage goblins have landed in toronto

The garbage goblins didn't do this!Not to steal a topic, but I recently saw a poster for the TTC’s new ad campaign, Put The Garbage Where It Belongs, and it made me laugh out loud. On the subway platform. When I was by myself.

Garbage goblins! I love it! It was so damn cheesey, it really did hit me. Spacing‘s right though, it’s not a good campaign at all. Just funny…

If you go to the TTC’s webpage dedicated to the campaign, they actually have an animation, extending the awfulness of the ad. I thought it would be something funny with little cartoon goblins running all around the subway car, but it’s nothing as interesting as that. Ah well.

I’d really like to know how much of the entire of TTC’s ad campaigns are actually “designed by committee”. They really are incredibly awful. Even my non-designer friends dislike them greatly, and that’s saying a lot for untrained eyes.

city life

map discussion group

The Metropass Affinity Program, the discount program for TTC Metropass holders, now has a more public Yahoo Discussion Group set up for it. So join up and get posting ideas and comments for the program.

city life

ttc metropass colours

(Apparently I’m a bit more ill than I had originally thought.)

I wanted to make an observation on the TTC monthly Metropass and the colours they choose to use on it. Earlier this year, brown was one of the dominant colours on the card for two months in a row; I don’t remember if these were February/March, or March/April. In any case, the first few days of the second month with a brown card, I completely forgot to start carrying the new one. Confused, at first, as to why my card wouldn’t work in the stiles anymore, I went on my merry little way showing my card to streetcar conductors and ticket collectors and beind easily waved through.

This went on for the better part of three days, until I finally figured out it was time to get out the new card: and I saw the dominant brown and understood why, while the turnstiles recognized my pass as being invalid for this month, the humans had seen the flash of brown, known it was this month’s colour, and allowed me through. It turned out to be an interesting little experiment on accuracy; if all passes had similar dominant colours from month-to-month, we’d likely be able to get away with a lot more invalid passes. And now I also know why usually the colours are so vastly different, month-to-month.

It did make me wonder whether whoever was in charge of the design of the cards for those two subsequent months got into trouble of some sort. And, did anyone else have a similar experience as I?

city life toronto events

toronto manhunt!

Last night I made it out to my first ever game of Manhunt, a variation on the age-old game of hide and seek, with my friend Peter.

Manhunt is played outside at night. The game starts off with one “hunter”, and the hunted steel away into the darkness to hide. This particular game, which happens every Thursday evening in a different location in Toronto, lasts for an hour.

The atmosphere of being within the game is very interesting. We chose a spot above ground that gave us a great view of the people running around below. Every time hunters approached, our hearts pounded and we shrank back into the shadows, watching them traverse the tarmack. The only other person in the game that we knew going in, actually came the closest to discovering our hiding spot – he placed a foot upon the stairs leading up to where we laid in waiting, but somehow decided not to go any further. Peter and I lasted for the entire game without being caught.
I’ll definitely check it out again.