Reading Week is a magical time where students have the chance to catch up on readings, catch up on sleep, and/or go off and do something that breaks up the ol’ routine. We elected to do the latter. To visit family and friends who are on the other side of the country, we planned a whirlwind trip out to Ontario and Québec (then back to Ontario).
Heading out on a red eye flight, we made our way to Toronto, quickly departing to make our way to Ottawa on a record-breaking day of snowfall (51cm in 24 hours, beating an all-time record from fifty-some years prior!). We arrived at our hostel, which was modelled as a place for travellers to sleep after being created as a place to hold criminals.
|Landing in the snowy east and traveling to our first stop.|
The snow continued to fall and the wind blew with gusto (ha) as we sought out a place to eat on a budget after realizing we had not eaten any real food (save for two shared granola bars) for the last 9 hours or so. We found ourselves at a familiar-but-unexplored restaurant called WAREHOUSE, which also has a location in Vancouver and other major cities I have visited. The entire menu has a baseline price of $4.95, which adds up depending on what you want to add to your dish. The food was great, especially considering the affordability!
|Exploring the parliament buildings after dinner on our first night.|
Ottawa in the daylight was beautifully sunny and snowy (but watch out for melting snow on the roofs of buildings)! I tried my first Beavertail and hiked through freshly-fallen (and densely packed) snowy fields to the Parliament buildings, the Supreme Court of Canada, and eventually an Uber driver (my frist time), who took us to the bus station. From there, we made our way to Montréal.
Upon arriving in Quebéc, we quickly established our place of rest for the night before heading out to dinner. When it was confessed that we had a vegetarian at the table (me), the waiter, knowing there were no meatless menu options, exclaimed, “Madame, I have a plan!” and dashed into a back room. Apparently, this is where they hide the vegetarian menus, and I enjoyed a superb meal with a wine that I found slightly better than tolerable (I’m not a wine person yet; the wine was very nice, I’m sure).
After a short evening of exploring followed by sleeping, we climbed Mount Royal near McGill university and enjoyed spectacular views of the city from atop its wee mountain (it is wee, please don’t take this as an insult if you are sensitive to the topic). We then meandered through the city streets, covering whatever skin we could so as to defend ourselves against the seemingly docile but harshly cold air. Our time was short in this city, and before we knew it, we had arrived at the train station, where I would hop on to my first train for a ride!
|A portion of the view from the lookout on Mount Royal.|
We arrived late in Toronto and wasted little time getting to our destination for sleep. We hiked across the city with our suitcases, this time enjoying an easier stroll than when we arrived in this part of the world a few days ago in the newly snowy conditions. By now, the streets were drying, and we found our way to rest. After a very late meal, we slept in preparation for a full day of being welcomed to the University of Toronto’s law school (I attended as a guest of a new admit). Following our full day, we explored the city, saw a movie, and walked in circles before selecting a place called Kit Kat(‘s?) for dinner – margherita pizza and delicious Mediterranean salad (so many olives <3).
Another late night after hiking back to our sleeping place.
Another day of city exploration and a new restaurant called WVRST where I tried my first bratwurst (vegan) and was thoroughly impressed. The restaurant, from what I was told, is modelled like a traditional German beer haus, and fosters communal eating and meeting new friends. Too soon again did we make our way to a vehicle to leave the city, and we flew back with relative speed to Vancouver, landing to meet old friends and enjoy even more random food in abundance.