Luck was on my side on Thursday night when I arrived in Toronto. Technology, however, was not.
After 3 months of use, my $30 mobile had officially died. This left me unable to text Lauren or Elspeth that I had arrived. Luckily, I had written their address down and saved it on my laptop before I left New York. So I hopped in a cab and opened up my laptop to get the address. But alas, my laptop was out of battery. Fail.
I apologised to the cab driver and jumped out into the cold Toronto air. And just as I thought my luck was running out, Lauren, Elspeth and their friend Anne-Sophie, appeared out of nowhere. I was saved. And thus my weekend in Toronto began.
On Friday I spent some time wandering the cobbled stone streets of the Distillery District, a super cute area of Toronto. I had lots of fun checking out the boutique shops and art galleries, finding myself some really cute and unique Toronto-designed earrings. I also indulged in some handmade truffles from SOMA and grabbed a pretty decent coffee at a place called Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, which is found all over Toronto and throughout Southern Ontario. It made for a good start to my time in Toronto.
I spent the afternoon with Lauren, Elspeth and some of their international friends also on exchange in Toronto. Anne-Sophie and Gregoire are from France, and Molly is a fellow Australian. We walked up and down the super hipster Queen Street West and had a lot of fun at the Black Market, a second-hand vintage store, looking for Halloween costumes. It was vintage, op-shopping heaven! The afternoon was complete with a coffee at the Dark Horse Espresso Bar, Lauren’s favourite in Toronto.
The best part of the day, however, was dinner. I would go as far as to say that this was the most incredible dining experience I have ever had. O.NOIR is a restaurant like no other. You sit at a table and chat with friends over some good food and drink. Except that it is all done in complete darkness. And all the waitstaff are blind. It is a great concept. The idea originates with Jorge Spielmann, a blind man from Zurich who would blindfold his dinner guests so they could share in his eating experience.
After placing our order we were then led inside by our waiter. Once inside the room, you can literally see nothing at all. When we first sat down we seemed to overcompensate the loss of our sight by talking unnecessarily loudly. After some hushing from a nearby table, we settled down to enjoy our meal. I don’t know if it was my heightened sense of smell and taste, but the food was delicious. And the experience was like no other I had ever had before. One that I highly recommend if you ever get the chance.