What should I do in Toronto?

I need some advice. Later this spring, I’ll be heading to Toronto with the family, and, as I’ve never been there before, and as don’t generally associate with Canadians, I’m not sure what I should do when I’m there. Or, to be more specific, I’m not sure what I should do, once I’ve scoured the entire city, looking for obscure Degrassi Junior high filming locations. According to Linette, there’s a shoe museum, and good Chinese food, but, as far as I know, that’s about the extent of what the city has to offer… So, if you know of something cool, please leave a comment.

While we’re on the subject of Degrassi, did you hear the news late last week that Neil Hope had passed away? Hope, who played Derek “Wheels” Wheeler in the classic Canadian coming-of-age drama, apparently died five years ago, alone, in a Hamilton, Ontario rooming house, but the news just now became public. Hope, who had a long history of alcoholism, is said to have died of natural causes.

Speaking of Hope, here’s one of my favorite episodes that centers around his character. It’s called, Best Laid Plans.

And I know that it’s unlikely, but I’d like to see if maybe I could convince Pat Mastroianni, who played Joey Jeremiah, to recreate the drugstore scene that takes place at the 16-minute mark, with me filling in for Wheels. I think that would be incredibly cool.

And, yes, apparently all of the episodes of Degrassi Junior High are now available on YouTube… Enjoy!

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  1. Conan Smith
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Toronto: if you can repress any vegetarian longings, splurge on Canoe. When Rebekah and I ate there, the menu was pure North American fare (like duck, venison and river sturgeon). It’ll run you +$150 probably not including vino. Alternately, try the Keg downtown or Great Lakes Brewery.

  2. Edward
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    If memory serves, Pat used to work at a Toronto used car dealership. If that’s still the case, he might be findable.

    Sorry to hear about Wheels. From what I hear, he used to get irate when people would approach him at bars and ask about Degrassi.

  3. Dan
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    When you are in Toronto you should check out this great bar/restaurant, it has been around for about a year and is called WVRST. They specialize in sausage and also have good Ontario beer and fries. I have a feeling you might like it. I don’t know if they use long straws though.

    Taking a ferry out to Center island to view the city is fun, and the ROM and Ontario science center are interesting museums. I also like the Distillery district. I think the CN tower is overrated (and too expensive) but some people really like it. The shops on Queen street are interesting but it may be hard to do that with kids in tow.

  4. EL
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    KT and I would suggest avoiding Captain John’s

  5. ChelseaL
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    One thing to do on the *way to Toronto: Visit Chelsea in Vermont! I can point out the places where the roads and bridges were washed out, and show you the grocery in the helicopter photo. There’s also a lot of legitimately cool things to do and see.

  6. Mr. X
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Great reviews of Captain John’s on Yelp:

    – The place smells like a old dust mop. I ordered fish and chips and boy was that a mistake. food was crap and the whole atmosphere was like walking into a morgue. the decal looks like they been the since the middle ages. I wont go back.

    – This is a tourist trap. It looks good from the outside, they make you wait outside to make it seem like it is busy but in fact the tables are empty. We decided to walk out after seeing other peoples food and their reactions. I nearly vomited. The ship smells of polluted lake water. The service was horrible.

    – Where do I start. Wow. I try to always find the good in something, but I am not sure this is possible. Restaurant makeover needs to make an appearance here. This place has potential, but is overpriced and a waste of money. One waiter for all the tables. He is overworked, and just can not keep up. Decor is tacky, which would not be a problem if the food was good. We should have known when the French onion soup was only 2.99 that we should not have gotten it. It tasted like water. My husband and I split steak and shrimp from hell. Frozen steak, frozen vegetables and frozen potato. How is this possible for fourty dollars. It wasn’t, worth ten. This is possibly the worst restaurant I have ever been to. So much potential, but run down. My friends four meals were equally as horrible. Watery clam chowder and tasteless clam chowder. This place needs a manager and makeover badly. Good thing the wine was cheap. The biggest turn off was when I went to the bathroom and there was rug in it. Not only the womens but the men’s. Dont do it.

    – im not one to complain, but i have to say, i was grossed out by this place. it was by far the worst restaurant i have ever eatin at. the seafood was over cooked, completely over priced. the “beef” burger was absolutely NOT beef, im not even sure what it was….

  7. Eel
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Leave the kids with Captain John and heard out to a nudie bar. The place is lousy with them, thanks to a socialist law that requires all young women to strip for two years after high school.

  8. Jon
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Kristin and I spent our honeymoon touring Canadian cities, starting with Toronto. Some things you should check out and are kid friendly:

    Take ViaRail. We loved it and took it every chance we got. You can park your car at the Windsor train station and take ViaRail straight to Toronto’s Union Station/mass transit hub. It’s clean, punctual, comfortable and has great wi-fi. If you ever want to dream about Amtrak could become, ride ViaRail.

    Check out Casa Loma, http://www.casaloma.org. Great architecture in a sizeable estate on Toronto’s tallest hill with awesome views of the city. You can spend half a day there easy. Favorite thing I saw on my honeymoon was some kid’s scribbles next to a windows at the top of a turret that said, “I want my own castle.”

    Randomly wander into the Ontario tourism center near Younge Street a little north of the main central business district. Tell them you’re from Detroit and ask what there is to see in Toronto. The people working there will inevitably point your toward the Hockey Hall of Fame and where every hockey team in the city plays. This actually happened to Kristin and I. When we told the woman working there that we didn’t really care about hockey, she looked at us as if we had just told her we enjoyed clubbing kittens in our spare time. After a few uncomfortable moments of silence she stammered, “But, but, you’re part of the Original Six…” OK, maybe this isn’t the best advice for things your family can do while in Toronto, but I love telling that story.

    @Eel, it’s not a nudie bar in Canada. It’s a boob store. Or if you live in Detroit, it’s the Windsor Ballet.

  9. Dan
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I second ViaRail. If you take business class they have a nice drink cart that swings by repeatedly. If you ride in coach, pick up a lunch in a restaurant in Windsor after you cross the border.

    I am also serious about WVRST. I think you’d like it.

  10. anonymous
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Try the duck fat fries at WVRST.


  11. Ted Glass
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    If you go to AGO, check out the exhibition, “Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters from Revolutionary Russia (1910-1940)”


  12. Walt
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    The X Club and the M4 Club are two great swingers clubs in Toronto.

    It might be a great way to rekindle the romance after having a child.

  13. Glen S.
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    St. Lawrence Market: http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/ (a great urban market)

    A ferry ride to the Toronto Islands: http://en.wikipedia.org (weather permitting)

  14. Ted Glass
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    And I agree that The Beguiling is a great comics shop.


  15. Brainless
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    1) 2nd both St. Lawrence Market and ROM. Eat lunch at St. Lawrence, too. Lots of good, cheap eats.

    2) 2nd that CN is overpriced. (That said, if you don’t give a crap about money, it’s still pretty damn cool to either stand on the glass floor or be outside at that height. Go to the highest point – which is, of course, an extra fee.)

    3) Science Center was really run-down on visit last year. Displays were in disrepair and all the kids were in the big center room making art from scraps. You could do that at home for free.

  16. Mr. X
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone remember when the would-be child molester picked up Wheels when he was hitchhiking? It was much better than the Different Strokes episode with Gordon Jump.

  17. roots
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t there an Medieval Times in Toronto?

    Yup…pet a falcon and yell at a squire.

  18. ChelseaL
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Of course, it occurs to me now that Michegan is quite near Canada…

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