Tag Archives: Toronto Beaches

Guilty pleasures of a closet sunset fan

15 Nov

This post’s dedicated to that much maligned art form – the humble sunset photo.

It’s all too easy to criticise the ubiquitous evening sky shot, but who hasn’t been tempted to take a “sun kissing the horizon” snap after a perfect day on the beach? Only the most committed wedge-haired art hipster could resist a reddy, pinky, Rothko-layered sky after a few pina coladas.

Me? I like an urban sunset, and the massive Toronto sky is the gift that never stops giving (though the gifts aren’t always welcome when in the form of a four day downpour, like last week).

My number one spot for Toronto sunsets is Ashbridges Bay Park, which I just happened to be cycling through this evening:

Ashbridges Bay Park Toronto

Not bad, eh?

I got a bit carried away; here are some more pics from my ride home:

Ashbridges Bay Park sunset Toronto

Same sunset, (very slightly) different view

Ashbridges Bay Park Toronto sunset

Peeping through the leaf-starved winter trees

Beaches Toronto sunset

Nice evening for a beachside bike ride

For what it’s worth, my other top Toronto sunset spots would be:

*Canoe restaurant, 66 Wellington Street West.

With its sweeping, floor to ceiling window views, it’s a sure-fire romance hotspot. It also does a nice line in surprise desserts:

Romantic sunset restaurant Toronto anniversary

We didn’t even order this! Hooray, even more pudding!

*Lake Ontario

As in, the actual water. Preferably from the safety of a canoe, or other floating vessel:

Toronto canoe sunset

During a summer evening paddle across to the Islands

*My apartment!

Sorry to brag, but the view ain’t half bad. No, we don’t take paying guests. Yes, you can quite possibly get a very similar view from many of the high condo blocks or hotels along the harbourfront:

Sunset Toronto CN Tower

The CN Tower, all lit up

Toronto lake sunset

The harbour at night

Toronto sunset lake

West Jet stage and Islands

Oh, I know these aren’t going to win any photography prizes – and I totally get that taking pictures of sunsets is neither cool nor clever.

But go on, admit it, they’re pretty. It’s a harmless guilty pleasure. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. It can be our little secret.

Jazz; not a huge fan

1 Aug

In considering whether to move to Toronto, its reputation for stellar jazz performances wasn’t high on my agenda.

Sorry jazzophiles, but I associate your scene purely with lifts, hotel lobbies and people who use the word “funky” in everyday parlance.

But that was before I’d experienced the Beaches International Jazz Festival, which sadly finished on Sunday.

I seriously feared my ears would be assaulted with this kind of thing (with apologies to the “charming and talented person” who posted it on YouTube) – or even travesties on this scale. The latter goes to prove that anything that could potentially be suffixed with “lite” is to be avoided; that includes beer and, most definitely, Beethoven.

Happily, the Beaches Jazz Festival was very flexible in its definition of “jazz”, which seemed to incorporate anything from big band to soul, rock, beardy blues, latin, gospel, hip-hop and reggae.

All events were free and some of the stages had dance floors adjacent to the beach, like this one we stopped at:


The festival takes place over a few weeks, with events held at different stages across the neighbourhood.

But on Saturday evening a 2km stretch of Queen Street East was closed off to traffic and tons of performers and groups set up on the street, sparking some spontaneous dancing and LOTS of Peter Kay- style “walking to the dance floor” moves (guilty as charged).

My favourite group – despite the name – was God Made Me Funky, a brilliant frat party style band that performed mash-ups of Nirvana, Cypress Hill and LMFAO. Here’s a video of them on the night – slightly poor sound quality, but you get a sense of the atmosphere.

A great night, enriched – quite literally – by a very reasonable prix fixe menu dinner at nearby Velouté.

John Howson

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