Once again Elyse (Just Murrayed) and I took to wandering around Toronto in search of good food and great bookstores. This month’s edition of Books & Bites brought us to Toronto’s College Street!
She Said Boom! Records and Books: Unfortunately, everything in Toronto seems to open at 11am on Saturday mornings, so we were far to early for this place to be open, apparently. Of course, our “too early” was actually only 10 minutes before opening time, which I totally understand as a bookseller. I don’t open the doors until the exact time either. We didn’t linger, or peep in the windows as some people tend to do at my store, but instead took some pictures and went on to find some coffee.
Voodoo Child Cafe: This was an unplanned visit, but we needed a caffeine jolt before continuing. I got a mocha latte, which is my standard drink of choice in any random coffee-house. This is a place that definitely attracts the hipster crowd, but the service was good and the coffee hot, so I was quite happy with the situation. The cup was so full that I spilled a bunch into the saucer before I got a chance to take a nice picture, but it was quite lovely.
Sneaky Dee’s – We went back to She Said Boom! but it still wasn’t open after our coffee break, so we decided it was time for lunch instead. We headed over to Sneaky Dee’s, which Elyse had tried out with her husband a couple of weeks before. The menu is huge, and the atmosphere is fun. There is graffiti everywhere, from the walls, to the tabletops, and it is undeniably a favourite hangout for the students of UofT. I have made a rule of always getting one of the specials, which included Avocado Benny for this restaurant. There was a tonne of food, which neither of us could finish, leaving us both ready for a nap by the end.
Balfour Books: This place never showed up on my Google search of bookstores in Toronto, so I’m glad that Elyse spotted it on her travels. This cute little store is definitely a hidden gem. They have a great selection of paperbacks at the front of the store, and you can work your way back to their more unique finds. There are piles of books all over the place, which reminded me of Black’s Books from the BBC. I managed to pick up a book that I didn’t even know existed… a small collection of tales written by Philip Pullman about Lyra’s Oxford.
The Big Chill: After our visit to the bookstore we decided to wander around Trinity Bellwoods Park, which I sadly have no pictures of. We witnessed a dog go missing, and had a lovely conversation, and just enjoyed the shade while sitting on a bench. When we were ready to move again, we made our way to this cute ice cream shop. I decided to play it safe with a favourite classic, mint chocolate chip. Elyse got a little more adventurous with one of their signature flavours.
We wandered back to She Said Boom! just to find out if they were open. Although they were, and there were a few customer browsing the shelves, I didn’t see anything that really caught my interest. It’s a good stop for your average used book store, but there was nothing there that stood out as being unique unless you like vinyl records.
Our final stop was over to Sick Kids Hospital to visit my niece, which actually proved to be a slightly bookish visit when I showed the used book vending machine to Elyse. I love this idea, and think that more hospitals should adopt this unique invention.
Note: For anyone interested in visiting The Big Chill, please be aware that they only take cash! Elyse and I had to scrape our pennies together to find enough money to afford a scoop each. A single scoop was definitely enough, but it’s something to be noted for any future reference.
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