Toronto is unmistakably a big city through and through, with lots of both hustle and bustle to go around. This being said, in a couple of weeks, I was able to see more bands perform in concert than in all of the Folk on the Rocks music festival and find a restaurant with enough types of hot sauces to make my Southeast Asian-adapted mouth water.
After living in a town in Canada where you needed to drive for over three hours to get to the nearest Tim Horton’s (something I didn’t even think was possible for this country), it was a bit surreal being able to experience so much at such a close range. Ironically, one of my favourite Toronto experiences is the stay-cation destination of Toronto Island.
A lot like the relationship between Pulau Ubin and the main island in Singapore (a trip back in time to remote feeling natural landscapes, cute cottages and kayaking separated from a major city centre by only a narrow channel of water), Toronto Island is a must-see spot.
A 20-minute 7CAD return ferry will get you far away from city life (while still offering great views of the cityscape) and plop you on the beach for the afternoon. Even in the nippy fall air, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to play with Tonka trucks on the beach, or swing from trees overhanging the boardwalk.
Getting to the central pier on the far side of the island, I found myself face to face with one of the bigger questions in life: to jump, or not to jump. Normally, I don’t even answer this question because I’m so busy with another one: why aren’t I in the water already!? But the fact that I was feeling a chill in my jacket (let alone a bathing suit) and that I’d have a (relatively) lengthy swim around a rock barrier before getting back to shore had me questioning myself.
After a couple agonizing moments of deliberation (how much fun the jump would be versus how close I would come to freezing to death), I realized I would never let myself live it down if I didn’t take the plunge. Soon enough (and to the amazement of two other couples), I was off the pier and facing a (literally) breath-taking swim back to shore.
Unable to catch enough breath to front crawl, I flipped to back and swam at dolphin-worthy speed until I reached the shore and jumped back into my dry clothes. Once I realized I wasn’t going to freeze (and was actually quite warm), post-jump adrenaline kicked in and I spent the next half-hour replaying how awesome the leap was in my head.