A N N E X
Thoughts by Chantel Ouellet
I love summer in the city, but more specifically I love early summer in the city. That sweet spot where it’s warm but not sweaty. Where you’re not in class but you’re not swamped at your summer job or internship. You wake up naturally to the sun peaking through your blinds and you roll out of bed lazily. On my ideal morning in the annex and surrounding area, I would meet up with my friend at Future’s and grab a coffee. We would then slowly walk west on Bloor swerving in between the fruit and flower vendors in Koreatown. We would grab a table on the patio at Pour Boy as we grabbed a late brunch.
After brunch we would continue on our adventure to Christie Pitts park. Armed with a blanket we would stake out on a piece of grass up near the top of the hill and watch all the people in the park below. On our way home we would peak in the cute Korean shops. Even though I already own one too many, I would grab a new plant from one of the outdoor vendors. As we made our way back east I would tuck into Midoco Office and Arts Supplies to stock up on oil paints.
After I parted ways with my friend, I would open my blinds all the way and sit on my floor, surrounded by my paints. Since this is my ideal day, I would have treated myself to a juice from Fresh, which I would happily sip on as I painted.
As the sun would begin to cast a pink glow on the city, my phone would buzz. I would open it to find my weekly text from one of my best friends asking if I wanted to get a dinner and drinks at Insomnia. As we sat across from each other at a candlelit table, we would toast to boys who break our hearts, him with a glass of wine and I, a litchi martini. We would then splurge on some pasta or a fancy salad. When they waiter asks, if we’d like to see the dessert menu, we exclaim “oh I guess we can take a quick look,” even though we spent the last ten minutes discussing how excited I was for their creme brulee. One more martini later and we would be bumping into each other as we made the quick walk back to my house.
After my relaxing evening I would be ready for a night out with my friends. We would all gather in my apartment and open a bottle of wine. The group effort would leave everyone perfectly dressed up to get messed up. We would invite everyone over for predrinks before heading out to one of the surrounding watering holes. Unfortunately/ fortunately everyone would show up a little too late, drink otr smoke a little too abundantly and enjoy the house party vibes a little too much. We would end up dancing in the kitchen, puking in the bathroom, yelling out the window, smoking on the fire escape and passing out in a pile on my bed. Covered in friends within the comfort of my own home would the perfect ending to my ideal day.
Y O R K V I L L E
Thoughts By Shazre Khan
Perfection is subjective and everyone’s perfect day is exactly that: it’s different, it’s personal, and it’s theirs. My perfect day starts on a crisp Saturday morning in autum. It’s the first day of the weekend and so I have all of Sunday to worry about the readings I should have done on Saturday. I wake up late, without an alarm and without any guilt. I get dressed and leave my coat at home.There will be plenty of cool days for layers later on, the shining sun outside means not today.
I make my way down Bloor St to meet a friend for a late lunch at Trattoria Nervosa in Yorkville. I order the Mafalde ai Funghi pasta, pointing to the name on the menu for fear of mispronouncing it. “Let me know when it’s enough” the waiter says in a thick Italian accent sprinkling parmesan on my pasta. There is no such thing as enough cheese, and so I never really ask him to stop. He shuffles awkwardly as the cheese starts to bury the cremini mushrooms and the truffle paste and so I finally put him out of his misery. My friend orders a pizza, and I absentmindedly eat the abandoned crusts as we talk about boys we hate, the family we miss, the professors who might be trying to ruin our lives and friends we love. We part ways outside the restaurant, and I have Yorkville all to myself. I stroll through the village, the thin soles of shoes digging into the uneven ridges of Yorkville’s pavement. The sun will set soon and so the sky is changing its colours to match the leaves of the tree’s bright orange hues. It’s the perfect time for coffee.
I head to my favourite coffee shop, “Sorry”. I order an Americano and sit on a bar stool facing the window. I sneak in a photo of my picture perfect cup for Instagram. I always like to sit by the window so I can people watch. Everyone looks busy, like they have some place to go and I'm glad that the only place I have to be is nowhere, and yet I am here. I take out my laptop and attempt to do a bit of work before giving up and taking out my favourite book from my bag. I finish my now cold coffee with my mind swimming with the words of Gatsby and leave the cafe.
The sky is mostly pink now, with purple streaks mixing in with the orange. I walk around for a bit, going in and out of stores, not really buying anything. I make a mental list to come back next Friday on pay day, knowing fully well that I will probably be back before. I head back home as the sun officially retires from the day. It is probably as exhausted as I am.
