travel

A Summer Day in Toronto: Bar Buca, Ripley’s Aquarium, and The Lockhart (a Harry Potter Bar)

giphy-10I wasn’t sure whether this would count as a travel post, but after throwing a poll up on my Twitter, and everyone voted that it should in fact count as a travel post, here we are. I also figured, since I don’t live in Toronto, but rather 1-2 hours away, it does require some “travel” to get there. Anyway, I hope this give some of you some ideas of what to do in Toronto!

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Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I (along with a friend of ours), drove off to Toronto in the early morning. I had an interview there, and we’d been planning a trip like this for some time anyway, so it made sense to do everything on the same day. For those of you unfamiliar with the Ontario 401 highway, it is either the busiest highway (or one of the busiest highways) in the world! And therefore, it can get quite stressful to drive it (especially in Mississauga, where it’s just pure insanity with cars getting off and getting on. You’re lucky if you don’t get stuck in traffic there). You can’t blame us, then, for wanting to cut 2 drives to Toronto down to 1!

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So, we arrive in the big city, find some parking right by the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, and I go off to do my interview. Once I’m out again, the three of us are quite hungry and we make our way toward a Cora’s (a popular breakfast restaurant here in Canada). The lineup was quite insane, though, and it’s not my favourite place to eat, so I offered to check if there were any other breakfast places nearby (especially some trendy, or interesting ones). And that is how I found Bar Buca! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems that Google Maps is trying out this new feature, where they will list the top breakfast restaurants in the area, or the best restaurants for dinner, etc. But anyway, Google Maps was telling me that it would only be about a 15 minute walk from where we were, and the line at Cora’s didn’t look like it would be moving anytime soon, so we headed off toward this trendy breakfast place.

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…and I regretted it about 5 minutes later! I had forgot to mention that although I’d brought a change of clothes, I had decided to change after breakfast rather than before (because we were so hungry). So, here I was walking down the sizzling hot streets of Toronto (it was between 30 – 35 degrees Celsius by that point) in a black blazer, a synthetic top, black dress pants, and some of the most uncomfortable high heels that I own. Looking back now, I’m kind of laughing at myself, but at the time, it was torture!

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After what feels like years, we finally make it to Bar Buca, and they have this very nice little patio out front where some classy people were enjoying fancy lattes and such. I felt this dread, like Google Maps had lead me astray and that they wouldn’t have “eggs and bacon” as the boys had hoped. So, we go inside, because we didn’t know if you seat yourself or if you have to wait for someone to seat you. I see a waiter/server (I don’t know the right terminology!) approach us and ask him about it…and he sort of stared at us for a bit, then when we said we’d like to sit outside, mumbled something and took us to an outside table. Once the waiter leaves, my boyfriend says that he scared the waiter with his beard. But, who knows?

Then our actual server arrives, and he’s not socially inept at all (not that I should talk, since I’m quite socially awkward myself, especially when I’m alone). But anyway, we get our menus, on which every dish is written in Italian (which makes you feel fancy, but also a little silly if you don’t understand what a dish actually is). Luckily the descriptions were all in English, so we could at least get a general idea of what each dish would look and taste like. And….there was no breakfast food on said menu. We asked about it, and it turns out that they’d switched from breakfast to lunch maybe a minute before we got there. Sigh. Anyway, we ordered, and it was all worth it because the food was delicious! Seriously, to die for. The boys had become annoyed with me for bringing them to this place, but they forgot all about that once we tasted the food. (My boyfriend and I actually liked the one dish so much that we re-created it at home using this recipe and it was almost as good as in the restaurant!) I also had one of those fancy lattes I’d seen everyone drinking when we arrived, and it was delicious. Coffee with actual flavour. Mmm.

