Guided Tour

Good morning! and welcome to Toronto! the world’s 37th greatest city according to Lonely Planet. My name is Rory, Rory McGillicuddy, and I’ll be your tour guide today. Before you ask, no, I’m not related to Dr. McGillicuddy of schnapps fame. Sorry. I guess you’ll have to rely on your own private stash of booze to get you though this tour. Ha ha!

I hope you’re all excited – I know I am – because I’m going to show you some parts of the city that aren’t even on the map. Well, technically, they are on the map, but they’re up-and-comers so I guess you could say they’re not on the radar. Yet. Let’s just say they’re on a map of my heart. You know what I mean? Right? Anyways, like my therapists always says, “let’s get this show on the road.”

Okay! Here’s our first stop: the Coffee House. And here’s a juicy tidbit about it. The owner, Gustavo, will tell you he opened the place so out-of-work writers would have somewhere to hang and work on screenplays or manuscripts without being judged by the corporate lackey types who populate Starbucks. In reality, that’s a cover story. He’s actually a former drug runner who is hiding out from the cartel he embezzled money from. So if you’re in the market for some cocaine, he’s your man. Ha ha! I’m just messing with you. He’s totally legit now. And, according to my mother, he makes the best pain au chocolat in the city. But don’t take my word for it. Try one for yourself. Seriously. Go! Yes, I know it looks like a real hole-in-the-wall. But it’s a hole-in-the-wall with seedy charm. I promise you won’t regret it. And don’t forget about your hungry tour guide. Kidding! Sort of.

Judging by the crumbs on your shirts, I see you enjoyed Gustav’s pâtisseries. Quick question: Did you happen to notice a pretty redhead? She would have been hunkered down in the back corner twirling her hair around her finger while reading poetry. She has glacial blue eyes that stop you in your tracks like Medusa – but in a good way – and a mole on her left cheek that would make Cindy Crawford think about moving hers to the same place. No? Okay. No biggie. Let’s move on, shall we?

Next, we’re going to check out what my sister calls “the soon-to-be hippest clothing boutique in the city”: Preloved. She says they’re becoming somewhat cultish because they take vintage clothes, like my Mom used to wear – or still wears now, ha ha! but don’t tell her I said that – then chop them up and use the pieces to make new stuff. If that’s not avant-garde, I don’t know what is. Ladies, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get something “hot” that you can tell your friends back home you picked up, “before the masses started biting my très chicness.” Guys, you can hang back with me and catch some rays, unless you want to go pay for all the clothes you’re ladies are going to get. Ha ha!

Alright, I see a few bags! Great success! You must have been helped out by my favourite fiery maned salesperson. It was a surly little blonde. Oh well. We might as well hit the road then.

Will you look at that? It appears we’re approaching the lunching hour, so what say ye we make a pit stop for some grub? I know the perfect place. It’s a bistro a friend of mine frequents called Café Le Gaffe. But on the way we’re going to take a quick detour so I can show you one of the cities most historic neighbourhoods: Cabbagetown.

According to Wikipedia, the neighbourhood was established in the 1840s and gets its name from all the poor people who originally lived there and survived on nothing but cabbage, or maybe they grew cabbage. Basically, cabbage was a big part of their lives. Today, Cabbagetown is known for its old, rustic style homes that are the last of a now forgotten style of architecture known as Cottagy. Here’s the house I one day hope to occupy. Hey, maybe the owner’s home and would be willing to give us a tour. Let’s go see.

Too bad. She’s not in. Looks like we’re back on the hunt for food. Let’s hit it double time, I’m famished. What do you mean? How do I know a woman lives there? How would I know that? It’s not like I walk by here on my way or go through her garbage. I said “she”? And “her”? Really? Huh. Freudian slip I guess. Anyhoo. Moving on, Le Gaffe isn’t far now and I promise you their truffle risotto is to die for.

As we make our way through the park, you’ll notice the beautiful Allen Gardens conservatory to your left. It’s been the horticultural… oh my God, there she is. Everyone hide. No. Wait. Act normal. Get your cameras out. Be tourists. Oh God, I think she’s coming this way. Is she coming this way? She is. Okay everyone, the tour’s over. Thanks for joining me today. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Toronto.

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