Four days in Toronto was one, crazy ride and exhaustion had no place for it. Named as the New York version of Canada (only cleaner and inhabited with nicer people), I couldn’t agree more with this truth. Busy 24/7, morning streets were filled with swarms of tourists and working locals, while nights called for a thriving club scene that could cost you cover of $50. Though there was peace to be found in this hectic city; from less explored destinations to comfortable spaces, occupied by both new and old friends. This first visit was definitely one for the books and I can’t help but thank the people who welcomed me warmly through it!
Upon landing in Toronto, there was no time to be wasted as a packed-full weekend at Veld lied ahead of us. As we waited for our ride, of whom I was soon to find out were the most hospitable people I would ever have the pleasure of meeting, Ria and I seated ourselves comfortably in the coffee shop to do our makeup. Talk about efficiency. Just as we were finishing with face painting, company arrived perfectly on time.
Warned about how overdressed we would be in our jeans, it was definitely an understatement. Others clad in almost nothing, we learned our lesson the second day to opt-in for shorts. Despite going against my own style rule of wearing too many short pieces, my Day 2 outfit still proved to be one of the most conservative choices. We were definitely not in Calgary anymore. Nakedness was almost vulgar here.
Even though I don’t listen to EDM, I enjoyed myself at Veld. The crowd’s energy was highly contagious and company was prime. My favourite show was undoubtedly Zedd’s as I found myself singing (terribly at that) to the top of my lungs for every song. Quick tips: Bring an empty, clear bottle and fill it up at the stations because no one should ever have to pay $5 for a bottle of water and eat and pre-drink before you go.
After a wild weekend at Veld, we took a breather the following day and explored Kensington. Described in one phrase, Kensington is hipster central. This couldn’t be more true as streets were filled with odd eats and thrift stores. You can only imagine how entertained I was at the sight of all things unique. The vibrant energy only contributed to my growing excitement to explore every nook and cranny.
One of my favourite visits was a store called Breathless. This thrift store wasn’t exactly the cheapest, but they had a good variety of items and I couldn’t help but cop a piece (or two for that matter). Queen of bargain, I managed to find two vintage-looking dresses for $10 each. Talk about a great steal! If my luggage wasn’t already overweight, I would have considered buying a vintage jean jacket. I’m still on the lookout for a black piece.
Outside Kensington, notable visits included Yonge & Dundas, Toronto’s infamous Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake, and Lab Sense; liquid nitrogen in your desserts, anyone? CN Tower would have probably been included in this list, but with the time constraint and lack of planning, I had to miss this visit. I suppose that’s more the reason to return to Toronto. Distillery District and the aquarium were also missed opportunities.
What’s a visit to any city without checking out their art museum? At least that’s my motto. AGO, or Art Gallery Ontario, was a massive playground for art lovers. For a $15 fee as a student, I thought it was plain robbery on my part. But I’m not complaining. As always, I was attracted by the paintings of which was, to my luck, located upon entrance. New found love for Jan Weenix, Hendrick Andriessen and Vilhelm Hammershøi was found here.
Not exactly a fan of minimalistic approaches, it was a surprise at how awe struck I found myself in seeing Interior with Four Etchings by Hammershøi. Captivated by how emotive the painting was despite the use of very little colours, it became one of my favourite pieces from the gallery. I couldn’t help but stand there staring (as one should, I suppose). For reference, it’s the second piece from the trio. Scroll down to your pleasure.
I think museums are a great way to spend the day. It was especially a great choice to escape the summer heat and to get lost in worlds of different eras for hours is a dream. There is more to just looking at artworks for its beauty. In reading the descriptions, one would find at how political or personal these pieces are. They always tell a story and it’s interesting to know what each one has to say without noise. An introvert’s wish granted.
Photography by Ria Al-Allawee and Raiza Vasquez
Top: Topshop // Bralette: Aerie // Shorts: American Eagle // Sunglasses: Tom Ford
Romper: Lacoste // Mustard socks: American Apparel // Sneakers: Adidas Originals