City Tour, Fancy Cocktails, & a Jazz Concert in a Castle
Planned By: Ashleigh
9:00am The morning of our date day, I snuck out to the driveway and placed a letter into Iain’s truck for him to find when he left for his morning workout. This is what it said.
I cannot wait to spend today with you! Carving out quality time together truly helps me feel a sense of connectedness that often times gets overlooked when life’s “busyness” gets in the way.
I don’t tell you enough but your hard work and willingness to always put our family first is so admirable. While this is important to both of us, I understand that you need time to take care of yourself as well and I want you to keep doing that.
Over the last few months you have been working out multiple times a week and I see not only the physical results of your hard work (I didn’t know that it was possible to get any sexier, but you did!) but the emotional aspect of getting back to training is really having a profound positive impact on all aspects of your life. I am so proud of you. Keep the sexiness coming!
I am so looking forward to what adventures today will bring. Have a great workout my love! See you at eleven.
I love this man!
Can I shout it from the rooftops? I adore him and appreciate his kindness everyday, but I am guilty of not articulating it everyday. I will try my best for that in the future.
11:00am Bus & Subway downtown to Union Station.
To say that Iain and I know each other well is an understatement. We have talked a LOT over our entire relationship. One thing we do well as a couple is communicate effectively. To kill some time on the subway, I tried to think of a few fun questions that I didn’t know what his answer would be. Although these are all hypothetical questions, let’s see what he had to say.
Q: If you could meet any famous person who would it be, and what would you say to them?
A: I would love to have a conversation with Stephen Hawking to hear his understanding and wisdom regarding the universe and the cosmos.
Q: If you won a large amount of money via the lottery, how would you live your life differently?
A: I probably wouldn’t live my life much differently at all. It would allow me to expedite growth within our business and make a bigger impact with more philanthropic work. I would build our dream home, and we would definitely have a few extra toys, but I wouldn’t change the way I live day to day.
Q: If you were to buy a boat, what would the name be?
A: Full Steam Ahead.
Q: At what age did you truly start to know yourself?
A: I found when I turned 26, I started to have a bigger picture outlook on the way I wanted to live and plan my life for the future. I shifted my thinking from being solely an individual to planning for us as a long term relationship. It was the year that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you (Ash) and started to plan a proposal.
Q: Of all your bucket list items, if you only had time for one, what would you do?
A: I would become a rockstar for a day. I would sing & play music in front of tens of thousands of people.
12:00pm Lunch at Miku Toronto. This restaurant is one of our favourite places down by the water. It is not often that we eat sushi anymore so every once in a while we branch out and Miku doesn’t disappoint. It is both beautiful, and bustling with people for lunch and dinner. I ordered the Garden Select lunch entree and Iain ordered the Premium lunch entree. The service was attentive and kind, and the food was beautifully presented and delicious. A great start to the day.
Let’s become tourists in our own city!
1:30pm Boat Cruise of Toronto Harbour. From Miku we walked west along the water to the dock slip for Serendipity Princess. Once aboard, we set off slowly towards the Toronto Island where the tour guide gave a bit of background information on the city, island airport, types of planes that fly there, and rules that the boaters have to abide by while sailing the harbour.
Once we entered the island canals it seems like you are in a completely different place. The hustle and bustle of Toronto instantly disappears and you feel as if you are transported into a Nicholas Sparks film set in the south. The willow tree lined canals blowing in the wind, and lily pad covered inlets create a beautiful backdrop for a romantic walk or kayak. No wonder there is a wait list of hundreds of people to buy houses on the island. You get the quiet calm of island life all while being a short boat over to a fast paced city life. What a cool way to live. We then pulled back into the harbour, and got off Serendipity Princess, we made our way over to stop #17 to start the city tour.
2:30pm Double Decker City Sightseeing Tour – On @ Stop #17 off at Stop #13 TIFF Lightbox. There was a long lineup for the hop on hop off bus tour so we were a bit worried we wouldn’t get to sit on top of the double decker bus but we made it up there and we were so happy that we did. The sun was shining and we wanted to see the city from a tourists perspective. We cruised through our old neighbourhood of Old Toronto. Reminiscing on visits to the St Lawrence Market and seeing how much the area has changed since we lived there. It has only been 4 years and it looks way different now than in 2015. It is so vibrant and so many new condo’s have gone up and continue to be built still.