I enter my home and my roommate is watching The Office on the couch eating ice cream. I join her and she silently hands me the pint of chocolate chip cookie dough and we laugh on cue for Kevin every time. Eventually, the topic of where we should go to dinner with our friends comes up and after a lot of arguments and a few insults hurled at the suggestion of Pita Q we decide to splurge and head back to Yorkville for dinner at cafe Boulud.
I wear a coat this time because the moon is not as much a fan of my summer dress as the sun was this afternoon. Our table has too many different accents mixing, too many different voices, and too many different stories. I order a salmon, because I'm not a salmon person but today I feel like being a person I am not. We are all too loud, too happy, too full and after the amount of food we ordered, perhaps too broke. It’s a Saturday night, and Toronto is buzzing and so are we. It's late but not late enough and so we all head back to my apartment. “Let’s go out and do something, it's a Saturday night!” someone suggests. We all pretend for a few minutes that we think it's a great idea but soon enough we’re huddled around a laptop screen half watching old movies, laughing at terrible jokes and stressfully not studying. We all stay up too late and make grandiose plans for meeting at the library at 8 am the next day while secretly setting our alarms for 9:30 am instead . The room eventually empties and I am woken up on my couch with a blanket being thrown on me by my roommate. I groggily look out the window. The sky is once again orange as the sun rises bringing in a whole new day.
Little Portugal (Ossington & Queen St. W)
Thoughts by Joyce Wong
Little Portugal is home to some of Toronto’s most popular bars and clubs (and me!). I remember, before I moved in, my friend told me how people would specifically commute to this area to go to places like Get Well, The Libertine and Bambi’s. While these places are okay the first couple of visits, they’re not necessarily part of my ideal day. In my opinion, there are a lot places in Little Portugal that are and aren’t worth the hype. Hopefully, if you ever give the area a visit, this will help guide you a little bit.
My perfect day would start off in the summer because this winter shit isn’t cutting it. It would be a sunny, warm day but not too hot, because my perfect day would mainly consist of chilling in Trinity Bellwoods park. I would gather my friends and housemates, grab some blankets and buy some booze and weed on the way to the park. Trinity Bellwoods is beautiful in the summer; it’s a great place to just lounge around on the grass and chill with your buds. Lounging around in a park doesn’t seem like a full day event, but there are so many activities that you can do there. It’s not just hours of drinking and talking in the grass, although I have done that before too. It’s a popular park, so it’s also a cool place to meet other people and to play with ALL. OF. THE. DOGS. It’s massive for a park in the middle of a city; it even features a tennis court, a skating rink, a baseball diamond and multiple playgrounds, so there are plenty of activities to do. Time easily flies at Bellwoods when you’re having fun—or when you’re day-drunk and stoned.
When it hits dinner time, I like going to two places that, I think, are worth all the hype in the Little Portugal/Ossington area. We head to Pho Tien Thanh—it’s just a quick walk away from the park. You might recognize this place from all the Instagram photos of their pink “I LOVE PHO FOREVER” wall, but besides the fact that their decor is strangely, unintentionally aesthetic, it is genuinely some of the best pho I have had in the city. I would also recommend their milkshakes (my go-to is the young coconut). They’re perfect for the summer heat and the Sriracha heat.
On our way back home, I will usually sway the gang into getting ice cream at Bang Bang. It’s basically right next door to Pho Tien Thanh. They’re also another place that has received a lot of hype through Instagram and various Toronto blogs. They are admittedly pricey for ice cream, but fucking hell, it is so damn good. Their specialty is Hong Kong Style Egg Waffle Cones, among other puff pastries and cookies to place your ice cream in. They have a huge variety of unique flavours so there’s definitely something for everyone.
If this perfect day meant it was summer and my friends and I suddenly have a shit ton of spending money, we would probably go out at night as well. Most of the time, though, especially when it is summer, we just hang back at the house on our balcony. However, since it is summer and we are suddenly rich, we would probably either go to Apt. 200 or The Dock Ellis. I actually really like Apt. 200; there’s a free pool table and I’m generally a sucker for hip-hop clubs. The more chill option is The Dock Ellis; it’s a sport bar without the hypermasculine, bro-y vibe. It has various games (pool, pinball, foosball, etc.) and really good food. It’s usually not overly loud or packed, so you can actually have a conversation with your friends there.
My perfect day is just my own version. Little Portugal is full of amazing restaurants and it has a great nightlife scene. There are plenty of options for eating, drinking and chilling so anyone can find their own variation of the perfect day here.