For Memorial Day Weekend 2016, a group of my friends and I decided to celebrate their graduations and the onset of summer in a completely different way: Leave America and party in Toronto, Canada for a few days.
Four of us traveled together on an 18-hour bus ride from Manhattan to the heart of Toronto, while another flew in from Boston (lucky). It was the first time we all traveled internationally together, and after the crazy experiences we had it certainly won’t be our last.
Toronto is huge. It’s pretty much as big as NYC itself — you don’t really realize it until you try to do everything in a short span of time and then you’re like HOW?!
Anyway, we had a lot of fun. We stayed in a condo across from the Drake Hotel, which was awesome because we were able to enjoy all the amenities of the Hotel while still being able to explore the rest of the neighborhood on a more affordable budget. Although we did get to hang on the rooftop there, we unfortunately couldn’t get past the long lines for the Underground club later those nights. But luckily, most of the remaining best clubs and restaurants were within walking distance of where we were.
One of the best moments actually was at this one bar, the Midpoint, that had an awesome hip-hop DJ (rare find in TO’s club scene tbh), a small but fun crowd (shout-out to our random Irie friends from that night), and Tocino Boyz cookin’ up that good good Filipino munchies type food in the back. I distinctly remember us all jammin’ and then Chance the Rapper came on (just a few days after his album dropped) — “No Problem” is the anthem of the summer, no doubt.
We also took the time to visit a Vietnamese joint called Pho Hung off Spadina Avenue, recommended by one of my mom’s business partners, Jordan Andino of 2nd City — He made sure to remind me of specific dishes to get at this restaurant while I was in town and he was not joking about how good they were! Honestly, the beef with vermicelli and spicy fried chicken wings were so simple, clean, and filling with flavor that we probably would’ve missed out otherwise.
Side note, I really enjoyed that the food and drinking was such good quality for a fraction of the prices we would pay in NYC. Canadians definitely keep their dishes hearty, so we never really felt hungry even after hours of walking. Our brunch drinks were usually $10 CAD tops, and normal bar drinks were around $5 to $8.
Some other bucket list things we did were: ride the subway (it’s an infinity train!), get Bang Bang’s infamous Hong-Kong style egg waffle ice cream, visit the CN Tower (Me and Ream had dinner up there for a date, but the others actually went even higher than we did lol), and play Jenga/Taboo/Cards Against Humanity at a board game bar.
There’s so much more I could say, and tenfold I wish we had a chance to do, but Toronto is big for a reason. Squat Squad Takes the 6ix will make a comeback episode someday, just you wait.