Next we saw the financial district and Dundas Square. Cruised through Yorkville and the Annex (which was labeled by the tour guide as “where Toronto’s affluent people used to live”). Bah! I almost spilt my coffee on that comment. Sorry Carters!
We drove past the base of Casa Loma and then back downtown were we disembarked at King and John. A quick walk west down King Street to grab a bite to eat at an old favourite.
4:00PM Wvrst King West for an early dinner. While living downtown we used to frequent Wvrst a few times a year. It’s a friendly relaxed atmosphere and has delicious comfort food. The long communal tables allow for large and small groups to sit and mingle together with ease.
I ordered the Beyond Sausage Brat with sauerkraut and sweet peppers. Iain ordered a venison sausage with onions and sweet peppers. We shared the Dirty Plain Fries. Sipped on cider and beer. A perfect casual meal at the bar before the night ahead.
Put on your jacket, I’ll slip on some heels and let’s start the night off right.
6:00PM On my 29th birthday Iain brought me to a lounge called Barchef for drinks. He brought me there because he knew that I loved whiskey cocktails. They make a cocktail called the VANILLA HICKORY SMOKED MANHATTAN. The cocktail arrives to your table in a large bell jar filled with swirling smoke. Think Beauty and the Beast, but instead of a wilting rose, in its place comes a delicious perfectly chilled and heavily smoked manhattan. Yes Please! It is the type of presentation that draws attention from neighbouring tables. Not only is it a spectacle for the eyes but once you taste it, you understand all the hype.
This time around I changed it up from the fanciest Manhattan in the city, to a cocktail named OLD WORLD. Which includes vanilla infused brandy, cocao bitter, patchouli syrup, caraway maraschino, Madeira and Islay Scotch. Less pretentious but very delicious and satisfying. Following OLD WORLD, I tried another parfumerie series cocktail called FOREST PEAR. It was a perfect accompaniment to the first drink. It was Mezcal, rosemary syrup, pear eau de vie, balsam fir bitter, and Madeira. So delish!
Iain had one of their modernist series cocktails called APRICOT. It arrived with the cocktail in a tall wine glass and the sensory experience of three round meringues atop a wire starburst. He was instructed to wet his palate, pop a meringue into his mouth and breath out the nitro inside, then take a sip of the cocktail. The cocktail was a mixture of Islay scotch, apricot brandy, bitter almond, toasted chamomile and saffron bitter, Madeira, rosemary syrup and orange essence. Very tasty.
While sipping on his drink, Iain decided to take a look at their scotch list. As he was just over in Scotland with his dad for nine days scotch tasting, he wanted to see what bottles they kept in stock. Much to his surprise they had a bottle of Macallan Limited Edition No. 2 that he had the pleasure of tasting while over visiting the distillery. The bottle is sold out everywhere and now, here it was in front of him! He got very excited and had to order a dram.
From Barchef we caught a quick Uber over to Casa Loma.
7:30pm Outdoor garden concert at Casa Loma. For those of you not familiar with Casa Loma, it is a castle built in 1914 in the middle of Toronto that has been beautifully restored and is now used to host a wide array of events throughout the year. It seems that Casa Loma has something for everyone. For the history enthusiast, you can take an audio guided tour. For adventurists try one of their escape rooms. For foodies, BlueBlood Steakhouse might be more your style. But for us, for date night, we took in the sold out garden concert with Matt Dusk performing music from the 50s & 60s. Iain and I share a love of jazz music and I thought what a beautiful setting to sit and listen to some seductive vibes to end the summer.
The garden was indeed a stunning place for a small intimate concert. They had tables and chairs set up all around and was first come first serve for tables. We got there right around 7:30 so we were seated in the second last row with no table. So instead of no view, we went back up to the patio and stood to overlook the garden and stage from above. It was way better. We could move around more freely, see the stage easier and the extra space allowed couples the freedom to lovingly dance to the music. The vibe was pure romance. Matt Dusk has a beautiful voice and the crowd really seemed to be captivated by him and the musicians.
Overall the entire day was a success and we had so much fun together being tourists in our own city. Nether of us had ever done tours of Toronto or had been to Casa Loma. We will definitely be returning again soon.
Thank you to Ari & Sol for taking care of the kiddos and making sure they had fun with Mom & Dad gone. We were not missed!