When I had been told: “Go to see The Beaches, it’s the fancy place in Toronto”, I had imagined a tacky place.  Anyway, after my breathe of fresh air of Queen’s Quay, I decided to go to The Beaches.  I went there with the streetcar, which enabled me to see some parts of the city I would probably not have been to.  What is called “The Beaches”, that area of Toronto where you can actually find beaches on Lake Ontario, is really different from what I had pictured.  The first thing I noticed were all the little shops on the side of the road: second-hand bookshops and little bazars.  I like that and, of course, I went browsing through the books.  The area has a certain American character to it: the style of houses, the restaurants and even that vehicle I spotted (you can see it in the pictures below).  I actually thougt I was in an old-fashioned American movie! 

Then, I found myself in the Kew Gardens.  Lucky me, there was a craft fair on.  I thus went around the stalls, only to be faced with a rehearsal of Midsummer Night’s Dream at the other end of the gardens; it was a bit surreal…

Next, I wandered to the actual beaches, a place were seemingly people come to relax, play volley ball, have a barbecue, …  It was strange to be sitting here facing the lake, looking at some trees and then turn my head and see the skyscrappers in the distance.  Looking at the lake, I was thinking about Atwood’s Lady Oracle and Joan’s fake suicide, except that it was on Toronto Island (another of my excursions):

“We rehearsed again the story they were to tell to Arthur: they’d run into me on the street and on impulse we’d lldecided to go sailing over at the Island.  Sailing rather than canoeing , we felt: it was easier to fall off a sailboat, whereas if it was a canoe, we’d all have to tip into the lake and I told them there was no reason for them to get wet, too.

. . .

The boat swung, the sail collapsed, Sam ducked, and the flailing boom hit me in the small of the back and knocked me overboard.

I was unprepared and got a mouthful of unprocessed Lake Ontario water as I sank.  It was much colder than I’d expected, and it tasted like stale fins and old diapers.  I rose to the surface, coughing and gasping.

. . .

I made a feeble dive and attempted to swim under the boat, as we had panned.  I was supposed to come up on the other side, where I would be out of sight from the shore in case anyone was watching, and this move was necessary as I’d spotted a family at one of the picnic tables.”

Finally, I slowly made my way back to the streetcar, passing a yachting club and some cute squirrels (be prepared, they’ll keep coming back in my Canadian posts; they’re everywhere and not that shy) on the way.