Day 90 Toronto, Ontario: United Nations - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 29, 2011

Day 90 Toronto, Ontario: United Nations

**Flash - our son Jeremy in Nelson will now be a Social Worker. His last requirement for graduation from University of Victoria has been met!!

Dodie and Marsha share something amusing
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The eastern cities Toronto, Montreal, New York, etc. seem to get so muggy in mid-Summer that you never seem to be able to cool yourself just by sweating. The body is slow to figure this out, so visitors I think suffer a lot. On the other hand shade and any cooling breezes are so much more appreciated here.

James and Diane drove up from St. Catharines this morning to see us and help us experience the big city. Our total plan was to walk down Danforth Ave to the blocks that feature Greek restaurants. On Danforth, Diane stopped at the Greek Senior Citizens Social Club, where an old man was sitting in front. (I better watch out who I am calling old, though). We asked about which was the best of the restaurants, and he proposed Zorba's. The man listened to our improbable tale of cycling from Victoria and was suitably impressed, wishing us good luck on the rest of the journey. So chalk one up for friendly Toronto locals.

As we walked along, a car was waiting in a driveway to pull onto the street. The driver could not see an opening and so sat there, too long. I swung us around behind the car and while this was happening the driver apologized for blocking the sidewalk. I just walked on. Did I say "No problem" or did I try to direct traffic a bit and get the lady on her way? No. What does this mean? I may be turning in to a Toronto Zombie! I will keep writing this blog as long as I can, but watch out, my ability to communicate could be draining away.

There are regions or neighbourhoods along Danforth, and before reaching the Greek region we passed a mosque and a series of Islamic - Middle Eastern or other African, or Asian shops. The people looked really "authentic" with long white robes, and skull caps or turbans. Some turbaned old guys looked absolutely straight out of an Afgan village.

The mosque on Danforth
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Nice minaret on Danforth
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The message is "charity, humanity, peace". Worthy objectives.
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These guys look really authentic, because they are!
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It's a real United Nations here.
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Zorba's is set up on exactly the "traditional" pattern (where "traditional" refers only to what I had been used to in Montreal, but I am sure it's the same in Greece). At the front of the restaurant along one side is a glass fronted counter housing a steam table. The steam table displays the food available, typically roast or stewed meats, roast or stewed vegetables, rice, and potatoes either in quarters or mashed and baked. The table is overseen by one or more older men, who must be rather brusque and serious. Then elsewhere there is a charcoal grill, supporting souvlaki or other grilled meats.

Our waitress was a gorgeous girl with curly black hair and olive skin. She proved her "greekness" by speaking Greek to some other customers.

Chalk up another nice Torontonian
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Either this urban scene is a police incident or a filming of a sequel to Blues Brothers
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A typical view of James
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James and Diane at Zorbas.
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THe iconic "Zorba". For anyone too young to know, Zorba the Greek was a movie starring Anthony Quinn, in which the irrepressible Zorba would dance whenever he was sad, or happy. The music was written by Mikis Theodorakis, one of my favourites.
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The food on offer at Zorba's
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The requisite serious older man behind the steam table
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Diane and Dodie
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Part of the menu
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Dodie's roast lamb plate
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Our Greek waitress
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Quality produce at last
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A Chinese grocer and a black customer. It's very rare to see these roles reversed. Still, it works.
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These must be tourists!
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Six dollars each, eh!
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On the way back we noted some additional bakeries - some Middle Eastern and one French. In the French one, the pastries cost over $6 each, but each was a work of art. However Dodie says she looks at art and eats food. We also checked out a fruit store. The Chinese proprietor showed flexibility by greeting two ladies entering with "salaam". I thought he might be talking to me, but of course that would have to be "shalom". Still, we got a basket of Ontario peaches and some great cherries of unknown origin. We could easily live on stuff like that over the next days here, but research is still needed to find a bakery that we can afford. That is the kind of research one could really get in to!

There is one bike shop on Danforth and it is called Cycle Path (ha, ha, they are "crazy"). We picked up two new chains there - we seem to be wearing them out a bit fast. Of course we had a good chat with the staff, and also with a fellow that got t-boned by a pickup. Have a look at his wheel.

T-boned!
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Lots of spare bikes in case yours gets mushed in traffic
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This is not a long distance tandem.
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We continued our exploration of Toronto by bike, with Marsha as guide.

A cute cottage on a Toronto street
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We head out to explore the city by bike
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Crowds enjoy the evening
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Trendy restaurant, good souvlaki
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Queen Street at the Beaches
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Real pies
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Real danish
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A tranquil corner
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More real pies
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Ed's Ice Cream
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Yes, this all fits my official definition of fun!
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The Beaches by night.
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The path also hosted in line skaters, walkers, and crazy people on bikes speeding from the opposite direction with no lights. So a bit of caution was needed. We had our flashers on, and Marsha's seem particularly good. A threesome of Toronto police on bikes complimented her on our visibility. We hoped this police endorsement would carry us home as we illegally took to the sidewalks to make our way up to Danforth and to Rosie's house for a good night's sleep.

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