Friday, 20 March 2015

Tourist in My Own Town: Taste of Lawrence

Note:  This post was originally published on July 8, 2014.  All posts prior to this date - along with images from April 2014 to March 2015 - have been lost forever to the Internet black hole.  


Last summer, my gorgeous friend Kelly came to Toronto for a visit.  We were out having dinner/drinks and chatting away when she used a phrase that has stuck with me ever since - she was talking about taking her two daughters out to a bunch of different places and said "I feel like a tourist in my own town".  Tourist in my own town.  I don't know what it is about that line, but I love it.

So it just became a new feature on the blog.  See, Toronto has about a gazillion events that take place every summer (I'm not kidding; there was just a news report on how tired Torontonians are having these constant street closures due to summertime events/festivals) and since I actually like the summer and don't feel the need to hibernate, I can go play at the events and then tell you guys about them.  (Disclaimer:  I'm pretty pregnant these days, so while this currently feels like a fantastic idea, I can't guarantee that I won't change my mind about wandering street festivals and amusement parks while carrying 40 extra lbs. and doing the prego-waddle.)

This past weekend, we just so happened to have hit up one of Toronto's annual street festivals, and of course I took photos, so let's recap!

It's called "The Taste of Lawrence", which is a blatant rip-off of one of our bigger and longer-running street festivals, Taste of the Danforth.

About four years ago, I lived in a condo right at the intersection where The Taste of Lawrence took place, and it was pretty convenient to be able to step out of my front door and into a street festival.  I'm pretty sure that for all three meals on the Saturday of that weekend, I just took the elevator down, picked a food vendor, and bought something delicious.  J-Bird loved it.  There was a small midway, and there were only a few rides that he was big enough to go on, but he rode them over and over and had a blast doing it.  When the sun went down, we walked to the main stage and watched a hula-hooping show where they set the hula hoops on fire.

J-Bird has wanted to go back every year wince, but it always fell on a weekend where he was at his dad's and he kept missing out...

Until this year.

This summer, things have worked out differently and J-Bird was around for the Taste of Lawrence weekend, so obviously I had to take him.  (Plus, I found out that there was a Beaver Tails stand there this year and there was no way that I was missing out on Beaver Tails, you guys.  I am pregnant and those things are delicious.)

We found a spot to park, made our way over to the tents, and what should so happen to be right in front of me but the Beaver Tails stand.  Obviously it was fate.  If you've never had Beaver Tails before, let me describe this magical item to you:  it's a piece of dough that is pulled and stretched in to the shape of a beaver's tail (duh) and then fried.  Then it gets brushed with butter, and then you can choose from a bunch of magical toppings.  Years ago (and I'm talking, like, well over a decade) I worked in an amusement park with a Beaver Tails location, and your options were pizza sauce and mozza cheese; Nutella; apples and cinnamon; or cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice.  The end.  Their menu has clearly expanded because there were way more options, and I ended up going for something called "The Choco Vanil'", which was vanilla icing with crushed Oreo bits on top and then finished off with some chocolate sauce drizzle.  #noregrets

{there was a picture of my Beaver Tail here}

Both of the boys opted not to get a Beaver Tail, because they're insane.  (Although George definitely took a few bites of mine.  FYI, stealing bits of delicious deep-fried pastry from a pregnant woman is not safe, and you probably shouldn't try it at home.)

We wandered the festival for a while, checking out a bunch of booths.  J-Bird found an ice cream truck and we told him to pick whatever he wanted, and he chose a Rocket.  A Rocket, you guys.  As in those three-coloured Popsicles that we can find at ANY convenience store, except this one wasn't even Popsicle-brand and it was $3.50.  There were Sno-Cones and slushies and soft-serve ice cream dipped in chocolate sauce, and my kid picks the one thing that he can get literally any other day.  I do not understand the workings of the brains of children.

One of the booths was selling natural honey/wax products and they had bees at the table, which George and J-Bird thought was the coolest thing ever.  I was not so impressed.  Bees + AJ = not friends.

{this was a picture of George and J-Bird checking out the bees}

Every year, my amazing friend Jenny gets a booth for her yoga business (and to sell beautiful mala bead jewelry) and I always drop by and say hi.

{picture of Jenny's booth was here}

J-Bird was starting to get impatient for the midway fun, so we said goodbye to Jenny and her husband and walked the final stretch to the "fun zone" - the place where the games and rides were.  I feel like you have to go through some sort of seriously sales-pressure-training-course to become a game operator at a carnival midway, because OMG they are so pushy!  And there's like a whole strip of them in a row, so after you say no to one, the next guy starts calling at you, and they will totally use anything they can to try and get you to play.

And it worked, because here's J-Bird throwing darts at a dragon.

{This was a picture of J-Bird playing carnival games}

(He totally won, in case you were wondering, and now we have a stuffed ninja-penguin worth about $2 in crappy materials that cost $12 in darts.  I know, I know, you're not paying for the prize, you're paying for the fun.)

It turns out that J-Bird has grown so much since his last trip to Taste of Lawrence that he's officially big enough to go on every single one of the rides, so he opted to skip the "kid rides" and go for the bigger stuff (although he wanted someone to ride most things with him).  Since I'm currently not able to do anything fun, George got to go on all the rides and I got to stand off to the side and hold water bottles and balloons and ninja-penguin stuffies.  But it also meant that I could get pictures of my two favourite people on carnival rides together, and I can't think of a better way to end off this post than with some snapshots of my boys having a blast.

{and then there were four or five pictures of the boys on rides...}

So that's the first "Tourist in My Own Town" post.  We measured J-Bird and found out that he's tall enough to go on almost everything at Canada's Wonderland, which George is super stoked on, so I have a feeling that there might be a Wonderland post coming up, too - stay tuned for that!


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