Thursday, November 26, 2009

Weekend in the Big Smoke

Last weekend the family and I travelled to the city of Toronto for the weekend. The main reason we went was take care of Matthew's big birthday present from us. Eve works really hard for Greyhound and her boss had given her a pick of the Leafs seasons tickets a couple of months ago. We'd chosen the Saturday, Novemeber 21st game against the Washington Capitols. This was cool, because Matthew like Alexander Ovechkin. It was really hard to keep it a secret but we finally got to annouce it at Matthew's birthday party. We decided to make a weekend of it, with Eve booking a room for us at the Hilton Garden Inn on Peter Street, which has a special rate for Greyhound employees.

Early Saturday afternoon we drove over the the Greyhound terminal in Guelph and caught the bus into Toronto, disembarking at the Bay Street terminal. Elizabeth was really good on the trip, facisnated by being so high up and seeing all the traffic around us. She's ridden the bus before but this time seemed to be special for her. We caught the TTC from St. Patrick Station down to St. Andrew Station and walked a couple of blocks to the hotel.

The room we got at the Hilton was very nice, with two queen beds and later a crib for Elizabeth. It had a nice flat screen tv, a decent shower, and comfy matresses that were adjustable. After we got settled in we headed out for an early supper. Our originalintent had been to go to a restarunt called the Thai Princess, just down from the hotel. It didn't open until 5 pm so we wandered down King until we saw a Greek place called Penelope that was just opening. It was big place and being early made seating easy. We ordered saganaki as an appetizer. Saganaki is cheese that has been soaked in ouzo and is then lit on fire at your table. Opa! It is very yummy. Eve ordered calamari, Matthew had chicken souvlaki, and I had pork tenderloin done souvlaki style. We brought food for Elizabeth though she did try some potatoe. All the food was very good and the waitress was very nice in a motherly sort of way. For dessert I had a raspberry souffle with a chocolate centre which was good. Eve had something with pastry and custard which she shared with E. and Matthew had ice cream. After supper we walked back to the hotel and then Eve and Elizabeth went back up to the room. Matthew and I caught the street car to St. Andrew and the the subway to Union and we walked the rest of the way to the ACC.

We were there over an hour early but Matthew was quite excited so we went up to our seats. They were very nice, in the lower bowl of the arena overlooking the vistor's starting net. There was a handful of people in our section. We were approached by a waitress who had a tablet that she could punch in orders and have them delivered to our seats. She chated with Matthew and she could tell how excited he was. She was also one of the tallest women I've ever seen, easily 6' 5". She was standing one set of seats down and she towered over Matthew. We disn't want anything right away but later ordered a big bag of popcorn and some drinks. At one point the usher by our entrance handed the waitress a hockey puck which she brought up to Matthew. He was totally thrilled. It was an official Leafs puck with the NHL logo on one side and the Leafs logo on the other. Matthew clutched the puck for the whole game.

There were several pre-game events, including a Homecoming for several ex-Leaf players, including one guy who had played in the 1940's. The game itself started at 7:30 and was pretty fast paced but low scoring. The Caps struck first, with Ovechkin scoring part way through the first. The crowd was quite loud, with Matthew adding considerably to the volume of noise. He really gets into the game, yelling at the refs and the players and making extra noise when the Jumbotron called for it. I think he was going a bit hoarse towards the end. We munched through our popcorn and drank our drinks and had a very good time. During the first intermission there were a bunch of Timbits Hockey kids having fun on the ice, chasing the puck around and falling down a lot. IIRC the Leafs tied it up in the second, on a goal that bounced off Hagman's butt. The second intermission featured a race between a bunch of psychotic goalies. There was no scoring in the third and the game seemed relatively clean without too many penalties. At one point an entire row of seats up in the nosebleeds won flat screen TV's from LG, who was a sponser for that game.

The game went to overtime which resolved nothing so that was followed by a shoot out. Toskala, the Leafs goalie did a great job over the night and her really shone in the shoot out, including a great stop on Ovechkin, forcing him to shoot early. After all was said and done, the Leafs had won! I was glad because Matthew would have been heartbroken if they had of lost. We made our way back to Union via the PATH system and went back up to St. Andrew Station. We waited for a streetcar but then decided to walk the rest of the way back. Matthew was very happy, telling anyone who would listen about the game. We got back to the hotel around 10:30 and went up to the room. Elizabeth had fallen asleep and Eve was quitely watching TV when we got in. We stayed up a bit, telling her about the game and then hit the sack after putting Elizabeth in the rather nice crib provided. Unfortunately the Hotel was situated next to a rather noisy dance club playing a lot of very loud disco tunes. It made it hard to fall asleep and at one point Elizabeth woke up crying. I calmed her down and she went back to sleep but it wasn't easy. I'm not sure when they shut down because I eventually managed to sleep.

We actually managed to sleep in until about 9:00 am. We cleaned up and packed up intending to go out for some breakfast. Checkout wasn't until noon, but we left at around 11 am. We walked down to Queen Street looking for a breakfast place. After a few minutes walk we came across a place called Cafe Crepe. We got in fairly quickly despite the crowd and I had a lovely breakfast crepe with ham, swiss cheese, and mushrooms. Eve had a crepe with Nutella and fresh strawberries. Matthew's crepe had nutella and maple syrup. They were all very yummy.

After breakfast Matthew and I went back to the Bay terminal and dropped off our luggage in a locker. Eve and Elizabeth went off to find some art supplies,picking up some new nibs and brushes at an ancient art store call Guartzman's. We met up at one of the coolest stores in Toronto, The Silver Snail. The Silver Snail is a comic shop and action figure store and games store and so on. We wandered around for awhile looking at all the neat stuff. Eve bought a neat patch from Firefly with the nose art of the Serenity on it and Matthew picked up a pack of Heroscape figures. We then wandered through west on Queen St., checking out all the cool store fronts. Our destination was a new burger joint called Oh Boy! Burger. It was brand new and had gotten a positive review in The Star. It was really busy. There wasn't a huge amount of seating but Eve decided we should perserver and got in line while I hovered near a table that looked close to being done. In the end it worked out and I managed to get the table and the food came shortly afterward. While we were waiting the owner had to shut the doors as the place had hit capacity. They were also running low or out of a lot of things. The burger was well worth the wait, very savoury and made from high quality beef that came from near Guelph. We then headed back to the bus terminal, intending to catch the 4:30 pm, but catching the 3:30 in the nick of time. We had another nice trip back and got home and took it easy for the evening.

It was a wonderful weekend and Eve did a really great job of organizing everything for the trip. Nothing went majorly wrong and the Leafs managed to win one in an otherwise dismal season.

I think that's all for now. I'll write again when something interesting happens.

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