We ate, drank, paid, a then started making our way back toward the car so that I could change. And this walk back, somehow felt even more torturous than the earlier one! I think it’s because my feet were already sore from walking in the heels before, and I’d also eaten which made me hotter and more sleepy. Anyway, to the surprise of no one, the sole came off of one of my shoes just when we made it to these stairs that we had to take to get to the aquarium and then the parking lot. So I made the rest of the trip limping, so as to not damage the thin material now protecting my foot from the hot sidewalk, while holding the sole of the mutilated shoe in my hand. It sucked, but was also a good laugh.

giphyThen we finally made it to the car and blasted the AC while I struggled to change in the backseat (and I won’t blame any of you for laughing while picturing that). Yes, my life is a real-life comedy, as my friends like to say. I am the Canadian Bridget Jones, hahaha. All of us finally wearing summer-appropriate clothes, we then finally went to the Ripley’s Aquarium! …where we encountered another immense lineup, mostly made of kids on a camp trip or something. Oh the heat…oh the noise…but it was worth it for when we finally got inside, bought our tickets (around $30 CAD each), and got to exploring.

Or tried to. It was a very busy day, and therefore it took some work to try and see every display. But I managed to get a lot of photos anyway!

After hours of exploration, and my touching a large stingray (something which I sadly did not get to take a photo of because I was afraid that my phone would fall in the tank and I’d have to dive with sharks to get it back)…we started to get hungry. Plus, we were excited for the next, and last item which was on our list. We would also get to eat there too! The issue was that this place wouldn’t open for another 1.5 hours. When we searched for it in Google Maps, we debated whether to just drive there and do something else in the area, or make our way there on foot and arrive just in time for the place to open (because, you guessed it, the walk would take 1.5 hours one way).

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Maybe I’d cooled off enough in the aquarium, or maybe the heat had fried my brain, but for some reason I voted that we just walk. I guess I figured, hey, I walked for hours upon hours while I was in Asia…so what’s 1.5 hours in Toronto? I regretted my decision pretty quickly, but it was all worth it (sound familiar?) once we made it to the place. And I think a good majority of you will agree with my excitement, because the place which we walked all of this way to, was a Harry Potter bar!

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The place is called The Lockhart, and is located in Little Portugal I believe? Apprently there’s also another location in Montreal! Anyway, there was this awkward moment where we were the first people to walk in once they unlocked the door (I never like being the first one. Anyone else?) But then we sat down at a table which was actually built out of an old suitcase / trunk! And my boyfriend actually said he’d build me one someday! So hurray for that!

Then the owner / manager comes over and tells us something is broken in the back, so they can’t cook meat or fish. All three of us being carnivores, you can understand that we were a little put out by this. We were quite hungry, and didn’t think that vegetables would quite do the trick. So we ordered some pickled veggies, some chocolate toads (well I didn’t have one because I don’t really eat chocolate, but the boys had them and said they were amazing)! We each also ordered a drink each (including our friend who doesn’t drink alcohol, because they luckily offer nonalcoholic specialty drinks as well!)

Overall, the experience was very neat. But we were hungry, so we didn’t stay as long as I would have liked. Apparently they also have some fun live shows, but not on the day on which we visited. Maybe the next time I go, I’ll catch one of these shows! Who knows? Anyway, after walking back for another 1.5 hours, we found a neat poutine place, ate our fill there (mmmm pulled pork poutine), then went to the car and drove home.

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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS POST ABOUT MY DAY TRIP TO TORONTO! ALSO, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND/OR SOME OF YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

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0 thoughts on “A Summer Day in Toronto: Bar Buca, Ripley’s Aquarium, and The Lockhart (a Harry Potter Bar)

  1. I also live 2 hour drive from Toronto, and have been to Ripley’s Aquarium. It’s quite amazing. Kudos to you for the 1.5 hour walk LOL You’re a brave one! I think the Harry Potter bar is new is it not? I just heard about it the other day.

  2. I live in the city and have been meaning to go to the Harry Potter bar for ages but still haven’t managed to get my fellow bookish friends all together for a night out there. hopefully this fall!

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